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September 05, 2001 - Image 65

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-05

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Wednesday, September 5, 2001- The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - 5E

Blue looks
to replace
B Jeff Phillips
Daiy Sports Editor



Football Saturdays
offer excitement
beyond weekend

By Seth Klempnwr
Daiy Sports Writer

The 2000 football season saw one of the most
heralded offenses in Michigan history take the
field, but due to unexpected departures, the
Wolverine offense will be even more decimated
han expected.
Michigan lost key linemen Steve Hutchinson,
Jeff Backus and Maurice Williams, running back
Anthony Thomas as well as David Terrell, who was
an early entree to this year's draft.
The Wolverines are deep at both running back
and wide receiver - sophomore running back
Chris Perry and junior wideout Ron Bellamy both
saw significant action last year and should be able
to step up this season - but are much thinner on
the offensive line.
"That's why we come here - to wait your turn
step up and play and that's what is going to be
-xpected of me this year," Bellamy said.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr is trying to make up
for the lack of depth by moving junior Dave
Petruziello and senior Kurt Anderson to the line.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge,"
Petruziello said. "The transition has not been that
hard physically, but the biggest thing for me is
learning and understanding in a short period of
As the possible starter in the backfield, Perry
as bluntly confident with his analysis of the new-
look line that he will have in front of him.
"This is Michigan, our line will be fine," Perry
Perhaps the most glaring absence is that of Drew
Henson, who opted for a multi-million dollar base-
ball contract rather than return for his senior year
with the Wolverines. The move leaves the quarter-
back position open to a number of suitors, most
notably sophomore John Navarre, who started the
first three games of the season in the place of Hen-
on, who was injured.
"I'm excited about what he (Navarre) brings,"
Carr said.
"Last year helped me tremendously in prepara-
tion," for this season, Navarre said. "Last year you
didn't know what to expect - everything was new.
You can prepare differently if you know what to
But as in previous seasons, this season will like-
ly have its share of quarterback controversy.
Navarre has the most experience as Michigan
Quarterback, but he will be challenged by sopho-
more Jermaine Gonzales and San Diego State
transfer Spencer Brinton. Brinton started five
games for the Aztecs in his freshman season before
leaving for two years to go on a Mormon mission.
One position where the Wolverines' offense will
be bolstered is at tight end, where Shawn Thomp-
son, who missed all of last season due to a knee
injury, will likely regain the starting position.
Thompson started 10 games in the 1999 season
and will most likely be remembered for his game-
winning touchdown reception in overtime against
labama in the 2000 Orange Bowl.
In contrast, the Michigan defense lost few

Try as one might, there is no
denying the significance of football
on the attitude and mentality of this
university. Every Saturday, Ann
Arbor undergoes a miraculous trans-
formation from a city on the out-
skirts of the Detroit suburbs,
secluded from many of the towns
and cities surrounding it, to a mecca
of college football. The process is
repeated nearly every weekend
without fault, every year.
It is not hard to understand why
more than 110,000 people make the
trip to relive the nostalgia of the
youth and carelessness of their col-
lege years. Donning their maize and
blue, they cheer for their alma
mater, the team which they have
bestowed their loyalties to. They all
know the stories, legacies, tradi-
tions and memories - all the rea-
sons they return.
For someone coming from a
school which did not emphasize
athletics there is no comprehending
Football Saturdays. And those who
come from high schools where ath-
letic teams were supported, there is
no comprehending the magnitude of
Football Saturdays.
The preparation and anticipation
is as much a part of the Michigan
history and tradition as the Diag or
For many, the adoption of these
time honored customs is a rite of
passage from one generation to the
next, a coming of age ceremony,
marking the entrance into adult-
hood. It is the day when they enter
into the tradition, when their stories
and experiences take hold, to be
passed down to their children.
The football week, for most rabid
Wolverine fans, begins sometime
around Monday evening with a
recap of the previous weekends
Your friends and yourself per-
form your own mock-talk show
where you nitpick over everything
you liked and disliked about the
previous weeks game, boasting or
defending your favorite player and
outlining what Michigan needs to
do in order to win the national
On Tuesday, with still much of
the week ahead of you, you spend
most of your time complaining
about how much work you have due
that week. What time you do have
to discuss football will be dedicate
to recapping what happened around
the Big Ten and nation the previous
week, with yet further analysis on

what needs to happen for Michigan
to become No. 1. If you bleed
maize and blue when bludgeoned,
you will have the entire AP rank-
ings memorized and will not need
to reference any newspaper or web-
By Wednesday, you will be-look-
ing ahead to next weeks opponent,
you start off with the feeling of
impenetrability, denying the idea
that the team has any chance of
Having measured their weakness-
es against Michigan's strength you
begin to take pity on the opponent,
and have determined the only real
question is how many touchdowns
Michigan will score.
With Friday comes the official
start to the collage weekend and
you realize there is only one more
day until Football Saturday. Now
you will truly begin your analysis,
braking down key players and what
needs to happen for Michigan to
You also start to think about
where you are going that night and
what you are going to do Saturday
morning. The time of the game is
double checked three times to make
sure you do not sleep through the
12 o'clock kickoff. This is the last
time you will think about the game
and you may unconsciously find
yourself humming the victors in
class or at dinner.
For the true Wolverine fan, you
will bear any inclement weather or
early morning to make it to your
pre-party, often waking up earlier
than any other day of the week.
Whether this is watching ESPN
Gameday in your friend's room or
making it the Big House itself you
will make sure you are there with
your face painted yellow and blue
and your favorite jersey on.
On your way the stadium, you
will become lost in a sea of maize
and blue. Like a turtle returning to
lay eggs, you need not know the
way, just follow your instincts or
the crowd (they are all going to the
same place anyway).
Filled with pride for Michigan,
you will start singing the fight song
at the top of your lungs or heckle
the guy with the Michigan State
Once at the stadium, you will
find the seat in the 95th row you
have been waiting your whole life
to own.
As you look around, awestruck at
the capacity crowd, you realize why
you have been waiting all week for
this and you wouldn't want to be
anywhere else.

Sophomore John Navarre will be expected to step in to the starting role left behind by Drew Henson, who opted

to play baseball last spring.
starters from last season and will be stronger with
more experience.
"If there is any place where the improvement has
been more noticeable than any other, it is in the
secondary," Carr said after the annual spring game.
"Our cornerbacks are much improved, and they
should be, because they all have experience. Over-
all this spring, the defense was around the ball
much better."
In the spring game, the defense dominated the
inexperienced offense, forcing eight turnovers,
seven of which were interceptions.
The defensive play is a welcome change from
the Michigan defense that surrendered an average
of 19 points per game in last season's campaign.
In addition to more experience, the defense will
welcome back Jake Frysinger and Cato June, both
of whom missed the 2000 season due to injures.
"When the year starts, I think I will be back to
where I was when I left - at starting free safety,"
June said.
June played in all 12 games of the 1999 season
and started the last four games of the season.
Frysinger started just one game in the 1999 sea-
son, but was the starter last season before breaking
his foot.
Carr likes what he has seen thus far with the

first game just a few months away.
"I saw some good things, and I saw some things
that we have to do better," Carr said. "But I'm
extremely pleased with the development of this
team. I like the attitude; there was tremendous
intensity this spring.
"The goal was individual improvement, and with
that comes team improvement."
Michigan will have its work cut out for it this
season, but an improved and experienced defense
will help its run for another Big Ten title.
Remaining schedule

Sept. 8 at Washington
Sept. 15 Western Michigan
Sept. 22 Illinois
Oct. 6 at Penn State
Oct. 13 Purdue
Oct. 27 at Iowa
Nov. 3 at Michigan State
Nov. 10 Minnesota
Nov. 17 at Wisconsin
Nov. 24 Ohio State

3:30 p.m.
12:10 p.m.
1:00 p.M.


Thomas sets career rushing
mark; 'M' squeaks past Tigers

y Chris Duprey
Daily Sports Editor
ORLANDO, Fla. - ABC was billing the Florida Cit-
rus Bowl as Anthony Thomas vs. Auburn's Rudi John-
son, but it quickly became apparent that the featured
matchup would be Thomas vs. himself, or Thomas vs.
Jamie Morris.
Thomas, the senior, rolled over the Tigers with 182
yards and two touchdowns, helping Michigan to a 31-28
victory. His first score came on an 11-yard scamper
ear the end of the second quarter, and that attempt
4roke Michigan's record for career rushing yards, held
by Morris since 1987.
Morris, now a member of the athletic department, was
on hand to witness the changing of the guard.
"It hasn't really set in on me," Thomas said.
With the record-breaking fun out of the way early, the
Wolverines went about the business of closing out
Michigan increased a seven-point halftime lead to 10
y the start of the fourth quarter to place itself in con-
ol of the ballgame.
Miscues by the Tigers prevented them from hacking
into the deficit until Ben Leard found Deandre Green on
a 21-yard touchdown strike with 2:26 remaining in the
By then, all Michigan had to do was fall on the onside
kick (which it did, courtesy of Ronald Bellamy) and run



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Anthony Thomas broke Jamie Morris' career rushing record
with 182 yards against Auburn.
Carr took time after the game to reflect on Thomas's
capture of the rushing record.
"I couldn't be prouder of anyone than I am of"

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