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November 01, 2000 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-11-01

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

Movin' on up
This Michigan women's cross country
team had cracked the top 10 for the
first time this year. Go online to see the
results of the entire poll.

igau, tit

NOVEMBER 1, 2000


*Walker's plan keeps
'Cats ahead of curve

Running the spread:
Big Ten's quick fix

By Chris Duprey
Daily Sports Editor
For Michigan coach Lloyd Carr
yesterday, the issue was evolution -
namely, staying ahead of the compe-
In Carr's view, that's how North-
western has made up for sonic of its
roster shortcomings to become the
Big Ten's biggest surprise.
"The one thing about this game
(football) is, if you stay the same,
you re going to regress," Carr said.
Northwestern coach Randy Walker
took a look at his roster over the off-
season. Skilled fullbacks and tight
ends were scarce. Walker knew
he needed to make a fundamental
change in his offense, or go through
another season like 1999, where the
Wildcats finished 3-8.
Walker's philosophy changes have
played out in making Northwestern
a Rose Bowl contender with just
three conference games to play.
From the no-huddle, the Wildcats
seem to operate on just three plays
offensively: Shotgun snap and hand-
off to Damien Anderson, who's aver-
aging 167 yards per game; shotgun
snap, fake handoff to Anderson and
run by quarterback Zak Kustok, who
averages 40 yards on the ground
himself; or Kustok actually takes the
shotgun snap and passes.
Anderson makes the majority of
his yards outside the tackles. His
instincts on when to run north-south
and when to move laterally are solid.
It's Anderson, along with Kustok,'
Carr said, that makes Northwest-
ern's offense work.

"You watch the game, you think
they're a passing team," Carr said.
"But the run is really what's impres-
sive about them."
Another concern for the Wolver-
ines is the quantity of snaps North-
western crams into the game. The
Wildcats ran 97 plays this past Sat-
urday against Minnesota. In Mich-
igan's two losses, UCLA (80) and
Purdue (88) ran high numbers of
plays from scrimmage.
"The way you beat this team is
three-and-out," Carr said. "That's the
way you beat any team, I guess."
One question that can't be
answered is whether Walker's
offense will flourish beyond this
season. Is it a gimmick or an offense?
With an entire offseason of video-
tape to watch, will the other 10
coaches in the Big Ten be able to
construct a defense that shuts down
the spread?
Adjustments "may take a little bit
longer because of the factor of the
no-huddle," Carr said.
Shutting down the spread next
year, or the year after, still might
not knock the Wildcats back down
to the conference cellar. If Walker's
proven one thing, it's that he's a
chameleon capable of changing his
colors again if lie has to.
JOE PASADENA?: It's weird, and
it's a longshot, but Penn State still
has a chance at the Rose Bowl. The
Nittany Lions need a lot of help, but
not much more than Michigan does.
Of course Penn State (3-2 Big
Ten, 4-5 overall) would need to win
out. Its two home games are win-
nable, against Iowa and Michigan


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Michigan defensive end Dan Rumishek (92) and the rest of Micigan's pass rush
will be a key to Saturday's game against Northwestern.

State. The road game sandwiched in
the middle, at Michigan, iS a mam-i
moth challenge.
Because the Nittan v ions beat
Purdue on Sept. 3t) the onl con -
ference team to do o thW far
they would win the tierea ker rwith
the Boilermakers if Purdue xWere to
lose one o fits final two games. Penn

State would also need Ohio State to
lose once more and for Northwest-
ern to lose two of its three games.
All right, so don't count on it. But
it s still an interesting possibility.
It's a different Penn State team
than 1 saw earlier, "Carr said. "That's
what you expect from a Joe Paterno-
coached team."

By Stephanie Offen
Daily Sports Editor
Oklahoma runs it and the Sooners
are No. I in the nation. Purdue has a
similar offensive attack and the Boil-
ermakers are leading the Big Ten and
control their own desiny on the way to
the Rose Bowl.
Recently, the spread offense has
become a "get good quick" solution
for teams like Oklahoma and North-
western who use college football's
new trend to rise to the top of the
Michigan State coach Bobby Wil-
liams, who was not succesful against
the Wildcats' offense this season, said
the spread is hard to defend and cre-
ates tough 1-on-1 situations for cor-
nerbacks who may be outmatched by
better receivers.
Ohio State also faced the spread
l-ast weekend in the Buckeyes' 31-27
loss to Purdue. Ohio State coach John
Cooper praised Drew Brees yesterday
during the Big Ten teleconference as
"the best quarterback we have faced
since I've been in the league." But
unlike Williams, Cooper was impressed
with how his team handled the spread.
The Buckeyes forced four turnovers
but were not able to convert on those
And Cooper agrees with other Big
Ten coaches when lie says that even
though both run the spread, Purdue
and Northwestern have very different
offenses. And when the Big Ten's most
talked about spread offenses met head-
to-head, Purdue dominated the Wil-
cats, 41-28.
"Northwestern's offense is totally
different than Purdue's," Wisconsin
coach Barry Alvarez said. "It's not the
offense or the formations as much as
how well you execute. If you want to
throw the ball, you need somieoiie that
is not oiily accurate but a good mni-
ager. But if you want a quick fix and
you have a good quarterback I guess
that's the way to go.'
And many say that a "quick fix" is
exactly what Northwestern got from
the team's unconventional style of play.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr says what
the Wolverines saw in the Boilermak-
ers' offense in their loss to Purdue will
be nothing like what they will see this
"I don't think they are similar
offenses,' Carr said. "Purdue used
Drew to run more which was particu-
larly successful against us. Northwest-
ern uses the quarterback as an integral
part of game ... They use the quarter-
back as a tailback and it creates prob-
lems that we haven't seen, then vou
have to add the fact that they don't
huddle creates new problem."
Northwestern 's no-huddle style of
offense -- which the Wildcats com-

Ieam Big Ten Over l
Purdue 5 1 7 2
Michigan 4 1 6 2
Northwestern 4 1 6 2
Ohio State 3 2 6 2
Penn State 3 2 4 5
Minnesota 3 3 5 4
Indiana 2 2 3 5
Wisconsin 2 4 5 4
Illinois 1 4 4 4
Michigan State 1 4 4 4
Iowa 1 4 1 8
Michigan State at OHIO STATE, 12:10 p.m.
Indiana at ILLINOIS, 12:10 p.m.
Iowa at PENN STATE, 12:10 p.m.
Michigan at NORTHWESTERN, 3:30
bine with the spread -- creates a very
different look from any other team in
the conference.
"The tempo of the game also cre-
ates tremendous problems," Carr said.
"You don't have an opportunity to
simulate this offense because demon-
stration teams have to huddle up-to
us the plays that are written on the
Coming off two shutouts, the confi-
dence of Michigan's defense is high.
But Carr said that this new style of
offense may throw the Wolverines'
confidence out the window.
While the last two games have been
shutouts for the Wolverines, they were
against offenses that Michigan was
used to.
"We see Michigan States and Indi-
ana's offense every year," Carr said.
"But this is a completely different
offense than we have ever seen."
And the nerves in Evanston are
building as well. Northwestern coach
Randy Walker is nervous that his
spread offense won't hold up against
what lie calls "one of the best defenses
in the country."
But Walker added that the Wildcats
will not change anything on the offen-
sive end just because they are faciig a
team that is coming off two shutouyit:
"Quite frankly if you do someth1ing1
really well you don't change it from
week to week," Walker said.
Michigan State coach Bobby Williarms
announced that freshman quarterback
Jeff Smoker will be the Spartans starter
this Saturday in Columbus.
Ohio State coach John Cooper is
familiar with Smoker since he tried
to recruit him last year. Smoker may .
never have played in front of an oppon
ing crowd as large or vocal as he
will this Saturday, but he is familiar
with both Columbus and a big stadium
"Jeff played at Missouri and here,
Williams said. "I know Ohio Statei s
tough environment and he will have to
get acclimated to situation early"

No. 1 Michigan Ry. Rree k Stir lay, 7:05 pM ny
No. 6 Michigan Statea' Yost Ice At a
o n It
ivalry oues as reCruiti showCase
Blackburn returns to practice today, weekend status still questionable

By Jon Schwartz
Daily Sports Writer
For both Michigan and Michi-
gan State's hockey programs, the
ioring weekend is big on more
ronts than the simple rivalry.
As the two most prominent col-
lege hockey programs in the state,
the first matchup of the season
is the first chance to impress the
undecided recruits trying to choose
between the two schools.
During Saturday night's matchup at
Yost Ice Arena, the shenanigans that
Michigan students have made tradition
during games will be a bit louder and
razier, the obvious result of the sea-
son's biggest game to date.
But several fans will be watch-
ing ,the contest on a much more
intense level - closely scrutiniz-
ing each program's ups and downs
with the ultimate hope of choosing
which sweater will drape his body
in the future.
"Any big game is going to be"
a recruiting showcase, senior assis-
ant captain Scott Matzka said.
"When we win the big games we
become a successful program and
you get the recruits. I guess for the
Michigan guys, it would be a good

way to tell who you're going to go
For a senior in high school who
plays defense, every Josh Blackburn
save for the Wolverines could make
his eye glitter. Every Mike Komis-
arek check against a Spartan could
make a right wing leaning towards
Michigan State feel a bit queasy.
But Michigan coach Red Beren-
son said it's not just the high school
students that will have their eyes
open wide this weekend.
"it might be a kid who's 12 years
old or 14 years old that is impacted
or influenced by the outcome of
one of these game," Berenson said.
"These are showcase games."
burn expects to return to practice
today after missing yesterday's ses-
sion and the third period of Satur-
day's 6-2 win over Miami.
Miami's Pat Leahy ran into the
junior goaltender in the second
period and despite finishing the
stanza in goal, had to be replaced
by L.J. Scarpace for the third. His
status for this weekend is still ques-
tionable but will be clearer after
today's practice.
"It's getting better every day,"
Blackburn said. "It's a little stiffer

but I kind of expected that. 131 the
pain's going away prelty quickly.
"When you hear separated shourl-
der that sounds pretty serious and
actually, it wasi't that seio-us, jist
a little bit sore. It's not like my arm
fell off or anything. -
Berenson was disappointed that
Leahy was given just a two-minute
minor for the infraction.
"I canti tell you it Was a deliberate
hit, but 1 can tell you he didn't try
to stop,' Berenson said. "YOu can tell
when a guy's trying to stop or show
down when ie's conmin into Contact
with the net or the goalie.
"We've got to protect our goal-
ies and the referees have to protect
them as well. If they think there's

Who: Michigan (4-00 CCHA, 60-2 overall) vs.
Michigan State (3-1-0, 4-1-1)
When: 7:05 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: Sold out
Injuries:, FGeoff Koch (ankle) - out; G Josh
Blackburn (shoulder) - questionable
The latest: The team wants fans to wear yellow
for its second-annual Maize Out. First 1,000 fans
receive a free Maize Out T-shirt
any deliberate contact with ithe
goalie, that's one of the points of
eliphasis this year is you've got
to call it. You can't have marquis
goalies being run at by players
indiscri n inately."

U' -S

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