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October 9, 1999 --F
4 - The Michigan Daily - FootbaN Saturday - October 9, 1999
MIcA /an students fall
ito ve stereotypes
BIG BILLY STYLE
After starting the season surrounded by questions, Michigan's defenders are ...
Here at MSU we have more
than 40.000 undergraduate
students. I see them every-
where I go. But at Michigan. it
seems like there are only five.
I've been to Ann Arbor dozens of
times, and, try as I might, I can only
find five different U-M students.
There is Nicky, the rich, arrogant
sorority girl wearing her tight black
pants, walking into the latest coffee
shop for a cafe
Then there is
Steve. the rich. Muir
ar rogant busi-
and khakis. He's
w alking into an
equally trendy m
coffee shop to STAT NEWS
t light lunch
on his way to
his banking internship. His white
fraternity cap hides the horns that
are already starting to grow out of
Nicky and Steve's worst enemy,
Moonbeam the hippy. is
around the corner at the
fee shop. She's rich and
doesn't want anyone to
know. Her coffee tastes
the same. but it costs
more because the beans
were Frown in an eco-
She later tosses her cup
on the sidewalk.
"1 hate those kids,
Nickv and Steve.
They 're so materialis-
tic," Moonbeam says as
she plunks down 580
for a new pair of
I even lived there for a summer - I
call it my "dark period" and rarely
speak of it.
That's how I know there are only
five different people on or around
What Ihey all have in common,
besides wealth and arrogance, is
they expect Saturday's game against
Michigan State to be a cakewalk.
Well, they can take theiriDiag and
their block M' and shove it,
because it's finally the year of the
Why is it that none of them has
Did they get too stoned at Hash
Did their brains freeze while run-
ning the Naked Mile?
Or does it all just come back to
Ann Arbor's chief natural resource
I'm not sure, but boy, are they in
for a surprise when the green-and-
white ball of fury we call the
Spartan offense torches the overrat-
ed Michigan defense.
Then the smaller, less furious
green-and-white ball of fury we call
senior placekicker Paul Edinger will
torch the overrated Michigan extra
point blocking unit.
Nicky, Steve. Moonbeam, William
and Mike will be so
stunned at the 7-0
ey can deficit, they will need
ir some coffee.
Stheir It will only get worse
d twhen the Spartan
' and defense takes the field.
Senior defensive end
' ,,Robaire Smith and
It'S friends will have more
'he sacks than Ann Arbor
the has trendy shoe stores.
The game should be
t. over by halftime, leav-
ing our five Michigan
friends some free time.
Nicky will turn off the television
and change out of her daytime tight
black pants and into her evening
tight black pants.
Moonbeam will turn off her tele-
vision, do some yoga, smoke a joint
and talk about the game's cosmic
William will turn off the comput-
er Webcast of the game, open up a
book of Kurt Vonnegut's short sto-
ries and start building a letter bomb.
Mike won't be watching the
Michigan State vs. Michigan game
because, "It's so Midwestern."
By Saturday night, the five of
them will be out on the street head-
ed to consolation parties.
We'll be here celebrating a glori-
ous victory - all 40,000 of us.
- Par Muir; State News sports edi-
tor. is still tiing to find a place in
Ann Arbor where he can buy a regu-
lar cup of coif(e. If you know of
one, or would like to contact him
for any other reason, he can be
reached at email@example.com.
By TJ. Berka
Idaly Sports Editor
Things weren't exactly perfect last
season for Michigan State quarterback
Bill Burke. He struggled mightily
under center as his team - a presea-
son top 20 pick - finished 6-6 and
didn't qualify for a bowl for the first
time in four years.
Fans were angry at the Warren, Ohio
native, and many wanted to replace
him with Ryan Van Dyke, a hotshot
freshman from Marshall. With the loss
of running back Sedrick Irvin to the
NFL, big things weren't expected of
Burke and the Spartans this year.
Not as if Burke cared.
"I looked at last year as being a
learning experience," Burke said. "It
was my first year, so I was learning and
starting to come into my own."
Not many preseason prognositcators
were sure what Burke would be like
after he came into his own. With that
said, and the loss of Irvin, the Spartans
were picked as a middle-of-the-pack
team in the Big Ten this year.
They have been far from mediocre
thus far this season. Michigan State
has started the season 5-0 and finds
itself ranked 1Ith in the national polls
preceding today's game against
And a lot of that success can be
attributed to Burke.
"Bill has played very well for us,"
Michigan State coach Nick Saban said.
"For us to be successful, Bill has to
keep it up."
Under new offensive coordinator
Morris Watts, Burke has had to pass a
lot to be successful. And with talented
wide receivers Gari Scott and Plaxico
Burress at his disposal, Burke is loving
every minute of it.
"We definitely like to mix it up and
spread the wealth around," Burke said.
"We like to run the ball, but we also
pass more than we used to. As a quar-
terback, I love it."
Watts has put more emphasis on
Burke and his connections with the 6-
foot-6 Burress and senior co-captain
Scott. It is a direct contrast to last sea-
son, when the offense consisted of
Irvin running the ball, Irvin catching
the ball, and the other guys getting the
ball once in a while.
Along with getting everyone
involved in the offense, Watts has also
allowed Burke something that wasn't
allowed last season - for Burke to call
his own audibles.
"I have more freedom in a way,"
Burke said. "I do a lot of checks at the
line of scrimmage."
The new freedom on offense has
been the icing on the cake for Burke in
his experience at Michigan State.
Although he was a native of Ohio,
he never was a big fan of Ohio State,
which allowed him to have an open
mind when it came down to choosing
The openess in his mind was closed
quickly, as Burke instantly fell in love
with the State campus. All other
prospective schools were thrown out
the window after Burke visited East
"I took a visit to Maryland, but I did-
By Rick Freeman
Daily Sports Editor
Bill Burke is a marked man.
"I'm looking forward to punishing
the quarterback," said Michigan
senior linebacker Ian Gold of the
man who directs the most balanced
offense he and his defensive team-
mates have yet seen this season.,
"This is truly the hardest hitting
game I play every year," Gold said.
"What more could you ask for out of
a big game."
Michigan's defenders, who have
punished more than just quarter-
backs this season. see their biggest
threat in Michigan State's beefy
offensive line and balanced offensive
"It will definitely be a challenge,
from the standpoint that we can't just
sit down and play the run. So we'll
have to keep on our toes." said fifth-
year senior nose tackle Rob Renes.
"They're very capable of picking up
a bunch of yards on offense. They
have an offensive line that's very;
good at. sustaining blocks."
But Michigan has a defense capa-
ble of sustaining 60 minutes of effort
"I think the most important thing
about this year's defense is the cama-
raderie," junior defensive end Jake
Frysinger said. "I've been playing
football since I was eight years old,
and this is the best team chemistry
I've ever felt in my whole life." ~
In the season opener against Notre
Dame, the only chemistry
Michigan's defenders felt was the
burning lactic acid in their legs.
After Jabari Holloway's beyond-
wide-open touchdown catch woke up
the echoes of last season - the only
time Michigan ever allowed 30 or
more points in three games - they
began to emerge.
Linebacker Dhani Jones and safety
Tommy Hendricks sacked Jackson
on the Michigan 29 in the final
minute. His next pass was com-
plete, but short of the first down,
and time ran out on the Irish.
"I was tired, I was dead, I
was on 'E'," Jones said. But he
got his sack - and took the
first step in building recogni-
tion for a unit that finally
appeared on the national
scene last week, debunking
the "suspect" label as they
simultaneously embraced it.
But Michigan's pass rushers - in
defensive coordinator Jim Hermann's
schemes they can be almost anyone
-: deserve just as much credit. They
made Purdue's Drew Brees pay for
bad snaps and covered receivers.
Now, against an offense they call
the toughest they've faced yet, the
challenge is tantalizing.
Despite the comparisons Michigan
coach Lloyd Carr makes to Michigan,
State's Lorenzo White-led -wrecking:
crew of 1987, the fact is Purdue is a,
more productive offense- produc-
ing 450 yards per game to the
Spartans' 423. But unlike the
Boilermakers, the Spartans have bal-
ance. Their ground game rips off 185,
yards per game - Purdue hovers
"I can say clear-cut it's the best
Michigan State team since 1987,"
said Carr. "They have a lot of
weapons and they don't have any
So much the better for Michigan's
defense. The Wolverines have a
calm, even-keel confidence that has
helped them ride out three late-game
comeback attempts, and then against
Purdue, one of the nation's most
potent passing attacks and a trick
substitution pattern that might have
thrown less cohesive units into disar-
"We don't like to get into a situa-
tion where we feel panic-stricken at
all, and we haven't felt that this
year," Renes said. "Even with the last
few seconds on the clock against
Notre Dame up until the end of the
Purdue game, we've really felt as if
we can rely on the other 10 guys on
The defense's biggest challenge -
other than the balanced Spartans -
Of course, there's also William,
the nerdy pre-med student who
won't let anyone borrow his notes,
lest he inadvertently ruin the curve
in his organic chemistry class. He is
slowly developing into a new ver-
sion of Michigan alumnus Ted
Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Steve
and Nicky pick on him. Moonbeam
laughs at him, but soon he will rule
the world - at least he's rich and
arrogant enough to think so.
William doesn't stop in any of
Ann Arbor's 2.000 coffee shops
eery often because he's too busy
Finally, there's Mike from Long
Island. Mike is rich enough to
afford out-of-state tuition and arro-
gant enough to resent being in
"This coffee sucks," he says. "It's
totally better back East."
Mike doesn't really get along well
with the others.
Trust me. I know all of these peo-
ple well. I've been to Ann Arbor
more times than I care to remember.
Michigan State quarterback Bill Burke, hou
instrumental in the Spartans' 5-0 start this
n't go anywhere else after I visited
MSU," Burke said. "I like the size of
the campus and the educational pro-
grams available to me, not to mention
the football program and coach
After backing up Todd Schultz for
two seasons, Burke had his chance to
make an impact last season. Burke had
his moments, engineering a 45-24
upset of Notre Dame last September
and leading the Spartans back from a
24-9 deficit to shock top-ranked Ohio
State, 28-24, in Columbus.
But the surprising successes were
counteracted by mind-numbing fail-
ures. The Spartans were stomped by
Oregon, 48-14, and lost to Minnesota
for the first time in 22 seasons.
That unpredictability has been cited
by a lack of continous focus. Burke
indicates that the Spartans didn't exact-
ly have tunnel vision last season.
"We've been hot and cold because
we haven't had the maturity to focus
the entire game," Burke said. "We
sometimes would lose focus at times
during games, and that would cost us."
The Spartans have had razor-sharp
focus in the first five games of the sea-
son, pummeling Oregon, Eastern
Michigan, Notre Dame, Illinois and
Iowa by a combined score of 177-53.
This point discrepancy can be attrib-
uted to a solid defense and relatively
mistake-free play from Burke.
This type of play is what Burke
expects out of himself and is what he is
unded by critics last season, has been
intent on providing the Spartans in
"I'd like to think that I'm a guy W1ho
can throw the ball effectively. I like to
think that I am an efficient quarterback
that doesn't make mistakes," Burke
While Burke has been pretty effec-
tive in cutting down on that thus far
this season, he is faced with the biggest
game of his college career so far
Saturday against arch-rival Michigan.
Although he is an Ohio native,
Burke was just as aware of the bad
blood between the Spartans and
Wolverines as he-was of the Michigan-
Ohio State rivalry.
"Anybody who watches the game
ksrow what a big rivalry this is," Burke
said. "The state is pretty much divided
in two during this week."
The Green half of the state has not
seen a win in this game since 1995.
The Michigan State campus is eager to
see that streak end, therefore putting
the pressure on Burke's shoulders.
Burke, while wary of the Michigan
defense, has faith in himself and his
team to give a good performance.
"The Michigan defense is very
good," Burke said. "They aren't afraid
to come after you and attack the quar-
terback. Their defensive players are
very comfortable when they are out
"We are only concentrating on one
game right now, and that's on Saturday.
We expect to play well."
Toll them apart
Some have already begun
to compare Michigan's
defense this season to that
of 1997. But that group
was far stingier. The
Wolverines of 1997 didn't
allow 66 points until the
ninth game of the season
- the Wolverines have
allowed that many through
deflecting comments about their sim-
ilarity to the 1997 unit.
Carr says "this team doesn't mea-
sure up in any way" to the national
champions, but he knows the 1999
defense best. He might see how they
respond to critics; how a putdown
fires them up. How they just seem to
click, defying an explanation.
"The chemistry," Renes said. "Is
starting to take over."
And that's what's more important
about this year's Michigan defense.
Lloyd Carr was right when he said
they look nothing like '97's defense.
That unit was known for stinginess,
swagger and being the only set of
defenders ever to claim a Heisman
Trophy winner as one of their own.
This year's defense has given up
66 points in five games. 1997's gave
up 26 in the first five. It took a late-
game touchdown and two-point con-
version at Penn State in the season's
ninth game for that unit to give up
more than 66.
From that last stand against Notre
Dame five weeks ago to the hit Todd
Howard laid on Purdue wideout
Larry Shyne, this year's defense has
played on emotion and fire - even
when their collective needle has been
pegged on 'E.'
Believe that they're looking for-
ward to Saturday because it will be
tough. Believe that they want to
shut down men with names
like Plaxico and Gari
and even Bill.
Or don't. They
like it better
With its perfor-
as a force to be
reckoned with, as
it' n the
t's pretty easy to make jokes
about our lovable, dim-witte
friends at Michigan State. I <
write for hours on how Michiga
State students are couch-burnin
cow-tipping, less-than-sharp m<
heads whose closest venture to
cess would be delivering pizza
head of a major corporation.
But what's the point?
I feel that Michigan State stu
get a bum rap in
this state. Sure,
most of them
tried to get into BERKA
and failed, but k:.
mean they are
dumb. I think
be charitable TEEING
and try to OFF
goes through a
First of all, this game on Sati
is extremely important to the st
dents at Michigan State Univer
They really have nothing else t
for. Ever since their
senior year of high AS
school, when they
received the rejection Wai
letter from U of M, acC
they have been yearn-
ing for the chance to
stick it to the superior met
school in the state. Mic
It's really hard for a
Michigan student to ly
relate to the inferiority be
complex that comes wh
with being a student at sch
State. Michigan is in
the top 10 in countless Car
academic programs Circ
and has won five
onships in four differ- let
ent sports since 1995,
so Michigan is used to success.
At Michigan State, success i
making flame-retardant couche
defending local landmarks witi
squirt guns and winning seven
games in a football season. Th
and beating the Wolverines.
Michigan really doesn't thinl
thing about beating State. It's s
thing that Michigan students h
taken for granted. Ever since ti
early days of elementary schoo
Wolverines have been getting t:
best of Spartans.
You remember the Spartans f
growing up. The kids who wou
lick the flagpole on a cold Janu
day and get their tongues froze
The kids who bought tickets to
pep rallies in high school. Thos
kids now attend Michigan Stat<
It was fun to pick on them w
we were younger. But it just dc
have the entertainment value ai
more. We have bigger schools 1