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October 17, 1997 - Image 20

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-17
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0

0

01ber 18, 1997 - Fa

QUICK INFO-

6 - The Michigan Daily - Footbal Saturday - October 11, 1997

-NA'IMIR~C

F

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Rags to riches
Brian Griese returns for the season
nobody thought he'd have

Iowa'
1996 Record: 6-2 Big Ten (tie-3rd
place), 9-3 overall
Coach: Hayden Fry, 19th season
Last meeting: Michigan 29, Iowa 14;
Oct. 1, 1994
Overall series: Michigan leads, 34-8-4
Key players
RB Tavian Banks, Sr.
QB Matt Sherman, Sr.
WR Tim Dwight, Sr.
MICHIGAN
LEADERS

The two-deep4

Wman

-U

By Alan Goldenbach
Daily Sports Editor
S even games ago, there was
no doubt about it. Not even
a glimmer of hope for the
man with such a strong genetic
background in this sport to assume
Michigan's starting quarterback
job.
Brian Griese was clearly
entrenched in the role of backup.
And if Michigan's fans had the
choice, he still might be in that
position. Scott Dreisbach was the
darling of the fans, an image cre-
ated after he wowed them in his
collegiate debut in 1,995's season-
opener, when he set numerous
school records in Michigan's 18-
17 come-from-behind victory over
Virginia.
And three games later, after
Dreisbach hurt his thumb and was
forced out of the lineup for the
rest of the season, he still
remained in the hearts of
Michigan's faithful. After taking
over for the Wolverines' fallen
hero, Griese took an undefeated
Michigan team, led it to victory in
his starting debut and then to a ...
4-4 record and a loss to Texas
A&M in the not-so-glamourous
Alamo Bowl.
"Quite honestly, I wasn't very
pleased with Brian's progression
from that point to the end of the sea-
son," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr
said. "1 just didn't think he came
along like I thought he would."

So it came to no one's surprise
that when 1996 rolled around, fans
couldn't wait to see Dreisbach
back under center and Griese back
holding the clipboard on the side-
lines, occasionally making an
appearance as a pooch-punter.
But when Michigan's biggest
game of the season rolled around,
the Nov. 23 affair at Ohio State,
the gods were smiling upon
Griese, who had defeated the
undefeated Buckeyes the previous
year. An ineffective first half by
Dreisbach led Carr to make the
gutsiest decision of his brief head
coaching career - replace the
golden boy for the one who many
thought was responsible for
Michigan's second-half decline in
1995.
All Griese did was lead the
Wolverines to their second-
straight victory over Ohio State.
He followed that up with a valiant
effort in Michigan's three-point
loss to Alabama in the Outback
Bowl. Suddenly, the outcast, the
backup, the one who many felt his
most valuable limb to Michigan
was his right leg, was the fans'
choice.
But the key was whether he
would be Carr's choice come fall
1997.
"I was playing well at the end of
last season, and all I wanted was a
chance," Griese said. "I wanted to
carry that over, play hard and con-
tinue to do well during spring

ball."
Apparently, he carried that over
into fall ball as well, giving Carr
no other option but to give him the
starting nod just three days prior
to Michigan's season-opener
against Colorado.
"I kind of had the feeling I was
going to be the guy," Griese said.
"I'd been taking some more snaps
in practice, and I felt good about
the way I was playing."
Now, five games (and five vic-
tories) into the 1997 campaign, the
former backup is surpassing each
and every expectation of him with
every snap he takes.
He has completed two-thirds of
his passes, seven of them for
touchdowns, thrown just one inter-
ception in his 134 attempts, and is
on pace to throw for the second-
most yards in a season in
Michigan history.
It becomes all the more improb-
able considering where Griese was
just seven games ago and even
especially, two years ago.
"There isn't any question there's
been an amazing transformation,"
Carr said. "It proves the point that
as coaches, developing the quar-
terback and becoming a quarter-
back is a process. It takes time.
"Brian Griese has developed
leaps and bounds from wherc he
was (two years ago)."
Seven games later, there still is
no doubt about Griese's position
on this team.

Wide Receiver
18 Damon Gibson
4 Richard Carter
Left Tackle
81 Chris Knipper
78 Billy Brann
Left Guard
76 Matt Reischl
69 Shalor Pryor
Center
64 Derek Rose
67 Chad Deal
Right Guard
79 Mike Goff
57 Keith Rigtrup
Right Tackle
68 Jeremy McKinney
72 Josh Burr

Wide Receiver
6 Tim Dwight
25 Richard Willock
Quarterback
12 Matt Sherman
13 Randy Reiners
Fullback
85 Michael Burger
35 Trevor Bollers
Running Back
22 Tavian Banks
31 Rob Thien
Tight End
82 Jed Dull OR
86 Austin Wheatley
Placekicker
38 Zach Bromert
17 Kurt Hintz

-1

Defensive End
56 James Hall
57 Chris Singlet
Defensive Tackle
91 Josh William:
95 Pat Kratus
Nose Tackle
58 Rob Renes
94 Eric Wilson
Defensive End
81 Glen Steele
90 Juaquin Feaz
Outside Unebac
43 Clint Copenh
45 Jeff Holtry
Cornerback
30Andre Weath
5 James Whitley

PASSING
Player C-A
Griese 89-134
Brady 12-15

Yds
1052
103

TD
7
0

Int
1
0

Kapsner 2-3 21 0 0

RUSHING
Player Att
Howard 71
Thomas 54
C. Williams 36
Floyd 32
RECEIVING
Player No.
C. Williams 17
Howard 16
Streets 14
Tuman 13
Shaw 12
Floyd 7
Thomas 6
Woodson 5
McCall 5
PUNTING
Player
Vinson
Griese

Yds
347
226
181
117
Yds
121
117
187
249
133
83
57
125
32
No.
19
2

Avg
4.9
4.2
5.0
3.6
Avg
7.1
7.3
13.4
19.2
11.1
111.9
9.5
25.0
6.4
Yds
778
76

:1
1
1
L
1
4
5
A
4

.g TD
30 3
L9 2
L6 1
.4 2
Lg TD
L9 0
L3 1
11 2
>3 2
24 1
1.3 0
26 0
35 1
L0 0
vg Lg
.9 53
LO 39
Lg TD
28 0

s

Left End Linebacker
28 Jason House 54 Brandon Phearse
19 Jeff Kramer 49 Jeff McCracken
Left Tackle Cornerback
94 Jared DeVries 26 Ed Gibson
98 Ed Saidat 11 Joe Slattery
Nose Guard ยข Strong Safety
90 Aron Klein 15 Kerry Cooks
96 Corey Brown 33 J.P. Lange
Right Tackle Free Safety
55 Jon LaFleur 21 Eric Thigpen
72 Epenesa Epenesa 19 Matt Bowen
Right End Corerback
42 Tariq Peterson 2Plez Atkins
48 Ryan Loftin 2 Tarig Holman
Linebacker Punter
37 Matt Hughes 86 Austin Wheatley
44 Raj Clark 26 Kit Kyarsgaard

Wide Receiver
86 Tai Streets
85 Marcus Knig
Left Tackle
79 Jeff Backus
73 Paul TannouE
Left Guard
76 Steve Hutchi
67 David Brandt
Center
68 Zack Adami
64 Steve Frazie
Right Guard
52 Chris Ziemai
68 Zach Adami
Right Tackle
77 Jon Jansen
71 Jeff Potts

PAUL TALANIAN/Daily
Brian Griese wasn't expected to be one of the Big Ten's top-rated passers, but the fifth-year
senior has been almost perfect, throwing only one interception all season.

Defense will have to lead this Michi an team

You can hear them now. All the believers
counting down until the Penn State
game, making plane reservations to
California (and Florida, just in case).
But this time, there is no doubt the
Wolverines have the kind of defense that can
win games all by itself. Two touchdowns
allowed all season. The six points that
Northwestern put on the scoreboard actually
raised Michigan's points per game average
from 5.0 to 5.2, still tops in the nation.
Well, if the 5-0 Wolverines want this year to
different from the last four, their defense bet-
ter win games, because the offense probably
won't.
Not that they've been bad with ball - they
haven't -- but Mike DeBord's offense is meant
to control the ball and make the most of its
opportunities. The only problem is, sometimes,
Michigan can't even hold onto the ball.
Twice against Northwestern, Michigan fum-
bled the ball away. The first time Michigan quar-
terback Brain Griese was smacked, but the sec-
ond time, Russell Shaw just caughed the ball up.

Three times in the fourth quarter against
Notre Dame the Wolverines fumbled the ball
in their own end of the field. And three times
the defense came to the offense's rescue, hold-
ing the Fighting Irish pointless when a Notre
Dame touchdown could
have cost Michigan the
game.
"We just can't keep giv-
ing away the football,"
Michigan coach Lloyd
Carr said. "We can't do
that against the teams that
JOHN were going to play next.
LEROI "Offensively, we were
Out of bad in the red zone. But
Bounds our defense rose to the
occasion again and con-
tinued to give us the ball."
Sure enough, there was Charles Woodson
with his third interception of the season.
There was Josh Williams dragging down
Northwestern quarterback Tim Hughes two
times for sacks. There was Dhani Jones stop-

ping Adrian Autry for no gain.
Granted, the Wolverines haven't been play-
ing the deadliest of offensive teams lately, but
their defense seems to get better and stingier
every game. They've only allowed two touch-
downs all year.
Both of Northwestern's scores were pretty
weak - a 52-yard field goal from Brian
Gowins and a 42-yarder that clanged off the
post before it went in.
For the second straight game, Michigan's
opponent had negative rushing yards in the
first half. Northwestern didn't fare much bet-
ter in the second, gaining just 35 yards on the
ground.
It's almost as if the Wolverines' defense is
playing a game, seeing if they can outplay an
opponent all by itself. Nothing fancy, just
tough, aggressive defense.
"If our offense scores one touchdown, that
should be enough," Michigan outside line-
backer Clint Copenhaver said. "Our offense
isn't a problem right now, but even if it were,
we'd good enough to win games anyway."

Griese certainly isn't the problem. The
fifth-year senior turned in another fine perfor-
mance Saturday, completing 23 of 36 passes
for 244 yards two touchdowns and no inter-
ceptions. But Michigan can't seem to shake
off its pension for stupid penalties and
turnovers that may prove costly when the big
boys start rolling into town, starting with next
week's game with Iowa.
"We still haven't put an entire game togeth-
er yet," Carr said. "And that means not turn-
ing the ball over."
Because if the defense holds up and offense
doesn't turn the ball over - we all know what
happened last year against Ohio State - only
good things can happen. Right now, though,
that's all contingent on the defense.
"As an offense, we feed off our defense,"
Griese said. "Our defense was just outstand-
ing, we can't ask for anything more. Now we
have to do our job and get the ball in the end
zone."
- John Leroi can be reached via e-mail at
jrleroi@umich.edu.

KICKOFF RETURNS
Player No. Yds
C. Williams 9 192
PUNT RETURNS
Player No. Yds
Shaw 4 45
Woodson 12 87
Whitley 2 8
DEFENSE
Player Solo
Sword 28
Jones 24
Ray 18
Mayes 15
Hendricks 15
Woodson 17
J. Williams 14
Steele 12
Renes 12
Hall 11
Weathers 10
Copenhaver 9
Peterson 11
Taylor 10
Whitley 8
Gold 6
Feazell 5
Wilson 3
Patmon 3
Frysinger 5
PASS DEFENSE
Player int Yds
Woodson 3 3
Hendricks 2 0
Copenhaver 1 19
Jones 1 17
Patmon 1 0
Taylor 1 0
Ray 0.0

Asst
15
13
18
10
10
5
8
8
7
8
7
7
4
3
2
4
5
4
4
0

Tot
43
37
36
25
25
22
22
20
19
19
17
16
15
13
10
10
10
7
7
5

Avg
21.3
Avg
11.5
7.3
4.0

Staff
Picks
- all picks made
against the
spread.

Lg
22
20
5

TD
0
0
0

Mm*AA

N

Game (HOME TEAM IN CAPS)
MICHIGAN (-7) vs. Iowa
Michigan St. (-13) vs. NORTHWESTERN
OHIO STATE (-34) vs. Indiana
PENN STATE (-34) vs. Minnesota
PURDUE (-2) vs. Wisconsin
Florida (-1 1/2),vs. AUBURN
FLORIDA STATE (-23) vs. Georgia Tech
NOTRE DAME (-6) vs. Southern Cal
STANFORD (-1 1/2) vs. Arizona State
Tennessee (8 1/2) vs. ALABAMA
Best Bet
Last week
Overall
Overall best bet

NICHOLAS J.
COTSONIKA
Michigan
Northwestern
Ohio State
Minnesota
Wisconsin
Florida
Florida State
Notre Dame
Arizona State
Tennessee
Tennessee
7-3
38-30
2-4

ALAN
GOLDENBACH
Michigan
Michigan State
Ohio State
Minnesota
Wisconsin
Auburn
Florida State
Notre Dame
Arizona State
Tennessee
Michigan State
8-2
33-35
3-3

JOHN
LEROI

Michig
Michigan
Ohio S
Minnes
Wiscor
Aubu
FloridaS
Notre C
Stanfo
Tenne
Tennes
6-4
35-1
2-4

Lg
2
0
19
17
0
0
0t

Brk-up
0
1
0
1
0
0
3

TD
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

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