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September 11, 1997 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-11
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Griese, Dreisbach battle for QB
position behind new-look line

New-look Notre Dame renews storied, old rivalry

Lloyd Carr should have known bet-
ter. There's something mystical about
things happening on New Year's Day
coming back to haunt you.
The Michigan coach jinxed himself
at the press conference following last
season's Outback Bowl defeat against
Alabama, when he was questioned
about something that has subsequently
become a four-letter word in his
vocabulary - quarterbacks.
"The last thing I want to do is start a
quarterback controversy," Carr fateful-
ly said nipe months ago.
Imagine, then, what may have been
some of the things that he most want-
ed to do.
Whether he admits it or not, Carr
has the most troubling dilemma for a
football coach on his hands. What may
please this master of second-guessing
is that the quarterback decision will
not be completely resolved this season
unless Brian Griese or Scott Dreisbach
can make fans forget about Michigan
failing to land a high-schooler named
Peyton Manning four years ago.
Both Griese and Dreisbach have
their strong points, but they each serve
as the other's biggest enemy to earning
the job outright because of what
makes them attractive to Carr as a
starter. Griese, as evidenced by his
leading Michigan to a second-half
comeback against Ohio State last year
and performing admirably in defeat
against Alabama, possesses more lead-
ership qualities and seems to have a
better overall field sense while in the
His arm, however, is nothing short
of mediocre. Dreisbach, on the other
hand, has a stronger arm and is clearly
the better overall athlete. His 72-yard
touchdown scamper against Illinois
last season showed that, if need be, he

can effectively scramble. He's also the
sentimental choice for some, if that's
possible, because of the record-setting
debut he turned in against Virginia in
the 1995 season-opener throwing for
372 yards on 27 completions.
But Dreisbach's confidence level
has to be questioned. After all, his
name was practically etched in stone
as the team's signal-caller for most of
the 1996 campaign, becoming only the
fourth Wolverine to throw for more
than 2,000 yards in a season. Then,
almost suddenly, a subpar half against
Ohio State and a season's worth of
pounding caught up to him and cost
him his job for Michigan's two biggest
games of the season.
Regardless of who Carr ultimately
chooses, this scenario is just a disaster
waiting to happen. Even though Carr
adamantly says his decision will be
final and a two-quaterback system
similar to that of Ohio State's - where
Stanley Jackson and Joe Germaine
alternate halves - is out of the ques-
tion, the starter will always feel threat-
ened knowing there is a backup just as
capable licking his chops to regain his
With that said, how effective can
the starter be if he has to constantly be
looking over his shoulder wondering if
his next interception or failed third-
down conversion means a seat on the
-Alan Goldenbach
The starter
Pos. No. Name Yr./Elig.
QB 12 Scott Dreisbach Sr./Jr.
or 14 Brian Griese 5/Sr.
The backups
QB 10 Tom Brady Jr./So.
QB 13 Jason Kapsner So./Fr.

Michigan coach Uoyd Carr isn't tipping his hand as to who will be the quarter-
back, but indications are that fifth-year senior Brian Griese will run the offense.

Offensive line
With last year's MVP, center Rod
Payne, gone to graduation along with
guard Damon Denson and tackle
Thomas Guynes, the Wolverines lost a
side of beef - the left side - on an
offensive line that was erratic at best last
season. Most days, when the running
game sputtered, there were no holes
through which to run.
This season, the Wolverines have
shuffled things up a bit to compensate.
Redshirt freshman Jeff Backus, who
missed spring practice while recovering
from surgery to repair a ruptured appen-
dix, will play left tackle. Fifth-year
senior Zach Adami has started the
Wolverines' past 23 games, but he will
leave his entrenched spot at right guard
to play center. Sophomore Chris
Ziemann was expected to battle Backus
for time at left tackle but will start at
right guard instead to replace Adami.
Ziemann's move leaves sophomore
Steve Frazier, considered full of potential
by coach Lloyd Carr, on the bench.
Redshirt freshman Steve Hutchinson had
an excellent spring and will start at left
guard, backed up by highly heralded red-
shirt freshman Paul Tannous.
Through it all, the anchor will be co-
captain Jon Jansen, a 6-foot-7, 290-
pound junior who could be an All-
American this season. A third-year
starter, Jansen is playing his second sea-
son at right tackle and has started the
Wolverines' past 25 games.
Nimble enough to be recruited and
redshirted as a tight end. Jansen has the
quick feet and good hands that, when
combined with his bulk, could make him
a high NFL draft pick if he were to
forego his final year of eligibility this
winter. But Jansen has given no indica-
tion that he will.
"Being named captain' is the greatest
honor ever for me in sports," said Jansen,
who was an All-Big Ten honorable men-
tion in 1996 and a frequent dream-team
selection in high school. "To be elected
by your peers to lead them in battle is one
of the greatest honors anyone can have,
especially at Michigan. It is a wonderful
honor to be in such an elite group."
Carr has plenty of praise for Jansen.
"Jon Jansen is smart, tough and deter-
mined," Carr said. "There is no question
that he will be a great leader."
- Nicholas JCotsonika
Offensive Line
The starters
Ps. No. NameYr.Elg.
LT 79 Jeff ckus SoFr.
LG 76 Steve Hutchinson So./Fr.
C 68 Zach Adami s/Sr.
RG 52 Chris Ziemann Jr./So.
RT 77 Jon Jansen Sr./Jr.
The backups
C 64 Steve Frazier Jr./So
G 67 .avid Brandt So./Fr.
G 73 Paul Tannous So,/Fr.
T 72 Ben Mast Fr./Fr.
T 71 Jeff Potts Jr./So.

Michigan is the only school with more
all-time victories than Notre Dame (764-
747), but the Fighting Irish are quick to
point out that the Wolverines have played
eight more seasons.
And Michigan is the only school still
competitive in the modern era that has
played Notre Dame more than four times
and holds a winning record in the series
(15-10-1). But the Irish are quick here,
too, pointing out that eight Michigan
victories came before 1909.

About all that is clear amid the strug-
gle for bragging rights is that this is a bit-
ter, storied rivalry that is finally being
renewed after a two-year hiatus. The
Wolverines are scheduled to play the
Irish every year until 2010 - except for
2000 and 2001 - and the games are
likely to be good.
The combined score for the past six
games has Notre Dame ahead, 134-133.
Six of the past seven games have been
decided by five points or less.

The Irish, of course, have a new look
this season. In addition to the S50 mil-
lion renovation of Notre Dame Stadium,
Lou Holtz resigned just short of Knute
Rockne's school record for coaching vic-
tories to pave the way for rookie Bob
Davie. Senior quarterback Ron Powlus is
a four-year starter and holds the school
record for career touchdown passes with
43. The Heisman Trophy hype that once
smothered him is now gone, freeing him
to work within a pass-oriented offense

that should expose his considerable tal-
ent. Junior tailback Autry Denison is now
the Irish's Heisman hopeful.
But even with Powlus and Autry, not
to mention defensive coordinator Greg
Mattison, who coached at Michigan the
past five years, Davie's first spin in this
Porsche of programs could be bumpy.
"It's like a new car," Davie said.
"Sometimes, the first time you drive it,
you don't know how it handles."
- Nicholas .1 Cotsonika

Bears have feeble growl

Against Michigan: Sept. 20
Where: Michigan Stadium


The first and last time Michigan
played Baylor, the Wolverines were
the ninth-ranked team in the country
and Baylor was unranked, yet the
Bears walked out of Ann Arbor with a
14-14 tie. The year was 1975.
Now, 22 years later and despite the
Wolverines' lower national ranking,
another tie is not expected. The
Wolverines should not have a problem
topping Baylor in the Wolverines'
second non-conference matchup of
the season.
The Bears finished 4-7 overall and
at the bottom of the Big 12 Southern
Division last season. They hope to
changS things this season with new

coach Dave Roberts and a new pass-
ing attack.
Offensively, the Bears are solid in
most areas. Quarterbacks Jeff Watson
and Jermaine Alfred both have play-
ing experience. Watson passed for
3,981 yards and 25 touchdowns over
the past three seasons, and Alfred
passed for 1,148 yards and eight
touchdowns last year.
Baylor's ground game is decent.
Running back Jerod Douglas is the
No. 3 runner in school history. The
problems arise with the Bears' thin
receiving corps and lack of depth on
the offensive and defensive lines.
A tough schedule, like playing at

1996 Record: 1-7 Big 12 (6th place
Southern Division), 4-7 overall
Coach: Dave Roberts, 1st season
Last meeting: Michigan 14,
Baylor 14; Sept. 27, 1975
Overall series: Tied, 0-0-1,
Key players
QB Jeff Watson, Sr.
RB Jerod Douglas, Sr.
LB Jason Jackson, So.
Michigan next week, may reduce the
Bears to a mere wimper this season.
- Danielle Rumore

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