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September 23, 1999 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-23

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Thusday Septembe 23, 1999 - The Michigan Daily - 11A

I-

iEAD
THE

ER

OF

P

ACK

By Ryan C. Moloney Daily Sports Writer

sk Jay Cantin about the most
memorable race in his
Michigan career and it won't
take long before the 1998 Penn
Relays are recounted to you in detail.
It was time for the distance medley
relay which Michigan hadn't won at
Penn in 38 years.
Only a sophomore, the young
'antin had to hold his own with two
Michigan legends - Kevin Sullivan
and John Mortimer.
"We were on a mission - just stay
close enough so that our anchor
Kevin could work his magic," Cantin
said. "I was so nervous, I didn't want
to let those guys down."
Lo and behold, in the, last 100
meters Sullivan smoked Arkansas'
Senecca Lassiter to capture first
..place and international recognition
for the Michigan track program.
"I'll never forget taking a victory
lap in front of 45,000 people,"
Cantin said.
But those kinds of accolades are
rare. If you love attention and fan-
fare, you are probably not a distance
'runner. Cantin, the senior co-captain
of the Michigan men's cross country

team, may be the best athlete you've
never heard of on campus.
Though he's an Al-American, a
Big Ten champion and an Olympic
trial finalist, years of running in the
shadows of the Big Three - Kevin
Sullivan, John Mortimer and Todd
Snyder hasn't exactly granted him
big-name status.
"That's kind of true," Cantin said.
"But I came here in the first place to
run with those guys and be part of a
good team."
Some, perhaps most, people would
become jealous of the attention
bestowed upon their teammates. For
Cantin, the feeling is something else
entirely - gratitude.
"I am almost proud to have been
overshadowed by Sullivan, Snyder
and Mortimer," Cantin said. "They
are all incredible people and it was
an honor to compete with them.
"There's nothing like taking your
warm-up jog at a meet with Sullivan
and Mortimer on your shoulders,
guys on other teams shaking in their
boots."
But now it's Cantin's turn to lead
the Wolverines and he's doing it in

the same way he's done evervthing
else in his Michigan career - quietly
and professionally.
"Jay is a motivation for the rest of
us to do well," sophomore Mark Pilja
said. "That's the biggest thing - he
treats everybody on the team equally
and is a friend to everybody."
Co-captain Steve Lawrence has
run with Cantin since their high
school club days in Ontario. Even in
those days, Cantin oozed respect.
"He's always done things in a quiet
fashion," Lawrence said. "Everyone
definitely respects him and his opin-
ions."
In many respects, this is the most
challenging season of Cantin's
career. This season a big question
will be answered - can the
Wolverines win without a front-run-
ner?'
Cantin has yet to prove he can run
in the front of the pack on a consis-
tent basis and he is crucial to the del-
icate, five-runner balance Michigan
coach Ron Warhurst is attempting to
build.
"He's basically a miler," Warhurst
said. "He's been through this for four

years now and I'm looking for him to
have a breakthrough season.
"This is his turn"
Whatever inconsistencies may
have plagued him early in his career.
Cantin believes he has found the
answer with strength training and
other endurance workouts. Of
course, having a miler's kick never
hurts.
"Early in my career, being a miler
hurt me in cross country races,"
Cantin said. "But coming into the
last 1/2 mile of the race I know I will
win because that's my specialty."
In fact, it might be the reputation
that gives Cantin an edge.
"Ron likes to yell 'who's the four-
minute miler?' whenever I'm in a
pack with a mile left," Cantin said.
"It's great intimidation."
If the Wolverines surpass every-
body's expectations this year, it will
be due in large part to Cantin. But if
you ask Warhurst, Cantin already
possesses the main intangible.
"This game is all about confidence
and Jay has it," Warhurst said.
Quiet confidence, that is.

JOANNA PAINE/Daly
"This game is all about confidence and Jay has it," Michigan cross country coach'
Ron Warhurst said of Cantin.

.DAVIS
Continued from Page 9A
come out of Manchester to play foot-
ball," Davis said. "There aren't really any
guys who come out of my school that
play Division I football, so everyone was
pretty supportive of me."
Davis gave the town of Manchester a
lot to cheer about during his high school
career. An all-state pick in Michigan,
)avis rushed for 4,530 yards and 69
touchdowns during his career, including
averaging a mind-boggling 12.3 yards
per carry.
But Davis saw some apprehension
among colleges when it came time to
being recruited. Standing only 5-foot-10
and weighing only 180 pounds, Davis
wasn't exactly the biggest recruit in the
country.
And it played a factor in Davis' selec-
on of Wisconsin as his college.
"The recruiting process wasn't that big
for me" Davis said. "1 think there were a
ot of doubts about my size and the size
of the school I came from. I can't say I
jan blame them."
But the same coaches who overlooked
Davis coming out of high school are the
nes who have been watching him zip by
em on the way to the end zone during
is first 15 games in a Badger uniform.
Wisconsin emphasizes special teams
er coach Barry Alvarez, and Davis is
1 walking, talking example of the Badger
Philosphy.
V "We really emphasize special teams,
Wo 1 go in early during the week and
'"ich film to see where the seams and
'oles are opening up. I can trust my
MIockers, so studying the film makes it
easier for nte to read blocks and go from
there."
Usually where Davis goes is a long
fgay from where he starts. Sporting a 40-
yard dash time of 4.4 seconds - which
Davis says was run with a pulled ham-
string - Davis has track-star speed.
A track recruit as well as a football
eruit, Davis hasn't yet dabbled into
emng a two-sport star. But its not like the
consin track program isn't trying to
adoo Davis into being a track star.
Davis, who sprinted in high school,
as also been offered a position by
Wisconsin track coach Ed Nuttcomhe
Whether or not Davis runs track in the
spring, he has gotten plenty of practice
running by people on the gridiron. Davis
tends to leave defenders back in his dust
when returning kicks, scoring four return
touchdowns in his Wisconsin career.
And the feeling of scoring a touch-
Iown, Davis said, is one of the greatest
feelings in sports
"It's really exciting when you bring
ne back," Davis said. "The momentum
hitches so quickly when that happens. It
has such a huge impact on the game
'because the other team tries to respond,
and that's when they make mistakes."
The Wolverines are wary of Davis'
Ability to change a game in a matter of
seconds. Stopping Davis is a main con-
cern for Michigan coach Lloyd Carr.
"Davis is phenomenal," Carr said. "He
cets two first downs every time he fields
punt, which is two less first downs that
is offense has to get."
With the Michigan punt return game
struggling since the departure of Charles
-Woodson, one might think that Davis
Awould relish facing the local team that
spurned him. But Davis understands why
Michigan passed over him coming out of

Coach Alvarez took a chance on me
coming out of high school, which I
respect him deeply for."
Not only does Davis like the
Wisconsin program, he loves the atmos-
phere that exists in Madison. Madison is
known as one of the hipper campuses in
the Big Ten, and Davis would be the first
to agree.
"We have a lot of crazy fans here,"
Davis said. "The atmosphere here this
week is unbelievable -you can feel it in
the air."
Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium,
while it holds far less than Michigan
Stadium, gets into a fever pitch during
games.
While many of Davis' teammates
came to him for advice when the
Badgers visited Ann Arbor last
November, Davis told him that the
Michigan fans were nothing compared to
the crazies at Camp Randall. I
"Some of the guys came up to me last
year and asked what it was like to play
here," Davis said. "I told them not to get
intimidated by the size, because the fans
back home are a heck of a lot louder than
the fans at Michigan."
Davis and his fans get their repeat shot
at the Wolverines Saturday in Madison.
While Davis doesn't want to take
revenge against the Wolverines, he does
want to make sure that he can come
home to Manchester with his head up.
"Some people gave me a hard time
when I came home after that game,"
Davis said. "We certaintly didn't play our
game last year, so I want to play my
game Saturday and see what happens. I
certainly don't want to hear about us los-
ing to Michigan the next time I come
home.
"I have nothing against Michigan, but
if we win on Saturday, it will be a sweet
feeling"

PATMON
Continued from Page 9A
crazy."
For DeWayne, college was just
another airport, cracking Michigan's
starting lineup just another chal-
lenge.
Now in his third Michigan season,
now an emerging force at free safety
on the country's fourth-ranked team,
the soft-spoken Patmon knows he
made the right decision.
"Michigan had more to offer all
around, and I'm very happy with the
decision I made," Patmon said.
But what he doesn't say in words,
he says in his demeanor - a large
smile covers his face, arms relaxed
by his side, Patmon was more at
home than the Old Lady in her shoe.
Standing at just six-feet tall, 181
pounds, Patmon doesn't fit the big,
bruising football player mold. You
wouldn't think he could hit like a
Mack truck. You'd think he'd hit
more like Betty Rubble.
You'd be wrong.
Growing up the youngest of six
kids, including two brothers who
were young enough for him to play
with, Patmon quickly learned his

place -- as the little one, he was
quiet and did as lie was told.
"He had two older brothers that sat
on him when he mouthed off," said
Daryl Dotson, a defensive backs
coach at Patrick Henry who coached
Chad, Daryl and DeWayne Patmon.
But it was that same environment,
having two older brothers who would
sit on him, that toughened Patmon up
and turned him into the bruising hit-
ter that he is today.
"They always played tough and
rough," Chuck Patmon said. "They
made him tough."
As a sophomore at Patrick Henry
High School, DeWayne broke into
the starting lineup, playing free safe-
ty alongside his brother, Chad, the
strong safety.
"Everyone thought Chad was the
great player, because he was such a
big talker," Dotson said. "But at the
end of the year, everyone ended up
talking about DeWayne. His play
talks for itself."
His play has been more of a whis-
per at Michigan - at least as far as
public attention goes - although it
probably should be a roar. These
stats speak pretty loudly:
U In his 14 career starts at

Michigan, the Wolverines are 14-0.
Last season, he moved into the start-
ing lineup after Marcus Ray was sus-
pended for accepting gifts from an
agent. Ie started 10 games;
Michigan won all 10. .Ray, a
Columbus native, started his last reg-
ular-season game at Michigan, a 33-
16 loss at Ohio State. Patmon started
one game as a freshman, a Michigan
victory, before missing the last three
games of the season with a broken
leg.
® Last season, Patmon tied for the
team lead in interceptions, grabbing
four, and was second in pass
breakups with four.
U He already has two picks this
year, leading the Wolverines, and one
tackle for loss in just three games
this season.
Patmon will have to be plenty loud
this weekend against Wisconsin.
With stud back Ron Dayne roaming
the backfield, a full 71 pounds heav-
ier than Patmon, the safety and his
secondary mates are the last line of
defense.
If Dayne breaks past the front
seven, and a defensive back doesn't
get him, Wisconsin will find itself in
Camp Randall- heaven.

"I'm looking forward to tackling
Ron Dayne," Patmon said. "I'm not
afraid. I know he's a great back, 4
know he's a big back, I've just got to
hit him as hard as I possibly can. In'i
looking forward to tackling the big
guy.
Thanks to his high school buddy,
Patmon has some experience tack-
ling big guys, although no one quite
as big as the big guy.
Before he had a leisman Trophy
on his resume, before he appeared on
the cover of a magazine in a wedding
dress, before he rewrote the NCAA
rushing record book, Ricky Williams
was the star senior at Patrick Henry,
where Patmon was a sophomore
safety.
Which meant every day in prac-,
tice, Patmon got a first-hand look at
one of the best backs in the game.
"I think that's why I hit pretty
hard," Patmon said. "I had to tackle a
big guy like him. Going up against,
Ron Dayne, all that helps."
Containing Dayne isn't going to be.
easy, and the Wolverines can use all
the help they can get.
While Dayne may be built like a
747, for Patmon, stopping him is just
the airport all over again.

i

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