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September 16, 1999 - Image 21

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-16

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Thursday, September 16, 1999 - The Michigan Daily - 21A

Nebraska's
Buckhalter
to back up
4-back
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Correll
Buckhalter's timing in ending his brief
hiatus from Nebraska's football team
turned out to be better than he or his
teammates expected.
Buckhalter, back from a one-game
suspension for skipping practices, is
now the No. 2 running back in the
Cornhuskers' "i-back" formation after
*e departure of starter DeAngelo
Evans, who abruptly quit the team just
two games into the season.
This was not how Buckhalter, who led
Nebraska in rushing a year ago, pictured
moving back up the depth chart.
"I don't feel good about DeAngelo
leaving the team (and) making my role
on this team better," Buckhalter said. "I
hope DeAngelo comes back and doesn't
0oo out like the way it's going right now."
b But Nebraska coach Frank Solich
said it's un1ikey Evans will return to the
team, leaving the fourth-ranked
Cornhuskers with new starter Dan
Alexander and Buckhalter as the only
experienced I-backs.
"It's something that can very easily
happen," said Solich, who had to do the
-back shuffle last year when Evans and
Alexander went down with injuries.
Buckhalter ended up playing 12 games
spite an injured hamstring, a hip
inter and torn bursa sacs in both
elbows and finished with 799 rushing
yards.
"What always looks like a deep posi-
tion all of a sudden can turn into one
that's not too deep" Solich said.
Solich suspended Buckhalter from
last week's 45-0 shutout of California.
Buckhalter, who said he was frustrated
after getting just three carries as the
fornhuskers blew out Iowa 42-7 in the
season opener, didn't come to practice
until the following Thursday and Solich
said he thought Buckhalter might have
quit the team.
"I wasn't thinking about leaving. I was
just under a lot of frustration. I thought I
should have played a lot more in the Iowa
game than I did," Buckhalter said. "I just
took some wrong steps by not showing
'tp and not communicating with any-
dy. Which was bad on my part because
caused a lot of confusion.
Solich and Buckhalter sorted out their
issues and Buckhalter, a junior from
Collins, Miss., will be back in the lineup
on Saturday when Southern Mississippi
visits Memorial Stadium. Buckhalter
says Southern Miss was his second
choice as a recruit.
"The night before we signed the letter
of intent I wrote down some positive
jngs about Nebraska and some posi-
e things about USM - and some
negative things also," he said. "I just
prayed, whenever I woke up the next
morning, the team that I felt I should
play with and that was the decision that
I made."
Southern Mississippi is the school
where Buckhalter's brother, Chris, was a
running back earlier this decade. Chris
Buckhalter led the Golden Eagles in
rushing in 1994 and 1995 and finished
0th 1,533 career rushing yards.
_In August he was sentenced to 20
years in prison after pleading guilty to a
charge of manslaughter in a 1997 slay-
ing.
Correll Buckhalter wants to concen-

trate on football and not his brother's
troubles. He says he's looking forward to
playing against Southern Miss, the
Conference USA champions in 1996
and 1997.
"They have a lot of great players
dwn there. I think it's just the confer-
ence that they're in that doesn't let them
get the recognition like other schools in
the Big 12 or Big 10 or SEC," he said.

Notre Dame searces for
answers to early slde

SOUTH BEND (AP) - Just II
more yards. That's what Notre Dame
keeps telling itself.
Just II more yards and the Irish
would be 3-0. Just I11 mre yards and
they'd still be in the hunt fdr a nation-
al championship. Just I I more yards
and they wouldn't seem to be in a
mental state somewhere between
denial and indecision.
"We could be sitting here as a foot-
ball team that is probably in the top
five in the country," coach Bob Davie
said.
But they're not. The Irish are 1-2
after communication breakdowns and
horrible time management derailed
two last-minute comebacks, and
they're already out of the hunt for a
national title - once again - just'
three weeks into the season.
What's worse, the Irish have com-'
mitted a rash of mental mistakes that
seem to have cost them more than
anything their opponents have put up
so far.
"Right now, I can understand where
people would look at us and say, 'Boy,
those guys, I mean, what are they
doing?' That is all part of it," Davie
said. "But I also realize how close we
are to some really good things hap-
pening."

Notre Dame's "1l1 more yards"
mantra comes from last-second drives
that came up 10 yards short against
Michigan and 1 yard short aajinst
Purdue the last two weeks. Both times,
mental mistakes killed the Irish.
Perhaps nothing embodic Notre
Dame's disorientation more than the
end of the first half against Purdue.
Davie had instructed quarterback
Jarious Jackson to down the ball and
kill the clock if the Irish didn't get a
first down to give the field goal unit
time to get on the field. After back-to-
back penalties, Davie decided to rush
the field.goal kicker on for a quick
attempt.
Jackson didn't know about the
change and lined up - behind the
wrong lineman, no less - to take the
snap and kill the clock with the field
goal kicker and holder standing
behind him trying to line up for a last-
second try.
"We kind of outcoached ourselves
right there and made it a little bit hard-
er than it had to be," Davie said.
"Without question, I take responsibil-
ity for that. There was nobody else
involved with that but me."
All week, Davie has defended Notre
Dame's time management skills and
taken the blame for each gaffe.

Some of the blame has to be laid on
Jackson as well. The fifth-year senior
was supposed to be a bedrock of con-
sistency for an offense that features
seven new starters. Instead, he's
thrown five interceptions, one fewer
than he threw ali of last season. Every
time he pitches the ball on the option
it's been an adventure, and he's taken
sacks during the final drives in both of
Notre Dame's losses that ate up valu-
able seconds.
"l don't think this team is pointing
any one finger at anybody," Jackson
said. "I think this whole team takes
the blame, from the coaching staff on
down to the players."
Jackson said he spent Sunday won-
dering "what if" before he put the loss
behind him.
Not everyone seems to have gotten
over the disappointment of two crucial
losses so early in the season. Senior
free safety Deke Cooper still insists
the Irish can win the national champi-
onship.
"We put those behind us. We're just
focusing on Michigan State," Cooper
said of the first two losses. "It's a long
season. We're still hoping for a nation-
al championship. We don't know how
the rest of the season is going to go for
everybody else"

DANA LINNANE/Daily
Thanks to poor clock management, Notre Dame has seen two victories - and one
national title hope -slip away in the final minutes.

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