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November 10, 1999 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-10

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Wednesday, November 6, 1999 - The Michigan Daily - 11

C omrie leads- with a little help from his friends

By Uma Subramanian Koch has seven.
Daily Sports Writer "It's cool playing with Mike and
With 20 points in just nine games, Matzka," Koch said. "It's a great oppor-
Michigan center Mike Comrie is leading tunity playing with those guys. (Comrie)
the nation. has matured as a player this year and he's
His closest competitors for top honors taking - his time. He's burying his
0 Michigan State's Shawn Horcoff and chances, but Matzka and I are trying to
stem Michigan's David Gove who help him any way we can and just get
have 17 points each. him the puck."
But Comrie will be the first to say he Quality lines determine how strong a
couldn't have done it alone. team can be. Lines have a special bond
"It's still early," Comrie said of his that enables the members to work well
point total. "I don't think it's that big of together.
a deal. The guys I've been playing with The process of fashioning lines is so
have been great, especially my line- precise and encompasses so many
mates, Geoff Koch and Scott Matzka. aspects of the game that in someways it's
We're all still getting used to the season." almost scientific.
The sophomore may downplay his "We really look for chemistry,"
evements, but he's right, a big part Pearson said. "And also we see how does
oIs success can be linked to his line- a line work together. Do they pass well
mates, who've been creating opportuni- and can they read off each other? A lot
ties for the prolific scorer. of it is learning to just read off each other
'You like to play a guy like Comrie and knowing what a player does before
with guys who have some defensive he does it.
responsibility and who create some "That's part of the chemistry and the
room and space for him on the ice as smarts and the things that go into mak-
well," said Michigan assistant coach Mel ing a line. You get combinations where
Pearson. guys seem to have that instinct of what
"You also need guys who can finish if their linemates are going to do"
d upon, because Mike is such a Creating lines is only half the battle,
great offensive playmaker." actually instituting them is an ther story.
Koch and Matzka have played togeth- Line changes are one of the most
e& for two years and this season, while interesting phenomena in college sports.
playing on the top line with Comrie, To a casual observer it may seem like a
their offensive productivity has skyrock- simply random occurrence with guys
eted. Last season, Matzka and Koch fin- sporadically jumping onto the ice.
ished with 19 and 16 points respectively. But it's a carefully orchestrated
This year, Matzka already has nine and process. The top line starts the game and

PFA TERNO season. But when you've been at the
Continued from Page :10 same school for 50 years, yotu have
an amazing sense of perspective.
"I don't think anyone before the Paterno's seen it all before, so he
season started, knowing how tough doesn't live and die with every win
the Big Ten was, thought that some- and loss.
body was going to go all the way," Because of this, Paterno dismisses
Paterno said. those who feel like he may have
Being happy with his team makes missed his last shot for a third
the loss to the Gophers a little easier national championship. Although
to swallow. Paterno even admits that nearly 75, Paterno isn't hanging up
Minnesota was due to beat the Lions his trademark black Nikes just yet,
- two years ago, it dominated Penn "If it comes to the point where I
State for three quarters but commit- can't get a team to be competitive,
ted a late turnover to allow the Lions then maybe I'll back away" Paterno
to pull out a 16-15 victory. said.
"I was happy for the Minnesota If the coach stays true to his word,
kids," Paterno said. "I felt that they he'll probably be roaming the Penn
should have beaten us two years ago State sideline well into the next cen-
and had it taken away from them." tury.
Pretty gracious for someone who And he still won't have any idea
just ended his shot at an undefeated where his team is ranked.
Sabanagai n warnsC
team to keep focus

DANA INNANE/D
Michigan center Mike Comrie is off to a flying start this season. He currently
leads the nation in total points with 20.
after that, each line takes 30-40 second team, because it gets the last change.
shifts. Often overlooked, the line change is
Though usually the lines follow an one of the most important parts of the
order, sometimes a team will send out game. Only when the transition is flow-
lines based on what the opponent is ing smoothly and consistently can a
doing. That works best for the home team be successful.

Fifth spot up for grabs for men's cross country

EAST LANSING (AP) - If it
wants to stay in the running for a New
Year's Day bowl game, Michigan State
can't rest on its laurels as it faces
Northwestern this week, football
coach Nick Saban said Monday.
The Spartans snapped a two-game
losing streak Saturday with a 23-7 win
over Ohio State. The win helped
Michigan State (4-2 Big Ten, 7-2 over-
all) jump from No. 19 to 17 in this
week's poll and got the team back on
track, Saban said.
But Saban said he hopes team mem-
hers will have the maturity to deal with
their success and won't fall prey to the
problems that plagued the team after
its victory over Michigan.
"We have to get prepared to play
good football, or things can back up in
a hurry," he said. "We didn't deal with
our success against Michigan very
well."
Despite Michigan's 37-3 defeat of
Northwestern Saturday, Saban calls
the Wildcats (1-5, 3-6) a powerful
team that the Spartans can't take for
granted. Saban played against
Northwestern coach Randy Walker in

college and said the team demon-
strates many of Walker's characteris-
tics.
"They have a team that's tough, a
team that plays hard and aggressively,"
Saban said. "Their players really com-
pete in these games."
As for the Spartans' performance
against Ohio State, Saban praised
Lloyd Clemons, who completed nearly
100 yards and "looked outstanding."
Saban also said the game was the
best of the season for Richard
Newsome, who set up Paul Edlinger's
33-yard field goal with an interception
off the Buckeyes' Steve Bellisari.
"We played well together as a unit,
we played with lots of enthusiasm,"
Saban said. "Special teams played as
well in this game as we've played all
season."
Saban avoided coming down hard on
quarterback Bill Burke, who completed
15 of 24 passes against Ohio State.
"Bill has always played best when
he has time to make the decisions.
When it happens fast, he doesn't
always pull the trigger when you'd like
him to," Saban said.

BY Jon Schwartz to be willing to accept excuses after his Big Ten race.
Daily Sports Writer Rutsic could be seen standing alone in the center of the
To some, finishing second at the Big Ten track with his eyes intently focused on the No. 76 that
Championships showed just how much the Michigan he was holding in his hand.
men's cross country team has achieved this season. The blank, uninviting stare seemed to keep everyone
To John Butsic, finishing 76th showed that he would else away from him.
have to achieve a lot more. To add insult to injury, this week in practice, Butsic
Lost in the hype surrounding Tom Caughlan's fifth- turned his ankle, which he says is coming along fine, but
e finish in the meet was the team's fifth-place fin- it makes his "comeback" even more difficult.
isher for the majority of the season. "It remains to be seen how he responds," Warhurst
And while Butsic's sub-par performance is not the said. "He's feeling a lot better."
end of the world, as the season enters its crunch-time, it But merely feeling better is not reason enough for
is unclear what role the junior from Iron River will play Warhurst to put Butsic back into the lineup. The coach
in the upcoming NCAA Championship meet. said that he is waiting to get results from some tests he
"He might not run on Saturday," said Michigan coach had run on Butsic. Despite the lack of information so
Ron Warhurst in reference to this weekend's NCAA far, Warhurst is confident that there are no problems.
Great Lakes Regional in Terre Haute, Ind. "I'll decide "If there was anything seriously wrong, they would
that (tomorrow)." have called me by now to alert me," he said.
Too much punishment for one poor race? While Butsic is anxious to be given the chance to run
ot according to those involved. In fact, Warhurst on Saturday, he admits that he still has some work to do
a Butsic do not consider this decision to be a repri- before he is back to full strength.
mand at all. Both coach and runner said, Butsic's per- "Whatever is best for the team is good with me,"
formance was the result of an illness. Bustic said. "Ron is a good coach, and he knows what
"Truthfully, I hadn't felt very well for the week or so he's doing. I'm definitely not where I was when I was
before (the race)" Butsic said. "After about a mile, I scoring for the team, but I'm on my way back:'
completely broke down and ran much worse than I had Both Butsic and Warhurst claim that the possibility
expected to." of the junior's absence Saturday's lineup could be ben-
Whatever the cause, the ailing runner did not appear eficial for the team. Nursing an injury, Warhurst feels

that sitting out at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional
would help Butsic focus his attention on the team's
biggest race of the season, the NCAA Championship
meet to be held Nov. 22 in Bloomington.
Also, Warhurst was confident that just as Tom
Caughlan came through at the Big Tens, he can take
Butsic's spot this weekend.
"I think that Tommy established himself as a good
five," Warhurst said.
Butsic expressed his agreement, pointing out that he
and Caughlan had been helping each other all season.
through their interior competition.
"At any given race," Butsic said, "he could be the
fifth man, and I could end up below him. I always feel
pushed by him and he always feels pushed by me.That
helps the team;'
Warhurst insists that his decision has not been made
yet. He is going to see how the next few days pan out
before deciding on his lineup for Saturday. The coach
would not name a possible replacement in the top
seven, though, before speaking to his team.
Whether or not John Butsic runs in this Saturday's
meet, the junior is excited about getting back onto the
course, whenever that happens.
"I definitely want to get back and run the best race of
my life,' he said.
And if it happens this week or next, Butsic is just
looking out for the good of the team.

Biology Graduate School
Admissions Information Night
*a representative from Kaplan will discuss graduate school
admissions, applications, and GRE information
efeaturing a graduate student panel
.win a Kaplan Scholarship
Wednesday, November 10, 1999
1640 Chemistry Building
presented by Students of Biology

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