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September 24, 1993 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-09-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

vs. Illinois
Tonight, 7:30 p.m.



vs. Houston
Tomorrow, 1 p.m.
Michigan Stadium

'M' volleyball visits rough Huff
Following loss to MSU, spikers face Illinois in noisy HuffArena

Michigan must be wondering how
they got into this mess. The women's
volleyball team rolls into Champaign
tonight dazed and hobbled.
The Wolverine train had been run-
ning smoothly and was gaining speed
until Wednesday night.
Michigan (4-5 overall) had im-
proved in each of its first three week-
ends of play. The team had just come
off a successful trip to Colorado. But
Wednesday, an upstart Michigan State
team derailed the Wolverine's express
to success, upsetting Michigan in three
straight games.
The Wolverines head into a
hornet's nest tonight, Huff Arena -
home of defending Big Ten champion
and NCAA regional finalist Illinois.
Huff is reknown for its large, rowdy
crowds. The Illini (3-5) led the nation
in attendance in last year, drawing a
total of 52,666 fans.
"They have a pretty big gym, and
they just pack it," said junior outside
hitter Robyn Read, a Hoopeston, Ill.,
native. "And the crowd, they really
get into it, they're really loud. It's
hard to play there."
A hard task under normal cir-
cumstances, the Wolverines will

have the added burden of trying to
win in Huff without three regular
starters. Outside hitters Aimee Smith
and Michelle Horrigan, who are the
focus of most of the Wolverine of-
fense, both went down with injuries
in the first game of the Michigan
State match. Sophomore middle
blocker Shannon Brownlee will miss
the match for personal reasons.
"Obviously (Smith and Horrigan)
were a big part of the team," Read
"Aimee is always a really consis-
tent player, and we really need that.
Especially against a team like Illinois,
we get a little excited, we need some-
one like Aimee who's calm. She al-
ways has her composure, and she can
always get the job done."
Michigan coach Greg Giovanazzi
will change his team's look for the
"We're going to have to move a lot
of people around to fill that void,"
Read said. "It's going to be a weird
"We're going to have to use people
that are not used to their spot. It's
going to be hard, and we don't really
have time to practice this lineup. We're
just going to go out and do whatever
we can."

Assistant coach Jennifer Dhaenens
noted some of the changes in the Wol-
verine attack.
"We'll probably work a little more
with our three middle (blockers) tak-
ing on the brunt of the load," she said.
"Our outside hitters are going to be a
little more inexperienced than
Michelle and Aimee are."
The burden will fall on the shoul-
ders of Fiona Davidson and JoAnna
Collias. Davidson may move from
her middle blocker spot to outside
Even with the Wolverines' lineup
scrambled, Illinois coach Mike Hebert
isn't looking past the Wolverines. He
and his team still remember the '90
and '91 losses in Ann Arbor.
"We have a lot of respect for that
program," Hebert said. "I consider it
one of our tougher matches of the
Furthering the respect is the fact
that the Illini are no longer thejugger-
naut that finished 32-4 a year ago.
"We lost a first-team All-Ameri-
can (Kirsten Gleis) and four-year
starter, and an all-conference player
(Lorna Henerson)," Hebert pointed
out. "So the team's a lot different
without those two."
However, All-Big Ten selections

Kristen Henriksen and Tina Rogers
do return. Henriksen leads the confer-
ence in hitting efficiency, putting down
.393 of her attempts, and Rogers is
10th in the same category.
Illinois' record does not totally
reflect its talent. The team started 0-5,
but all five were against top-20 oppo-
nents, and the last three defeats took a
full five games.
Hebert describes his club as "a
real Jekyll-and-Hyde team."
"We're making more mistakes than
we were last year," he said, "and have
been more inconsistent.
"We've just been butchering a lot
of easy plays. We can't do that against
Michigan or we'll lose."
Michigan also must be more con-
"We were really beating ourselves
out there," Read said. "Wejust weren't
playing our game, we had a lot of
unforced errors. Michigan State did
not beat us (Wednesday night), we
beat ourselves."
Read saw one positive aspect to
Wednesday's loss.
"If anything it fired us up more
than it discouraged us," she said. "Be-
cause we just had a really poor show-
ing. I think it will help us get fo-

Michigan's Fiona Davidson spikes the ball against Michigan State. Davidson will lead
the Wolverines in tonight's contest against Big Ten power Illinois at Champaign.



Tomorrow's game will be an interesting test
for Todd Collins. After suffering his biggest
setback at Michigan two weeks ago against
Notre Dame, the junior will look to regain
the composure he possessed against
Washington State. While only playing the
third game of the season, the pressure is
on junior Tyrone Wheatley to have a
monster day if he hopes to remain a viable
threat for the Heisman Trophy.
With Derrick Alexander said to be at 90
percent, the Wolverine receiving corp
should be back in full force. Mercury
Hayes, a Houston-native, and Amani
Toomer will take aim against an inexper-
enced Cougar secondary which has allowed
296.5 passing yards per game. Marc
Burkholder and Pierre Cooper will again
share duties on the line at tight end, often
playing together in running situations.
While the six-man rotation which began the
year for Michigan is still being tinkered
with, expect to see Jon Runyan, Shawn
Miller, Marc Millia, Joe Marinaro, Mike
Sullivan and Trezelle Jenkins all get playing
time. A key for the Wolverines will be
whether the line can open up more holes in
the middle of the field for Wheatley and Co.
- something missing against Notre Dame.
A disappointment two weeks ago against
ND, the front three of the Wolverines will
face a much easier task against Houston.
Senior co-captain Buster Stanley has only
seven tackles and one sack thus far this
season. Tony Henderson continues to
nurse a sprained foot and Ninef Aghakhan
looks to improve on his three tackles.
Jason Horn and Steve Rekowski also will
Last year's trouble with injuries at the
linebacker position has carried over into
1993. Steve Morrison will miss tomorrow's
game after reinjuring his once-broken foot.
Marcus Walker underwent arthroscopic
knee surgery yesterday and is out for at
least three weeks. However, Matt Dyson
looks to be back at 100 percent and the
Wolverines will more than likely show a six
DB formation against the run-and-shoot.
After an embarrassing defeat against Notre
Dame and two solid weeks to stew over it,
the Wolverines will come out aggressive
against the Cougars, just as they did a year
ago. While another 61-7 blowout might be
too much to expect, Michigan should cover
the 34-point spread. Look for the reserves
to come in early as Michigan handles
Houston with easy.

With junior Jimmy Klingler out with a
sprained ankle, redshirt freshman Chuck
Clements will make his first-ever collegiate
start tomorrow. Unfortunately for Houston,
his debut must be in front of 100,000-plus
fans at Michigan Stadium. Best of luck,
Chuck. It will take a lot for superback
Lamar Smith, to overshadow the super
back on the Wolverines sideline. Smith has
all but three of the Cougars rushing yards.
Coach Kim Helton's run-and-shoot offense
features four-wideouts who have gotten an
equal number of receptions this season.
However, Keith Jack is the lone receiver to
have made a TD grab in 1993 and Houston
has averaged only 206.5 yards per game in
the air (compared to Michigan's 262.5). In
addition, the Cougars longest catch has
only been 27 yards. LB Allen Aldridge is
used at TE in third-and-short situations.
The Cougars are facing an equally difficult
time at the line positions, with only one
returning starter in sophomore Jim
Herndon. With two juniors, a sophomore
and a true freshman at the other spots, the
Cougars are vulnerable to a sustained pass
rush, which they are bound to see from the
The Cougars 4-3 front is led by seniors
Stephen Dixon and Nahala Johnson. The
pair have 28 tackles between them yet
have struggled in halting the USC and Tulsa
offenses in their first two games. Look for
6-foot-6, 255 lbs. Otis Grant and 6-foot-5
315 lbs. Bruce Thompson, both freshman
to help bolster and otherwise small
defensive line.
Senior middle linebacker Ryan McCoy is
the best Cougar player on either side of the
ball. The Butkus Award candidate lead the
team in tackled with 27. He is flanked by
Aldridge and sophomore Delithro Bell. In
the secondary former quarterback-turned-
free safety, Donald Douglas, Gerome
Williams and John H. Brown protect
against the long bomb. Brown has the
Cougar's lone interception this season.

Continued from page 1
Michigan and Houston meet again
tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Michigan Sta-
dium. And though both teams are com-
ing off a loss in their last game and a
bye week, many believe that we may
leave the game with a similar result as
last year. The Wolverines are 34-point
favorites, and to hear the Michigan
players talk, that may not be enough.
"Our goal is to come out and put
the game away in the first half," sopho-
more cornerback Ty Law said, "and
study things (give thereserves achance
to play) in the second half. We want to
win it in the first half."
Michigan could certainly use the
confidence boost-of an easy victory.
With all but the faintest hopes of a
national championship dashed in the
loss to the Irish, critics of the team
have come out in droves, and all of the
preseason praise has turned into early-
season pessimism.
ESPN's latest round of predictions,
televised Monday night, projected the
Wolverines third in the Big Ten, be-
hind No. 7 Ohio State and No. 9 Penn
Michigan's lack of defensive lead-
ership has been rouiidly criticized.
Critics point out that only three play-
ers - senior strong safety Shonte
Peoples (18 tackles, 1 interception for
the season), senior inside linebacker
Steve Morrison (13 tackles, but he's
out this week with a reinjured foot),
and freshman free safety Chuck Win-
ters (11 tackles) - have performed
consistently for the Wolverine defense.
Naysayers have also targeted
Michigan's inability to play funda-
mentally sound football, harping on
the missed tackles and poor blocking
that appeared in the Notre Dame game.
"Personally, I don't read the news-
papers too often, so I don't worry
about that," senior defensive tackle
Ninef Aghakhan said. "We'll see what
they say about us after the season is
In addition to boosting team mo-
rale, a huge victory might also quiet
the critics for a while. Texas A&M
made everyone forget about its em-
barrassing loss at Oklahoma by run-
ning up 73 points on Missouri last
week. And the Buckeyes, who
thumped Pitt, 63-28 - in Pittsburgh,
no less - have actually made Ohio
State coach John Cooper a popular
man in Columbus.

Further, Houston appears ripe for
the taking. Under first-year coach Kim
Helton, a former NFL assistant, the
Cougars have played in a state of
disarray. They opened the season by
being demolished at Southern Cali-
fornia, 49-7, and followed that with
the home loss to Tulsa.
Much of their problems appear to
originate with the offense. A tradi-
tional run-and-shoot team - this is
the school of NFL QB's Andre Ware
and David Klingler, after all - Hous-
ton is attempting to convert to a more
traditional offense this season. But
the experiment doesn't appear to be
Returning quarterback Jimmy
Klingler, David's younger brother, has
only put up 251 total passing yards
this season. He averaged 347 a game
last year, and passed for 613 yards in
last year's game against Rice. Fur-
ther, the running game is not picking
up the slack. The Cougars have netted
only 131 yards thus far, and their
leading rusher, senior tailback Lamar
Smith, has all but three of them.
But wait - Klingler sprained an
ankle in the Tulsa loss, and won't start
tomorrow. In fact, Helton said he may
not even play. That leaves redshirt
freshman Chuck Clements, who is
19-33 for 159 yards and two intercep-.
tions, as the signal caller. Clements,
whose brother, Steve, runs the
Brigham Young offense, saw signifi-
cant action in the Tulsa game, but this
will be his first start.
At least Clements will have ample
targets to aim for. Split end Keith Jack
returns for his senior season, and the
Wolverines should remember him
well. He hauled in a 58-yard strike
from Klingler last year for one of the
few Houston highlights.

Jack will be joined by senior
Sherman Smith, an All-Southwest
Conference player last year, junior
Ron Peters, who scored the Cougars'
only touchdown last year on a25-yard
pass from Klingler, and junior Daniel
Adams in the Cougars' experienced
receiving corps.
Of course, Michigan has its own
problems to face. An inexperienced
offensive line has prevented the Wol-
verine ground game from really being
established, and the defense has
seemed to lack the ability to shut down
the opposition at key times - witness
Notre Dame's march to the end zone
to close the first half two weeks ago.
Further, injuries have again become a
problem for the defense, as Momson
and fellow linebacker Bobby Powers
(whounderwentknee surgery Wednes-
day) are out of action.
Despite this, Law said that the
Notre Dame showing was the excep-
tion to the rule of solid defense for
"There were high expectations, and
we didn't perform in the first half," he
said. "But we showed them in the
second half that we're one of the bet-
ter teams in the country, because we
came out in the second half and shut
Notre Dame down.
Law has a point. Notre Dame only
scored three points in the second half,
and shut the Irish down on three con-
secutive drives, only tohave the Michi-
gan offense sputter. Despite the media
attention, a key question to be an-
swered tomorrow concerns the cohe-
siveness of the offense, as well as the
Will the Wolverines silence their
critics and repeat last year's laugher?
When we leave the game tomorrow,
we'll have the answer.



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