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March 21, 1994 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-21

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TheMichigan Daily - SPORTSMonday -Monday, March 21, 1994 - 3

Grbac
The former Michigan quarterback talks
about life in the pros

Elvis Grbac was one of the fin-
est quarterbacks to don the Maize
and Blue (1989-92). Named to the
All-Big Ten first team in 1991 and
1992, Grbac is in the career top five
in 12 Michigan offensive categories,
including records for passing yard-
age (6,460) and throwing more touch-
down passes (71) than any Michigan
player in history. He was a member of
four conference champion squads,
and captured a Rose Bowl victory in
his last game in a Wolverine uniform.
Grbac was selected by the San
Francisco 49ers in the eighth round
of the 1993 NFL draft last April. Re-
cently, Daily Sports WriterRavi Gopal
spoke with Grbac about football ex-
periences.
Daily: You were drafted by the
49ers. What were your initial feel-
ings, knowing that the 49ers already
had two NFL-calibre quarterbacks in
Steve Young and Steve Bono?
Grbac: Well, the first thing that
popped into my mind was Super Bowl
ring. That's the first thing that popped
in my mind, because (the 49ers) were
so close the year before (losing to
Dallas in the playoffs).
This year, it was real exciting to be
a part of the experience of going
through an entire season of record-
breaking TDs and Jerry Rice and Steve
Young. There's a lot of similarities
between the University of Michigan
and the 49ers. Both teams have a lot
of tradition, and a lot of players here
take a lot of pride in what they want to
accomplish.
It was a good situation for me to
come here and learn from a veteran
quarterback, and it's going to be in-
teresting to see what happens now
with the salary cap, but I'm looking
forward to another season with the
49ers and hopefully many more.
,D: In 1990, you were the No. 1
quarterback at Michigan. Were you
nervous heading into the year, being
only a sophomore at the controls of
the reigning Big Ten champions?
G: Not really. The good thing was
that there were a lot of new guys that
were going to be in key positions for
us. It was good to know that every-
body was going through the same

struggle that I was going through. We
just had some growing pains to go
through and we tried to get out there
and do the best we could.
We had a great new type of of-
fense that went in, the no-huddle, and
that really helped a lot. We knew that
we had to stick with it for a while, and
things would turn our way, and even-
tually they did at the end of the sea-
son.
It was almost like this past season.
They started off a little rough in the
beginning, and the younger guys got
more game experience, and they
started rolling at the end.
D: Did the triumph in the Gator
Bowl at the end of the year help to-
wards the great year you and the
Wolverines had in 1991?
G: Yeah, I think that was really
the stepping stone for the next season,
because we had a lot of guys who
were going to be coming back, and we
went out there to prove to everybody
that we can be a better team. I think it
was more that everybody had that
game experience when we went out
there. Games came and went, and
teams didn't even seem to be there.
We were just blowing everybody out.
D: Was the victory over Notre
Dame redemption for you personally,
since you threw an interception which
led to an Irish comeback victory in
'90?
G: It was kind of more, it was not
that, it was just such a long streak of
them beating us. There were a lot of
games where we could have won.
You know, it was just a good feeling
to beat them on a great play that
Desmond (Howard) and I hooked up
on. It was a good experience.
D: When you lofted the game-
winning pass to Howard, what was
going through you mind? Did you
think he was going to catch it?
G: Oh yeah, I had total confi-
dence. Coming out of the huddle, I
told Desmond that if I give him a
certain signal, that he should run a
certain pattern, and I saw the cover-
age and all, and gave him that signal
and threw the touchdown. I just put it
up and I knew Desmond was going to
get to it. He just made it a little too

dramatic for me. It was a great play.
D: What was it like playing with
Desmond that year?
G: It was great at the beginning.
Things were going really good for us,
and as the year went on, the Heisman,
I think, really ate away at him. Every-
body was scampering for his auto-
graph, and there was just so much
media hype on Desmond that I think
it took away from his personal life
and what he enjoyed.
D: You led the team to the Rose
Bowl against Washington. Were you
nervous going in, as a first-time starter,
and also with the media circus sur-
rounding Howard?
G: Yeah, I think it was a combina-
tion. We were expecting a lot of good
things the way the season was going
and I think if you asked every player,
we didn't prepare well for that game.
We really didn't have a good game
plan, and as players, we didn't pre-
pare well for that either. It was one of
those games that you look back on
and say, "Thank God it's over."
D: You had a spectacular year
individually in 1991. Mel Kiper,
ESPN draft analyst, projected you as
one of the top-three quarterbacks taken
in the draft. What made you stay in
school for you senior year?
G: Well, I knew sports wasn't
going to be the way; it wasn't going to
be with me my entire life. I wanted to
stay in college and get the degree and
know that you could fall back on it
after the athletics are done.
D: You then led the team to a Rose
Bowl rematch against the Huskies.
How did you, as a player and as a
team, prepare any differently?
G: Well, I think if you look back,
there was a lot of senior leadership
that year. We kind of prepared differ-
ently during the week prior to the
game. The previous year, we were out
there in L.A., and a lot of guys wanted
to go out and enjoy being out in L.A.
and having fun, but we changed the
program around a little bit.
We had a team meeting before we
went out to L.A., and got the team
together and said we want to impose
a curfew for everybody, and every-
body really abided by that rule

It was great, because everybody
was ready for practice, had a lot of
energy and everybody was concen-
trating on what they were doing. And
we went out in the game and showed
Washington. There was a lot of lead-
ership in that senior class.
D: You had the unique distinction
of playing under both Bo
Schembechler (in 1989) and Gary
Moeller (1990-1992). Contrast their
coaching styles.
G: Well,I like both of them, there's
no doubt about it. You know, Bo is
more of a disciplinarian kind of a
coach, and he had his old values,
since he's been coaching for 20 years,
and he goes by what he knows to be
the right type of values. I think that
instilled a lot of hard work and disci-
pline.
What we did as young men just
kind of carried over when Gary
Moeller took over, and that's why I
think the program did so well when
Bo left, because some of the assistant
coaches who had been with Bo for a
long time just took over and never
missed a beat.
It was a good situation, and I think
times have changed and Gary Moeller
and his coaches have realized that,
and the players have changed.
Football's a lot different than it was
when Bo took over in the '60s and
'70s. It'll be interesting where they
lead to now.
D: What do you think was your
greatest achievement in your colle-
giate career at Michigan?
G: Graduating. With all the time
put into athletics and academics, I'm
really glad I had the opportunity to
educate myself at the University of
Michigan. It's just a good situation to
go to Michigan and meet people from
all over the world. It was just a great
educational experience for me and
I'm very glad that I graduated.
Football was an incentive, kind
of. It was one of those deals where I
got a great education and football was
another part that made life a lot more
exciting for me being at college. It's
one of those opportunities that I'm
glad that I had.

KEN SUGIURA
Close But No Sugiura
'M' relay team makes
most of opportunity
M olly McClimon wants 10 years.
McClimon would like a decade to consider the magnitude of what
she and three of her Michigan trackteammates accomplished last
Saturday.
She says she is fully aware of how she and the three other members of
Michigan's distance medley relay fared at the NCAA Indoor Track and
Field Championships in Indianapolis, but she still wants time to think it
over.
"In 10 years, it's probably going to mean 10 times as much to me as it
does right now," McClimon says. "Each year, the fact of being a national
champion is going to grow on me and everyone else on the team, as well."
Already, though, it means plenty to McClimon, as it does to senior
Kristin Westerby, who ran the opening 800-meter leg of the relay, as it
does to senior Richelle Webb, who took the baton from Westerby for a
steady 400 leg, and as it does to junior Courtney Babcock, who ran the
anchor 1,600 chasing Georgetown, Alabama and destiny.
They are beginning to understand that last Saturday was their one shot
together at the summit. It was their one shot to help out a hurting friend,
their one shot to repair a tarnished reputation, their one shot at glory before
the end of the line started coming into view for three of them.
Those were the conditions when the four of them went out together to
meet fate. Fists clenched tightly, they slugged fate square in the nose,
earning the school's first NCAA women's track title ever,
"It was the best feeling ever," Webb says simply.
In order to even begin to understand the depth of Webb's elation, it is
necessary to go back to the previous night, Friday. That was when
McClimon and Babcock both ran in the 5,000-meter final.
"The 5,000 didn't come out the way we would have charted it out for a
number of reasons," Michigan assistant Mike McGuire says.
Babcock stumbled from the course mid-race, impeding MClimon in
the process. She finished, but the fall took her out of contention.
A counting error felled McClimon. With two laps remaining in the 25-lap
race, the official lap counter indicated three laps instead of two. The
competitors, including McClimon, realized the error, and it threw them off.
Babcock and McClimon finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
"A lot of the coaches were saying, 'Oh, those two are overrated being
ranked second and third in every event,"' McClimon recalls.
Later that night, though, those problems dimmed. McGuire learned that
his ailing father had passed away.
The coach assembled his athletes in his hotel room the following
morning. He informed them of the death and gave them some final
encouragement before leaving for New York to be with his family.
"The work's been done and it was up to us whether he was there or
not," McClimon recalls. "And I think that's what he just wanted to let us
know, that his presence there wasn't going to win it for us, and we just
needed to go do what we had been doing all year."
In a way, the tragedy only increased their resolve. Team members
canvassed the area, looking for some black tape they could wear on their
jerseys to honor McGuire's father. A soft-spoken man who refers to team
members as "my kids," McGuire is a lot more than the guy who reads off
splits and puts together workouts.
"He's a great coach and he's a friend to all of us, too," McClimon says.
Their friend was in pain, and now, they wanted to do what they could to
help.
Among them was Webb, the quarter-miler, on her first trip to the
NCAAs. She had run the sprints her three previous years, and was brought
up to the 400 expressly to run that leg of the relay. She had trained all
winter for this, and now the meet's magnitude, the banked turns and the
jostling from runners battling for position were making her jittery.
See SUGIURA, Page 8

Wolverines run all over Western Michigan, 18-3
By WILL MCCAHILL Wolverines with five goals and an Henke fed a cutting Simich from be- cos 8-2 in the second half.
DAILY SPORTS WRITER assist, with attackman Steve Simich hind the goal, who bounced in a shot DiGiovanni, who collected his
Enough with the overused wild recording four goals and two assists. from the right side with 12 seconds 150th victory Saturday, blamed the
horse clich6s. The game started out poorly for left in the quarter excessive penalty minutes and some
The Michigan men's lacrosse club the Wolverines as the Broncos won Michigan increased its lead to 10- sloppy stickwork and passing on the
didn't corral the Western Michigan the first face-off and roared down the 1 at the half on the strength of excel- 10-day layoff between games for
Broncos. It didn't herd them, nor did field, scoring less than a minute into lent penalty-killing by the man-down Michigan.
it brand them. the game. unit, led by defensemen Gannon "We came out pretty slow after
The Wolverines just flat-out killed Michigan coach Robert Dudlar and Ben Hohmuth. the layoff, but I think by the fourth
them. No two ways about it. DiGiovanni immediately called a Michigan racked up more than quarter we were warmed up,"
Saturday night at Oosterbaan timeout in an effort to get the team five minutes in penalties in the sec- DiGiovanni said.
Fieldhouse was business as usual for fired up to play. ond half, but Western was unable to "We were able to play everybody,"
the Wolverines as they won their sixth The strategy paid off, as the Wol- take advantage of the power- play he added, "and everybody played
game in seven tries this season by verines came back to score two quick situation. The field seemingly re- fairly well."
savaging Western, 18-3. goals. With time running down in the mained tilted in Michigan's favor as Reichel said that, while it may
Midfielder Dave Reichel led the first quarter, graduate attackman Doug the Wolverines outscored the Bron- See LACROSSE, Page 7

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