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September 06, 1991 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-06
Note:
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Healthy
Hutch iS
Moellers
crutch
For decades, football coaches
have been screaming at their
teams about how games are won
and lost in the trenches. They also
know that championships start
with defense, particularly the
ability to stop the opponents'
running game.
These ideas in mind, Michigan
cqach Gary Moeller looks with
particular concern at his current
group of defensive linemen,
anchored by senior Mike Evans.
Evans was third on the team in
tackles last season, a difficult feat
for a lineman. His eight sacks for
42 yards tied him for the confer-
ence lead and earned him second

team all-Big Ten
honors. As a senior,
Evans feels a
responsibility to
take some of the
pressure off of the
Wolverines' young
secondary.
"The way I see
it, I'm out there to
do my job," he said,
"and once I do my
job then that will
help the defensive
secondary."
Moeller is
confident he will
have a good line.
But the key factor
in determining how
good is beyond his
control, that being
tackle Chris
Hutchinson's
recurring back
injury.
Though Hutchinson escaped
fall practice without aggravating
the injury, his status could change
at any time. .
"Hutch is always going to be a
day-to-day, minute-to-minute type
of deal," Moeller said. "It's just

Dottn &Co. outto
prove their worth

MSU
Continued from page 20
Steelers' defensive coordinator
will continue, starting with his 4-
3 stunt defense.
"It's a good scheme," Perles
said. "I think that it has had a lot
of good tests, and it's really
allowed us to move and hit the
gaps and have the different
twists. The real advantage is it
allows us to still play zone
defense. So if we do get burned, we
don't get burned for long
touchdown passes."
Leading the stunt up front
will be Johnson. At 6-foot-4, 290
pounds, the senior is a Lombardi

award candidate. Behind him will
be linebacker Chuck Bullough,
the No. 2 tackler in the Big Ten
last year with 164.
Another advantage for
Michigan State is the schedule.
The Spartans won't have to
contend with 1990 Rose Bowl
representative Iowa this season.
"I love it. Having Iowa off the
schedule is great," Perles said.
"Number one they are a good
team. Number two, I don't have
to go to the pink room. They got
that funny lockerroom painted
pink."
- Theodore Cox

r

Northwestern

tN!-

one of those things that just
happens. It's not usually caused
by contact.
"When he's healthy, I consider
him among the best defensive
linemen in the conference."
Evans and Hutchinson will
start on either side of nose tackle
Buster Stanley, who will share
playing time with redshirt frosh
Tony Henderson.
Last season, the Wolverines
were hurt by poor tackling,
particularly late in each of their
losses. In all three, they surren-
dered touchdowns on each of their
opponent's last possessions. But
Evans feels the defense has
benefitted from those mistakes.
"We don't have time to go back
and learn it again; we have to start
using everything that we learned,
all our mistakes, and go for it,"
Evans said. "I think that can be
part of the reason why the defense
can be mistake-free." 4

One year ago, the alleged
college football experts through-
out the country saw only one
weakness in the Michigan football
team: its receivers. It was a
reasonable conclusion, after the
Wolverines had just lost Chris
Calloway and Greg McMurtry to
graduation.
However, the sophomore
tandem of Desmond Howard and
Derrick Alexander more than
compensated for the losses, and is
now one of the most feared duos
in the nation.
Michigan coach Gary Moeller
hopes to see a similar pattern in
his defensive backfield this
season. Lance Dottin is the only
returning member of the second-
ary, which lost cornerback David
Key and safeties Vada Murray and
all-American Tripp Welborne.
Like the receiving corps of a
year ago, the prognosticators are
picking the secondary to be the
weak link in the Wolverines'
chain. But also like last year's
receivers, these defensive backs
show signs of being able to
surprise people.
Replacing Welborne and
Murray at strong safety and free
safety will be Otis Williams and
Corwin Brown, respectively. Both
Williams and Brown have substan-
tial game experience, each filling
in last season for the injured
Welborne and Murray.
"It always helps getting to
play," Williams said. "Now we
know how to prepare for the big
games."
Moeller remains cautiously

optimistic about his defensive
backs.
"I think our secondary will be a
little better in some ways," he
said. "The only potential weak-
ness that I can see is if somebody
makes a big mistake because of
inexperience. I think our aggres-
siveness will be as good."
Moeller finds comparisons
between last year's group and this
year's unfair.
"You're not going to replace an
athlete like Tripp Welborne just
like that," he said. "But a guy's
got to make up for it in some other
ways and other people have to
play better. Lance Dottin has got
to be a better player than he was
last year."
Dottin, a senior, led the team
last year with five interceptions.
He will play across from fellow
cornerback Dwayne Ware, who
must beat out challenger Deon
Johnson to earn a start for the
season opener against Boston
College.
Moeller mentioned David
Ritter, Pat Maloney, Tony
Blankenship, and Shonte Peoples
as other players who could merit
playing time.
While outsiders expect little
from the secondary, the players
haven't lowered their own expec-
tations.
"When we hear the things they
say about us. It just causes us to
work harder," Brown said. "We
know we've got to be more
intense this season. We're going to
play extremely hard."
4

Minnesota

942- Ai
NF

For the first time since 1987,
Northwestern returns its starting
quarterback, Len Williams.
Overall, 17 starters return. In
addition, last season,
Northwestern (1-7 in the Big Ten,
2-9 overall) dropped four of its
nine losses by 10 points or less.
All things considered, the
usually awful Wildcats might
not be that bad this year.
In his first collegiate season,
Williams became the Wildcats'
first quarterback in 17 seasons tt
throw more touchdowns than
interceptions (12-9),compiling a
120.0 passing efficiency rating,
the third best in Northwestern
history.
Williams should receive sound
protection with last year's
starting offensive line returning.
Not only did senior tackle Stan
Holsen start every game in 1990,
but he was in the lineup for every
offensive snap of the season.
However, the Wildcats have
lost key personnel at the skill
positions. Richard Buchanan,
their top receiver and kick
returner, and Bob Christian, their
top rusher, have graduated. Chip
Morris should become Williams's

Minnesota will not go to the
Rose Bowl this season. This is not
a prognostication; it's a fact.
The Golden Gophers are
serving a one-year probation
banning them from bowl
competition.
Without the usual target of a
trip to Pasadena, Minnesota must
aim to play the role of spoiler
against the other Big Ten teams, a
role which the Gophers have
played to perfection against
Michigan in recent years. While
the Wolverines have not lost to
Minnesota since 1986, they have
lost several key players (e.g.

"Sean's a vicious hitter; he's like
having an extra linebacker in
some situations, but he's capable
of playing man-to-man coverage
in others."
On the offensive side, Marquel
Fleetwood returns at
quarterback. Fleetwood held the
offense together last year with
both his running and passing
after winning the starting job
from Scott Schaffner, who also

doubles as Northwestern's
punter) will lead an experienced
defense.
"We have a number of seniors
coming back to our football team.
If you look at our team two years
ago, we were 0-11. Our defensive

Will
unit hac
entire u
certainl
fifth-yea
leadersh

new favorite target, while Eric
Dixon and Curt Zippel will
comprise the starting backfield.
The Wildcats hope defense can
be their strong point this season.
Linebacker Ed Sutter, who
averaged 14.6 tackles per game
last year to pace the Big Ten (as if
that weren't enough, Sutter

returns.
Sophomore Mark Smith
rushed for 700 yards and five
touchdowns in his rookie
campaign, behind the blocking of
returning fullback Jim King. Pat
Evans also stands out at tight end.
"All our backs are over 200
pounds and have good speed,"
Gutekunst said. "They can also
all catch the ball, which gives our
quarterback another outlet."
- Matt Rennie

'We're looking
forward to our
fifth-year seniors
to provide
leadership as well
as maturity'
- Francis Peay

A *5 Value!

Lumpkin
Michael Taylor, Tony Boles,
Tripp Welborne) to season-ending,
injuries during the annual clash
for the Little Brown Jug.
While Gopher coach John
Gutekunst will need to fill several
holes, particularly on the
offensive line, his team fields
several outstanding individuals.
Senior strong safety Sean
Lumpkin leads the way.
Lumpkin led the team with 99
tackles (67 solos) a year ago, also
intercepting four passes.
While Lumpkin leads the
secondary, the strength of the
defense is its linebacking corps,
where three of four starters
return. Senior Joel Staats is a
standout at outside linebacker,
where Russ Heath joins him.
"I'd like to see our defense pick
up where it left off at the tail end
of last season," Gutekunst said.

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