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December 10, 1999 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-12-10

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Friday, December 10, 1999 - The Michigan Daily - 11

WVeetbzg rednecks 1 Orange
notkhig to be upset about

Admit it. You were rooting for
the Gators this past Saturday
just as hard as I was. Sure, you
thought playing Florida in the Orange
Bowl would be a tougher game than
bying Alabama. Sure, you thought
tble Gators' obvious home-field advan-
tgein Miami could mean the demise
of Michigan's victory hopes. But you
wanted it anyway.
Florida is the Southeastern
d ite, the cream Josh
of he crop ~ Kleinbaum
maybe not this
year, but tradi-
Ijnally. How s
at would it be _
(end the Bigy
Tei) to be the
teain to put the
+ators (and the APOCLYpE
Se) in their Now
-bNot too long ago, a reporter asked
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr if there's
e team he'd like to face. Carr smiled
said yes. But in typical Lloyd Carr
fashion, he wouldn't say which team.
The reporter followed up by ask-
ing, "Is it a certain team coached by a
former Heisman Trophy winner?"
Again, Carr wouldn't answer, but
the smile that crept through his face
betrayed him. Of course it was the
Gators, with the hot shot Heisman-
winning coach whose ego weighs
more than his offensive line. Steve
urrier, constantly pacing the side-
ines with his orange visor, just asking
for an ass-whooping. And who's better
to give him one than the Wolverines?
Apparently, Alabama. To the tune
of 27 points in the SEC title game. So
Michigan plays the Crimson Tide on
New Year's day.
My initial reaction? Bla.
What the hell is a Crimson Tide,
yway? And why is their mascot an
4phant - and not even a crimson
one at that? I once heard a story about
hick from Alabama confusing a herd
of stampeding elephants for a tidal
wave, which was apparently the color
crimson. Hence the Crimson Tide. But
I don't put any stock in that.
Then there's the fact that the
team's nickname is singular, which
always leaves writers wondering
whether to refer to the school as an
or a 'them.' To solve this problem,
we can simply replace the singular
Crimson Tide' with the plural
So Michigan plays the Alabama
Hillbillies on New Year's day.
And the more I think about the
game, the better it gets.
Michigan and Alabama match up
well. They've both got terrific defens-
617 Packard

es, with potential holes in the sec-
ondary. They're both traditionally run-
oriented teams, and, as usual, have
strong running games. But this year,
both teams have opened the game up
offensively, passing more than usual
and even occasionally using a spread
offense. Put those two teams together
and you've got the makings of a clas-
Alabama is fun to watch. They've
got an explosive running back in
Shaun Alexander, who may be one of
the nation's best. They've got a a
Batman quarterback in Andrew Zow
- every time he completes a pass, the
word 'Zow!' pops up on the TV
screen in a bubble - and an electric
quarterback in Tyler Watts - if you
can't figure this one out, try a high
school physics class.
Both are of the new breed, the
Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick-
esque quarterbacks who are just as
much a threat to run the ball as they
are to throw it. Rumor has it that
Hillbillies coach Mike DuBose
employs the QB rotation because
Watts, an Alabama native, isn't toilet
trained and needs to go to the locker-
room every now and then to change
his Depends.
Bo Schembechler said earlier this
week that Alabama might be the best
team in the country, and he could be
right. They escaped the toughest
schedule in the nation with just two
losses. Against the Gators, the
Hillbillies proved that rednecks could
be the class of the conference. On
New Year's Day, Michigan has the
chance to prove that the Big Ten is the
class of the country, even if the .
Wolverines don't have Steve Spurrier
to beat around.
- Josh Kleinbaum can be reached
via e-mail at jkbaum@umich.edu.

Continued from Page 10
As usual, Michigan will face a
daunting schedule, taking the mat
with most of the nation's top squads.
"I've always had an opinion that
you're only as good as the teams you
compete against," Plocki said. "We
could stay around here locally and
have a perfect winning percentage,
but that wouldn't prepare us for the
Plocki figures that the experience
will be invaluable when it comes
time for the postseason.
"When my kids walk on the floor
at the national championship, I don't
want them to be intimidated by any-
one they see there, and the way that
we do that is by competing against
them all season long."
Plocki emphasized that no matter
how grueling, the regular season
shouldn't phase the Wolverines.
Occasional slow starts in the past
have been ovZrcome by great finish-
"The tradition of our program has
been that we have peaked at the right
time in the championship part of the
season," Plocki said. "We always
seem to be able to put it together
when it counts, and I don't want that
to change."
The routines of uneven bars and
balance beam should provide the
most depth for the team. The floor
exercise and vaulting could be very
strong events, but the Wolverine's
are a little thinner in those areas,
making the Wolverines' continued
health crucial.
Tonight's meet should shed more
light on those strengths and weak-
"The intrasquad gives us a reality
check about where exactly we are in
our preparation process, so we find
out the good and the bad," Plocki
said. "Learning the bad is more ben-
eficial than knowing the good,
because it tells us what we need to
zero in on prior to the regular sea-

Other advantages of the scrim-
mage involve more of the 'meat'
aspect of gymnastics.
"There is a very steep learning
curve when it comes to getting over
the meet jitters -the first time ath-
letes are competing in front of a
judge and audience, they tend to get
more nervous. By doing this in front
of an audience, we kind of work our
way through that a little bit, so that
when we kick off the season we're
used to it and it's not a big deal."
In addition to the successfulness
that the gymnastics program should
continue to enjoy, fans will have
plenty of entertainment for the view-
er's pleasure.
"It's our goal to provide a great
entertainment value to our audience.
We're very serious about the compe-
tition, but one of the nice things
about the sport is that besides being
competitive and athletic it is also
entertaining," Plocki said.
"We have spectacular entrances,
all kinds of things that make us stand
out, make us unique and make our
competitions very fun to attend for
the audience."

The Michigan women's gymnastics team will use tonight's intrasquad meet as a
way to gauge its progress,


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