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September 12, 1991 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-12

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

at Rice-Baden Showcase Tournament
Tomorrow and Saturday
The Michigan Daily
Wheatley runs faster
than'speeding bullet


Women's Soccer
vs. Siena Heights
Today, 4:30 p.m.
Minhl Fiil

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tvicheIu r

Thursday, September 12, 1991

Page 10 :

Knee injury ends
Alexander's season,


by Matt Rennie
Waily Football Writer
. One month ago, Michigan foot-
ball coach Gary Moeller wouldn't
even address the notion of running
back Tyrone Wheatley playing this
"I don't like to talk about
Ashmen," Moeller said, "because
most of them aren't good enough to
play anyway."
*"Followers of Michigan high
school football figured Moeller
tbuld not have been including
Wheatley in that statement.
Wheatley was clearly not "most
freshmen." In his high school days,
be was known simply as,
VSuperman," zand why not?
- Superman scored 67 touchdowns
in his high school career. His 253
points last season were the second
highest total in Michigan prep his-

Superman won state track titles
in three events his final season, after
doing it in four events the previous
Superman played eight different
positions in leading Dearborn
Heights Robichaud to the Class B
state championship his senior year.
In the state championship game,
Superman rushed for 168 yards and
one touchdown. And made 11 tack-
les. And kicked three extra points.
Sorry, Coach, but Superman is
not "most freshmen."
Wheatley proved this point,
quickly, skyrocketing up the depth
charts to claim the No. 2 spot be-
hind Ricky Powers. Moeller real-
ized that he had an exceptional tal-

ent on his hands.
"He's learning the system pretty
well," Moeller said. "He's going to
play. I don't want to go through the
season with only one tailback."
In his collegiate debut last
Saturday against Boston College,
Wheatley carried the ball eight
times for 37 yards. That he received
significant playing time while the
game was still close is a testimony
to Moeller's trust in him.
"I don't want to jinx the kid or
anything," Moeller said, "but I'm
confident that when we're going to
give him the ball, he's not going to
drop it."
Although most anticipated
Wheatley would see action this sea-
son, his fast progress has surprised
nearly everybody, including
"I didn't know if there'd be a
spot for me right away or not," said
Wheatley, 19. "My goal was just to
work as hard as I possibly could."
Michigan's lack of returning
depth at tailback greatly benefitted
the first-year tailback. As a rookie
in 1990, Powers had to outplay vet-
eran Allen Jefferson for the backup
role to Jon Vaughn. This year, the
second-string slot was there for
Wheatley to take, which meant
more carries for him in pre-season
"He's farther along than Ricky
was at this' point last year,"
Moeller said. "He's just had more
carries. This year, we need someone
else back there who can carry the
Wheatley said that Powers, who
only a year ago was a rookie tail-
back, helped him adjust to the rigors
college football.
"He tells me about how he felt
last year," Wheatley said. "If I
mess up a play, he helps me deal
with it because he made some of the
same mistakes last season. And be-
cause he's young, I can relate to him
a little better than some of the
older players. .
During high school, Wheatley
wasn't even sure that he wanted to
play football. Nevertheless, he at-

by Matt Rennie
Daily Football Writer
Michigan's depth at the wide re-
ceiver position will be severely
tested because the Wolverines will
have to play without starter Derrick
Alexander for the remainder of the
Alexander suffered a knee injury
in Michigan's 35-13 victory at
Boston College. He underwent
arthroscopic surgery Tuesday.
The injury occurred after Boston
College had kicked a field goal to
close the gap to 14-13. Alexander
received the ensuing kickoff on the
Wolverine 15-yard line and returned
it to the 30, when an Eagle defender
grabbed Alexander's left knee and
spun him to the ground.
After the Boston College game,
Alexander told reporter that he
would be able to play Saturday
against Notre Dame. However, fur--
ther examinations revealed -the
greater extent of the injury.
Alexander made three catches
for 59 yards and returned three
kickoffs for 56 yards in the season
"We felt Alexander was coming
into his own as a great player,"
Wolverine coach Gary Moeller said.
"He means a lot to this team."
Alexander was Michigan's sec-
ond leading receiver in 1990 with 31
catches for 450 yards and six touch-
downs. A talented leaper with
tremendous speed, he was selected
by The Sporting News as one of the

top first-year receivers in the nation;
in 1989.
This season, the junior fron4
Detroit Benedictine High Schooj
was expected to benefit from thy,
double coverage fellow receivei
Desmond Howard will often be re{
ceiving from opponents. Senior Yaleg
VanDyne, the Wolverines' usuat;
third receiver, will likely start irl
Alexander's absence.
Moeller tried to remain opti-
mistic about how the team woulk
react to the injury, listing several
players the Wolverines could po-v
tentially use in three-receiver situa-j
"As in any case with an injury:
someone will have to step up and
take his place," Moeller said.
"VanDyne will probably start in
his place against Notre Dame, bub
we have a few others like (John)
Ellison, (Walter) Smith and frosh
Felman Malveaux who can handlel
the position."
Of the three players Moeller'
mentioned besides VanDyne, only,
the senior Ellison has seen game ac-"
tion, but he has yet to catch a pass of
Michigan. Smith was redshirted ifr
his first season a year ago, after
posting impressive numbers at
Detroit Mackenzie High School.
Malveaux, a true frosh, was highl -
touted recruit out of Beaumont,
Texas, with 4.4 speed in the 40-yard

Michigan wide receiver Derrick Alexander underwent knee surgery
yesterday and will miss the remainder of the season.

tended Michigan's football summer
camp, where he met Moeller, then
an assistant to former Wolverine
coach Bo Schembechler.
Moeller could not ignore
Wheatley's athletic ability, and he
tried to convince the youngster to
keep playing football. When it came
time for Wheatley to choose from
the myriad of colleges recruiting
him, he remembered his days at
summer camp.
"I had always been a Michigan
State fan in high school," Wheatley
said. "The main reason I came here is
because I felt a personally close re-
lationship with coach Moeller.
Plus, I could feel a sense of pride at
Michigan, like I'd had in high

Wheatley has toyed with the idea
of continuing his track career at
Michigan, and he has even enter-
tained notions of competing in the
1992 Olympics. However, that will
have to wait because Wheatley
doesn't think he can find time in his
hectic schedule.
Although Wheatley has made a
smooth transition to college on the
field, he said he has experienced typ-
ical first-year problems. He lists
"time management" as one of his
biggest difficulties in trying to jug-
gle football and academics. After
all, the first year of college is
Even for Superman.

Oklahoma hone
The Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame
welcomed five new inductees
Tuesday, led by former Detroit Lion
Steve Owens.
Also inducted were football
great Tommy McDonald and golfer
Susie Maxwell Berning. Paul and
Lloyd Waner, known as "Big
Poison" and "Little Poison" during
their Hall of Fame baseball careers,
were to be inducted posthumously
during a ceremony Tuesday night.
"I've always been very proud of
the fact I'm from the state of
Oklahoma," Owens, the 1969
Heisman Trophy winner at
Oklahoma, said at an afternoon news

ors former Lion
"I think when you're honored by
your people at home, it's really ex
tra special for you. This is right up,
there with all the awards I've ever_ 9V
He's won plenty. Owens was the
state's high school player of thq
year in 1965. He was a consensus
college All-American in 1968 andt
1969, was a three-time All-Big
Eight pick and was named an All,;
Pro with the Detroit Lions.
He still holds several Oklahoma
records, including points scored in A.
season and a career and most carries
in a game.


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2 2 Q

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