CJIor P nStat-,
If Ohio State coach John
Cooper thought his job was in
trouble three weeks ago, he must
be packing his bags now.
The line had been that Cooper
would be pink-slipped unless he
produced this season, his fourth
in Columbus. However, the
picture changed Aug. 23 when
sophomore Robert Smith, who
rushed for a Buckeye rookie
record 1,126 yards last season,
announced that he was quitting
the team, claiming the Buckeye
coaches had little regard for
Smith's departure could be
mitigated if Carlos Snow is
capable of recovering from an
injury which kept him out last
season. If he does return, the
Buckeyes could still contend for
the Big Ten title.
"He's about 80 percent right
now," Cooper said in early
August. "He did go through
spring practice. We did not
anticipate getting him back. I
think those young backs made
Carlos get well in a hurry."
Whoever starts at tailback
will have to share his carries with
Scottie Graham. The senior
fullback, hampered by a sprained
ankle last year, hopes to evoke
memories of 1989, when he ran
for 977 yards and scored 10
Kent Graham is the front-
runner to replace Greg Frey at
quarterback. He should receive
ample protection from an
offensive line that returns Roy
Nichols, Alan Kline and Mick
Because Ohio State's defensive
k , " , , "., , .
corps returns seven of eight
players up front, Cooper is not
worried about losing three of four
members of his secondary.
"I think this will be the best
defensive football team I've had
since I've been at Ohio State,"
Defensive end Alonzo
Spellman leads the way. The
junior is a force on the pass rush
and should contend for all-
Linebacker Steve Tovar led
Ohio State with 125 tackles (78
solos) a year ago and made the all-
Big Ten first team.
"Tovar is an outstanding
football player and a leader,"
Cooper said. "He had an
outstanding year last year, and I
expect him to have an even better
one this year."
- Matt Rennie
The Wolverines should be Qua
pleased Penn State isn't playing returns
Big Ten football until 1993. The threw f
Nittany Lions are currently fifth-be
ranked No. 7 in the country by "To
both AP and UPI. In addition, this spri
they've already downed last has bee
year's UPI National Champion, busines
Georgia Tech, in this summer's really p
Kickoff Classic. Sacc
Coach Joe Paterno has led the be Terr
Nittany Lions to two national 530 yar
championships in the 1980s, and and Tis
in his 26th-year, he has another the rece
chance this season. Penn State "We
started slowly in 1990, but won than we
nine straight to close out the "We ha'
season at 9-2, before losing to outs, pr
Florida State in the Blockbuster wide-ou
Bowl, 24-17. State."
Penn State's defense will once The
again be strong, with eight will be
starters returning. Senior State Ic
linebackers Mark D'Onofrio and ran for
Keith Goganious comprise the A no
heart of the Lions' defense. does no
"Keith is a guy that has for the
tremendous ability," Paterno Miami,
said. "He can run, he is strong, Bigha
and plays every play all out. As he Califorr
gets more comfortable in there, he
will be really, really good."
While Purdue returns much of
last year's team, a new coach skills a
with new formations will done."
definitely give the Boilermakers Thi
(1-7 in the Big Ten, 2-9 overall) a workin
new look. Purdue
"We're all looking forward to runnin
it in a big-way. It's almost a average
feeling of it can't get any worse," for six
linebacker Jim Schwantz said. Nin
"We came in our freshman year passing
saying it was time and our he may
sophomore year. But I really footbal
think we're committed this year starting
to turning it around, because Unt
coach (Jim) Colletto has come in system
with a positive attitude. team's
"Ie's come in with a proven "I'm
system, and he's come in with the def
some great quality coaches. It's because
just going to be our turn now to keep th
turn it around," Schwantz said. Collett
Colletto's offensive system 11 guys
will be led by junior quarterback match 1
Eric Hunter. Last season, the team."
Boilermakers were first in the Big Coll
Ten and 11th nationally in alignm
passing. Hunter completed 54.6 Zgonin
percent of his passes for 2,355 Kmet a
yards and 12 touchdowns, second
"Unfortunately, he has to Boilerm
start out and learn a whole new worry,I
system again after two years," players
Colletto said of Hunter. "His
Wisconsin fans truly see the impres
glass as half full. record,
Only pure optimists could Barry
remain enthusiastic coming off a Madis
winless season in the Big Ten. toward
The Badgers (0-8 in the Big Ten, Wis
1-10 overall) certainly did not scaring
rterback Tony Sacca also
on offense. The junior
br 1,866 yards in 1990, the
st ever at Penn State.
ny has done really well
ing," Paterno said. "He
n a leader. He has been all
s out there and I have been
leased with him."
a's favorite receiver will
y Smith, who caught for
ds last year. O. J. McDuffie
en Thomas will round out
probably have more speed
've had," Paterno said.
ve three outstanding wide-
obably the best group of
ts we've ever had at Penn
weakest part of the team
at tailback, where Penn
st Leroy Thompson, who
573 yards last year.
t mean an easy schedule
Nittany Lions. They face
Notre Dame, Pittsburgh,
n Young and Southern
nia this season.
- Theodore Cox
nd talent I think can get it
s year, Hunter will be
g out of the I-formation.
hopes to improve a
g attack that hasn't
d over 100 yards per game
e of Hunter's 10 favorite
targets return. However,
lack time to unload the
I with three of last year's
offensive linemen gone.
il the offense learns his
, Colletto will count on his
really looking forward to
ensive side of the ball,
e they're going to have to
e scores low for a while,"
o said. "I think we can put
out on the field and
up with any Big Ten
etto plans to use a 5-2
ent led by nose guard Jeff
a, defensive tackle Frank
nd Schwantz. The
ary provides the
akers' biggest defensive
at each position.
- Phil Green
s anybody with their
but second-year coach
Alvarez did give the
n faithful reason to look
consin closed its season by
Michigan State before
scumbing-, 14-94Tis yar,
Badgers may have enough talent
to pull off a few upsets.
Wisconsin's strength lies in its
defense, particularly its
linebacking corps, which returns
three of four starters. Standouts
Gary Casper and Brendan Lynch
anchor the inside positions, while
Duer Sharp and Dwight Reese are
stationed on the outside.
The defensive backfield, led by
senior cornerback Troy Vincent,
is also talented. Vincent, also a
punt-returner, earned second
team all-Big Ten honors. Eddie
Fletcher balances Vincent at the
other cornerback, while Reggie
Holt and Scott Nelson start at the'
"Vincent's probably as
talented an athlete as I've ever
been around," Alvarez said.
"Gary Casper has a chance to be
one of the better linebackers in
Quarterback Tony Lowery
should provide senior leadership
on the offensive side of the ball.
Last year, he threw for 1,757
yards, good for fourth on the
school's all-time list.
Lowery's biggest problem
may be having enough time to
throw, since Wisconsin lost five
offensive linemen last year.
Robert Williams returns at
tailback, where he'llrshare time
with Theo Carney. Both will look
to fullback Mark Montgomery
for their lead blocks.
"We emphasized establishing
the running game this spring,"
Alvarez said. "We feel as though
we've improved it. Montgomery
has bulked up, and we think he
can be an excellent fullback."
- Matt Rennie
S .. ,
Football, has a.
feeling all its own
Every autumn Saturday that the Michigan Wolverines play a
home football game, the city of Ann Arbor changes dramatically.
Front lawns become parking lots. Homemakers become vendors.
Conservative businesspeople become wildly cheering fanatics.
Students go from stodgy intellectuals to loud, drunken lunatics.
Okay, so the students don't really change that much.
The reason for this transformation is, of course, a football game.
And as Michigan embarks on yet another season of gridiron -action, I
am forced to wonder, "Why football?"
It's easy to say it's because Americans have a-warped sense of
values and they place too much emphasis on sports in general.
However, this answer is a cop-out because football is different than
No other sport has such a profound effect on the communities it
touches. Sure, a World Series or an NBA Finals can send a charge into
a city, but even regular season football games are treated as major
events in towns like Ann Arbor.
The late Wolverine football announcer Bob Ufer once said,
"Football is a religion, and Saturday is a holy day of obligation."
Surely, there must be something special about the game to inspire a
statement like that, even logistical reasons for the game's cult
First of all, there are only 11 games in the typical college football
season, rarely more than six or seven home games. Thus, fans must
relish every opportunity they get to cheer on their favorite teams.
This also means rivals only play each other once a year. Unlike in
basketball, where the disgruntled losing team can look ahead to a
rematch a few weeks later, the loser of a football rivalry must live
with the result for 365 days before a shot at redemption.
This makes each of these annual meetings the equivalent of holy
war for the fans of each school. Consider the words of former Yale
football coach Tad Jones to his players before their clash with the
dreaded Harvard Bulldogs: "Gentlemen, you are about to play a game
against Harvard. Nothing you do in life will ever again be so
important as what you do on that field today."
Another factor which makes football seem so important is the
schedule. Nearly all college games are played on Saturdays, meaning
most people have the day off from work. This allows fans to make
each game an all-day affair, with tailgate parties before and after each
contest. These parties range from the simple (a cooler full of beer and a
couple bags of chips) to the elaborate (a propane grill and a wide array
of Schnapps flavors).
At Wisconsin, fans stay in the stadium after the game is over to
watch the band's "fifth quarter" post-game show before moving on to
more tailgating. Rest assured that the "fifth quarter" show is not
strictly a victory celebration. Given Wisconsin's record over the last
few years, Badger fans must have learned to party even after defeats.
The marching bands give a unique color to college football that no
other sport can match. Many Wolverine fans enter the stadium 20
minutes before kickoff just to hear the P.A. announcer say, "Ladies
and Gentlemen, presenting the 225-member Michigan marching band.
Band, take the field."
And there's nothing like the Ohio State Buckeye band spelling out
their trademark script "Ohio." And then dotting the "i."
Now, I'm not trying to discredit other sports. Few events can
compare in terms of excitement and emotioi with the NCAA
basketball tournament. And baseball still tugs at the heartstrings
during the October Classic.
I once heard the relationship among the three sports characterized
this way: "Baseball is America's pastime. Basketball is America's
game.- Football is America's passion."
Passion does seem to aptly describe everything that goes into
making football what it is. A big part of it is the primal nature of the
game, the controlled mayhem that satiates our appetite for violence.
The objective is simple: get the ball to one end of the field and keep ~
your opponent from getting it to the other end.
It's that kind of passion that causes 100,000 people to pack into a .
stadium. It's that kind of passion that evokes religious feelings in an
It's that kind of passion that, on autumn Saturdays, makes Ann
Arbor a special place to be.
S tpebw 6,1991
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'I really think we're
committed this year
to turning it around,
Collette has come in
with a positive
- Jim Schwantz