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September 09, 1999 - Image 46

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-09

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208 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 9, 1999
QB platoons find increasing popularity with top programs

By Chris Dufresne
Los Angeles Tumes
Somebody has to stop the two-
quarterback madness that has spread
to some of our nation's finest cam-
puses.
That somebody is going to be me.
Florida'Coach Steve Spurrier start-
ed this recent spate with his diaboli-
cal play-to-play quarterback rotation,
but he's Spurrier and you're not, so
let's hope this is a passing fad.
And even Spurrier stopped the in-
and-out nonsense this season by
sticking with Doug Johnson.
-Seems like every time I pick up a
paper, I'm reading about a two-quar-
terback rotation," Michigan Coach
Lloyd Carr said this week.
Lloyd, cancel your subscriptions.
The last watchable "platoon" was
directed by Oliver Stone.
Ohio State Coach John Cooper,
who will ferry the tag team of Austin
Moherman and Steve Bellisari
against UCLA on Saturday, says all
he's trying to do is win football
games.
The Buckeyes are 0-1.
"For a while they thought you
were crazy if you played two quarter-
backs," Cooper said. "'Now, that
might be the thing of the future."
Cooper should know better.
In 1996, he milked the Stanley
Jackson-Joe Germaine combination
to a 10-0 record, Germaine coming
off the bench.
For the all-important Michigan
game, however, he started Germaine
and lost. In the Rose Bowl, Jackson
started, but Germaine was named the
game's most valuable player.
The next season, Jackson remained
the starter, only this time Cooper
stuck with Jackson as the starter
against Michigan. And lost.
Last year, with Jackson gone and
Germaine the full-time starter, Ohio
State finally beat Michigan.
The last quarterback rotation that
worked was Bob Waterfield and
Norm Van Brocklin with the Los
Angeles Rams.
Anyone remember the San
Francisco 49ers rotating Joe Montana
and Steve Young during the playoffs
on those consecutive Super Bowl+
runs in the late 1980s?
Platoon theory has made me weary,+
so I'm stepping in to make the tough+
calls the big-time coaches won't.
Michigan: Tom Brady or Drew 1
Henson. This is lunacy. Carr is
throwing Henson a bone because the
sophomore, the hottest recruit in1
Michigan history, has an out clausec
in his scholarship: a lucrative base-t
ball career with the New York
Yankees. Carr has created unneces-
sary controversy. Brady, a fifth-year
senior, proved Saturday against Notre
Dame he deserves to be the starter

and the finisher. If Henson can't wait
until he's a junior to take over, well,
wait until he sees how impatient Mr.
Steinbrenner can be.
Penn State: Kevin Thompson or
Rashard Casey. Joe Paterno plays a
dangerous game here with a possible
national title at stake. He likes
Thompson as the starter; the rest of
us make the case for Casey. Joe, give
those glasses a wipe and see the
light: Casey is the man.
Nebraska: Bobby Newcombe or
Eric Crouch. You call this cohesion?
Crouch had to dispel reports he was
quitting
the team after Coach Frank Solich
named Newcombe the starter for last
.eek's opener against Iowa. Then
Crouch had to bail Nebraska out after
Newcombe's three first-half
turnovers.
A tough call, but that's why we get
paid. Newcombe is the more dynam-
ic player but is injury prone. Start
Newcombe and play him until he
drops. If he doesn't, the Cornhuskers
might win the national title. If he
does get injured, they still have
Crouch.
Arizona: Keith Smith or Ortege
Jenkins. Dick Tomey made this work
last year, but that was BPS (before
Penn State). Sunday, Jenkins rescued
Smith from a 25-7 hole against Texas
Christian only to watch Smith take
over for the game-winning drive.
Inexplicable.
Tomey is torn, because both are
good, but he should play Jenkins.
® California: Sam Clemons or
Kyle Boller. Tom Holmoe started the
inexperienced Clemons last week
against Rutgers, but this is a charade.
The reason the hotshot Boller went to
Cal instead of UCLA and others was
because he could start as a freshman.
Boller ended up rescuing the Bears
against Rutgers, and Holmoe would
be wise to start Boller's NFL clock
ticking now.
Ohio State: Moherman or
Bellisari. Neither looked worthy
against Miami. Moherman threw two
interceptions and Bellisari fumbled a
center snap. Moherman is the better
passer, Bellisari the better athlete.
Cooper faced the same quandary
with Germaine and Jackson, and
Germaine proved he reserved the
nod then. We say go with Moherman.
UCLA: Drew Bennett or Cory
Paus. So, again, why did J.P. Losman
transfer? Bennett's passes are better
suited for skeet shooting at Whittier
Narrows, while a local columnist is
comparing Paus to a young Cade
McNown. Well, then, by all means,
start the story on Cory.
® Texas: This isn't a two-platoon
system yet ... but sophomore Major
Applewhite is the only quarterback in
America who can throw for 353

yards in three quarters and still be
looking over his shoulder. With Papa
Phil glad-handing in the stands,
freshman Chris Simms made his
debut in mop-up duty against
Stanford. Anyone think Simms is
going to wait three years for
Applewhite to graduate?
Texas Coach Mack Brown needs to
resist the pressure to play Simms and
stick with the Major.
There, what was so hard about
that?
Notre Dame Coach Bob Davie
appears to have made a brilliant hire
in Kevin Rogers, who succeeds 'Oh
No!" Jim Colletto as Irish offensive
coordinator.
Rogers, who coached Donovan
McNabb at Syracuse last year, has
jump-started the Notre Dame offense
and looks the perfect fit for Jarious
Jackson's option skills.
Despite the 26-22 defeat last week-
end in Ann Arbor, Notre Dame
totaled 396 yards against Michigan
while Rogers' play-calling kept the
Wolverines off balance all day.
Rogers set the tone for the new era
when, on third and goal at the
Michigan four in the second quarter,
he called a reverse to Joey Getherall,
who scored easily. Not one Michigan
defender or 111,523 home fans saw it
coming.
Michigan Coach Carr was more
than happy to see Rogers go.
"I'm sick and tired of him," Carr
said. "I wish he'd get the hell out of
here."
Carr meant that as a compliment.
Two-MINUTE DRILL
Does anybody understand the
taunting rule?
Saturday, Notre Dame's Getherall
waggles his finger all the way into
the end zone on a reverse and is not
cited, yet teammate Bobby Brown is
penalized for a fairly innocuous
Mickey Mouse hand gesture to the
fans after his two-point conversation
gave the Irish a 22-19 lead over
Michigan. The 15-yard penalty was a
killer, as it allowed Michigan to
return a short kickoff to its own 42,
where it mounted the winning drive.
The field cops simply need to
make distinctions: Ripping your hel-
met off and doing the Funky Chicken
in your opponent's face should be
called, but not ticky-tack stuff.
And you thought the BCS formula
was complicated now. Consider the
alternative: When the BCS decided to
add five new computer rankings to
the formula, bringing the total to
eight, MIT math whiz and rankings
master Jeff Sagarin suggested deduc-
ing 'the geometric mean" of the
eight rankings to get a point total.
Thank goodness, BCS boss Roy
Kramer opted for throwing out the

0

AP PHOTO
Purdue's Drew Brees is part of a growing minority - quarterbacks who play all four quarters of a game. The two-quarterback
system has become the rage in college football.

worst ranking each week and divid-
ing the total of the others by seven.
KA-CHING DEPT.: Don't be sur-
prised if all Division I-A teams are
playing 12-game schedules by 2005.
The NCAA is doing away with
"extra" games such as the Kickoff
Classic beginning in 2002 in favor of
allowing schools to play 12 games in
years when there is an extra Saturday
on the fall schedule: Problem: There
is an extra Saturday only four years
between 2002 and 2020, which prob-
ably will prompt administrators to
open the 12-game revenue floodgates
for all seasons.
Notre Dame's defeat against
Michigan was a blow to numerology
freaks who saw significance in the
fact' the Irish won national titles in
1966, 77 and 88.

Just wondering. In the wake of
South Carolina's shutout loss to
North Carolina State, will Coach Lou
Holtz fire his first-year offensive
coordinator, son Skip, or merely
ground him for a week?
It's never too early to look for
schools that might muck up this
year's bowl championship series
rankings formula.
Our September pick: Virginia
Tech.
Last year, Kansas State could have
finished unbeaten and been denied a
place in the national championship
game had Tennessee and-UCLA also
finished undefeated. The BCS avoid-
ed the nightmare when UCLA and
Kansas State lost Dec. 5, setting up
the Tennessee-Florida State final.
This year, Virginia Tech may be the

BCS party crasher.
Assuming the Hokies can survie
the injury to freshman quarterback
Michael Vick, they have a good slot
of going 11-0 yet not finishing eitler
first or second in the BCS standin;s.
Why? Virginia Tech is in the fig
East, the weakest of the BCS bovi-
guaranteed conferences, and play a
tepid nonconference slate of Janes
Madison, Alabama Birmingham tnd
Clemson. The only "juice" game on
the board are at Virginia on Oc. 2
and a Nov. 13 home showd~wn
against Miami.
Given the strength-of-schelule
component in the BCS rankiigs,
Virginia Tech could finish unbeten
and easily get squeezed out by ane-
loss Florida or Penn State.
Wouldn't it be great?

.

S t

Moss notices problems and
sounds alarm in Vikings' camp

TO CELEBRATE OUR 30TH ANNIVERSARY

FOR ALL 30

DAYS OF SEPTEMBER

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -
Randy Moss sounded the alarm. The
star receiver says the Minnesota
Vikings don't have that special feel-
ing they did last year.
He sees evidence everywhere -
from the mood in the locker room to
the play on the field. Things just
aren't the same for this new cast of
Vikings.
"I think it's probably something
we probably could recapture," Moss
said Wednesday. "But last year, it
was something special. It was some-
thing inside that knew the '98
Minnesota Vikings were something
special.
"And this year, we lost a lot of
guys on defense. We have our whole
offense back (but) we lost our offen-
sive coordinator. ... So, there's a lot
of things that we have to get used to."
Moss' worries stem from a lack-
luster exhibition season in which the
Vikings looked nothing-like the team
that went 15-1 last season.
They lost eight free agents in the

offseason and failed on draft day to
shore up the holes left by the depar-
tures of defensive stars Jerry Ball,
Derrick Alexander and Corey Fuller.
Despite returning all 11 starters,
the offense, under new coordinator
Ray Sherman, has yet to get
untracked.
Moss, who set a rookie:record with
17 TD catches last season, alternate-
ly proclaimed his team ready to put
its troubles behind and bemoaned its
many inadequacies.
"It's going to be hard. It's going to
be a struggle this year," he said.
"You know there's a lot of high
expectations this year for us to go
out here and try to duplicate last sea-
son and I don't think there's any way
possible - well, I wouldn't say any
way possible that we can do that
again -- but it's going to be very
hard to do."
Moss said he was shocked by the
shoddy preseason play of the veteran
offensive line that was so integral to
last season's success.

After the Vikings lost to the New
York Jets last week, coach Dennis
Green assailed the pass protection
and said he counted three nuntal
mistakes from the first-team offen-
sive line.
"It kind of shocked me, to be hon-
est with you, to see as far as the vet.
eran group of guys we got playing
the offensive line," Moss said. "Yoi
know, they made some mistakes dui.
ing the preseason. And we all male
mistakes. I made some during tie
preseason. You know, I think ever
coach Green made some during tie
preseason. So, it's just not the guys
on the field. The coaches make ms-
takes. So, everybody's entitled toa
mistake."
Offensive line coach Mike The
said he is hardly depressed over ds
unit's play. He said the game filns
show easily correctable lapses. Ind
Moss added that nobody can stopthe
Vikings if Todd Steussie, Randall
McDaniel, Jeff Christy, David Dion
and Korey Stringer keep Rariall
Cunningham upright.
"We're going to put 60 point up
on that board, 50, 60 points," floss
said. "We're capable of that if e'ery-
body's on."
Upon reflection, Moss ackuowl-
edged he didn't get that speciafeel-
ing about last year's squad until
Week 5, when the Vikings beat
Green Bay 37-24 at LambeauField.
He said the feeling grew stonger
after the Vikings won the rematch
with the Packers at the Metrodome,
then flew to Dallas and roued the
Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
"And this year it's like we'e going

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