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September 05, 1991 - Image 59

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-05

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The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 5, 1991 - Page 5
MOELLER ENTERS SECOND SEASON WITH STRENGTH UPFRONT
Bottom line: Solid in trenches

Wolverine Jon Vaughn ran away from the Notre Dame defense last year
and then ran away from the Michigan program in the off-season.
M' offense Powers-full

by Matt Rennie
Daily Football Writer
Michigan coach Gary Moeller
and his tailback Ricky Powers have a
similar goal this season: they are
both hoping to avoid the sophomore
jinx. If each accomplishes this task,
Powers and his Wolverine team-
mates may be accompanying
Moeller to Pasadena for the winter
holidays.
Moeller starts his second season
as head coach of the Wolverines
with a share of the conference title
under his belt and an excellent corps
of returning players on both offense
and defense.
Last season, the new coach
quickly asserted that this was his
team by opening up the offense.
Moeller caught nearly everybody
off balance when he introduced a no-
huddle offense in the season opener
at Notre Dame. Although the
Wolverines lost yet another heart-
breaker to the Irish, quarterback
Elvis Grbac proved efficient enough.
with the new attack that the
Wolverines employed it effectively
throughout the season.
However, Moeller's reckless
style did not always pay dividends.
Against Michigan State, he decided
go for it on fourth-and-goal early in
the contest, only to have running
back Jon Vaughn stopped at the goal
line. The Wolverine lost, 28-27. In
the following game, against Iowa,
the rookie coach called for an ill-
fated two-point conversion attempt,
and Michigan fell again, 24-23.
Moeller did not become timid,
though, much to the appreciation of
his electrifying receiving tandem of
Derrick Alexander and Desmond
"Magic" Howard. The Wolverines
continued to showcase their high-
powered offense, closing the season
with a six-game winning streak,
which culminated in a 35-3 romp
over Ole Miss in the Gator Bowl.
Grbac enters his third season of
varsity action ranked second on the
Michigan career passing percentage
list at .597. Grbac ranks second with
a 136.8 yards per game average and is
fourth in career completions (228)
and touchdown passes (29). He set a
school record with 21 touchdown
passes in 1990, throwing 1I to high
school teammate Howard.
The strength of the Wolverine

seasons.
Injuries took their toll on the
Wolverines this spring, especially
on the defensive line, where Chris
Hutchinson missed all of spring
practice.
"Right now, I'm only pleased
with Mike Evans' play at tackle,"
Moeller said this spring. "With
Hutchinson, I think you're talking
about a guy who could be here today
and gone tomorrow."
The defensive backfield will
have a new look in 1991, as Lance
Dottin is the only returning starter.
However, late-season injuries al-
lowed Otis Williams and Corwin
Brown to get valuable playing time,
replacing three-year starters Tripp
Welborne and Vada Murray.
Special teams played a major role
for the 1990 Wolverines, and the
1991 specialty squad will have a
great deal of experience. Placekicker
J.D. Carlson returns, as do a pair of
punters, Eddie Azcona and Chris
Stapleton. Moeller hopes for more
consistency in both areas this season.
Howard will again return kicks
after finishing second in the country
in kickoff return yardage (29.5 yard
average) last year.
As always, Michigan faces a bru-
tal schedule, but some late changes
may work to the Wolverines' ad-
vantage. The Sept. 7 opener at
Boston College was originally
slotted two weeks later, but was
moved up for television purposes.
The new schedule benefits the
Wolverines in two ways: (1) it
gives them a warm-up game before
its traditional clash with Notre
Dame, and (2) it gives them a week
off before facing national power-
house Florida State.
Life does not get any easier for
Moeller and Co. when the Big Ten
season opens. Michigan begins con-
ference play with consecutive road
games against Iowa and Michigan
State, both of whom beat the
Wolverines last year.
Although the Wolverines must
overcome difficult circumstances
during the early part of the sched-
ule, if everything comes together,
their season could turn into a bed of
roses.
- Staff reports contributed to
this story.

*despite loss 4
by Matt Rennie
Daily Football Writer
There are three certainties in this
world: death, taxes, and great
Michigan tailbacks.
The Wolverines will test that
rule again this fall, when they try to
cope with the loss of last year's
starter, Jon Vaughn. Vaughn decided
to forego his final two years of eli-
gibility to enter the professional
draft. The New England Patriots
made Vaughn the first pick in the
fifth round.
Vaughn began last season in a
Heisman-like manner, rushing for
201 yards in the Wolverines' season
opener against Notre Dame and fol-
lowing that performance with a
288-yard day against UCLA. For the
season, he rushed for 1,364 yards and
scored nine touchdowns.
After suffering an ankle injury
midway through the season,
Vaughn's carries fluctuated, and his
production decreased significantly.
He regained his early season form

ofVaughn
with a 128-yard day in Michigan's
Gator Bowl victory.
Vaughn's departure came amid
rumors of disputes between him and
Michigan coach Gary Moeller.
Regardless of Vaughn's reasons
for leaving, Michigan will have to
compensate for the lost offensive
production, and the majority of that
burden should fall on the shoulders
of sophomore Ricky Powers.
Powers' playing time increased
steadily last year, and he closed the
season with four straight 100-yard
games. He set the Wolverine record
for first-year runners with 748
yards.
While Powers contributed heav-
ily as a rookie last season, another
newcomer may step to the forefront
this season. Prize recruit Tyrone
Wheatley, from Dearborn Heights
Robichaud, combines impressive
strength with track-and-field speed.
Many experts anticipate Wheatley
will see significant playing time
this season.

KENNETH SMOLLERIUaiy

Mike Evans makes Purdue quarterback Eric Hunter feel like the hunted.
in the Wolverines' game against the Boilermakers last season.

offense traditionally has been the
line, and this year should be no ex-
ception as all-American tackle Greg
Skrepenak returns with center Steve
Everitt and guards Matt Elliot and
Joe Cocozzo. Skrepenak, Everitt and
Elliot shared MVP honors with de-
parted Dean Dingman and Tom
Dohring in the Wolverines' Gator

be a good line," Moeller said this
spring. "It has the potential to be as
good as last year. We've just got to
get some enthusiasm and. things like
that."
Erick Anderson, an all-American
candidate at inside linebacker, leads
the Michigan defense. Anderson
recorded 112 tackles in 1990 to be-
come the first Wolverine to lead the
team in tackles for three straight

Bowl victory.
"If everyone's

healthy, it should

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