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September 10, 2001 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-10

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday, September 10, 2001- 3B


Rich Hill decides
to stay at Michl*gan

Lesson learned. It's
still too early to worry

S EATTLE - Michigan looks bad
and wins. Then, for 59 minutes,
looks really good and loses.
So, what do we now know about
these Wolverines?
First and foremost, this team is not
good enough to overcome big mistakes,
unlike last year's team.
Last year's team had multiple big-
playthreats capable of scoring at any
time. This year's team, with the excep-.
tion of receiver Marquise Walker, lacks
a home run threat.
But that isn't this team's persona.
These Wolverines won't fall behind 14
or 17 points against Illinois and still
win. Then again, this year's team proe-
ably won't fal behind 14 to begin with.
On Saturday, these Wolverines
proved that they are a good team, one
capable of winning another Big Ten
While that is not surprising to the
players and.coaches, there were some
who did not think quarterback John
0Navarre could regain his poise and con-
trol after starting slowly against a high-
ly-ranked defense, or that Michigan's
defense could dictate the tone of a
game the way it did. Nor did many
thinkthat Michigan's return game
could make a major imnpact. All of
these things happened.
Obviously it's disappointing when a
team does all of the things it needs to
*win yet loses. But it's like Humphrey
Bogart said in Casablanca when asked
if a handshake agreement was good
enough. It's' not good enough, but it'll
have to do.
Losses like Saturday's happen from
time to time; sometimes. you fail a test
that you're prepared to ace. That does-
n't mean that you deserve to fail the
test or that you won't ace the next one.
More often than not, the team that
*plays best wins and make no mistake
about it, Michigan outplayed Washing-
ton. This should be apparent to those
who saw the game, as even Washing-
ton coach Rick Neuheisel used the
word "lucky" to describe his team's
If Michigan continues to play as well
as it did Saturday, they will play in the
Bowl Championship Series, likely the
*Orange Bowl, which had committee
members at the Washington game.
The reality is that a BCS bid would
be a great accomplishment for this
team. While it talked about returning to

the Rose Bowl - something Michigan
hasn't done in four years, the reality is
that this team is not one of the two best
teams in the country, so the Rose Bowl
-home of the BCS Championship
game - was never much of a possibili-
If this team finds a way to win the
Big Ten crown, coach Lloyd Carr will
have once again gotten the most out of
his team..
While no loss is a good loss, this loss
probably will not affecq where Michi-
gan spends its holiday season. Keep in
mind, only five visitors have come in to
Husky Stadium and beaten the 13th-
ranked Huskies in their last 48 games,
so this was not a bad loss, in fact
Michigan was the underdog heading
into the game.
The Big Ten champion receives an
automatic BCS bid, regardless of how
many losses it has.
Just ask last year's four-loss Purdue
team, who played in the Rose Bowl.
There'ยง no reason to think this year's
team can't do the same.
Defensively, with the exception of
back Todd Howard, the Wolverines
were very, very good. The line consis-
tently applied pressure and closed gaps,
the linebackers played as well as any
linebackers in the country, and even the
defensive backs weren't their normal,
putrid selves.
What's more, it appears that Michi-
gan might finally have an up-and-com-
ing cornerback to replace Charles
Woodson - something that has yet to
be done in three seasons- in freshman
Marlin Jackson.
Will the defense continue to play this
well? Who knows.
Remember, last year's defense
pitched back-to-back shutouts.
The offense, again, at times mixed
up the run and pass really well, keeping
the opposing defense guessing, and if
Walker continues playing the way he
did Saturday, and if Julius Curry con-
tinues putting the offense in good field
position by returning punts, another
problem that Michigan has yet to solve
since Woodson's departure, this is will
be a Top 10 team by season's end.
If these things happen, there's not a
team on the schedule that will beat
Raphael Goodstein can be reached at

By Steve Jackson
Daily sports Writer
Many students chose to attend the
Classical Civilization 372 lecture on
Friday morning.
But for Michigan pitcher Rich Hill,
that choice was a life altering decision.
In Major League Baseball, a team
loses the rights to a draft choice as soon
as the player attends a college class in
the fall.
Hill was drafted by the Anaheim
Angels in the 7th round (210th overall)
in June's First-Year Player Draft.
Hill decided against attending his
classes on Wednesday and Thursday
last week while his contract negotia-
tions continued.
Talks continued until late on Thurs-
day night. But in the end, the Angels'
offer just wasn't enough to lure Hill
away from the Wolverines.
"I just didn't feel comfortable start-
ing my professional career with that
amount of money," Hill said. "We were
really close. Just a little more and we
would have been in my comfort range."
Hill would not disclose any of the
figures from the negotiations, but did
say that the contract was going to last
for three years.
Despite the unsuccessful talks, Hill
harbors no ill feelings for Anaheim.

"The Angels are a great organiza-
tion," Hill said. "They treat their play-
ers well. They are a first-class team."
During the negotiation process, Hill
received a lot of help from his advisor,
Jack Tossey.
"We had a lot of guys call, wanting
to represent me if I signed," Hill said.
Tossey currently represents former
Michigan State Spartan and current
Oakland Athletic's star pitcher Mark
Michigan fans should expect one -
and only one - more season from Hill.
"If things go well next year, and I get
a good situation, then I probably won't
be back," Hill said.
Returning for a senior year could
cripple Hill chances at a large contract.
"When you are a graduated senior,
you have no leverage," Hill explained.
"You basically just have to take what
they offer you."
Returning for his junior season will
make it easier for Hill to get his degree.
After next season he will need just 34
credits to graduate.
"I thought about that a lot," Hill said.
"Graduating is important to me."
Hill is majoring in Sports Manage-
ment and Communication in the School
of Kinesiology.
As a sophomore last season, Hill
went 3-5 with a 3.84 ERA in 10 starts

Courtesy of the Michigan Athletic Department
Michigan left-hander Rich Hill chose to stay and play, at Michigan for another year.
He was 3-5 with a 3.84 ERA last season.

for the Wolverines. He led the team
with 72 strikeouts in just 43 innings
pitched, but also gave up a team-high
53 walks.
After June's draft, 1-1111 pitched in the
Cape God league, which has produced
major leaguers like Boston Red Sox's

shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. Hill had
a 1-2 record with a 1.91 ERA in 33
Hill's former teammate, pitcher
Bobby Wood, opted to leave school
early when he was signed by the. New
York Yankees this past June.

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A successful season is still possible for John Navarre and the Wolverines.

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