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September 17, 1997 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-17

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12 - The Michigan Daily -- Wednesday, September 17, 1997

Continued from Page 10
of the excitement.
As for the Boilermakers, their victo-
ry over the Irish can't help but conjure
up memories of another Big Ten cel-
lar-dweller turned Big Ten champion.
Northwestern was not only the
laughingstock of the Big Ten, but all of
college football, prior to the 1995 sea-
son. The Wildcats had not finished
with a .500 record since the 1971 sea-
son - and then went on to win back-
to-back Big Ten titles in '95 and '96.
And it all started with an upset over
Notre Dame in South Bend, in 1995,
before losing to Miami (Ohio) the next
game. The Wildcats still won the con-
ference title and took a trip to the Rose
The Boilermakers are following a
similar path. They lost to cupcake
Toledo in their first game and then beat
Notre Dame. Hmmm ... beat up Notre
Dame and win a Big Ten title.
It sounds good, but it probably won't
happen in West Lafayette this year. But
the win might mean that Purdue, which
did not have a winning season under
Colletto, has the power to make some
noise in the conference this year.
Big Ten has four new coaches this sea-

son trying to turn around last season's
four worst programs.
There is Ron Turner replacing Lou
Tepper at Illinois, Cam Cameron
replacing Bill Mallory at Indiana, Glen
Mason replacing Jim Wacker at
Minnesota and Tiller replacing Colletto
at Purdue.
Last year, Wacker was given an ulti-
matum: Win five games or you're
fired. He won four and got the ax.
His successor turned around the
Kansas program during his nine sea-
sons in Lawrence.
Can he do the same at Minnesota?
Can any of the four men turn their
respective programs around?
The bigger question might be: Can
any of them do it in the time frame their
respective athletic departments and
university presidents deem sufficient?
"I think it's unfair to judge or give
anyone a timetable," Saban said. "I
think if administrators were smart, they
would let people build and get better
because I think every time you make a
change, you actually set yourself back
to some degree. I think it's short-sight-
ed to just base things on wins and loss-
Hey, at least he's honest.
It took Gary Barnett three seasons to
turn Northwestern around; it should
take about the same time for these four

"They told me Sept. 13 of '97 would
be a good time to get started," Tiller
joked. "Seriously, there was no discu-
sion about how and when, except let's
grab hold of it and get started."
LOSING ILLINI: Illinois wasn't
always this bad.
The Illini have not finished with
more than five conference wins since
the 1990 season when they won the Big
Ten title.
Under current Texas coach John
Mackovic, the Illini contended for the
title in 1988 and 1989, finishing third
and second in the conference, respec-
tively, before winning in '90.
The Illini finished 2-9 overall last
year and so far this season, have lost
their first two games, falling to
Southern Mississippi and Louisville.
But then again, it took them until the
fourth game last season to even score a
At least they are scoring touchdowns
this year.
"We hurt ourselves and didn't get it
done," last week Turner said. "That's
another hurdle that we have to get
And right now, the Illini aren't even
- Danielle Rumore can be reached
via e-mail at drumore@umich.edu.

Irish look to regroup after loss

SOUTH BEND (AP) - You won't hear Bob Davie
screaming at his Notre Dame players this week or see
him getting in their faces. You won't hear the Irish hol-
lering at each other or bumping chests.
Last weekend's loss to Purdue was ugly, there's no
question about that. It dropped Notre Dame out of the
Top 25 for the first time since the end of the 1994 sea-
son, and No.17 Michigan State is up next.
But getting overly emotional on the practice field isn't
the way Davie operates, and one loss isn't going to
change that.
"I've seen teams react to losses and go out there on
Monday and do something silly like get somebody hurt
in practice," he said yesterday. "Everyone's nature is to
overreact. All of a sudden you go out there and make a
bad situation worse.
"But I'm glad to see the players realize how critical it
was to focus and get this thing turned around."
There are about as many ways to react to a loss as
there are coaches. Some take it out on the players,
screaming at them, benching them or running them
ragged at practice.
Others throw out what didn't work and start over.
Others find some outside demon - the media, fans or
an opponent - and rally against that.
Former Irish coach Lou Holtz did a little bit of every-
thing. His voice would boom across the practice field,
he'd be yelling so loudly.
Lineup changes were frequent. And there was no one
better at making even the lowliest of opponents sound

like Super Bowl champs.
But for anybody who hasn't figured it out yet, Davie
isn't Holtz. And when someone suggested Tuesday that
maybe he needs to make the Irish a little angry, Davie
"I've never had a problem getting my point across to
somebody," he said, his voice low and tight. "You
weren't on that bus coming home (from Purdue). There
were a lot of our kids that took that personally, and a lot
of coaches that took that personally, as well."
The way Davie sees it, the Irish created their own
problems and they have to find a way to fix them, not
just this week, but for the rest of the season. No punish-
ment, change or demon is enough to make them go
"I don't want to camouflage in our players' eyes what
the problems are," he said. "It is what it is. Rather than
mislead our players or ourselves, I want to solve our
problems.... I want to address it as honestly as I can."
Some of the problems are things Davie and his play-
ers are stuck with. Notre Dame doesn't have a game-*
breaking receiver and hasn't had one since Derrick
Mayes left. Autry Denson may be one of the best Irish
running backs ever, but the talent level drops off after
Only two of last year's starting front seven are back.
The defense doesn't have much depth.
"The concerns are still the concerns we had on Day
One," Davie said. "The fact we lost the game just makes
them much more glaring."


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