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December 09, 1991 - Image 11

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

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The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - December 9, 1991 - Page 3


For the title?
promises to be a classic

Michigan outside linebacker Brian Townsend patiently waits during a commercial break with Channel
Townsend normally works as a sports intern at the Detroit ABC affiliate, but this evening he was a g
Manking big

by Theodore Cox
Daily Football Writer
Television interns are always in
the background doing the grunt
work -- typically assigned to the
task of sorting through hours
worth of video. But ABC-affiliate
WXYZ intern Brian Townsend has
done more than behind-the-scenes
Before going to the station on
the Sunday following the
Michigan-Ohio State game,
Townsend was called and told to
wear something nice; he was going
to be a guest on the Sports Update
show later that night.
You see, Townsend had been an
integral part of his other interest
- Michigan football. The senior
outside linebacker had just
completed his best game, including
10 tackles, three for a loss, in a 31-3
victory over Ohio State.
This season has stunned not
only Townsend, but everyone
surrounding him - from Michigan
coach Gary Moeller to his producer
Pat McLaughlin.
"Townsend's surprised me a
lot, and I don't mean that in a
negative way," Moeller said. "He
plays with so much more
confidence, flying around, and he's
so much more at ease. I'm very,
very pleasantly surprised with his
performance. You start the season,
and he isn't even your starter, and
now he is playing the best at that
But Townsend has come even
further than from just the bench.

Townsend stars on
both sides of came

After spring practice ended, he was
on the verge of quitting the team
"I was totally unhappy with
spring ball," Townsend said. "It
seemed like other guys were a
little bit ahead of me and I
couldn't understand what I was
doing wrong."
Townsend had played in all 12
games the previous season, but he
had started only twice in his
Michigan career. In addition, his
stock only seemed to be dropping.
He was listed as third on the
preseason depth chart.
Townsend went to talk with
Moeller about the status of the
next season. Moeller told him that
others were being pushed ahead of
him in hopes of motivating him.
And then Moeller made an
ultimatum: "Brian, if you are
thinking about coming back as a
senior and you're not sure what you
want to do, I don't want you back.
You've got to have upperclassmen
for leadership. You've got to
really be into this thing."
Moeller gave him two weeks to
reach a decision.
Townsend talked it over with
his parents and friends, but it was
his brothers (all four played
college sports themselves) who
told him he was giving up to easily.

They said he should go back
start critiquing himself. S
Townsend went back and l
over the game film, only t
discover he could play bet
went back to Moeller to t
he was staying.
"I want you to be sure
decision," Moeller said to
"Well, at least I know
willing to give it a shot,"
Townsend responded.
And it would have to b
shot. Most of the veteran1
knew Townsend was wav
about coming back, so he N
prove that he wasn't abou
halfway through the year.
The first order of busin
changing his summer rout
the past, he had taken a mo
job. However, as a result, h
often too tired to properly
out in the evening.
This summer, he revers
schedule so he was lifting
The change paid off; he can
the season in the best shap
But while he was maki
commitment to football, h
knew he needed to commi
something more importan
career. His chosen field w
television production. An
graduation approaching in

7 Sports Update host Dave LewAllen.
December, he knew he had a lot of
work ahead of him, because in
television, one isn't hired until he
or she has had plenty of experience
ra - which meant he needed an unpaid
k and Like every student, he called up
o McLaughlin, saying his name was
ooked Brian Townsend, he went to the
o University of Michigan and was
ter. He interested in an internship. After
ell him the usual questions on experience,
McLaughlin finally tried to
of this confirm a hunch he had, "You
him. happen to be No. 45."
I'm "I knew from right then that
he was going to be a good kid
because he didn't call up and say,
e his best I'm the linebacker that plays for
players Michigan, and I want to be an
ering intern,"' McLaughlin said. "He's
ad to been very modest. He was quiet and
t to quit didn't become one of the guys right
away and just knew his position.
iess was Obviously, he grew into it and got
ine. In more comfortable and now we all
)rning swear at each other and that kind of
he was stuff."
y work Townsend became comfortable
with the staff at Channel 7 well
;ed his before he became a success on the
first. field. Working twice a week, he
me into regularly made the hour commute
e of his to Southfield. He was willing to
do everything asked of him, and
ng this says he often went beyond what
he also was expected of him.
t to The best example happened
t - a when Townsend helped cover the
as Pistons-Bulls NBA Championship
id with series. He was assigned to help out
See TOWNSEND, Page 4

by Phil Green
Daily Football Writer
It's been years since the Rose
Bowl figured seriously into the na-
tional championship. Twelve sea-
sons to be exact.
Since then, however, the Pac-10
and Big Ten have enjoyed their clas-
sic rivalry in relative anonymity.
"The granddaddy of them all," has
been surpassed by its younger, less
traditional counterparts.
The Orange, Sugar, and Fiesta
Bowls have all produced America's
No. 1 team in recent seasons. Last
year, even the Citrus Bowl's victor,
Georgia Tech, earned a share of the
But this season, the Rose Bowl
will figure into the polls' final
outcomes. And it could feasibly
produce the national champion -
even if Michigan wins.
The undefeated Washington
Huskies have a much easier road to
No. 1 than do the Wolverines.
Ranked second, the Huskies would
be the clear choice for the champi-
onship if a Rose Bowl triumph ac-
companied a loss by No. 1 Miami in
the Orange Bowl.
Washington could jump the
Hurricanes even if Miami beats Ne-
braska. In a Tacoma News Tribune-
Miami Herald survey of all 60 AP
voters, 15 people said they would
definitely vote for Washington and
7 Miami. Thirty-seven remained un-
sure, saying they'd have to see the
games to decide.
"It would depend on how they
won," said the Tampa Tribune's
David Alfonso. "I currently have
Miami ranked No. 1. But if they
both won, it would depend on who
was more impressive in winning."
This only accounts for 59 votes;
the remaining vote has its own spe-
cial twist.
"If Miami and Washington both
win, I'd have to split the vote," said
Jack Moss, from the Kalamazoo
Gazette. "If they're undefeated,
they both deserve the recognition."
One important figure in the de-
bate agrees with Moss - Washing-
ton coach Don James.
"I've said all along that if we
both go 12-0, I'd love to see the
writers go for one and the coaches
go for another and let both teams
win," said James, Michigan's defen-

sive coordinator from 1966-67.
While Washington stands a
pretty good chance of becoming No.
1 with a victory in Pasadena, the
Wolverines' possibility of taking
the title needs some help.
Even with a sound thrashing of
the Huskies, Michigan does not
stand a chance of becoming No. .1
without a Miami loss. The Wolver-
ines will get at least one top vote,
though. Jeff Wohler, sports editor
of the Portland Oregonian, will put
the Rose Bowl winner in the na-
tion's top spot.
If Michigan wins and Nebraska
upsets the Hurricanes, the Wolver-
ines' chances become very realistic.
In the News Tribune-Herald poll,
22 voters said they'd vote for
Michigan, while 22 also said they'd
vote for No. 3 Florida (providing
the Gators defeat Notre Dame), and
16 stand undecided.
Jack Ebling, from the Lansing
State Journal, is one of those re-
maining unsure.
"Do you look at right now,.or
through the season?" Ebling asked.
"If you look at it throughout the
season you can't take a 20-point loss
on your home turf and throw that
"Michigan would need to beat
Washington, and they'd need a dom-
inating performance."
To the Wolverines' advantage,
Washington could be a little preoc-
cupied with the national title and
"All they've been saying is they
are going to meet Miami halfway,"
Michigan tackle Greg Skrepenak
said. "They've still got to play
Michigan and be ready for us."
Even with the possible distrac-
tion, the Huskies certainly won't
roll over for the Wolverines.
"They've got some good momen-
tum going in at 11-0. They've come
off some big wins. They are an ex-
cellent football team," Michigan
coach Gary Moeller said. "They are,
strong up front on both sides of the
The Huskies, led by defensive,
tackle Steve Emtman, are especially
strong on defense. They rank second
in the nation, giving up 237.1 yards
per game. Against the run, they're
See TITLE, Page 5

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