Friday, September 10, 1993
ICE CREAM I RTTqC
net Bowl at the end of the year.
Collins also highlighted the
schedule, and its visit to State
College, as a potential stumbling
block for Michigan.
"I think we have a tough sched-
ule, maybe one of the toughest
schedules out, especially with
Penn State in the conference,"
Collins said. "So I think it's going
to take a real good effort to come
forward and win the champion-
"(It's the fundamentals) where
they get lost a little bit," Moeller
said. "Until they get those tech-
niques down ... two or three
inches (from proper position) can
really make a big difference. And
that's what we lack (the ability to
follow properform). The efficiency
level isn't real high right now."
Saturday, the line's inexperi-
ence showed. Collins hit the turf
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'Michigan has won the Big Ten for five years
straight, and I really think it's time to move on.
We've emphasized the national championship
this year, more so than in previous years ...
when you have the personnel we have, you
have to go for it all. We want the ring, we want
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ship this year."
Of course, even a "real good
effort" is difficult without a
healthy team, and that's stum-
bling block No. 2: injuries.
Already, Michigan has suf-
fered through a rash of them.
Starting tailback Tyrone
Wheatley, MVP of last season's
Rose Bowl victory, missed time
at the end of summer practice
with a knee injury. Starting out-
side linebacker Matt Dyson has
gone from one injury to another,
starting with a groin-pull in the
spring and now recovering from
a knee-cap bruise. Morrison has
just returned from a foot injury.
And in the most surprising de-
velopment of August, Greg
McThomas, an inside linebacker
who started the Rose Bowl, quit
the team out of frustration with
his continuing injuries.
The number of injured play-
ers usually increases as the sea-
son progresses. Injuries at some
positions may nothave thatmuch
of an impact, as Michigan is deep
in many areas, including such
skill positions as tailback and
wide receiver. But injuries in oth-
ers could have a profound effect
on the team, forcing players to
play unfamiliar positions or caus-
ing Wolverine coach Gary Moeller
to play inexperienced players.
Which brings us to stumbling
block No. 3: youth.
It's a fact: young, inexperi-
enced players at key positions
are not able to produce as consis-
tently as experienced ones are.
Without the time to learn the
position and its techniques, or to
gel with other players in their
unit, such inconsistency from the
players is inevitable. This is par-
ticularly true of linemen. Play-.
ing the line is less an individual
effort than it is an act of unity.
This is an issue this year be-
cause Michigan has only one re-
turning, starter, Iet_ tackle
Trezelle Jenkins, on the offen-
often after throwing, and the run-
ners were forced to turn the cor-
ner and run wide, instead of
charging through the gaping
holes that typified last year's
blocking. Of course, as the sea-
son progresses, the players will
get more experience, and their
play will become more cohesive,
and fundamentally-sound. Start-
ing center Marc Milia stated con-
fidence in this improvement.
"Even through this offensive
line is a question-mark (now),"
Milia said before the game with
the Cougars, "I can guarantee
you that it won't be at the end of
the season. It's not a rebuilding
process: it's just a continuation of
a great offensive line, and con-
tinuing to carry-on the tradition
we had in the past."
The final obstacle Michigan
will have to overcome is not one
from within itself, but from the
opposition. Many hold the notion
that the conference is particu-
larly out to get the Wolverines
this year, and would be glad to
see anybody elseinthe Rose Bowl.
"When you're on top for so
long, everybody concentrates on
you and wants to take their best
shot at you and knock you off,"
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Wideout Derrick Alexander hopes to blow by his opposition again in 1993. The fifth-yea
receptions with 50 and receiving yards with 740.
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Dyson said. "But that's something
thatMichigan's always faced, and
always will face. That's just tra-
"I guess people are tired of
seeing Michigan win the champi-
onship," receiver Derrick
Alexander said. "Of course, no
one here wants to stop the streak,
but it has to happen sometime.
Hopefully, it won't be this year."
Beyond continuing the streak
of conference championships, the
Wolverines hold a higher goal:
the national title. Michigan last
won the national crown in 1948,
and many players have expressed
a desire to return to the top.
And indeed, Michigan's title
hopes improved last Saturday,
as its victory over the Cougars
elevated it to No. 2 in the USA
Today/CNN coaches' poll. The
Wolverines had been No. 3, be-'
hind No. 1 Florida State and No.
2 Alabama. The Crimson Tide,
which was mundane in beating
Tulane, 31-17, slipped to third.
"You always talk about the
Big Ten championship, the Big
Ten championship - well, we've
been winning the Big Ten cham-
pionship, but we've never actu-
ally taken a step above that,"
Alexander said. "We want to win
the national championship, and
I think it's a very achievable goal."
"It's always in the back of your
mind," tailback Ricky Powers,
who is co-captain with defensive
tackle Buster Stanley, said. "You
want to win it all."
Cornerback Alfie Burch
seemed to sum up the team's feel-
ings toward the national title.
"Michigan has won the Big
Ten for five years straight, and I
really think it's time to move on,"
he said. "We've emphasized the
national championship this year,
more so than in previous years ...
when you have the personnel we
have, you have to go for it all. We
want the ring, we want the dia-
"I mean, Miami, they don't go
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