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October 22, 1999 - Image 23

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-10-22

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14F.-APT be Michigan Daily,- , N- r°,-- October 239-0-b9

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hOctober 23, 1999 - FootbSaturday -The Michigwaily - 3F

Other famous Georges
Presidential candidate George W. Bush
Grill promoter George Foreman
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner
Singing sensation George Michael
Famed monkey Curious George
George Clinton, of P-Funk All Star fame
Effeminate singer Boy George
Wrestler George 'The Animal' Steele
Baseball great George Brett
Basketball great Gheorghe Muresanr s
Musical legend George Harrison George W. Bush

Lean, mean defensive machine

Can 'M' establish ground game?

By Michael Kern
Daily Sports Writer
She may not be as famous as the
former heavyweight boxing champi-
on, but Catherine 'George' Foreman
is a star in her own right.
Foreman, who hails from South
Australia, was given the notable nick-
name by her teammates on the under-
21 Australian national field hockey
team. When the Michigan field hock-
ey team visited Foreman in Australia
before last season to do some presea-
son training, they needed a shorter
name to use to communicate with
Foreman on the field.
"So we said, 'What does your team
call you?"' teammate and housemate
Ashley Reichenbach said. "She said,
'Well my team calls me George.' She
wanted us to call her something else,
but we couldn't come up with any-
thing.
"The weight trainer put us through
a boxing circuit one day, and while we
were boxing, he would yell out all of
these boxing nicknames. After she
said her last name was Foreman, he
would yell, 'Come on, George!"'
More important than what her
teammates and coaches call the
sopltomore defender rnidfielder on
the field is their talk about hser off the
field. With senior co-captains
Reichenbach and Erica Widder
anchoring the defense for the seventh-
ranked Wolverines, it would be easy
for a younger player to go unnoticed.
But Foreman's knowledge of the
game and ability to make plays on
defense have stood out to her team-
mates and coaches this season.
"She's a fantastic defender,"
Michigan coach Marcia Pankratz
said. "I think she has a real savvy for
the game. She's smart in how she
plays, and even if she is being beaten
she knows how to make sure it does-
n't hurt us."
One reason that Foreman is able to
excel for the Wolverines so early in
her career is due to her experience
with the Australian under-21 team.
Australia, the current women's field

She may not have a mean right hook,
but Catherine 'George' Foreman is a
defensive force for the Wolverines.
hockey world champion, has one of
the strongest development programs
in the world.
"She is a sophomore, but she is a
very mature player," Pankratz said.
"When she gets out there she is seri-
ous and leads by example on the
field. She's had a lot of experience
playing hockey over in Australia, so
she brings a lot of that experience to
the field. She stays poised under pres-
sure because she is used to high-level
hockey."
Foreman uses that experience to
frustrate her opponents, helping to
shut down some of the top offenses in
the country.
"The difference between Catherine
and a lot of other playery around the
country is that she really reads the
game well, knowing when to break it
up and just create a foul and when to
actually put a tackle on," assistant
coach Tracey Fuchs said. "She has
stepped up more and more as the sea-
son has gone on and into her sopho-
more season."
Foreman exploits that defensive

know-how in a system that allows her
to move freely around the center of
the field.
Michigan's defensive zone requires
players to guard an area rather than
playing man-to-man with one particu-
lar player from the opposition.
Foreman's zone in the middle of the
field is paramount to the Wolverines'
success, as she often draws some of
the most skilled players on the other
team to defend.
"She is responsible, along with
Ashley (Reichenbach), for the tough-
est zone because she has the other
team's most dangerous player, the
center forward." Fuchs said. "But
with Catherine back there, I don't
worry about the other team's center
forward getting too many shots that
day, because she is always in the right
place."
While Foreman is one of the key
players for Michigan's defense, she is
also a key to the Wolverines' offense.
Playing in the center of the field,
Foreman is often responsible for the
transition of the ball from the defense
to offense.
"We play a very different style back
home," Foreman said. "We play a lot
faster sith the ball, a lot tore passing
pie-rind-go than what they do here
Hopefully Isve brought sone of that
back, but I think the team is starting
to do that a lot more of that now, and
it is having some success for us."
More importantly, though, Foreman
plays a key role on penalty corners,
where the Wolverines score most of
their goals. Foreman's job on corners
is the stick stopper. She stops the ball
with her stick at the top of the circle
for a teammate to shoot
While that may sound easy, for the
shot to count, Foreman has to stop the
ball dead before it can be struck by
one of her teammates. All of this has
to be done while the opposing defense
is charging at the ball from the goal
mouth. .
Despite playing a primarily defen-
sive role, Foreman's play on corners
has garnered her I I assists, the sec-
"nd-m'st on the team.
"The corner itself is a real special-
ty position," Pankratz said. "You have
someone who does each thing as a
skill, like a placekicker in football.
She is our best stick stopper, and she
does it for the Australian under-21
team. -
IForcan "is themost consistent
and really makes sure the ball gets
stopped dead on the corner. So
regardless of what position she is,
that's where we have her for that
because she is so effective," she said.
Foreman's consistency and combi-
nation of offense and defense make
her one of the Wolverines' most valb-
able players and one of the top
defenders in the Big Ten
"Catherine is a grpat defender,"
Reichenbach said. "It's great playing
behind her because a lot of times I
don't have to get the ball. She's got a
really great game sense, and she's got
great stick-stopping skills on corners.
She's an all-aroundextremely solid
player and a great asset to the team."

By Rick Freeman
Daily Sports Editor
The last time Illinois played
Michigan, University President Lee
Bollinger was a mop-haired Ivy League
administrator, Monica Lewinksy was an
anonymous D.C. drone (to the rest of us,
anyway) and roughly 15,000 University
students were in high school.
And Michigan had a ground game.
In 1996, Michigan averaged 168
yards per game on the ground.
Today is the first in a stretch of three
games that the Wolverines can and
should win. It's only the second one of
these this year. (Was anyone worried
about Rice?)
The biggest opportunity that presents
itself in these next three games is the
Illini's run defense. While Michigan is
averaging just 95 yards a game, the
Illini's run defense is giving up nearly
twice that, at 162. Since Anthony
Thomas has essentially been Michigan's
running game, getting some other backs
the ball might not be a bad idea. At the
end of this stretch of three games are
possibly Michigan's two toughest.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr would
rather not face No. 2 Penn State in

Beaver Stadium with the ground attack
he has right now.
"This is a team dilemma," Carr said.
But he's only half right. A dilemma is a
difficult choice between two options.
The Wolverines' choice is easy.
"We're going to run the football or
we're going to die trying," Carr said.
"To run the football effectively, you
need to have a will and a determination
as a team and a coaching staff. The one
thing that I have is a desire to run the
football."
Even if the Wolverines can't figure
out why they can't.
"Sometimes maybe I might miss my
block and the next time someone else
missed their block," said senior fullback
Aaron Shea. "So I don't think it's one
thing, because if it was one thing, we'd
get that one thing corrected:"
One hazard Shea identified was
Illinois' linebackers - a group of small
but quick backs he likened to
Michigan's own corps.
Even so, Illinois' rushing defense is
seventh in the Big Ten. A stat like that
has to have backs like B.J. Askew (if he
should play), Charles Drake and Walter
Cross smelling blood. Or at least solid

chunks of yardage.
Right now, Michigan's second-best
rusher is David Terrell -- a wide receiv-
er - with 82 total yards. Thomas pro-
vides more than 80 percent of
Michigan's rushing attack --guess who
Illinois' linebackers will be keying on?
"Anthony has been banged up and he
can't be expected to carry the load,"
Carr said. "We are not as effective as we
want to be."
Which is sort of the point today.
Michigan wants to bring its rushing
game back to the levels it once enjoyed
- and keep this neat, effective little
passing game that's sprung up as well.
The Illini's coach, Ron Turner, hasn't
even played Michigan since taking over
in 1997. So he's never had to deal with a
the Wolverines rushing game - good,
bad or ugly - so directly.
But he'll probably try to keep
thoughts of history at arm's length today
- in the past 41 years, Illinois has beat-
en Michigan exactly four times. Do the
math - or better yet, just don't. The
averages aren't pretty.
But if Michigan's running game does-
n't get better soon, neither will the
Wolverines' Rose Bowl chances.

Anthony Thomas has seen a lot of the ball this season - he's had over 80 percent of
Michigan's carries. Today, Michigan is looking for someone else to get some carries.

Blue 'looks to rebound against suspect Fighting Illini

Q
A 1.
V ' 1 i t' j
ss 1953
CSroN

By U.. Berka
Daily Sports Editor
After two weeks of smarting from
a 34-31 loss to rival Michigan State,
the Michigan football team finally
gets to take its frustrations ouf on the
field today when it faces Illinois.
A lot happened with the loss to the
Spartans. The secondary, which
seemed to have shed its label of
'Suspects' in the Oct. 2 victory over
Purdue, adopted the label again after
Bill Burke and Plaxico Burress toast-
ed them.
The rushing attack, a Michigan
tradition, has also fallen under the
suspect label after rushing for a mere
six yards against Michigan State.
The Wolverines average only 108
yards per game on the ground, which
is 10th in the Big Ten.
While the Wolverines might have
some suspect qualities, they are play-
ing one of the more suspect teams in
the conference in the Fighting Illini.
Illinois who hasn't won more
than three games in a season since
1995 -- is 3-3 on the season, but is
0-3 in the Big Ten. The Fighting
Illini, a national surprise after their
3-0 start, have crashed back to earth
and needs a victory today to keep its
bowl bid intact.
Will Michigan vent its frustration?
Will Illinois get back on a winning
track? To find out, read the
matchups.
MICHIGAN RSHING OFFENSE VS.
ILLINOIS RUSHING DEFENSE:
It's no secret that Anthony Thomas
is the Michigan running game. It's
also no secret that the Wolverines
have had a hard time gaining yards
on the ground consistently.
While Thomas - who has rushed
for 522 yards thus far this season -

has been adequate, the Wolverines
need a second running back to step
up. Look for Howard Cross, B.J.
Askew and Charles Drake to get
some carries today, especially if the
game turns into a rout.
No matter who runs the ball for
Michigan, they have to go through a
pretty good group of Illinois line-
backers.
The Fighting Illini, who have had
Dick Butkus, Simeon Rice and Kevin
Hardy play linebacker in the past,
boast two talented players in Danny
Clark and Eric Guenther.
Clark and Guenther will have the
responsibility of breaking through
the massive Michigan line and taking
out Thomas. If Illinois isn't up to
stopping the Michigan ground
attack, it will be along afternoon for
the Illini.
The Michigan offensive line is
ticked off about the inconsistency in
the running game. Look for Illinois
to suffer from that.
ADVANTAGE: MICHIGAN
MICHIGAN PASSING OFFENSE VS.
ILLINOIS PASSING DEFENSE: When
Tom Brady has been allowed to stay
in the game and gain momentum,
he's been lethal for the opposition.
With flashy sophomore DavidTerrel
and steady senior Marcus Knight at
his disposal - along with Marquise
Walker and DiAllo Johnson-
Brady has plenty of targets to throw
to.
Sophomore Drew Henson enjoys
the same receivers as Brady,

although he hasn't been as effective Robert Ilolcom
as Brady of late. ers for a livin
But he is good enough to put a Elmer Hickman
scare into the Illini. mode, as theya
The Illini defense was sliced up by
Minnesota last week, which doesn't
leave it in good position this week-
end.
Illinois boasts two hard-hitting
safeties in Asim Pleas and
Muhammad Abdullah, but Michigan
has too many weapons for the Illini
to defend.
ADVANTAGE: MICHIGANJ
'TRULY
ILLINOIS RUSHING OFFENSE N'S. THE It
MICHIGAN RUSHING DEFENSE: CENTURI
Illinois has been a haven for hard-
nosed running back over the years, as
guys such as Howard Griffith and
CONEY
ISLAND
L..... . .-

tbe smashed defend-
g. Steve Hasard and
fit the bruising back
are both big guys that

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Please see MATCHUPS, page 15F

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