Tuesday, November 9, 1999 - The Michigan Daily - 11
For Purdue, next season's a Brees
)rew Brees will
be a favorite for
season now that
he has decided to
return for his
senior year at
WEST LAFAY ETTE (AP) - Purdue
quarterback Drew Brees, a Heisman Trophy
candidate this year as a junior, said yester-
day he will return to school in 2000 to play
his senior season.
Brees made his announcement on campus
after a private meeting Sunday with coach
Joe Tiller and his mother and father.
"It's better for most people including
myself to stay another year," Brees said.
"An extra year will provide me with a bit
more maturity. I know that I can become a
better player by staying another year."
Brees, a native of Austin, Texas, told
reporters he wanted to announce the deci-
sion as soon as possible to dispel rumors
circulating about his future, and he wanted
to end debate about whether he would enter
the NFL draft early.
"We just kind of agreed that this was the
best way to go. It really wasn't as hard as I
thought it would be. I'm coming back next
year to have fun," he said.
The Boilermakers (6-4) are coming off a
loss this weekend to Wisconsin, which the
media billed as a contest between two con-
tenders for the Heisman Trophy - Brees
and Badgers' running back Ron Dayne.
Brees said he feels he has goals still to
achieve at Purdue. As a junior, he has
thrown for 3,334 yards and 21 touchdowns
through 10 games. The Boilermakers are
off this weekend and close their season
Nov. 20 on the road against instate rival
"I think next year we have a chance to do
a lot of great things with this football team.
I still feel that there's a lot of things to do
here," said Brees.
Brees said he does not think about win-
ning the Heisman Trophy, and that the
potential of becoming a favorite in the race
for college football's top prize next season
did not factor into his decision.
Tiller called Brees one of the most pro-
ductive players he's ever coached.
"His return just makes our goals a little
more achievable," he said.
"I'm relaxed, it's a good feeling," Brees
said. "I know this is definitely what was
meant to be."
After another loss, Buckeyes beginning to break up
COLUMBUS (AP) - Ohio State's
Buckeyes are finding it difficult to
point toward Saturday's home finale
against Illinois at the same time they're
pointing their fingers at each other.
Despite reports of schisms on the
team and confrontations on the side-
lines' and in the locker room after
*urday's 23-7 loss at Michigan State,
coach John Cooper said he doesn't
believe his players are blaming each
other after the Buckeyes' fourth loss of
"I haven't seen any signs of it," he
said yesterday. "I haven't seen any
signs of people not working hard in
practice. I'm sure there are some of
them upset with the kind of year they're
There appear to be lots of examples
a team at the breaking point.
® Linebacker Tim Cheatwood was
suspended Monday. Ohio State
spokesman Gerry Emig said the sopho-
More was suspended by Cooper for
"conduct during the game last week."
The suspension, which apparently did-
n't have anything to do with
Cheatwood's conduct on the field,
includes all practices and Saturday's
! In the second quarter, wide receiv-
er Ken-Yon Rambo dropped a sure
touchdown pass. When fullback and
co-captain Matt Keller ran downfield
to try to encourage him with a pat on
the back, Rambo pushed Keller's arm
0 Dan Stultz, the team's kicker and
punter, confirmed Monday that he got
into a verbal exchange on the sideline
4'He just questioned if I was compet-
ing," said Stultz, who punted 10 times
in the swirling winds for an average of
32.9 yards. "He said it was not like me
to be hitting the ball like I was. It was
the frustration of coach Cooper at the
time. He was wondering why I wasn't
performing up to my abilities."
0 And Cooper brought up another
"I'm sure there are some people who
think they should be playing," Cooper
said. "One kid on Saturday didn't play
because he sat back on the bench and
pouted. If you take that kind of attitude,
I don't want you."
Cooper said he wouldn't disclose
who the player was.
"People are getting frustrated," Stultz
said. "Sometimes when they think
they're not at fault, obviously they're
going to point fingers. But sometimes
you've got to look yourself in the mir-
ror and say, 'Did I do everything in my
power to help this team win games?'
That's what it boils down to."
Ohio State has had little dissension
on the team in recent years. Then again,
the Buckeyes have finished No. 2 in the
polls in two of the last three seasons.
"When you lose four ballgames,
you're not going to have the same kind
of unity and camaraderie," Cooper
Seldom has Ohio State had to deal
with a worse performance on offense
than against Michigan State. The
Buckeyes had three first downs on their
first possession - and only one more
the rest of the day. They netted zero
rushing yards on 22 attempts. Not since
1964 has Ohio State done worse at run-
ning the ball.
The Buckeyes (3-3 Big Ten, 6-4
overall) need to win one more game to
assure a winning record and qualify for
a second-tier bowl. After hosting
Illinois (2-4, 5-4), which also needs a
win to meet the over-.500 bowl stan-
dard, Ohio State ends the regular sea-
Continued from Page 9
sive," Schmitt said. "These are our
In Kentucky, the Stewarts went
golfing and visited some of the
Lexington horse farms. In
Wisconsin and Minnesota, they
traveled around the Great Lakes in
freshly bought cheesehead hats.
So while the team has gelled
into a tight-knit group, the parents
have also bonded and become a
unit. Doug Stewart has become
close friends with the Schmitts,
and drove with them from
Minneapolis to Madison.
"We're all close and we all help
each other," Stewart said.
While the sightseeing is nice,
the parents go to such great
lengths because they love watch-
ing their daughters play sdccer.
They get as nervous as the team
before games and share in the sea-
son's highs and lows.
"All the parents have a lot more
gray hair now than we did at the
beginning of the season," Schmitt
While the parents may being
paying a lot for just a little bit of
time with their daughters, the team
understands the sacrifice they are
"It means a lot to me," senior
Emily Schmitt said. "They've been
supportive of me their whole life,
and they are always there but
they're never critical."
And while a casual observer
might find these parent's commit-
ment obsessive, many of the play-
ers count on the support.
"After the game, having (my
dad) there gives me the support I
need," Carissa Stewart said. "He's
the loudest one cheering, and I
can't picture being there without
After their worst rushing performance since 1964, the Buckeyes find themselves frustrated and pointing fingers. Ohio State
needs a win against either Illinois or Michigan to assure a bowl bid this season.
son at 16th-ranked Michigan (4-2, 7-2).
The Buckeyes are 0-5 under Cooper in
"As a competitor, you can deal with
losing but it's harder to deal with losing
when you know the team just didn't
give its best effort or its best effort did-
n't come out on the field," co-captain
and cornerback Ahmed Plummer said. part about it."
"That's the hardest part. We've been The pressure has risen because of
saying all throughout the season that Ohio State's success the past few years.
it's going to get better, that we're going "The way things are'going right now,
to have better games. But we still people don't know how to respond to it
haven't put it together. We still haven't when things aren't going well and
played that perfect game that we've they're used to them going well," Stultz
been waiting for. That's the frustrating said.