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November 02, 1999 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-02

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NFL FOOTBALL
-ei tie 9A
*: R 3AY, inc-

3 £di&n&u1

Tracking 'N' tickets
If you didn't pick up your Michigan men's basketball
tickets yesterday, go down to the Michigan Ticket
Office at 1000 S. State St. and get them today.
Tickets are still available for purchase.
Tuesday
November 2, 1999 9

NFL Hall of
Famer Payton
dead at age 45
CHICAGO (AP) - Walter Payton, whose aggressive, elu-
swe style made him the NFL's all-time rushing leader and took
icago to its only Super Bowl victory, died yesterday at 45.
Payton died at his home in suburban Barrington. His cause
f death was not immediately.released.
Payton had suffered from primary sclerosing cholangitis. a
rare liver Jisease that could only be cured by a transplant. He'd
been on a waiting list for a transplant for nine months.
"He's the best football player I've ever seen. At all positions,
he's the best I've ever seen," said Mike Ditka, who coached
Payton for six of Ditka's 1I1 years with the Bears, including the
1985 Super Bowl season.
"There are better runners than Walter," Ditka said. "But he's
* best football player I ever saw. To me, that's the ultimate
compliment."
Fans were stunned in February when Payton, looking gaunt
and frail, announced he had PCS, and he made few public
appearances after that. His condition gradually deteriorated,
and his son, Jarrett, a running back/kick returner for the Miami
Hurricanes, was called home Wednesday night.
Payton rushed for 16,726 yards in his 13-year career, one of
sport's most awesome records. And Barry Sanders ensured it
would be one of the most enduring, retiring last July despite
being just 1,458 yards shy of breaking Payton's mark.
"I want to set the record so high that the next person who
*es for it, it's going to bust his heart," Payton once said.
Though his nickname was "Sweetness," Payton's running
style was bruising. He vaulted over goal lines. He stiff-armed
and barreled over tacklers in the open field almost as often as
he dodged them.
Against Buffalo in 1979, he took off from the 2-yard line
and landed a yard deep in the end zone- on his head. In one
of his more famous runs, he bounced off every defender on the
Kansas City Chiefs.
"There were guys who ran with the ball better, faster," Ditka
d. "But I don't think anyone ever ran with more determina-
n than Walter."
Payton was awe-inspiring at every stage of his career. His
3563 yards rushing at Jackson State was one of nine school
records he set, and he scored 66 touchdowns.
CHe led the nation in scoring in 1973 with 160 points, and his
464 career points was an NCAA record.
Pavton retired after the 1987 season, and the Bears immedi-
.ely retired No. 34. He left the game with 10 1,000-yard rush-
jng seasons, and 77 100-yard games. He won the MVP twice
1977, 1985) and was selected to nine Pro Bowls.
He was elected to the Hall of Fame in January 1993. When
was inducted in July 1993, he asked Jarrett to be the first
son to present his father for induction in the Hall.
P, Payton is survived by his wife, Connie, and their two chil-
4ren, Jarrett and Brittney.
Midfield leads so

Defenseless

Opponents' big plays
cause for concern

By T.J. Berka
Daily Sports Editor
For the first time in four weeks,
Lloyd Carr came into his weekly
luncheon off of a victory.
Although the Wolverines got to
mark a tally in the win column this
week, the questions after the victo-
ry over Indiana had the same theme
as the questions that arose after the
losses to Michigan State and
Illinois.
That theme: Where's the
defense?
Carr and the players were bom-
barded with questions about the
defensive side of the ball, and they
had the same general answer -
They weren't so sure.
"I really can't tell you what the
difference is," free safety Tommy
Hendricks said. "I think much of it
has been mistakes and blown
assignments. It only takes a couple
of plays to make a big difference in
the game."
Those plays have been particu-
larly costly to the Wolverines of
late. After holding its opponents to
66 points in the first five games,
Michigan has given up 100 points
during the last three, the second-
most during a three-game stretch in
the program's history.
"If it was just a one-game thing it
wouldn't be so alarming," Carr
said. "But after it happens three
games in a row, you realize that
there is a problem."
One thing the players were
adamant in saying was that the
problem was the fault of the whole
unit. The secondary - dubbed as
'suspects' throughout the season -
has taken much of the heat for
Michigan's troubles.
But Carr was quick to point out

the lack of a pass rush as an equal-
ly important factor.
"There are a lot of things that go
into pass defense," Carr said. "We
aren't getting the type of pressure
on the quarterback that we had
been getting. That's a critical part
of pass defense."
Defensive end James Hall -
who had six sacks in the first five
games but hasn't sacked the quar-
terback in the past three games -
cites the decreased pressure on the
quarterback on adjustments that
Michigan's opponents have made.
"I think the pass rush has been
pretty effective except for maybe
the Michigan State game," Hall
said. "Teams have been using the
three-step drop against us a lot
though, which makes it harder to
get to the quarterback."
But for all the problems that
Michigan has had on the defensive
side of the ball, the Wolverines are
confident that they aren't too far
away from turning things around.
"The plays that we haven't made
are plays that we can make,"
Hendricks said. "It's just a matter
of making them.
"You are not going to stop every
play. When a big play comes, you
have to keep the defense together:"
Much of keeping the defense
together is making sure that they
keep their confidence high and are
playing with their natural ability.
Carr hinted at the tendency of his
defenders to play with a bit of inhi-
bition.
"Any time that things go bad,
there is a tendency to press a bit, to
play without recklessness," Carr
said. "When you get beaten, there
is always to some degree a confi-
dence problem."

DANA UNNANE/Daly
The Michigan defense has had difficulty corraling its foes lately, allowing 100 points in its last three
games, the second most during a three-game stretch in the program's history.

ccer into Big Ten tournament

A load of BCS
The new Bowl Championship Series rankings, released yesterday:

By Dan Williams
Daily Sports Writer
',W/hen the Michigan soccer team
records a shutout,junior goalie Carissa
Stewart and the defense get the credit.
When the team tallies a plethora of
goals, the forwards receive the praise.
Often left out is the Michigan mid-
field, a group that's work often doesn't
show up on the stat sheet. But their
ability to control the middle is instru-
mental in the outcome of every game.
Michigan, which plays a short pass-
w, ball-control style of offense, relies
'U the midfield to advance the ball.
They have to get the ball to the for-
wards ia a position to score.
The Wolverines have been so suc-
cessful that Michigan has outshot its

opponents in all but two games this
year.
"It's our job to keep possession of
the ball and distribute it," senior Emily
Schmidt said. "It allows us to be more
in support of the field then other teams
are."
Other teams like Michigan's last
opponent, Kentucky, rely on its
defense to send long "through balls" to
its offense, and then the forwards have
to create their own opportunities from
there. The midfield allows the
Wolverines to play a slower, more
intricate style.
The midfield is lead by the play of
senior Emily Schmidt. The left wing's
physical attributes include a hard shot
and good endurance. But the rest of the

team also feeds off her attitude.
"They look to Emily's work ethic
and her emotion when playing,"
Michigan coach Debbie Belkin said.
Senior Mari Hoff, who plays on the
wing opposite Schmidt is less vocal
but also a leader. Hoff also has one of
the deadliest shots on the team. Hoff's
long blast from the corner put
Michigan on top for good in
Michigan's 2-0 win against Iowa.
While Hoff and Schmidt get atten-
tion because of their goal-scoring abil-
ity, sophomore Laurie Peterson
remains the unsung hero of the entire
team.
Although the tall inside midfielder
doesn't accumulate massive stats, she
does a lot of the dirty work on both

sides of the ball.
"She does the grunt work," Belkin
said. "She wins lot of head balls and
chases a lot of people down."
The Michigan midfield prides itself
on its good vision and its stamina. Its
endurance and its passing has lead the
team to a 13-5-2 record this year
meaning that the ability .of the mid-
field to control the game will be key in
this weekend's Big Ten tournament.
While the midfielders' names don't
always find their way into the head-
lines, the group isn't worried about
being under appreciated.
"The spectators see the stats,"
Schmidt said, "but our teammates real-
ize that everything comes through the
midfield."

Team
1. Florida State
2. Penn State.
3. Virginia Tech
4. Florida
5. Tennessee
6. Kansas State
7. Georgia Tech
8. Nebraska
9. Alabama
10. Wisconsin
11. Texas
12. Mississippi Stat
13. Michigan
14. Marshall
15, Brigham Younc

Strength of Schedule:
17
12
58
6
15
69
61
36
2
44
25;
t 97
3
102
g 34-

Record
9-0
9-0
7-0
7-1
6-1
8-0
6-1
7-1

Rating
3.11
548
7.18
10.53
11.03
12.76
18.73
20.01
23.08
24.05
26.86 ,.
27.02-
30.19
30.58
3436

6-2
7-2
7-2
7-0
6-2
8-0
7-1

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