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March 09, 2000 - Image 19

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-03-09

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 9, 2000 - 19A

WA RREN

AT WAR

By Jon Schwartz and Dan Williams - Daily Sports Writers

t Michigan, superstar athletes are a dime a
dozen. The athletic program has always been
blessed with many highly-talented and decorat-
ed competitors who have been intent on bringing honor
to themselves and their university.
But, amongst all of those success stories, Joe Warren
has managed to separate himself. With an unyielding
intensity, an unwavering desire for athletic prosperity
and an unabashed confidence that could best be com-
pared to NBA legend Charles Barkley, Warren has
established himself as a unique character in the world
of Michigan sports.
But, like Sir Charles, Warren is missing something
- the tangible hardware.
For a man who expects so much of himself, Warren's
near-successes have become something of a personal
tragedy.
After finishing second in the 133-pound weight
class at the Big Ten championships in 1998 and again
in 1999, Warren slipped to a third-place finish at this
year's tournament that was held March 4-5. His final
shot at a conference championship fell short.
"'ve had to deal with a lot of those losses," Warren
said. "Losing the Big Tens twice and getting dropped
out of nationals, that's not stuff that I thought was
going to happen to me."
Now, an NCAA title is the only thing that can cure
what ails him.
In the past, Warren has failed to finish in the top
eight at NCAAs. But now in his final season of
wrestling eligibility, Warren has emerged as perhaps
the Wolverines' best hope for an individual national
championship.
Despite being injured for much of the season,
Warren will likely go into the March 16-18 NCAA
Championship in St. Louis as the No. 4 seed in his
weight class. He believes his intensity will lead him to
a national title, something that Michigan has not expe-
rienced since current assistant coach Kirk Trost won
the heavyweight division in 1986.
"My ability to be calm while I'm intense and
focused is the reason why I'm going to win the nation-
al championship," Warren said. "I feel that I can do it,
and I'm going to do everything I can to get it."
Warren's exceptional intensity is apparently innate,
as it first manifested itself at a young age.
"I think maybe when I was younger, all of my
friends beat me (in wrestling)," Warren said. "All of my
friends were really good so I was trying to get so much
better just to be able to compete with them. I think I
always wanted to win. I always wanted to be the best at
the sport."
In Warren's formative years in Grand Rapids, he

progressed from a novice wrestler into a legitimate col-
lege prospect.
Through the various summer camps he attended,
Warren learned that wrestling's physical, one-on-one
style required a higher level of competition. The expe-
riences taught him that wrestling is a war - to suc-
ceed, one has to accept it as a way of life.
"You have to be competitive to be a wrestler," he
said, describing his experiences at several wrestling
camps, including one run by Steve Fraser - a three-
time All-American at Michigan. "It's hard to go out
there and say that I'm going to let this guy beat the crap
out of me."
Despite the recruitment offers that Warren received
from national powers such as Iowa and Minnesota -
the two teams that placed first and second, respective-
ly at this year's Big Tens - he chose Michigan.
But choosing to be a Wolverine didn't mean that he
expected to make a major impact in his first year. In
fact, he didn't even expect to start.
"Making the team my freshman year was a pretty
cool moment for me because I never thought I was
going to do it," he said. "No one thought I was going
to come in and wrestle."
But wrestle he did, notching a 15-12 record as a 126-
pound freshman before redshirting the next season.
During the next three years, Warren built a winning
resume and the reputation of a guy who walks an emo-
tional tight rope.
Michigan State coach Tom Minkel has been a first-
hand witness to Warren's compulsion for victories.
Michigan State junior Pat McNamara and Warren have
developed a fierce rivalry.
"Any time you see the same opponent in big match-
es over a period of time, it probably does take on a per-
sonal element," Minkel said.
Warren's elimination in the Big Ten tournament the
last two years has come in close losses to McNamara,
and he is openly frustrated by this fact.
A final rematch between the competitors could
occur in St. Louis, where Warren will also record his
100th win with a victory in the first round.
"It's not that I'm ever even close to afraid of this
kid," Warren said. "We just have different styles. I don't
want to meet (McNamara) again, but if we do, I don't
know how I could lose to him."
Minkel said that the intensity and confidence of both
wrestlers have fueled the rivalry.
"That's a style that has worked for (Warren),"
Minkel said. "It probably gets to the edge sometimes.
McNamara is not as flamboyant as Joe, but he's also
intense."
To Michigan coach Joe McFarland, Warren's attitude

is simply a tool that helps him to be successful.
"He wrestles with a lot of emotion when he's out
there. That's what gets wins for him," McFarland said.
"I think there are a lot of guys out there who don't want
to wrestle him. There's a lot of fear in his opponents
The coach has no trouble identifying with Warren.
In the 1980s, McFarland was a two-time runner-up at
the NCAA tournament for the Wolverines with a very
similar style to his proteg6.
Even when McFarland was an assistant, Warren
regarded him as his coach. It was McFarland, after all,
who recruited Warren: It was McFarland who worked
directly with the lower weight classes: It was
McFarland who always tried to help Warren control his
intensity and use it as a weapon.
"I think this year with coach McFarland talking to
me, my focus is so much better," Warren said of the
impact that his coach had in getting him through his
disappointing Big Ten performance. "In prior years, a
loss would affect me for a while just because it was a
loss. Now, I know I lost Big Tens, but 1, know I can
come back and win nationals.
"I think coach McFarland is the reason that a lot of
guys come here."
And Warren feels that McFarland's success is proven
by the tough young team waiting to take to the mats for
the last time this season.
His biggest regret, besides not having been able to
add to Michigan's trophy case yet, is that he only got
one year with the current squad.
"I would have liked to have these guys around when
I was a lot younger," Warren said. "They're going to
win the Big Tens and the nationals."
Following in the footsteps of his mentor, Warren's
wrestling years will not end at the NCAAs. Like
McFarland, he plans to embark on an international
career.
Warren feels that because of the help he has
received, he is ready to compete for his country upon
hanging up his school's singlet.
"I have coach McFarland who got a silver in the
World Championships and won a World Cup," he said.
"Trost was in all of those too. (Four-time Michigan All-
America John) Fisher and (current Michigan assistant
coach Sean) Boimet, those guys are trying out for that
too. I get to see them working hard for that, so it kind
of gives me more motivation."
No one should be surprised if the similarities
between McFarland and Warren do not end at interna-
tional competition. Warren expresses interest in taking
his act to the sidelines as a coach. His intensity com-
bined with his love for the game makes him a valid
candidate.

SAM lULL ENHwA D/UDily
In practice or in the heat of battle, they don't come much more intense than Joe Warren.
His last chance to make a material impact on the program comes at the NCAAs next week.

Outgoing football seniors shine in Indy

By Ron Garber
and David Mosse
Daily Sports Writers
INDIANAPOLIS - For most
seniors, second semester is a time to
kick back, relax, and enjoy the beauti-
ful weather. But for seven Michigan
football players, these four months
could be the most important of their
lives.
They were last
seen at Pro Player MICHIGAN
ium celebrat- -
S their grueling N
Orange Bowl vic-
tory. While one might think that the
off-season would be a time for recov-
cry, there was no rest for the weary. As
the returning Wolverines began prep-
ping for the upcoming season, quarter-
back Tom Brady and the other seniors
with NFL aspirations started training
forlast week's NFL Scouting Combine.
'I've been working like crazy since
j weeks after the Orange Bowl,"
nsive lineman Josh Williams said.
"ive scheduled workouts in the morn-
ing and afternoons around my classes."
While Williams opted to work with
Michigan's coaching staff, fullback
Aaron Shea hired personal trainer Tom
Shaw to assist in his preparations.
These three, along with wide receiv-
e(.,arcus Knight and linebackers Ian
Gold, James Hall and Dhani Jones,

formed one of the largest collections of
players from any single school.
Tennessee had the most with nine.
While these players competed for
four years in the rugged Big Ten, their
draft positions could hinge on four
days spent completing physical drills
and psychological testing at the RCA
Dome in Indianapolis. Tackles and
touchdowns have been replaced by
times in the 40 and vertical jumps.
"The combine is really the start of
the draft season," Sports Illustrated
football writer Peter King said.
The combine was especially impor-
tant for Brady, who hoped to answer
scouts' questions about his mobility
and arm strength. With this year's quar-
terback crop considered weak, and the
need for quarterbacks in the NFL par-
ticularly strong, Brady had an opportu-
nity to elevate himself to early round
status.
With the exception of his 40 yard
dash time, which was second slowest
among all quarterbacks, Brady had a
good workout and caught the eye of
several NFL coaches.
"I sure wouldn't mind having him,"
Cincinnati Bengals coach Bruce Coslet
said. "I think he can definitely be a
starter in this league. He doesn't have
the numbers that (top quarterback
prospects) Chad Pennington and Chris
Redman have, but he played against
bigger and better competition."

Coslet's sentiments were echoed by
top NFL scout Gil Brandt, who was
particularly impressed with the tough-
ness Brady displayed while sharing
playing time with Drew Henson.
"I like Brady a lot," Brandt said.
"The fact that he stuck in there at
Michigan says something about his
character. He could have gone back
home to San Mateo and cried."
Brady wasn't the only Michigan
player who helped himself at the com-
bine. Aaron Shea surprised some with
his display of athletic ability by posting
a vertical leap of 37". Shea is now
regarded as one of the draft's top full-
backs.
"They have me rated as the second
best fullback," Shea said. "Sonic teams
have me first. I'm hoping to go in the
second or third round."
But Shea is not satisfied and hopes
to improve upon his 40 time of 4.8 sec-
onds when scouts come to Michigan
this month for Pro Day.
"There is too much waiting around
in there" Shea said. "You run and then
you wait and then you run again. You
tighten up in between."
Another Wolverine hoping to
improve his 40 time is wide receiver
Marcus Knight. His time of 4.66 was
slower than the 4.4-4.5 he was hoping
for. Like Shea, Knight predicts a better
performance in Ann Arbor.
"The track here was slow," Knight
said. "I know I can run a lot faster at
Oosterbaan during our Pro Day."
Knight arrived at the combine riding
a wave of momentum from his four-
touchdown, MVP performance at the
East-West Shrine Game, a performance
Knight feels catapulted his draft status.
"The East-West Game was a bless-
ing," Knight said. "I think it helped me
a lot. I've heard that I'm anywhere

from a second to fifth rounder."
On the defensive side of the ball, Ian
Gold looks to spearhead Michigan's
dynamic trio of linebackers, all of
whom figure to be drafted. Gold ran
the fastest 40 time (4.58) of any line-
backer at the combine. His workout
caught the eye of Tampa Bay coach
Tony Dungy.
"Gold is our type of guy," Dungy
said. "He's fast, he strikes, and he's
quick to the ball. He's gonna play in
this league and play well."
Despite his speed, the knock on Gold
is that at 221 pounds, he is too small to
play linebacker in the NFL.
"We've heard that about other guys
like (Buccaneer stars) Derrick Brooks
and Warrick Dunn and they became
pretty good" Dungy said.
At 271 pounds James Hall has a dif-
ferent problem, that of which position
he is best suited for. He played line-
backer for the Wolverines, but some
scouts envision him as a defensive end
in the NFL.
"I can play defensive end and line-
backer, whatever they ask me to do,"
Hall said. "It just depends on the
defense I play in."
Dhani Jones also impressed the
scouts by bench pressing 225 pounds
29 times, more repetitions than any
other linebacker. While his perfor-
mance may have moved him up, Jones
was unconcerned with his potential
draft position.
"I don't care where I get picked,"
Jones said. "I just want a job."
Josh Williams seemed to capture the
sentiment of all the Wolverines at the
combine.
"I'm not gonna be picky" Williams
said. "I just feel fortunate I have the
opportunity to move on and play at the
next level."

.orkout Warriors

SeversMichigan players performed for coaches and scouts at the NFL Scouting
Combine in Indianapolis Feb. 25-28. Here is how they fared at the combine's
Premier events.

Player
T Brady
A. Shea
.M. Knight
Gold
.Hall
Williams

Hr.
6-4
6-4
6-0
6-1
6-1
6-2
6-3

Wt.
211
25.3
180
221
240
271
282

40
5.27
4.80
4.66
4.58
4.69
5.03
4.88

Vertical
24-1/2
37-1/2
28-1/2
33
32
30-1/2

Long lump Shuttle Cne

8-3
9-6
8-10
9-7

4.38
4.3
4.38
4.19
4.51
4.25

7.2
6.72
7.11
6.97
7.86
7.22

LOUIS BROWN/Dail
Tom Brady hopes that his heroic performance in the Orange Bowl was not the end
of his playing days, as he showcased his skills in the NFL Combine.

9-3
9-3

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