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February 07, 2002 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-02-07

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michigandaily.com/sports
sportsdesk@umich.edu

THURSDAY
FEBRUARY 7, 2002

IOA

C

bz} C arr expects compe tition
o ~at quarterback in spring

STEVE
JACKSON

By J. Brady McCoflough
Daily Sports Writer
Is John Navarre still Michigan's starting quarter-
back?
If Michigan coach Lloyd Carr is planning to start
Navarre next season, he did nothing to indicate it at
yesterday's press conference.
He gave no clear endorsement FOOTBALL
Navarre, who has started 16
games for the Wolverines. Notebook
When asked to evaluate his
quarterbacks heading into spring practice, Carr
vaguely replied, "They'll all be there."
This fall, "all" will consist of Navarre, sopho-
more Jermaine Gonzales, junior Spencer Brinton
and incoming freshman Matt Gutierrez.
Navarre had a turbulent sophomore season as the
premier signal caller. After leading the Wolverines
to a 6-1 record and No. 4 ranking in the Bowl
Championship Series by throwing 11 touchdowns
and just four interceptions, his season took a turn
for the worse. In his last five games, he threw seven
touchdowns and nine interceptions, as the Wolver-
ines stumbled to a 2-3 record in those contests.
Brinton, who spent two years away from football
on a Mormon mission before joining the Wolver-
ines last season, had less than four months to get
back into shape for football. He was unable to gain
ground on Navarre and Gonzales as the season pro-
gressed.
"Because of all the things we threw at him, and*
because we had such a short time span with him, I
thought he hit a plateau," Carr said.
Trailing the Bucks
Every offseason, recruiting analysts from
around the country give their opinion on
which school brought in the best class. Here
is where the experts placed Michigan's 2002
recruiting class, as well as Jim Tressel's first
full recruiting class at Ohio State.
ANALYST MICHIGAN
ESPN.com No. 9
CNNsi.com No. 9
Rivals.com No. 18
CBS Sportsline No. 15
OHIO STATE
ESPN.com No. 2
CNNsi.com No. 2
Rivals.com No. 4
CBS Sportsline No. 2

But the transfer-student from San Diego State
continued to work on his fundamentals. During the
preparation for the Florida Citrus Bowl, Brinton
got a chance to take more snaps and give the
coaches a glimpse of what he could do.
"I thought he made very good progress," Carr
said. "Coining out of (bowl practices) his confi-
dence was better. I think he's going to compete
very well (in the spring)."
Carr will be looking closely at spring practices
as a chance for his three quarterbacks to improve
their strength, speed and take as many snaps as
possible.
"As a coach, you want to give them as many rep-
etitions as you can," Carr said. "I always tell them
to not worry about what the other guy is doing."
HAIL TO THE VICTOR: Super Bowl MVP Tom
Brady also knows a few things about being a quar-
terback at Michigan.
Tuesday night, Brady spoke with Carr for 40
minutes from New England Patriots' owner Bob
Kraft's private jet on his way to the Pro Bowl in
Hawaii.
"I told him last night, 'Nobody deserves that
type of success more than you do,' " Carr said.
"What a kid, what a story - you look at him for
three straight weeks, where every game he was a
question, and what he did for his team was exactly
what they asked him to do."
Carr reminisced that early into Brady's Michigan
career he was struggling and actually considered
transferring. But those thoughts lasted just one day.
"He came back the next day and said, 'Coach I
love it here at Michigan. I'm going to stay here.
I'm going to prove to you what kind of quarterback
I can be."'
BYE, BYE BOBBY: Michigan's special teams and
recruiting took a big hit yesterday when coach
Bobby Morrison announced his retirement after 31.
years of coaching. The 56-year-old's ongoing fight
with bladder cancer was too much for him to han-
dle.
"What I've been going through is not fun," Mor-
rison said. "I just thought it was time. I'm falling
apart."
Said Carr: "He's a man's man, a coach's coach, a
player's coach and he's done a tremendous job.
We're extremely proud of his loyalty and work
ethic."
Morrison has been the team's recruiting coordi-
nator for the past eight years and has nabbed top-
10 classes in seven of those years. His special
See MORRISON, Page 12A

BRENDAN O'DONNELL/Daily
Coach Carr is not willing to name John Navarre (right) his starting quaterback next season just yet.
Michigan's 2002 football recruiting class
Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown
Jason Avant Wide reciever 6-2 195 Chicago, Ill.
Willis Barringer Defensive lineman 6-1 185 Toledo, Ohio
Tom Berishaj Offensive lineman 6-5 295 Sterling Heights
Mark Bihl Offensive lineman 6-5 265 Washington Court, Ohio
Steve Breaston Wide reciever 6-0 170 North Braddock, Pa.
Greg Cooper Defensive back 6-0 180 Flint
Larry Harrison Defensive lineman 6-2 261 Detroit
Darnell Hood Running back 5-11 186 Detroit
Matt Gutierrez Quarterback 6-4 206 Concord, Calif.
Mike Kolodziej Tight end 6-7 280 Joliet, Ill.
Kevin Murphy Tight end 6-5 220 Grand Rapids
Pierre Rembert Running back 6-1 197 Milwaukee, Wis.
Rueben Riley Offensive lineman 6-3 311 Grand Rapids
Jacob Stewart Defensive back 6-0 195 Ypsilanti
Carl Tabb Wide reciever 6-2 171 Ann Arbor
Brian Thompson Linebacker 6-3 215 Saginaw
Jeremy van Alstyne Linebacker 6-4 224 Greenwood, Ind.
Gabriel Watson Defensive line 6-4 334 Novi

i i

Cagers catch Illini at wrong time, again

The Winter .
Games are
nothing but
Siberian TV..
E very four years another Winter
Olympics comes. And each time,
I wonder why so many people
watch it.
For some unknown reason, millions
of Americans are glued to their televi-
sion sets, hoping to capture every pre-
cious moment of bobsledding and giant
slalom.
If you chose to tune in to NBC (or
CBC if you want superior coverage and
stories on Canadian athletes) you will
learn more about curling and speed
skating than any human being should
ever know.
I realize that many people may not
feel comfortable making an anti-
Olympics statement right now.
The World Trade Center flag will
accompany the athletes as they march
during the opening ceremonies tomor-
row night. The Games are being held in
Salt Lake City - and the media are
trying to turn snowboarding and luge
into the most patriotic week of sports in
years.
But this isn't about patriotism -
Afghanistan is not going to lace up and
skate against Chris Chelios and Team
USA.
This is about random Norwegian
athletes with unpronounceable names
like Yevgeny Plushenko andYorgo
Alexandrou (I don't know who they are
either - that's the point.)
This is about high-tech, bright-col-
ored wind suits that enable skiers to fly
down the slopes with reckless abandon.
It's just like NASCAR. I don't want
to watch, but I'll be sure that I catch the
crash highlights on SportsCenter.
Every year these same athletes com-
pete in the World Championships. They
have all the same feel-good stories, and
they hold all the same events.
But even on their biggest day of the
year, these guys could only find televi-
sion time on ESPN2 at 3 a.m.
But when the Olympics comes
along, NBC needs to interrupt every
sitcom to remind us that they are cover-
ing the biggest sports story around.
Who do they think they are taking
to? A bunch of sheep?
Do they really expect us to believe
that the same events that nobody cared
about two weeks ago are suddenly
more important then the NBA or col-
lege basketball?
Please.
The highlight of the coverage will be
-as always - figure skating.
Unfortunately there is no Nancy
Kerrigan vs. Tonya Harding issue this
year.
But this event still featurs pretty
dresses, plenty of skin and musical
accompaniment.
I shouldn't have to say this, but I
will.
Figure skating is not a real sport.
Figure skating is art.
"Artistic impression" is part of the
scoring process. If your hair is messed
up in a real sport, you don't lose
points.
I will not argue about this.
Don't get me wrong; I don't hate all
the winter sports.
As a native Michigander, I have f
spent many a fun afternoon at Boyne
Mountain. And I would like nothing
better than to be able to fly like Jonny
"Super Air" Mosley.

But the fact is that most of the winter
sports don't make for good television.
For example, you can tune in this
weekend and watch the biathlon. In this
"sport," a bunch of people go running
around in cross-country skis and shoot
guns.
That's just too exciting for me - I'd
rather be watching QVC. Unless you
live in Siberia, I guarantee that you
have plenty of better choices for enter-
tainment.
Despite all my complaints, there is
one event that I will be sure to watch
this year.
They call it the skeleton race. Basi-
cally, this is head-first luge. I've never
seen someone travel 80-90 miles per

By Steven Jackson
Daily Sports Editor
Illinois may be ranked No. 21, but
things are certainly not going accord-
ing to plan in Champaign.
Picked by almost every preseason
publication as the Big Ten favorite,
the Fighting Illini (4-5 Big Ten, 15-7
overall) are struggling to stay above
water in conference play.
After three straight losses - at
Indiana, at Ohio State and at home
against Michigan State - Bill Self's
team is in a fhust-win situation.
"I drove to work today saying 'God,
I wish we could replay the last nine or
10 days.' But we can't," Self said. "All
we can do is worry about today."
After Illinois notched back-to-back

Big Ten losses to open the conference
slate, the Illini took their frustrations
out on the Wolverines, winning 94-70
in Assembly Hall.
"They're talented. I think we all
know that," Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker said. "They were a team that
was picked to have an opportunity to
win a national championship or be a
Final Four team. In my honest opinion
that hasn't changed."
If Michigan wants to avoid repeat-
ing history tonight at 8 p.m. in Crisler,
it will have to do a much better job
defensively.
Illinois dominated the inside in the
teams' matchup earlier this year, exe-
cuting high-low passes to perfection
and shooting nearly 70 percent from
the floor.

But Michigan (4-5, 9-10) is coming
off a high-energy defensive win
against Wisconsin, 64-53. Meanwhile,
the Illini are searching for something
to spark their on-court effort.
"The highest level of frustration
that I have - and fans don't want to
hear this - is that before you can talk
about Xs and Os, the guys (have) to
play as hard and unselfish as they
can," Self said. "The frustrating thing
to me is that we have not come close
to doing any one of those to the capa-
bility that we have."
But Self is quick to take responsi-
bility for his team's failure in this
regard.
"It's frustrating as a coach because I
haven't gotten them to do or think the
way they should when they play and

think the game - and that all falls on
the coach's shoulders," Self said.
During Sunday's loss to Michigan
State, CBS commentator Billy Packer
attacked Illinois guard Frank
Williams, the returning Big Ten Player
of the Year, for not playing hard
enough.
Self echoed those thoughts.
"I feel the exact same way," Self
said. "I don't think he's playing with
much emotion or energy, and I think
that definitely affects performance.
"He's playing for (NBA) money,
but there doesn't seem to be that get-
up-and-go in him that there should
be."
Amaker is all too familiar with the
problems associated with not living
up to expectations.

CRISLER ARENA
Who: Michigan (4-5 Big Ten, 9-10 overall) vs.
No. 21 Illinois (4-5, 15-7)
When: 7 p.m.
TV: ESPN
Latest: The Fighting Illini are reeling from a
three-game skid in the Big Ten.
Last season as coach of Seton Hall,
Amaker started the season with a
team many predicted to reach the
Final Four. But soon his young team
was broken apart internally, finishing
the season in the NIT with a 16-15
record.
"It's very tough, I'm sure he's very
frustrated," Amaker said. "But looking
at Illinois from the outside, the ingre-
dients are there. Obviously, Bill is a
good coach and sometimes its just a
matter of hitting your stride. I'm just
hoping they do that after (tonight's
game)."

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