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December 10, 1997 - Image 19

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-12-10

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 10, 1997 - 19

WOODSON
Continued from Page 17
*vho are saying that I'm the best and
that I deserve it, and then those same
people say I won't win it," Woodson
said. "1 don't understand. What are
you judged on?"
According to its sponsor, New
York's Downtown Athletic Club, the
award annually goes to the "most
outstanding college football player
in the United States." And a growing
%iorps of Woodson supporters -
cluding Detroit Lions running
back Barry Sanders, who gets a vote
as a former winner - has said he is
just that.
Even Washington State quarter-
back Ryan Leaf, a Heisman finalist
who will test Woodson in the Rose
Bowl on Jan. 1, said Woodson "does
so many things for his team, that
makes him the best college football
layer. I'll just ride on (Woodson's
,nd Manning's) coattails and go to
New York to hang out with them."
Ohio State Coach John Cooper
said: "I'd vote for Woodson. His punt
return reminded me a little bit of
Howard's. It was a good punt. We
had guys down there. I don't know
how many tackles he broke. He's an
outstanding football player."
Woodson, who has played signifi-
cant minutes on both sides of the ball
or the past two years, has rather
humble statistics this season.
His offensive yardage total has
been eclipsed by Manning in single
games, and his defensive statistics
aren't record-breaking. But his team-
mates argue that he has more of an
effect on games than anyone else
does.
As good as he is offensively, he's
better defensively. He lines up at cor-
Oerback on the wide side of the field
or in the slot every snap and is rarely
tested, intercepting nearly a third of
the passes thrown in his direction.
When speaking of Woodson
recently, Michigan Coach Lloyd
Carr said that "big players come up
big in big games." Carr was referring
to 'the Ohio State game, in which
Woodson also intercepted a pass in
the end zone and caught a 37-yard
ass that set up the Wolverines' only
offensive touchdown.
"I think it's obvious he's the best
player in America," Michigan quar-
terback Brian Griese said. "The
spark he gives our team is something
that can't be matched. I don't think
any player in the country does that
for his team.'
Woodson has helped make the
Wolverines winners. Michigan,
!hich had suffered four straight
our-loss seasons, is 11-0 for the
first time since 1971 and has a
chance to win its first national title
since 1948. Its intimidating defense
was ranked as the nation's best for
the majority of the season.
"The Michigan swagger is back,
and Charles is the one who restored
it," co-captain Jon Jansen said. "The
feeling is like, 'We're better than
ou';and you aren't going to beat us.'
nndthat's been missing for a while."
Despite his considerable self-con-
fidence, Woodson has remained one
ofthe. most popular players on the
teM-When asked who is his top
choice for the Heisman, he said,
"Me." But Woodson has recognized
when it is time to talk and when it
isn't. He won't trash-talk before a
game, he said, because "we're not
supposed to do that at Michigan."
'And postgame chatter, no matter
how heady, isn't cocky "if you've
backed it up on the field."
Carr said Woodson's Heisman can-

didacy could "only harm the team if
we let it take precedent over obtain-
ing our team goals. I am proud that
Charles is not a selfish person, and if
it came down to winning a champi-
onship or winning the Heisman,
Charles would choose the champi-
unship."
After al, a national title is what
Woodson wanted most when he
defected from Fremont, Ohio, his

small-town home in Buckeyes coun-
try. He always rooted for the
Wolverines despite his friends, who
wore scarlet and gray almost every
day, and he said he always has hoped
for one thing.
"I want a ring," he said after
Michigan's 24-3 victory over
Minnesota Nov. 1, a game in which
he scored a 33-yard touchdown on a
reverse. "I want a big, fat ring with a
lot of diamonds in it. If I get that,
and the Heisman doesn't come
around, I'll still be happy. I'll be set."
Woodson's quick smile and quick
feet should earn him a mountain of
endorsement dollars and a lucrative
NFL contract as soon as he pursues
them. He could be another three-way
star such as the Dallas Cowboys'
Deion Sanders, But, since he is a
junior, the NFL draft is about the
only subject he doesn't care to touch
on, yet.
Embroiled in the emotion of the
Wolverines' victory over Ohio State,
Woodson spoke with a rose in his
mouth on the field at Michigan
Stadium and told a reporter he would
return for his senior season. Last
week, however, he was more
reserved.
"I have to sit down and talk to my
mom after the season," Woodson
said. "We'll lay everything out, and
we'll make a decision from there."
For now, Woodson is trying to
enjoy the moment. After accepting
the Walter Camp award last week, he
frowned a bit and said he didn't think
it would improve his chances of win-
ning the Heisman, though nine of the
past 10 Camp winners have gone on
to win it.
But he celebrated anyway.
That night at Rick's, the campus
club, Woodson settled into a quiet
corner and played pool, far away
from the commotion of the throbbing
dance floor. He stood in line to check
his coat and looked very human at
the pool table.
First shot - scratch. His team-
mates ribbed him: "You can't play!
You have no game!" He just smiled,
pointing to the television overhead.
And there he was, running back
that punt against Ohio State all over
again, but this time with the
Heisman rotating under a golden
light in the corner of the screen as
analysts speculated about his
chances of winning it.
No one said a word as Woodson,
laughing, finally struck his Heisman
pose, tucking the eight ball under his
right arm.
"Yeah, he said, "now that's more
like it."

JOHN KRAFT/"Dily
Michigan freshman defenseman Dave Huntzicker, an Ann Arbor native, invited several of his teammates over to his home over Thanksgiving break and should be doing
the same sometime during winter break as well, when Michigan plays six games over the intersession.
Michiganhoo seek 10th st ht
GL title beforoe hosting Bukye

By Chris Farah
Daily Sports Writer
Winter break. A time to forget about
classes for a while, visit old friends and
family back home. A time to relax,
watch some TV, kick back and enjoy
life.
A time to play hockey. Lots of it.
The Michigan hockey team, like
most of the student body, will be travel-
ing over break. But most of the
Wolverines' traveling will be done, not
to their home towns, but down the street
to Yost Ice Arena, and across the state
for a few away games.
The Wolverines have a full slate of
contests over their "vacation." Before
finals get done with, Michigan faces
Western Michigan, first Friday night at
Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, and
then Saturday night at home.
Two weeks later, the Wolverines take
part in the 33rd Great Lakes Invitational
- a tournament they won the last nine
years. The GLI will feature St.
Lawrence, Michigan State and
Michigan Tech, along with the
Wolverines.
Michigan will match up against the
Saints on Dec. 27, at Joe Louis Arena.
Depending on the outcome of the open-
ing round games, the Wolverines will
play either the Spartans or the Huskies
the next day.
As if that isn't enough, Michigan has
a two-game series with Ohio State at
Yost, from Jan. 2-3.
When it comes down to it, the
Wolverines' break isn't going to be
much of a break at all. But although it
may be tough for some Wolverines to
get a little R&R at home, going home
for the holidays won't be tough for one
player.
Freshman defenseman Dave
Huntzicker is a native of Ann Arbor,
graduating from Pioneer High School
in 1995 - after which he spent two
years playing with the Compuware
Ambassadors of the North American
Hockey League.
While other Wolverines may not be
able to spend much time at home over

the next few weeks, Huntzicker may not
have much peace and quiet at home,
either. Over Thanksgiving break, when
Michigan also had games scheduled,
Huntzicker's family had some of the
Wolverines over for dinner.
And Huntzicker is expecting more
company over Winter vacation.
"I did have a few guys over" for
Thanksgiving, Huntzicker said. "I know
for one, my roommate Mark (Kosick) is
going to be spending time with us (over
winter break). I'm not sure about the
other guys."
Other members of the team who live
close to Ann Arbor - like freshman
Scott Matzka, from Port Huron - also
have teammates home for the holidays.
Huntzicker said his family enjoys
hosting his fellow Wolverines.
"They seem to like it," he said. "The
guys are really nice when they go over
to my house. I tell them to be respectful
and stuff, but that's never been a prob-
lem.
"It works out nice. The guys get a

nice home-cooked meal, and they enjoy
that. And my parents enjoy the compa-
ny."
The Wolverines will need any extra
rest they can get with such a busy
schedule of games. But Huntzicker said
it will be nice to focus on hockey, with-
out worrying about things like school.
Considering that Michigan will have
to deal with the CCHA race along with
continuing their streak of titles at the
GLI, the Wolverines will have enough
to do without attending classes.
"We've got two big games against
Western coming up this weekend,"
Huntzicker said. "I'm sure there'll be
some pressures building up as we move
closer to (the GLI). That's not our main
focus right now.
"Being from Ann Arbor, I understand
that (the GLI) is a big tournament. I
understand that it's been Michigan's
tournament for the past nine years. We'd
definitely like to continue that and do
what we can to come away with it
again."

PEACEFUL
DRAGON
SCHOOL OF
T'Al CHI CH UAN
CoMP HMWIeev PROGRAM
* Relaxetion * Coordination
*GeneraI well-being
ImrPumt WAsentho Young
28 years experience
CLASSES BEGIN JANUARY 6

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