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September 11, 1992 - Image 19

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-09-11

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 11, 1992- Page 19

SMITH
Continued from page 11
touchdown glories.
In his most important game to
date, last season's Rose Bowl, Smith
scored Michigan's first points on a
7-yard touchdown grab - the first
of his career - of an overthrown
ball. The TD tied the game and kept
Wolverine hopes alive, albeit only
temporarily. Yet a moment that
would be the apex of most football
careers does not mean as much to
him as a confrontation on a Saturday
in late September.
"A lot of people ask me about the
touchdown in the Rose Bowl," he
says. "It really doesn't strike me as
being a highlight film in my memory
bank. The highlight film, I keep
telling people, is blocking like I did
last year, to let my running backs run
for as much yardage as possible;
picking up the fumble that may fall
off my running back or quarterback;
hustling when a play is downfield
and a running back or receiver needs
somebody to come help them.
"The play as far as catching the
touchdown in the Rose Bowl, any-
one could have done that, you know,
anyone could have caught the pass
(because it was up for grabs after it)
was not well thrown.
"My biggest memory is when I
came back to help Yale VanDyne
run in the Florida State game, and I
hit (all-America and Butkus Award
candidate) Marvin Jones as hard as
possible, and he came back up. That
is my biggest memory."
And while Smith recognizes the
added visibility he could gain on na-
tional TV tomorrow, he will not be
searching for the limelight. The last-
ing image ingrained in fans' heads
from last season's Notre Dame game
is an outstretched Howard floating
through the air and hauling in the
game-clinching score. But again, it

is not the touchdown that fascinates
Smith.
"The biggest point I remember
about that game is when (Howard)
came across the middle and got hit
by the all-American linebacker
(Demetrius) DuBose," Smith says.
"A lot of people will think about ...
the touchdown - he's capable of
making those plays. The greatest
play to me is when he came across
the middle and got hit by a
linebacker twice his size, because he
withstood the blow, he kept the ball
in his hands, and he also hopped up
for the next play."
DuBose will be serving the back
end of a two-game suspension to-
morrow, so Smith will not get the
chance to test his grit in the same
manner. Instead, he will focus on a
friendly competition he has with his
high school teammate Bettis, now
Notre Dame's fullback and a strong
Heisman contender. People at this
end of the Michigan-Notre Dame ri-

'I wouldn't be surprised to see Walter Smith
put a couple of guys out this year. With Walter
- if you're not mentally with it, if you're not
really ready - he'll hurt you, and hurt you '
bad.'
- Corwir Brawn
Michigan safety

valry like to envision both these
MacKenzie stars starting for the
Wolverines, but maybe Bettis wasn't
as close to coming here as fans and
coaches like to think.;
"When we were in high school,
we would talk about the Michigan-
Notre Dame game upcoming, and he
used to root for Notre Dame, and I
would root for Michigan," Smith
says. "I liked (former Wolverine1
tailback) Tony Boles and he liked
(ex-Irish quarterback) Tony Rice.
Now when we talk to each other, we

always say people back in our high
school are gonna talk about Walter
from Michigan and Jerome from
Notre Dame (like we did with Boles
and Rice).
"My goal is to go in and in any
way possible beat Notre Dame. And
I believe his goal is the same thing
(to beat us). We always talk about
me running their players over and
him running our players over, and
we would kind of laugh and say that

won't happen. But the truth of the
matter is, we'll see what's gonna oc-
cur Sept. 12 in South Bend, Indiana,
at one o'clock."
Walter Smith knows every step
he takes on the field could be the
last. Reality hit when Alexander tore
up his knee last year. One collision
with a large safety or an aggressive
linebacker, and the fat lady sings.
Yet Walter Smith runs each route
undaunted, searching out the oppo-
nent. No running out of bounds here.
"I don't ever go out looking to
get hurt; I go out looking to hurt
someone else," he says. "Each and
every play I get up, secretly I thank
God for, and give the cross sign
across my chest, and thank him that I
have the opportunity to play one
more play. And I never think about
the future, I think about each and
every play.

"But as far as getting hurt, if I
have to get hurt to beat those teams
(on our schedule) to win five
straight Big Ten championships,
then that will have to occur."
Playing tough football is just
business for Walter Smith. His ca-
reer is only beginning, and ample
confrontations await. When Walter
Smith is through with this game, he
hopes to have started a revolution.
Power receiving will be in.
"I want to make myself known
differently," he says, "to try to make
a lot of other receivers change their
style. People think a receiver is not
really a mean, tough guy, and right
now I'm gonna change the nation's
mind."

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