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January 17, 1995 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-01-17

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_______The Michigan Daily - SPORTSTuesday - Tuesday, January 17, 1995 - 3

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Forrest Fires

The 1993 Heisman Trophy winner
discusses life in the NBA

Charlie Ward is an athlete of ex-
ceptional ability. During his years at
Florida State, he worked out a hectic
schedule that included participation
on both the football and basketball
Upon completion ofhisseniorsea-
son in 1993, Ward was the recipient
qf the 59th Heisman Trophy as the
nation's best college football player.
By receiving 91 percent of the first-
place votes, Ward surpassed
Michigan's Desmond Howard's by
six percentage points, to break
Howard's record margin of victory.
With a win in the 1994 Orange
Bowl over Nebraska, Ward brought
the Seminoles theirfirst-ever national
hampionship. He became the first
layer since Tony Dorsett in 18 years
to win college football's most presti-
gious individual award, a bowl vic-
tory and a national championship in
the same season.
Despite a fine senior season in
which he threw for over 3,000 yards
anda completion percentage of more
than 69 percent, Ward was not se-
lected in the 1994 NFL draft -the
*rst time a Heisman Trophy winner
was never chosen.
In June, the New York Knicks used
a latefirst-round pick to select Ward in
theNBA draft. Daily sports writerJed
Rosenthal recently spoke to Wardabout
his life in football, the plight of the
African-American quarterback and
his present situation in New York.
Daily: As a rookie in the NBA,
oving from Georgia, then to Florida,
nd now New York, how hard of a
transition was it for you moving from
the collegiate to professional ranks?
Ward: Well, it's a little different
moving from high school to college.
You just have to make whatever
changes they may be and adjust to it.
After a period of time, it becomes a
routine and you get in the flow. Every-
thing gets good (laughs).
* D: How did it feel being a Heisman
Trophy winner and then not even be
drafted in the NFL?
W: Well, the Lord has given me

talent to be an athlete, a professional
athlete and the opportunity to be a
professional athlete. I'm just really
thankful that someone gave me an op-
portunity. I had an advantage, I guess,
between the two sports, so Ihad time to
do what I really wanted to do.
D: When you weren't selected,

W: I really don't care what critics
say. Critics think they know every-
thing. They try to analyze what is going
on, but you just have to continue to
move on. No one knows except for the
person who makes the decision him-
self. If the person says it, then it's
valid. But what the critic says could

don't know. I guess if you did some
history or a story or something, I'm
sure you'll find out. I guess the myth
still remains that Black quarterbacks
can't think or they're not able to think.
So the guys coming out of college
don't really get a fair opportunity be-
cause of this myth. I don't think that
this is right. You should judge every-
one by what they do on the field.
D: So do you think that your race
might have affected you being drafted
in the NFL?
W: Idon'tknow. Itcould have or it
might not have. That'sjust something
the Lord has done. It just happened.
The Lord has the power to take things
away from me. I don't have to really
think about planting myself, because
that is not my problem anymore.
D: It is quite obvious that you are a
very religious man. Has something or
someone had a dramatic effect on your
W: My parents and my knee injury
when I was a freshman in high school.
That injury changed my life. I've al-
ways had the Lord in my life, and I
became a stronger Christian after that.
D: While at Florida State, you
played football for a great coach in
Bobby Bowden. What was that like?
W: It was good. I got the opportu-
nity to play for a legend. I enjoyed it a
lot. Onceyou have been with someone
for a long time, you don't look at him as
other people do. He's a great guy and
he helped me out tremendously.
D: Currently, the Knicks are
overwhelmed with talent at your
position, the point guard. They re-
cently waived Doc Rivers, but the
depth still remains. What contribu-
tions can you bring to this club to
make yourself a play-maker?
W: I don't know. There's noth-
ing I can do that Greg (Anthony)
can't or Harp (Derek Harper).
There's nothing really that I can
bring that they can't so I'll just sit
and wait for an opportunity because
I want to be ready. It's tough, but I
have been in this situation before so
it's nothing different for me.

San Diego has no chance
of being super in Miami
here is one thing to be said for bookies: they have an uncanny
relationship with the future.
So when the San Diego Chargers saw the opening line for Super Bowl
XXIX, their worst fears were confirmed. Moments after San Francisco topped
Dallas in the NFC championship game, oddsmakers made the 49ers 17.5 point
favorites - the highest opening betting line of any Super Bowl.
The Chargers can take solace in this fact: they rank second in the NFL,
while San Francisco ranks 20th. The only problem is, we're talking about
field goal percentage here.
San Francisco outdoes the Chargers in just about every other category
- except sacks. But both of these aberrations can be explained.
Clearly, San Diego has had more practice kicking field goals, while the
49ers are accustomed to sticking it in the end zone. And obviously, the
Charger defense has been on the field more often and has thus had more
opportunities to pressure the quarterback.
These trends should not be upset.
San Diego will be crushed by the 49ers Jan. 29 in Miami. The NFC will
win its 1lth straight Super Bowl. And, if they have any sense, the Chargers
will wear their throwback baby blue jerseys to lessen the aesthetic fatigue
inherent in a championship game shellacking.
If you doubt my hypothesis, take a gander at how San Diego made its
way to the first Super Bowl in team history. Against Miami one weekend
ago the Chargers scored to take the lead late in the game. But they left
ample time for Dolphin quarterback
Dan Marino to set up the winning
field goal. Even worse, San Diego
squibbed the kickoff instead of
sending it deep and lengthening the
field for Marino.
The Dolphins easily marched
down to where they needed to be
x for the chip shot that would send
k them to the AFC championship
~k.game. As fate would have it,
though, Dolphin kicker Pete
Stoyanovich sent the ball wide of
the goalposts and propelled the
Chargers toward their ultimate goal.
The Chargers' story was no
different Sunday as they again
Humphries snuck away victorious from a
playoff game they should have lost.
Pittsburgh won the battle in total yards, 415-226, and had 33 more
offensive plays. Pittsburgh also held the ball nearly 15 minutes more than
San Diego.
Yet, two fairly fortunate Stan Humphries touchdown passes in the
second half negated the game-long Steeler dominance. Again, though, the
Chargers left the door wide open for their opponent to advance.
The Steelers drove inside the San Diego 10 yard-line but failed to score
on four tries. The game was finished and the Chargers found another way
to not lose a game.
San Diego has backed its way into the NFL's showcase and will play a
team that is its superior ten times over. The 49ers have the league's best
quarterback; top receiver and most effective defensive secondary.
Moreover, San Francisco just topped the two-time defending Super Bowl
It will be a luxury to see an AFC team other than the Buffalo Bills in
the Super Bowl. But the Chargers will prove to be as much of a foil.
At a time when any football fan has to question the NFL's long-ago
decision to merge with the AFL, the biggest Super Bowl victory for the
stepsister league comes to light. After seeing the highest previous opening
Super Bowl point spread, the New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts, 16-
7, in 1969.
Then again, even bookies make mistakes.

did you ever consider the Canadian
Football League?
W: Well, I was about borderline.
When I got drafted by the Knicks, it
was pretty much out.
D: Some draft critics said that be-
cause you were thinking aboutplaying
professional basketball, you weren't
drafted by an NFL club. Do you think
that is a valid claim?

be invalid, or might be valid to a,
point, but we don't know. Concern-
ing me, whatever it was, it happened,
and now it's over.
D: It is well known that there is a
significant lack of African American
quarterbacks in the NFL, yet they make
up a bulk of its players. Why do you
think that this is so?
W: To be honest with you, I really

Spartans hand Wolverines first loss of season

Daily Sports Writer
"They wanted it more than we
Those were the exact words of
both coach Jennifer Slosar and out-
side hitter Kevin Urban of the Michi-
gan men's volleyball team after its
loss to arch-rival Michigan State Fri-
day. The 15-13, 11-15, 15-13, 15-5
defeat was the Wolverines' first set-
back of the season after two impres-
* e victories. In fact, one of those
victories, over Michigan State Dec. 3
was Michigan's last match until this
past weekend.
But Saturday night, after the Wol-
verines worked out their kinks and
overcame any rustiness thatmight have
shown up against the Spartans, Michi-
gan (3-1) came back to beat Ohio State
The match against Michigan State
P iday was the third meeting between
the two teams already this season.
The Wolverines took the first two

matches with one coming in a pre-
season tournament and the other com-
ing six weeks ago. But thinking that the
Spartans wouldn't come out fired up to
avoid a third straight loss would have
been a fatal flaw for Michigan.
"We may have been too compla-
cent coming in against State," Slosar
said. "When you go up against one of
the top teams in the country for the
third time, after beating them the first
two times, they're going to be up for
you the next time."
The team wasn't looking for ex-
cuses for the loss, but the signs were
evident as to why the Wolverines
weren't as sharp this time against the
Spartans. For one, this was Michigan's
first action in over amonth while Michi-
gan State got back in gear the weekend
before as they took part in an exhibi-
tion tournament in Canada.
"We came back from break tired,"
Urban said. "We also lost focus in the
final game of the match. It's all a
matter of getting back into playing

The Wolverines also had to con-
tend with injuries to Ernesto Rodriguez
and Brad Yeager. Rodriguez is battling
rotator cuff problems that caused him
to see limited action against Michi-
gan State and kept him out of the tilt
with Ohio State. Yeager is suffering
from a knee injury that has yet to be
diagnosed as either tendinitis or bur-
sitis. He can play, but his range of
movement is limited.
But Urban andSlosardidgivecredit
where credit is due.
"Its hard to beat a good team three
times in a row," Urban said. "They
wanted it more than we did."
"Their defense really steppeditup
for them," Slosar said.
Against Ohio State, Michigan
turned around its fortunes and came
away with a solid four-game win. After
committing a host of serving errors in
droppping the first game of the match,
15-11, the Wolverines awakened and
took the next three.

We worried too much about win-
ning with our serving in the first
game," Urban said. "We needed to
just get our serves in and then play our
The improvement in serving helped
propel Michigan, but the real spark
came midway through the match when
freshman Suresh Pothiraj checked in
for the hobbled Yeager. When he en-
tered, the Wolverines trailed, 12-3, in
the third game of a tied match.
Pothiraj's 6-foot-4 presence in the
middle was pivotal as Michigan went
on to win 12 cf the next 13 points en
route to taking a two games to one
lead and taking control of the match.

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