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Spartans must travel the rough road
Continued from Page 5B
LeAundre Brown - both highly tout-
ed recruits - won't play much; though
Brown may return a few punts and
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika
learn to play at this level."
- Ryan White
Nick Saban's first season as head
coach at Michigan State was hardly dis-
The Spartans lost their opener by 40
(to Nebraska, 50-10), their Big Ten
home opener by 14 (to Iowa, 21-7) and
they won just half of their 12 games (6-
5-1). But Saban did lead Michigan State
to just its second bowl game over the
past five years (the Independence
Bowl), and he also grabbed some
important in-state bragging rights.
The Spartans beat Michigan, 28-25,
.Nov. 4 in Spartan Stadium.
Michigan State has now won two out
of three over its arch-rival. That means
a lot to most in East Lansing.
And it is no coincidence that Saban is
excited as his second season gets under-
way, even though the Spartans were
destroyed last weekend by the
"We have more experienced return-
ing players, more confidence and more
maturity on the defensive side of the.
ball," Saban said. "It's just the opposite
of last year when the offense had the
majority of confidence and experienced
The Spartans return seven starters on
defense and six more on offense from a
team that finished fifth in the Big Ten.
At quarterback, Todd Schultz takes
over for Tony Banks, a second round
pick in last spring's NFL draft. Schultz
started three games last season while
Banks was injured.
"Todd has made a lot of progress in
terms of his confidence, his consisten-
cy, his decisions and his maturity,"
Schultz said. "After starting those three
games last year, he has been more
focused. He has taken the next step in
In the offensive backfield, Michigan
State loses husky fullback Scott Greene,
but welcomes back senior tailback
Duane Goulbourne. Goulbourne, who
has been a Spartan since Abe Lincoln
was in office, or thereabouts, missed last
season due to injury. He was Michigan
State's leading rusher in 1993 and 1994.
Freshman Sedrick Irvin rushed for four
touchdowns in Michigan State's opening
win over Purdue.
The Spartans are set at wide receiver
with senior All-American candidate
Derrick Mason and senior flanker
Nigea Carter. Mason, however, has
been hindered by a broken wrist.
Defensively, Saban's bunch should be
strong at linebacker with returning
starters Reggie Garnett and Ike Reese,
plus three other letterwinners who saw
significant action last season.
Although starters Chris Smith and
"The biggest problem, in my view, a
year ago, was our kicking game," Carr
said. "We did not punt the ball with
any consistency. We did not establish
with our kicking game the kind of field
position for our defense."
Carr's words ring true for losses last
season against Michigan State and
Penn State, but nowhere was the prob-
lem more evident than in the
Wolverines' Alamo Bowl loss to Texas
The Michigan defense gave up just
one touchdown, one that came off a
Tshimanga Biakabutuka fumble inside
DE 5 Mike Elston Sr./Jr.
DT 91 Josh Williams So./So.
NT 58 Rob Renes So./Fr.
DE 90 Juaquin Feazell Jr./So.
DE 56 James Hall So./Fr.
SCB 23 W. Hankins Sr./Sr.
SS 29 Marcus Ray Jr./So.
FS 28 Daydrion TaylorSo./So.
FS 35 Chuck Winters Sr./Sr.
WCB 2 C. Woodson So./So.
SCB 38 B. Washington So./Fr.
SS 27 Steve King Sr./Sr.
SS 41 T. Hendricks Fr./Fr.
WCB 30 Andre WeathersJr./So.
WCB 18 LeAundre BrownFr./Fr.
son play, senior Paul Peristeris won the
While Peristeris beating out Sargent
can only be considered'a mild surprise,
what was shocking was quarterback
Brian Griese's two pooch punts against
In Carr's view, Griese simply gives
other teams one more thing to think
"Certainly we are able to throw the
ball out of that formation if the defense
dictates that," he said.
Unfortunately for Michigan, the
special teams problem has moved from
unit to the field
$gest goal unit.
T h e
inmy Wolverines had
two field goal
ar ago, attempts
rick g against Illinois
- a major
- Lloyd Carr one Carr has
foot ball coach had two weeks
to work on.
his own five-yard
line, but the
five field goals.
As a result,
ly went out and
was brought in,
and while Carr
was pleased with
view, a ye
was our A
Jabbar Threats return, the defensive line
is a concern - only one other player
with any experience at the four posi-
The schedule-makers were not exact-
ly kind to Michigan State. The Spartans
have already been blitzed on the road by
Nebraska and face Big Ten contenders
Iowa, Michigan and Penn State all away
from East Lansing. -
Saban's squad could go bowling
again, but it likely won't be thinking
roses for very long.
- Barry Sollen berger
TRACK & FIELD
TENNIS - Sgls & Dbis
GOLF - Team Scramble
TENNIS - Team
CROSS COUNTRY RUN
Pur-don't? Boilers in
for difficult season
ICE HOCKEY - Winter
RACQUETBALL - Team
BADMINTON - Team
SWIMMING & DIVING MEET
FREE THROW CONTEST
RACQUETBALL - Sgls & Dbls
TABLE TENNIS - SgIs & DbIs
Let's pray for good weather, shall we?
It would be easy to say no one could
forget last year's Michigan-Purdue
game, but then, so few people were
there, few have any memories..
Let's review: It was very cold. It was
very wet. It was very, very bad.
Michigan beat Purdue, 5-0, in a
half-empty Michigan Stadium and was
outscored by the hockey team that day.
The field was so sloppy, it could have
been used for the Mud Bowl or -
heaven forbid - the home of the
largest crowd watching a mud
wrestling event in America that day.
The football was so sloppy,the
Wolverines would probably like to for-
Purdue, however, probably would
love another -mud, rain, snow and all.
That's because the Boilermakers aren't
very good, and they probably aren't
going to' beat Michigan.
Linebacker Chike Okeafor is their
marquee player. He made 103 tackles
- 76 solo - and had four sacks last
But Okeafor is surrounded by gaping
holes, and on4he other side of the ball,
the Boilermakers are unlikely to put up
many points against the Wolverines,
who had the Big Ten's best defense last
Quarterback Rick Trefzger threw for
1,521 yards and six touchdowns in
1995, but six touchdown passes aren't
very good when you play 11 games.
West Lafayette is probably already
preparing for basketball season. Purdue
might have as many as six losses when
Michigan comes to town, and that
means seven - unless, of course, light-
So let's pray for some sun.
It might be the only thing pretty
about this one.
- Nicholas J. Cotsonika
The secondary wasn't supposed to
be a problem.
With two All-America candidates
returning - supported by a number of
experienced and talented players -
Michigan was to be a nightmare for
Well, it's still a bad dream, but
senior Clarence Thompson has made it
a lot less frightening. Thompson was
declared academically ineligible
before the season started, and with his
departure went much of Michigan's
It was a strange coincidence for a
player who had just changed his num-
ber to 13.
"It's the number I've always wanted
since I got here," Thompson said in
early August, before being declared
ineligible. "Unfortunately, Jason Carr
had it, so I had to play with something
else. So I was just hoping and took the
chance to get it."
Thompson won't get his chance, but
the Wolverines still feel lucky enough
to bet on their group led by sophomore
As a true freshman last year,
Woodson intercepted any worries
about the loss of Ty Law. He played
brilliantly, becoming a first-team All-
Big Ten selection and Big Ten
Freshman of the Year. Grabbing five
interceptions and recovering three
fumbles, he led the Wolverines in take-
But Michigan's opponents probably
won't throw away from Woodson too
much - as they did with Law -
because seniors Chuck Winters and
Steve King and sophomores Marcus
Ray and Daydrion Taylor await at safe-
ty. All are expected to see significant
Don't forget Woody Hankins, either.
A senior, Hankins has begun to grow
out of his role as a special-teams play-
er, and Michigan coach Lloyd Carr has
"Woody Hankins, if he continues to
play as he has and work like he has this
summer, will be a starter in the sec-
ondary," Carr said.
Redshirt freshman Brent
Washington will have a tough time sur-
facing, but his skills won't allow him
to drown, even with the Wolverines'
potent lineup. He is expected to see
limited action at cornerback.
True freshmen Tom Hendricks and
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