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October 22, 1998 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-22

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14A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 22, 1998

Is Carr seeing double? Two
Randle Els give foes trouble

1w,77 7W.

By SharatRaju
Day Sports Editor
4t's like a bad action-adventure movie,
w'th the same actor playing both the
good guy and the bad guy - there are
tir of them!
ZThem' refers to players on Indiana's
football team with the words 'Randle'
ad El' on their backs. There is
Attwaan, the do-everything quarter-
back, and Curtis, the anchor in the
defensive backfield.
.Antwaan is a redshirt freshman and
Cirtis is a junior.
Simple enough, right? Well, the
Randle El brothers are everywhere, giv-
ing opposing coaches fits.
"I think Randle El is an extremely
good football player in his own right ...
wait, excuse me - I mean his brother,"
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said.
Both are 5-10, small and shifty.
Antwaan wears No. II and Curtis wears
No. 10. But it's Antwaan who is getting
all the publicity so far. In all six of their
games, victories and losses have rested
upon the shoulders of the diminutive
Riverdale, Ill., native.
The Hoosiers are among the leaders in
the conference in passing - Antwaan's
dying. They also lead the Big Ten in
rushing -- also Antwaan's work. Who
else would carry the ball, the running
backs?
'No way, not with this guy under cen-
ter.

This season, the younger Randle El
averages 75.3 yards per game on the
ground and 189.8 yards per game in the
air.
Often, the Hoosiers run the option,
and consequently they lead the Big Ten
in rushing.
The Hoosiers, because of Randle El,
are one of the only teams in the Big Ten
to run the option successfully this sea-
son.
"He's not as big as (Syracuse's
Donovan) McNabb but he's every bit as
dangerous," Carr said. "The thing about
Randle El is that he pitches the ball with
people draped all over him and he man-
ages to get it out."
In fact, they have been so successful
that they have been in a position to win
every single game they've played, only
to sport a 3-3 record.
The only real problem going into the
season was where to play Antwaan.
Tailback? Quarterback? Cornerback ?
Wide receiver?
"Antwaan Randle El will play some-
where," said Indiana football coach Cam
Cameron before the season stared.
How about point guard? Yeah, he's
going to play point guard for Bobby
Knight's basketball team, as well.
Cameron, his football coach, also did the
same when he was an athlete at Indiana.
"When you're dealing with a guy
who's also going to be a point guard at
Indiana, you're dealing with a special

athlete,' Carr said.
Don't forget baseball. He also was
drafted by the Chicago Cubs out of high
school, so he might play baseball as
well. Just for kicks.
For now, Antwaan torments defenses
just as he did throughout his high school
career two years ago. At Thornton High,
Antwaan received numerous scholar-
ship offers, but turned down a chance to
play at Nebraska or Ohio State in favor
of the Hoosier state.
And at Indiana, another Randle El
had already made a name for himself.
Curtis, spearheads the Indiana sec-
ondary.
Randle El - Curtis, that is -is
part of a resurgent defensive secondary
that now utilizes zone coverage and
swarms the ball better. Although they
are still third from the bottom in total
defense, they have improved from last
year's second-to-last finish defensively.
'"They've done a good job against the
big play," Carr said. "That's the thing
that impresses me."
The Hoosiers have been impressing
everyone and could very easily be 6-0,
had it not been for late-game collapses.
Indiana is suddenly a dangerous
team, in large part to one family. Rumor
has it they have a little brother - who
is even better.
Maybe he plays basketball, baseball,
football and hockey. Too bad there's no
ice in Indiana.

,__.. 'aMMgd
, ..
-
qW f 4
.
q. 1
M
(;<
.;
.
J
1
F

I .............. . i

APqo
Remember Donovan McNabb? Indiana quarterback Antwaan Randle El leads the Hoosiers' option attack in a similar fashion, asd
has been giving opponents fits this season. Randle El is averaging 75 yards rushing and almost 200 yards passing per game.

'Coffin corner' no problem for punter Vinson

SIn muddy condi-
tions against
Northwesten,
Michigan punter
Jason Vinson
came through for
the Wolverines,;
booting a 52-yard
punt late in the
t game,
MICHIGAN
SPORTS
INFORMATION

ByMark Snyder
Daily Sports Editor
There must be a reason it's called
the coffin corner.
The best guess is the suffocation
created by the sidelines and end zone
- a place where there's only one
way out.
The intent of any punter is to
launch the pigskin off his foot -
often in driving rain - to the tightest
spot possible.
Jason Vinson, Michigan's punter,
knows the scenario all too well. In
fact, in recent weeks, he has refined
it to a science.
Last week's showcase punt came
late in the fourth quarter when
Vinson stared messy conditions in
the face and scoffed. This non-verbal
communication came in the form of
an ideal punt.
With less than six minutes left and
Michigan leading, 10-6, he placed
the 52-yard boot on the one, icing
Northwestern's already cold, wet
fate.
The punt forced Northwestern to
emerge from its own end, a near-
impossible task in the rain, one that
elicited a self-imposed safety by the
Wildcats.
And, amazingly enough, Vinson's
gem came on a punt that rolled.

"l don't know if it was just because of
the added element (of weather), but
my concentration was at its peak."
-Jason Vinson
Michigan punter, on his performance under muddy conditions during last
week's victory over Northwestern

"That one I was just trying to hit
like the other ones, I wanted to hit it
a little bit left, but I saw a guy com-
ing up the middle as I was getting
ready to punt it and then I just tried
to get it off quickly," Vinson said. "It
just ended up that I hit it in a spot
that wasn't just mud so it didn't drop
dead like the other guy's did. He had
one that dropped in the mud but I
was just lucky enough to get a good
bounce off it and good coverage by
the team."
The importance of solid punt cov-
erage was never as evident as against
Iowa three weeks ago.
Michigan was frustrated late in the
game and clung to a one-point lead.
After the Wolverine offense stalled
with about a minute to go, Vinson
was called on to bury the Hawkeyes
deep in their own end.
He did better than that.
Vinson's perfect punt pinned Iowa

freshman kick returner Khalil Hill
into the far corner of the field. Hill
drifted into the end zone, and was
tackled for a game-sealing safety.
And Vinson, the understated senior
from Troy, knew he had to adapt to
the situation.
"Iowa was a team that set up a
wall, and I had to be prepared for all
of a sudden a guy breaking down the
side and guys blocking me to that
sideline," Vinson said.
For his efforts against
Northwestern, Vinson etched his
name on an award of significant pro-
portion - at least in length of title.
Vinson won the co-Big Ten special
teams player of the week award after
he averaged 47 yards on three punts
in the adverse Evanston conditions.
"I think Jason Vinson had his best
game at Michigan," Michigan coach
Lloyd Carr said. "I think he's punted
very consistently this year. Whether

you're kicking off, kicking a 41,
goal or an extra point, at someIt"1
there, you're on one leg.
"If you don't have good balAce
you're going to fall and a bad1a:
could ensue. I thought Jason
great job."
The mysterious "zone" uniqu t
athletes is where Vinson finds him
self these days. His season slats
punts for a 41-yard average) pry
a consistency devoid frOn
Michigan's punters in years.
In fact, his career 39.6-yard aver
age places him fourth all-time a
Michigan.
The success may be bec
Vinson has achieved a higher
than he thought possible. -
"It was just concentration that
don't think I've really ever had
before," Vinson said. "If I could har-
ness it and use it every game, I could
probably turn out a performance like
that all the time. I don't know if it
was just because of the added ele-
ment (of weather), but my concentra-
tion was at its peak."
As the season wears on.
Novembers in Michigan are notori-
ous for adverse conditions.
There's at least one Wolverine,
who will be praying for rain.

The Vinson File
A former walk-on who earned the starting punting job last season, Michigan senior Jason Vinson was named
second team All-Big Ten by the conference's coaches last year. Vinson's stats for the 1997-1998 season:

"1

Punts
52

Yards
2023

Average
38.9

Long
54

Inside 20
19

U s r r r r r i

Why wait 'til
Saturday?
Start your
tailgate now.

"4
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K -"
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