Friday, September 10, 1993
Wolverines' defensive ship
Losing a two-time All-Ameri-
can defensive tackle might cripple
an average defensive line. How-
ever, despite losing Chris
Hutchinson, a Wolverine with a
list of honors and achievements
the length of his arm, Michigan's
current front three are not hurt-
ing in the least. They are primed
to help lead the defense as well as
the team, and they have the ex-
perience to do so.
The trio of Buster Stanley,
Ninef Aghakhan and Tony
Henderson started a combined
27 games last season.
Stanley, a fifth-year senior
with the added title of co-cap-
tain, has played both tackle posi-
tions and nose guard during his
Michigan tenure. Moving back to
left tackle he understands his
unit's function - stopping the
run and putting pressure on the
"Our defensive line is great,"
Stanley said. "I think we're going
to lead the team ... through the
early games. We'vebeen together
a long time. We can help the
offense by getting three (downs)
and out, and getting them out on
the field. Third down is money
down. When it's third down, we
have to stop them."
Henderson, a senior with jun-
ior eligibility, will add to his 17
consecutive games played streak
starting at nose tackle. His work
in 12 starts last season earned
him All-BigTen second team sta-
While Aghakhan has the least
starts (10) of the three, he has
seen extensive action over the
last three seasons. Like Stanley,
he can play any of the down line
positions; Moeller currently has
him settled at the right tackle.
With Gannon Dudlar at least
temporarily moved to the outside
linebacker position, senior Steve
Rekowski is the top reserve line-
man. Sophomores Jason Horn
and Trent Zenkewicz also
backup the nose tackle and other
- Andy De Korte
Defensive captain Buster Stanley (60) looks to fill the void left by the graduation
of Chris Hutchinson from the line.
For the Wolverines, the
linebacking story is "A Tale of
Inside linebacker is loaded
with talent, even after predicted
starter Greg McThomas quit the
team, as two starters and four
letterwinners return. But outside
linebacker is already stretched
thin, and the season, with its
usual assortment of injuries, has
First, the inside. Redshirtjun-
iors Marcus Walker and Bobby
Powers solidify the left inside
position (which also features
redshirt freshmen Michael
Mangan and Julian Norment),
and senior Steve Morrison and
redshirt junior Dave Dobreff
provide strength at the right slot.
Redshirt freshman Jarrett
Irons will see action at the left
position and classmate Mike
beckon Blue 'backers?
Vanderbeek backs up the right
However, only three players
fill the outside linebacking posi-
tions: redshirt junior and Butkus
Award-candidate Matt Dyson,
sophomore Shawn Collins and
redshirt freshman Stephen
And Dyson is still recovering
from a knee injury which forced
him to sit out the Wolverines'
opener against Washington
The graduation of OLB Mar-
tin Davis has left Dyson as the
only returning starter, though
Collins saw considerable playing
time last year. This concerns out-
side linebacker coach Bobby
"It's a tough situation," Coach
Morrison said. "We're bringing
yong Po mvs anno' and we a'
Butkus Award-candidate Matt Dyson will be a critical member of the
Wolverines' linebacking corps in 1993.
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afford to get anybody hurt."
The inside unit also has an
injury situation, as Morrison is
still recovering from a toe injury.
Despite starting against the Cou-
gars, the Wolverine coaching staff
is being very careful with
Morrison, another Butkus Award
"I think that we'll just shift
people around like we did the
past couple of years with those
injuries," Coach Morrison said.
Theshifting has already be-
gun, as defensive tackle Gannon
Dudlar has moved over to out-
Coach Morrison said that
freshmen Trevor Pryce, J.J.
Brown and Mike Elston are
working out with the outside line-
backers. Pryce, rated by the
Sporting News as the top defen-
sive lineman in the country com-
ing out of high school, left his
mark in his very first game, caus-
ing Washington State quarter-
back Mike Pattinson to fumble
the ball late in the game.
"We've always had a lot of
injuries - somebody gets hurt,
somebody has to step up and play
a little bit better, and the guys
who are in there have to play a
little bitharder," CoachMorrison
said. "There are no excuses."
- Adam Miller
wliere he was an all-everything
three-sport athlete, playing foot-
ball and basketball and running
track at Robichaud High in
Dearborn Heights, Mich.
"He was the best athlete I've
ever coached in 30 years of high
school football," remembers his
coach at Robichaud, Robert
Yauck remembers when
Wheatley, afreshman on thevar-
sity, was first given the football.
He ran 75 yards for a touch-
He remembers another game
'My chances for
winning the Heisman
are 1in a 100 ... solI'm
not really setting my
sights on playing for
the Heisman. If this
team wins, and I'm an
integral part of the
winning, I'm happy.'
- Tyrone Wheatley
in Wheatley's senior year, when
he scored six touchdowns and
totalled over 300 yards.
"He did that in about two and
a half quarters," Yauck said.
Taking this all into consider-
ation, it would not be surprising
to learn that, on occasion,
Wheatley puts his pants on two
legs at a time.
2.) An unceasing drive to suc-
ceed. He says he has not had a
break from sports since the be-
ginning of high school.
A school year of football, bas-
ketball and track at Robichaud
was followed each summer with
countless sports camps in the
Football has taken over now,
and it has consumed him.
"His work ethic is tremendous.
He works hard in practice, he
really does," says his running
back coach, Fred Jackson. "He's
aguy who goes his hardest work-
ing on each technique. He's al-
ways all eyes, all ears, trying to
learn what he can."
Wheatley says that while the
reason he is so driven has always
been clear to him, a sermon in a
chapel service before last week's
Washington State game finally
put his motivation into words for
"The man giving us the ser-
mon said, 'With privilege comes
responsibility,'" he said. "I was
looking for something for all my
years of playing sports, for some-
thing to sum up why I don't take
the summer off.
"God gave me the ability,
which I think is a privilege. And
as the man said, 'with privilege
comes responsibility.' He couldn't
have put it better any other way.
practice or that I wanted to be
elsewhere, I'd be selling myself
short, because this is what I want
to do, and I have to take care of
the responsibility of getting my-
self to where I want to go."
And exploring the heights of
his immense potential is his des-
tination. With a prize as alluring
as the Heisman Trophy await-
ing, one might understand, per-
haps expect Wheatley to have
spent his summer focusing on
ball-carrying or pass-receiving.
Instead, in addition to going
to classes and working for Pepsi,
Wheatley decided with his
coaches to work on his blocking
skills. The result?
"He probably this year became
a better blocker than any of our
six backs that we use," said his
running back coach Fred Jack-
What incentive was there for
him to work on his blocking? Af-
ter all, it is not his potential as a
blocker that has NFL scouts
drooling over Wheatley.
He couldn't do it well - that
was all he needed to know.
"If it's a passing play and the
coaches pull me out, that means
he doesn't have the confidence in
me," he said. "I want to be a well-
These would also include the
stories of how he broke every
school rushing record and ahand-
ful of kicking records as well.
Each of his 67 touchdowns and
4,257 yards that he recorded in
his high school career would be
His seven track and field titles
would be included, too. At the
Class B level, he won two each at
100 meters, the 110-meter
hurdles and the long jump to go
with one 200-meter title.
And then the next stories
would include his adventures on
the collegiate gridirons. These
editions would be keepers, for
They would chronicle assault
on the Michigan record books.
Undoubtedly, this would require
There was the 99-yard kickoff
against Houston, tying him for
the longest in Michigan history.
His career yards per rush, 7.06,
is also the best by a Michigan
And of course the issue about
the 1993 Rose Bowl, to this point
Wheatley's crowning achieve-
ment, would be a huge seller.
Fighting back spasms and a
numbed right leg, Wheatley
smoked Washington for 235 yards
on 15 carries and three touch-
downs before the injuries claimed
him in the fourth quarter. His
thrilling 88-yard touchdown run
was the longest in Rose Bowl
Earning MVP honors in the
38-31 victory, Wheatley delivered
quite possibly the finest Rose
Bowl performance ever.
So he is aman ofathletichero-
ics. The strong, silent type. While
others are given to talking trash
and other unsportsmanlike at-
tempts at intimidation, Wheatley
isn't. It wouldn't be right. He has
his own method of establishing
dominance on the field.
"Hitting is the real pleasure;
just to jack a person," he said.
"You come around the corner,
just hit him and keep running
like he's not even there, espe-
cially when you have one of those
little mouth-offDBs who's always
constantly running off at the
mouth or one of those guys who
likes to get you when your down.
It's your turn to pay 'em back."
So he will be a menacing force
on the field.
Buthe will also be modest and
self-effacing when not in uniform,
giving credit to his teammates
and not getting caught up in the
This ability has allowed
Wheatley and his fellow
tailbacks, senior captain Ricky
Powers, senior JesseJohnson and
junior Ed Davis to co-exist hap-
pily, even though each possesses
remarkable talent and would
likely start for every other Big
SLOW PITCH SOFTBALL
Following a Rose Bowl MVP-performance, Wheat
nationally as a Heisman Trophy candidate.
And because the Heisman is
determined by forces beyond his
control, Wheatley refuses to ad-
mit that he wants to win.
"My chances for winning the
Heisman are 1 in a 100.I could go
outthere and have an outrageous
game, just go out there and tear
thefield up, butto others, it might
not be impressive. So I'm not re-
ally setting my sights on playing
for the Heisman. If this team
wins, and I'm an integral part of
the winning, I'm happy."
And when this character takes
shape, there is already plenty of
material for the first few dozen
issues. The first stories would be
the high school years. There
would be the issue in which he
led the football team to the
school's first-ever state champi-
It is a dangerous situation,
with the potential for egos to be
bruised and tantrums to be
thrown. With so much at stake
for all of them, almost amaz-
ingly, this has not been the case.
They don't seem to mind sharing
"I don't think it's a problem,
because they all get along good,"
says Stanley. "They knew what
was going on when they came
here, so there's no problem."
"When I come off the field, I
feel good when Ricky goes in. I
feel great. I feel good when Jesse
goes in. I feel good when Ed goes
in," he said. "It's because they're
quality backs. I know when they
go in they're going to get the job
For his part, Powers has re-
sponded with an impressive
amount of maturity.
"You know, in this program
you just can't take a year off," he
said. "'yrone's not a jerk. He's a
great player. These four years
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