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November 17, 1997 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-11-17

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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - November 17, 1997 -

Wheatley
Former Michigan running back Tyrone Wheatley reflects on the 'Michigan
NFL and why he did not run the Naked Mile

As the Michigan football team is
",htingfor a trip to the Rose Bowl, let's
remember the Wolverines' last trip to
Pasadena. It was Jan 1, 1993, and
*fichigan was to face the PAC-10 cham-
pion Washington Huskies. Just one year
tr/er the Wolverines fell to that same
Huskies team, 34-14, in the
Granddaddy of them all," but the '93
matchup was different. It was different
because Michigan sophomore running
back Tyrone Wheatley ran wild - bring-
ing the roses home to Ann Arbor.
Wheatley chalked up 235 rushing yards
and three touchdowns, on runs of 56, 88
fad 24 yards.
Wheatley left the University after his
senior season as Michigan's all-time
leader in rushing touchdowns. His 47
touchdowns are 13 more than the
school's second-best rushing score,
and his 54 total scores eclipsed the
record set by Anthony Carter (1979-
1982).
A first round draft pick by the New
York Giants three years ago, Wheatley
tffered from an injury-plagued rookie
season and has not yet lived up to
expectations. But with injuries to other
backs, Wheatley has seen the ball more
this season and capitalized on those
dpportunities with several 100-yard
performances.
The Daily's Jordan Field recently
caught up with Wheatley to talk about
both the Michigan experience he had-
the Rose Bowl and homework - and the
experience he didn't have - throwing
*zarshmallows and running the Naked
-Mile.
Daily: How extensively do you fol-
low Michigan football?
_,Wheatley: I still follow it a lot. Every
,hance I get I'll check up on the team. I
still talk to a bunch of the guys. I caught
a couple glances of the games this year,
but sometimes I feel that I'm bad luck
or something. I'll be watching and
they'll be losing. But as soon as I turn
.ff the game, they'll come back to win.
This year the games have just been so
tough. Sometimes I wonder who makes
up the doggone schedules. If you look at
some other Big Ten teams, they have
such a weaker schedule than us, but you
have to take what you are given. The
*reat teams always have the toughest
schedules, and I feel that Michigan will
{ways prevail. That's how it's always
Loss leave
By Tracy Sandler
Daily Sports Writer
At least they're consistent.
Going into the weekend's home
matches against Iowa and
v innesota, the Michigan volleyball
team had completed five consecutive
weekend splits. Well, this weekend
was no different.
After sweeping the Hawkeyes (2-
13 Big Ten, 9-16 overall) on Friday
night, the Wolverines (10-6, 17-10)
fell, 3-1, to the Golden Gophers (10-
6, 20-7) on Saturday night. The loss
riot only put the Wolverines in a
fourth-place tie with Michigan State
nd Minnesota in the conference,
ut it also put them on the NCAA
tournament bubble with four match-
es to play.
Errors played a big part for both
the Wolverines and the Golden
;gophers: the Wolverines had 20 hit-
ting errors and three serving errors,
compared to 16 and seven for
Minnesota.
"It seemed like the block was big,"
aid junior middle blocker Sarah
Jackson, who recorded her 1,000th
kill against the Hawkeyes. "Maybe

that was a factor. People were trying
do hit around the block and hitting
out. Although, we didn't get blocked
too much. It was a really disappoint-
ing match. It could have been our
NCAA bid."
Although they did make some mis-
takes, the Golden Gophers had a
rIluch better match than last time
against the Wolverines. When the
two teams played on Sept. 26, the
Wolverines beat the Golden Gophers
in five games, thanks in part to
Minnesota's 29 serving errors.

been.
D: How important is reaching the
Rose Bowl every year for the
Wolverines?
W: It's very important. The Rose
Bowl is the reason for playing the sea-
son. But unfortunately, because the Big
Ten isn't part of the Alliance, we don't
always have a shot at the national title,
so reaching the Rose Bowl is the ulti-
mate goal. If we can go out to Pasadena
and beat the PAC-10 school, we have to
be in the picture for the national title. It
feels so good to get there, and then to
win it just means that you achieved the
ultimate goal that is set each season by
every Big Ten football team.
D: If beating Washington in the Rose
Bowl was your favorite on-the-field
memory, what sticks out in your mind
off the field at Michigan?
W: Pick one. There are so many.
Everything sticks out in my mind. It was
the whole experience that stands out.
From just being a college student, its
everything. Living life as a college stu-
dent is being a grown up without need-
ing to be a grown up. You can do stupid
college things and not be accountable
for them. It was very fun - days that I
definitely loved and miss. I still need to
finish up a couple credits there, and I
was talking to my brother about it, and I
told him I want to stay in the dorms
again - I'll probably be the oldest guy
in the dorms, but that's how fun it was.
Every experience I had, I'll never forget.
D: You said you loved doing crazy

college things. Did you ever run the
Naked Mile?
W: Naked Mile? No way. I don't
think I could run a mile, let alone a
naked mile. Come on now, it's always
cold after finals. There was no way I
was going to let females see me running
naked in the cold. It's a great tradition,
but not always a pretty sight.
D: I know that education is very
important to you. You majored in educa-
tion, and recently nominated a former
teacher of yours, Millie Hursin, as the
NFL's teacher of the month. How has
that impacted your decision-making
and the fact that you stayed your senior
year at Michigan rather than going pro
early?
W: It's one of those things that I
know is important. I like to be around
kids, and would like to be able to say
I've taught children. I've helped raise
my brother, and the reason I nominated
Mrs. Hursin is because she's given me a
life off the field. She's helped me out in
so many things, and shown me the
impact a teacher can have on a student.
Most of my growing came in school,
not on the football field, and I have
those people to thank for me being the
person I am today.
D: Is it fun having the Michigan con-
nection between you, Toomer and
Calloway on this team?
W: Oh yeah, it's great. We like to
tease Calloway for being "old school"
because he's been here for a while. But
we really consider each other family,

experience,' his life in the
and do a lot of things off the field. It's
great to have an old teammate here with
you again. And to be able to further your
friendship after leaving college.
D: As a metro-Detroiter, how does it
feel to come into the Silverdome and
face the Lions, a team I'm assuming
you and your family rooted for growing
up?
W: It's fun, but I know my brother is
probably still rooting for the Lions even
when I play. He's always hated every
team I've played for. He loved Notre
Dame and hated Michigan. In high
school he hated my school, Robichaud
High School, but loved the rival cross-
town school. Now, he hates the Giants
but loves the Redskins, so I've lived
with this for years and years. But I enjoy
it, it's still fun.
D: As a former student-athlete, what
are your opinions on the troubles sur-
rounding the Michigan basketball pro-
gram and the general problem of boost-
ers reaching college athletes?
W: It's tough. There are a lot of
boosters out there. Many are former col-
lege athletes and they know the rules, so
they know how to get around them. I
know a lot of guys who offered stuff to
us in college. Even though I was on
complete scholarship, I was one of the
guys on the team who didn't have much,
so it's difficult with people trying to
give you stuff. It was never tempting to
me though. (Former Michigan football)
coach (Gary) Moeller wouldn't allow
any of that, and it never crossed my
mind. He put the hammer down and let
you know the rules. Basically, I think
that the discipline for the football team
is a whole different story compared to
other Michigan sports. I know that there
are football players who get in trouble,
but there is a strict regiment laid out by
the coaches and you stick to it.
D: Now that Moeller is coaching in
the NFL, do you get a chance to speak
with him, or other teammates from col-
lege?
W: Oh yes. I speak with Coach
Moeller frequently. Just because we are
both here and there the whole season
doesn't mean we don't have the time to
talk and catch up on each other's lives.
Elvis (Grbac), Joe Cocozzo and I keep
in touch with a lot of the guys. It always
feels good to see those guys, especially
if they are successful in the NFL.

ALAN
GOLDENBACH
The Bronx Bomber
Cooper, Bostonjiust
haven't learned yet
T here's a reason why Ohio State coach John Cooper has a problem,.per-
haps even a jinx, when it comes to playing Michigan. Fans, the
media, players and everyone else have been banging their heads
against the wall trying to figure out why Cooper, who has won at all three
of his collegiate head coaching jobs in 21 years (stints at Tulsa and Arizona
State preceded his tenure at the Horseshoe), can't beat Michigan.
But Cooper's problem has nothing to do with any curse of The Maize and
Blue, nor is the 60-year-old Tennessee native incompetent when it comes to
manipulating the playbook.
Cooper simply does not know how to control his players when it comes
to "The Big Game." Twice in the past three years, he has failed to keep a
muzzle on his players' mouths, and he could pay for it again this year.
In case you haven't heard yet, since it has been plastered all over Detroit-
area television and radio in the last 24 hours, Buckeyes sophomore wide
receiver David Boston said this after Ohio State's 41-6 victory over lllinoi
Saturday: "If our offense and defense are clicking, we should beat
(Michigan) by two or three touchdowns."
He went on to say: "There's a lot riding on it for them. They're the ones
that have been sitting on top of the world. We're going to go up there and
upset them. I think we're better than Michigan."
Earth to David, Earth to David, we know you're a youngster And weren't
around a couple of years ago when some other mental midget forgot to flip
the switch on his mouth in late November. But did anyone in Columbus
ever tell you about a guy named Terry Glenn?
No?
Then see if you can remember this quote:
"Michigan is nobody. We should keep Michigan down where they bepng
just like the rest of the teams."
Glenn, the junior All-America wide receiver said those oh-so prophetic
words during the week leading up to the 1995 game in Ann Arbor.
A few days later, he was promptly shut up by an equally cocky freshman
cornerback, named Charles Woodson, who kept his mouth closed and his
mind open that week and subsequently picked off two passes that came
Glenn's way - including one in the game's final minutes - in Michigan's
31-23 upset of the second-ranked and undefeated Buckeyes.
Upon hearing Boston's words, Woodson just grinned, knowing he will
probably line up more than a few times opposite Boston next weekend, and
said tongue-in-cheek, "Well, if our offense and defense click, we should
win by two touchdowns."
You would think that the story about Glenn is one that is implanted into
the memory of every freshman as soon as they set foot in Columbus,
whether they play football or sit in a lab 18 hours a day studying microbiol-
ogy.
It's as if this stupidity is planned by the Columbus braintrust, for what
that term is worth. Both Glenn and Boston were Ohio State's, if not theBig
Ten's, best receiver each year they opened up and said more than just ahhh.
Both years the game was played in Ann Arbor. Both years the Buckeyes'
Rose Bowl hopes depended on this game.
And both years Cooper failed to do what a good coach should have.
After Ohio State destroyed Illinois, in fact, probably as the Buckeyes
were finishing off the Illini, talk of Michigan certainly started heating up
on the Ohio State bench.
Then, as soon as the Buckeyes entered their lockerroom and congratulat-
ed each other, Cooper should have simply gotten up and said something;
along the lines of, "Don't say anything about Michigan other than, 'We'e
really excited,' or 'This is our biggest game of the year and we're looking
forward to getting back at Michigan for the last two years.' Anyone who-
says anything other than that is suspended for the game. Period."
Ohio State players said, after they were told of Boston's comments, tit
Cooper told them not to say anything about Michigan until tomorrow. In
fact, that's exactly what sophomore linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer told the:
media.
Boston is certainly to blame for this act of sheer absence of common
sense, especially since his birthplace is, of all places, Humble, Texas. (You
can't make that up. He even went to a high school bearing the same name.)
But Cooper's role in this mess has to be questioned. How much do you
think he emphasized the importance of Michigan silence to his players if
Boston went right out minutes later and blabbed away about the
Wolverines? Better yet, when do you think Cooper said the part about
Michigan?
Probably right in between his lectures about how the Buckeyes are under-
rated and that they're one game away from going back to the Rose Bowl.
But not after he reminded his players how they have beaten Michigantust
once in the his nine years as the Buckeyes' coach.
You just have to wonder what they were thinking.
- Alan Goldenbach can be reached via e-mail at agold@umic/gedu.

s M' spikers onCAbubble

"First, we managed to serve the
ball in the court," Minnesota coach
Mike Hebert said. Last time they
"really felt that we didn't give our-
selves a chance to win. I thought we
had a much better serving match.
"Secondly, we sided out with very
good consistency. When you side out
in volleyball, that's the defense, sid-
ing out and preventing your oppo-
nent from scoring. If you can side
out, you give yourself a chance to
win.
"Then we had Nicole Branagh
swinging at the ball. She had a hot
night. I'd say those three things were
the highlights for us."
Speaking of Branagh, the fresh-
man outside hitter had 25 kills and a
.370 hitting percentage, helping to
lead the Golden Gophers to a 62-
kill, .319-hitting percentage perfor-
mance.
"We needed to win this game,"
Branagh said. "Things came together
in the first, third and fourth games.
The second game wasn't quite the
same. We came out strong after the
break and really focused on what we
needed to accomplish tonight."
The Golden Gophers pretty much
dominated the entire match, winning
the first game by a score of 15-7. The
Wolverines came out in the second
match with a vengeance and cruised
to a 15-1 victory, but that was where
the bright spots ended for Michigan.
In the third game, the Wolverines
were down, 12-2, when they got a
sideout. They then scored on a
Minnesota hitting error and were
able to put together a six- point scor-
ing sequence, before Minnesota got
the ball back and finished the game

with a 15-8 win. The fourth game
ended in a 15-7 Minnesota victory.
"We didn't do the little things that
we normally do right," said senior
setter Linnea Mendoza, who record-
ed her 1,000th dig against the
Golden Gophers. "Our passing was
inconsistent, which makes the
offense inconsistent. We weren't in a
groove."
Meanwhile, this loss leaves many
unanswered questions in reference to
the NCAA tournament.
With four matches remaining, the
Wolverines are hardly out of the run-
ning, but the loss makes the next two
weekends more difficult for
Michigan.
The Wolverines play on the road
next weekend against Indiana and
Penn State, before finishing the sea-
son at home against Ohio State and
Purdue.
"We definitely have to go 2-2,"
Michigan coach Greg Giovanazzi
said. "2-2 gives us 12 wins. They've
never left home a 12-8 team. We'd
like to get a hold of Ohio State, and
we'll let Penn State take care of
itself. It'll be a tough match on the
road. We'll play our hardest and see

how that one comes out. We're not
going to waste a week of practice
this week on Penn State. We're going
to go after Indiana, try to pick them
apart and treat them like we did last
time."
As far as the road ahead is con-
cerned, the Wolverines have one
goal, and that is to go to the NCAA
tournament.
Although that goal could some-
times be a distraction from each indi-
vidual match, the Wolverines know
that without focus, there will be no
tournament.
"For me, the goal is fun," Mendoza
said. "We have four matches left.
This is it. If I don't personally play
well now, I don't want to look back
and regret what I could have done.
There's a lot more than just the tour-
nament for me.
"We've never experienced it.
We're hungry for it. There's so much
more emotion going in. It's too bad
you can't put the feeling inside other
people. You have to wait until you're
fourth year, four games away to real-
ize the significance and importance
of the whole thing."

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