Morrison fills Anderson's void
When John Mackovic left
Illinois last season, he took with
him an offensive philosophy
which allowed the Illini to control
the ball through the air. The
Illini's effective possession passing
game meant throwing as often as
the team ran.
Under new coach Lou Tepper,
the Illini are going to turn to the
ground more often. Tepper's
featured back should be senior
Steve Feagin. The Illini also will
look for contributions from
sophomore Kevin Jackson and
freshman Chris Moore.
"Steve Feagin without a doubt
is one of the best backs in the Big
Ten," quarterback Jason Verduzco
said. "The more he carries the
ball, the better he gets. He's a
great runner and he runs smart.
He has improved so much."
Verduzco is in full support of
the new philosophy. In his two
years as starter, he has been called
upon to lead the offense through
the air. Last season, Verduzco led
the conference in passing yards
(2,825) and was fourth in the
league in passing efficiency.
However, the Illini have only gone
14-10 in that time.
"A good running game will
benefit the offense in all ways,"
Verduzco said. "It should make
our passing game better. I'd rather
win than throw the ball more."
Facilitating the running game
are three returning starters on the
offensive line - left tackle Brad
Hopkins, left guard James Pesek
and center Greg Engel.
The results of this added
emphasis on the running game
have not yet been seen. In the
spring game, the Illini threw more
than they had under Mackovic,
and in the season opener against
Northern Illinois, Verduzco threw
for three touchdown passes.
'To win in this league you
have to run," Tepper said. "We
still will throw the ball, but we're
going to rely much more on our
running game than in the past."
Don't expect many changes
from the Illini defense. Tepper
was the defensive coordinator
before taking over prior to the
John Hancock Bowl loss to UCLA.
The Illinois defense will once
again be led by sophomore
linebacker Dana Howard. In his
rookie season, Howard made his
mark on the Big Ten as well as the
country, making 134 tackles on his
way to a second-team all-Big Ten
- Josh Dubow
Illinois quarterback Jason Verduzco led the Big Ten in
passing yards last season.
A MICHIGAN TRADITION SINCE 1915
,reat quarterbacks at Iowa is becoming a tradition
:h like USC's tailbacks and Michigan's offensive
Chuck Long left and was replaced by Mark
ic, who was in turn replaced by Chuck Hartlieb,
handed over the reigns to Matt Rodgers.
row that Rodgers has graduated, coach Hayden
has to turn to Chuck Hartleib's younger brother,
Hartlieb started for an injured Rodgers against
ana and Northwestern. In those contests he
w for 369 yards and three touchdowns.
We are faced with finding replacements for some
tanding football players again this season," Fry
"We did a great job of solving that problem last
I hope we are as fortunate again..
Phe Hawkeyes have not been that fortunate in
first two games. In the Kickoff Classic, Iowa lost
orth Carolina State, 24-14, and last weekend
ni (Fla.) knocked off the Hawkeyes, 24-7.
'he schedule does not let up much for Iowa
h hosts Iowa State this weekend, then travels to
rado and Michigan in successive weeks.
'he Hawkeyes also need to replace 1,000-yard
er Mike Saunders, who caught 28 passes and
ed 13 touchdowns last season. The Hawkeyes
need more production from fullback Lew
owa has two all-American candidates in wide
iver Danan Hughes and center Mike Devlin.
pite having one of the Big Ten's top offensive
s, Fry is worried about his offense.
The strength of the offense is a line that features
e experienced, quality football players," Fry said.
t we need to fill the quarterback and running
See IOWA, Page 2.
of last Indiana. Hopefully he can
lted from a continue in that direction. He had
under the a great spring and continued to
is looking throw and run the ball well."
in his The Boilermakers had a very
young offense last season, which
sp a new Hunter felt contributed to the
"We were team's problems. However, he
ge and that hopes the experience they gained
king last season will show in the team's
season and success this year.
t times last The improvement of the
have fun running game was the biggest
ack." positive under Colletto. The
deal from Boilermakers went from averaging
He had a 55.6 yards per game to 177.7 last
against season. Much of the reason for
that was the play of Jeff Hill and
"We are extremely deep at
running back," Colletto said.
"We've got seven or eight guys
capable of playing. But we're still
looking to improve our running
The Boilermakers also
improved defensively under
Colletto. The biggest strength lies
in the hands of senior nose guard
Jeff Zgonina and junior
cornerback Jimmy Young.
Led by Young's six
interceptions, the Boilermakers
went from a minus-39 total in
turnover margin the two years
before Colleto's arrival to a plus-3
- Josh Dubow
Michigan's linebacking corps has been
depleted by graduation. Butkus Award
winner Erick Anderson and his team-
leading 130 tackles have left Ann Arbor
along with fellow starters Brian Townsend
and Neil Simpson.
"We're really going to miss (Erick)
Anderson. Besides for his play, we'll miss
his experience," Michigan.coach Gary
Moeller said. "You can never replace
The people who will try to replace
Anderson at inside linebacker are sopho-
mores Steve Morrison, Marcus Walker and
Nate Holdren and junior Dave Dobreff.
Walker and Morrison were fifth and
sixth, respectively, on the team in tackles
last season. Morrison recorded 61 tackles in
eight games and also led the team with four
interceptions. Walker made 62 tackles,
including a career-high 15 against Purdue.
Neither Dobreff nor Holdren has seen
extensive playing time at Michigan. Dobreff
played briefly in 1990 but was injured most
of last season and only saw action as a
special teams player. Holdren appeared in
11 games, making 25 tackles.
While this year's inside linebackers have
experience, Moeller feels they still will miss
"Morrison, Walker and Holdren are
f ' J
obviously not fifth-year seniors. That's what
we'll miss most about Erick," Moeller said.
The projected starters on the outside are
senior Martin Davis and sophomore Matt
Dyson. Davis who tied for the team lead in
sacks with eight his sophomore year,
slumped last season and eventually lost his
starting job. Davis will need to rebound this
season, especially with Michigan's new
focus on outside speed rushing.
Dyson came back from an injury-plagued
first two seasons to start the final two games
last season. He is adept at dropping back
into pass coverage.
Bill Steuk, Greg McThomas and Shawn
Collins will serve as backups. This is the
most inexperienced part of Michigan's
team. Steuk saw limited action last season,
McThomas is a converted fullback and
Collins is a true freshman. However, he has
received rave reviews from his teammates.
"Shawn Collins has been running around
all over the field," defensive co-captain
Chris Hutchinson said. "You can see he has
all the tools to be a great player, but he
needs to work on his technique. He should
be able to contribute this season."
Because of the inexperience of the
reserves, the Wolverines can ill afford any
injuries at linebacker.
- Josh Dubow
Senior outside linebacker Martin Davis is looking to rebound fror
season. The Wolverines will need Davis' production because the
outside linebackers on the roster.
The Choice for
Purdue's first season under
coach Jim Colletto was a
tumultuous one, to say the least.
Colletto placed much of the blame
for his team's 4-7 season on
highly-regarded quarterback Eric
Hunter. Hunter was the eighth-
rated passer in the conference and
only threw for seven touchdowns.
"The quarterback sometimes
gets too much credit and
sometimes too much criticism. It's
a tough job," Colletto said. "Eric
needs to make the big plays. He's
capable of it. The success of the
team has to do with the guy under
Hunter feels much
season's problems resu
change in the offense u
new coaching staff. He
forward to rebounding
"It was tough to gra
system," Hunter said.
not all on the same pag
was a problem. I'm loo
forward to playing this
having fun. I had fun a
season, but it's hard to
when you're on your b:
"We expect a great
Eric," Colletto said. "-
tremendous last game<
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