The Michigan Daily - SPORTSTuesday-
Tuesday, September 3, 1996 - 19A
7 . te
to the old days, Woodson
Sbot ways for Michigan
By Nicholas J Cdtsonika
Daily Sports Edit
The Deion Sanders imitation was
Charles Wood,*n idea.
Sitting with a lunch of recruits and
Michigan coac Lloyd Carr at breakfast
last spring, Wo' adson, who was named
Big Ten Freshi ian of the Year for his
play at cornerl ack in 1995, made his
modest proposl etween bites.
"How abou1T I play some receiver?"
Woodson aske 0l sailing, half-serious.
Carr listendOI smiling, 100-percent
Illinois on "
Stadium was n
festering for a
When Carr i
)pparance on offense in
s' 20-8 victory over
aturday at Michigan
ac been a faint thought
inserted Woodson at
EVAN PETRIE/Special to the Daily
Sott Dreisbach is back as Michigan's starting quarterback. And Saturday, when
wasn't being crunched by Illinois linebackers, he tried a little bit of everything.
rea y Inx return to QB
Running, catching join passing in arsenal
receiver in pra( tide this past spring, he
was simply fal4 illing a vision he'd had
several times Ijsince helping recruit
Woodson out f Ross High School in
Freemont, Ohio .
Carr toyed A ith the thought: Charles
Woodson at re : ver - even Charles
Woodson at t Lilback - despite his
defensive repu ton.
At Ross, V )dson was named a
.first-team All-. merican and the No. 2
safety in the r!ttiion by Prep Football
Report. He ws the No. 2 defensive
back on the BlueChip Illustrated
Dream Team.. knd he was the No. 9
defensive bac on SuperPrep's All-
Collegecoatc' es drooled puddles.
In his spare ti me, Woodson was able
to graduate as .oss' all-time leader in
rushing yards ( ,861) and scoring (466
points), accurr .lating 5,996 all-pur-
The coache' drooled some more.
Puddles becam streams.
And Woods( n knew it. But he was
uncertain he cuIid play both offense
and defense in ( lllege as well as he had
"Yeah, I pla ed both ways in high
school," Woo< on said. "I thought
about playing b th in college then, but I
wasn't sure I co Ild do it. Now I know I
can, but defens( is more fun."
Maybe, but oodson's stiff, busi-
ness-like demeanor melts when
offense is brought up. His blue blazer
and bright white shirt can't take away
from the soft, coy smile that pokes
Scoring is "cool," he admits.
Carr likes scoring too, and he feels
Woodson can be the man to do it at
In the second quarter, Michigan ran a
play that had running back Clarence
Williams reverse the ball to Woodson,
who lined up as a receiver. Woodson
gained 57 yards, nearly scoring before
being pushed out of bounds at the
"I told him he was caught from
behind," Carr joked.
Woodson denied it, of course.
Two plays later, quarterback Scott
Dreisbach tried to hit Woodson in the
end zone with a lob pass. It fell incom-
plete, but Woodson is likely to get more
"It's the nature of the game now with
all the limitations on the number of
players," Carr said. "You have to utilize
players who have special abilities."
Woodson's abilities are so special,
Carr said he even considered, trying the
6-foot-1, 192-pound sophomore at tail-
back after Tshimanga Biakabutuka left
for the NFL. But Carr felt tailback
would've been too much to learn for
Woodson; receiver would've been easi-
So when Woodson hinted he might
be interested in receiver, Carr took him
up on it.
"Him wanting to play both had a lot
to do with it," Carr said. "It's hard to
play both ways, as talented as these ath-
"But I've never known one who did-
n't want the ball."
Woodson still practices his defense
much more than his offense; Carr does-
n't want Woodson to lose any of his
But Carr wouldn't mind another
Deion Sanders, even though Woodson
has grander ideas.
"No, I don't want to be the second
Deion Sanders,' Woodson said. "I want
to be the first Charles Woodson."
He already is - in two ways.
'y Nicholas J. Cotsonika
Daily Sports Editor
Three hundred forty-nine days after
his last football game, Scott Dreisbach
was so excited to return to Michigan
Stadium, he seemed ready to do every-
thing but pump air into the footballs.
Dreisbach returned as Michigan's
starting quarterback Saturday in the
.Wolverines' 20-8 victory over Illinois.
&nd with his extra energy, he sum-
oned enoujh adrenaline to masquer-
ade as a running back and wide receiv-
er, elude tacklers like a Tyrone
Wheatley wanna-be, and charge down
the field with such
mination, he went
helmetless at one
"I gained confi-
dence in every-
Wing as the game
Dreisbach said. "It
was like my first
game again, not Dreisbach
knowing if I was
ready or prepared.
I had to wait for the true test, and the
true test was (Saturday)."
For a season-opening performance,
reisbach and Michigan coach Lloyd
arr felt the test was passed. Two off-
season surgeries carved a four-inch,
snaking scar into Dreisbach's right
thumb, which he hurt last September in
practice between Michigan's games
against Boston College and Miami
(Ohio). But Saturday, the scar was the
injury's only lingering effect.
Dreisbach used his repaired thumb
and everything else to leave little doubt
that he is capable of being more than a
Dreisbach completed only 47.8 per-
cent of his passes, going 11-for-23 for
1 -7 yards and a touchdown. Ever-cock-
sure, however, he showed flashes of the
man who led the Wolverines to a 4-0
record last fall.
He forgot the thumb. He forgot the
worries. He had fun.
On Michigan's second drive,
reisbach tried to play receiver. He lat-
eral led to wide receiver Tyrone
Butterfield on the left. Then Butterfield
lofted a high pass to back to Dreisbach,
who had an open lane down the right
Dreisbach waited, turned, started to
churn his legs, and the ball fell into his
But he dropped it.
"We're not going to throw any more
passes to Dreisbach," Carr said with a
smile efter the game.
On the Wolverines' next drive,
Dreisbach tried to play running back.
He dropped back to pass, but with no
open lanes, he elected to run to the
right. He almost made it out of bounds,
but an Illinois defender grabbed
Dreisbach's face mask and yanked.
Dreisbach's helmet came off, and
after he went down, he made sure his
head was still attached.
"I checked my nose to make sure it
was still there," Dreisbach said. "I was
looking for my ear pads and stuff, but
that was about it."
Learning from that experience,
Dreisbach stayed away from the large
men in orange and white the next time
Forced to scamper early the second
quarter, Dreisbach kept his helmet on.
He squeaked by four tacklers and com-
pleted the third-longest quarterback
rush in Michigan history -the second-
longest for a touchdown. He went 72
yards to give the Wolverines a 7-0 lead
with 13:01 left in the half.
"I had to make up for the last one,"
Dreisbach said. "That's the longest I've
ever run in my career. I put some moves
on, and they worked for the first time."
Although Carr and Dreisbach hinted
there may be additional creativity on
offense as the season progresses,
Dreisbach's passing gane is being
Dreisbach played much like he did in
last season's opener with Virginia, over-
throwing most of the time but connect-
ing for one highlight play. Last year, he
hit Mercury Hayes for the winning
touchdown with no time left. This year,
he found Russell Shaw in the end zone
with 10:53 left to put the Wolverines up
Both times, however, his completion
percentage was less than stellar.
"I thought he was very hesitant in the
first three series," Carr said. "He rushed
well, and he settled down, though. I
thought he played well in the last series,
hitting some of his passes. Remember,
he's still a young guy. We might play
him some at tailback if he keeps run-
ning that well."
EVAN PETRIE/Special to the Daily
Charles Woodson claimed the idea was his, but Michigan coach Lloyd Carr had
envisioned Woodson playing offense and defense long before the sophomore
brought up the idea over breakfast last spring. Carr even considered playing
Woodson, a cornerback and the 1995 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, at taliback
when Tshlmanga Biakabutuka left for the NFL.