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April 15, 2002 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-15

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - April 15, 2002 - 3B

New 'M' offense not
on display just yet


ByJoe Smith
Daily Sports Editor
It didn't take long for John
Navarre to ignite curiosity about
Michigan's, new offense - or just
state the obvious.
When asked about how much of
Michigan's "significantly" changed
offense the estimated 25,000 fans pre-
viewed on Saturday, Navarre replied
with a matter-of-_
fact answer. FOOTBALL
"Not much,"


Navarre said. Notebook
Michigan coach
Lloyd Carr said prior to the spring
game that he wouldn't unleash much of
new offensive coordinator Terry Mal-
one's new schemes. And it sure looked
that way for most of Saturday, with
Michigan's offense resembling what it
looked like last season with numerous
runs up the middle, screen passes and
But that doesn't mean that Malone
will stay with the status quo.
"We're going to come out with some
stuff that people wouldn't expect from
Michigan," Michigan tailback Chris
Perry said. "They'll expect the typical
offense that we had last year. Not that
our offense wasn't good, but we're
going to come out with something dif-
ferent this year."
Other than being more "disciplined"
and "consistent," as Navarre claims,
Michigan will also take advantage of its
talented athletes by using short, cross-
ing pass routes that give receivers room
to maneuver and make plays.
"We're going to be a crossing route
team," said Malone, whose Wolverines
ranked sixth in the Big Ten last year in
scoring offense. "I think it's something
to do with our defense playing a lot of
man-to-man coverage. Crossing routes
are a way to battle that, and some rub
routes across the middle. That's part of
our package, but we certainly didn't run

our whole package today."
Receivers like Ron Bellamy love the
new looks of the offense, calling it
"receiver friendly," as it allows them to
have freedom while also giving the
quarterback a chance to spread the ball
"We're going to be multiple,"
Navarre said. "We're going to be able to
run the ball. We already have. That's
been the big improvement this year.
"Last year, we didn't have a lot of
answers. Last year, if the defense did
something to stop what we were run-
ning, that was it. This year, if they stop
that primary look, we have other
BACK IN STYLE: Carr said that if his
running backs stay healthy, the "back-
field situation is much, much better,
much stronger (than last season)." And
with a lot of young blood in the Michi-
gan backfield, there is a tight competi-
tion warming up for the starting
running back position.
Perry, the incumbent, led all rushers
in the spring game with 34 yards on 12
carries, but sophomore David Under-
wood added 33 yards of his own -
including a swift 18-yard gallop around
the outside late in the scrimmage.
Senior B.J. Askew played both full-
back and tailback last season, utilizing
his size and catching ability to make big
plays out of the backfield much like his
31-yard scamper off a Spencer Brinton
screen pass on Saturday.
Along with speedy freshman Kelly
Baraka, Underwood says the tailbacks
want to produce more than last year's
143-yard average per game.
"The greatest run we had last year
was 30 yards, and we're not happy with
that," Underwood said. "This spring we
came in with a goal: We're going to try
to average four or five yards per carry."
Saturday marked the debut for Bara-
ka, one of the most highly sought after
recruits in 2001. Carr did not allow
Baraka to dress for any games last sea-

Garrison Keillor once said that
Midwesterners always say
goodbye three times. That's
only true because goodbye can be
difficult to say.
For me, this is it. The Michigan
Daily yesterday gave me one final
assignment, one last opportunity to
see my byline in
print, one final col- Funny how

Looking to the future,
columnist says goodbye

friend's school.
Sometimes, people forget just how
cool Michigan is.
They forget that Ann Arbor during
the spring and summer is beautiful,
with new ideas and cultural activi-
ties always available.
I'll miss Michigan.
It's easy to
you can't wait remember the

umn. Say goodbye to
college in 20 column
inches. And I now

for school to end, and then it underachieving sea-
does and you wish you could sons in football and
have one more year of it. basketball, but

Sophomore linebacker Lawrence Reid connects with Michigan's Kolby Wells in

Saturday's spring game.
son because the tailback was arrested
for marijuana possession twice last
summer. Baraka remained on scholar-
ship and redshirted to save eligibility,
but Saturday's game was the first time
he dressed and played in Michigan Sta-
dium. Baraka had six carries for 14
"When I first came out I was a little
bit nervous," Baraka said. "But it was
fun, exciting and I'm looking forward
to great things.
"I'm right now in a learning stage,
with the offense. I think I did a pretty
good job executing my assignments,
and the big plays will come later."
But does anyone know who's win-
ning the running back competition?
"Ask Lloyd," Perry said with a grin.
Epstein's departure, Michigan lost its

primary kicker and punter for most of
the past four years. Carr will likely
chose Epstein's heir from juniors Phil
Brabbs and Troy Neinberg and sopho-
more Luke Per]. Neinberg nailed 42-
and 37-yard field goal attempts while
Brabbs split the uprights on a 26-yarder.
At punter, both junior Andy Mignery
and sophomore Adam Finley boomed
their fair share of punts, averaging 42
yards and 40 yards, respectively. Mign-
ery did seem to have more hang time,
and he said it's been tough making the
adjustment from quarterback to tight
end and punter this spring.
"I think I had a really good day
today," Mignery said. "It's hard when
playing two positions to spend the time
you really need on punting. But I do
the best with the time I have, and that's
all I can do."

find myself spinning
my phone trying to sum up four years
of friendships, memories and fun.
I'm not convinced college is the
best years of your life. I hate to think
that the best years of my life are over
with. But I think that college does
provide four pretty cool and memo-
rable years at a time when that's
needed. And for these experiences I
can't think of a better place than the
University of Michigan.
My college experience started in
6005 Hinsdale, and will officially
end in 12 days. Somewhere along
the line, somebody decided to give
me a weekly column. There were
times that I made him proud and
other times when I made him want
to fire me. For the former, I always
tried to make sports entertaining.
For the latter, I'm sorry.
So here I am, somberly trying to
postpone college for just a little bit
longer. Trying to relive my four
years through one last party. Funny
how you can't wait for school to
end, and then it does and you wish
you could have one more year of it.
One thing that covering sports at
the Daily gave me was an apprecia-
tion for just how cool Michigan real-
ly is. While living in the bubble that
campuses often become, it's easy to
lose appreciation for what life is like
at other schools.
It's easy to forget just how cool
Michigan really is until you leave
Ann Arbor. While in Washington
D.C. this past summer, a stranger
commented on my Michigan basket-
ball shorts. Jealous, my friend from
another school commented that his
school won the national title in bas-
ketball just a few years back.
The stranger didn't recognize my

these seasons were
only underachieving because of the
standards that Michigan-commands.
And while there were a number
of underachieving seasons, there
were also a number of inspirational
moments that shouldn't be forgot-
ten: Michigan holding on to beat
Notre Dame in the season opener in
the fall of 1999, the 2000 Orange
Bowl win over Alabama and the
basketball team's overtime victory
over Purdue in the 1999 Big Ten
More than these big wins, I
remember the little things about
Michigan athletics, things that prob-
ably weren't that important, but
seemed really important at the time.
Bobby Scales crying after Michi-
gan's baseball team was eliminated
in the NCAA Tournament.
Twenty-five years worth of former
players coming to the Big Ten cross
country tournament to watch coach
Ron Warhurst win the Big Ten title.
The excitement in Chris Young's
voice after it was announced that
Tommy Amaker was the new basket-
ball coach.
It's hard to believe that in 12 days,
I'll be an alumnus recalling these
memories, nothing different from
any of the other millions of alumni
out there reliving the big wins in
their college career.
Cut after four years of classes,
sporting events and learning, Michi-
gan and the Daily are teaching me
one final lesson - how to say good-
This is Raphael Goodsteinsfinal col-
umn./br The Michigan Daily. He can
be reached at raj)haelg@umich.edu.

Experienced defense dominates spring scrimmage

By David Horn
Daily Sports Editor

For the better part of Saturday's spring
game, the Michigan defense won the
battle against its offensive counterpart.
The offense z-which alternated between
the first and second unit, and between
quarterbacks John Navarre and Spencer
Brinton - had a difficult time advanc-
ing the ball past midfield until well into
the afternoon scrimmage. The crowd of
approximately 25,000 was treated mostly
to three-and-outs, as the veteran defen-
sive unit stymied an offense that is wel-
coming some new faces.
Nine players who started last year
return to the Michigan defense,includ -
ing all four linemen -ends Dan
Rumishek and Shantee Orr, and tackles
Norman Heuer and Shawn Lazarus. Vic-
tor Hobson is the only returning line-
backer from an accomplished
linebacking corps that included second
team All-American Larry Foote and Eric
Brackins. But the secondary, like the
front four, is back in business, with four
returnees - cornerback Marlin Jackson
and safeties Charles Drake, Cato June
and Julius Curry.
"Everybody's pretty much back, so we
have a veteran group,' June said. "We're
ready to learn from ourmistakes last
year, especially the Tennessee game."
That Tennessee game (last year's Cit-
rus Bowl loss),saw the defense give up
503 total yards and i5 points to Casey
Clausen and the Vo nteers. It was the
worst loss of the season for Michigan,
and the worst showing by a defensive
unit that was ranked first in the Big Ten
in scoring defense, total defense, rushing
defense and sacks.
Will this year's defense dominate the

Big Ten but break down late in the sea-
son, as last year's did?
"A dominating defense is a defense
that dominates through the course of a
season," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr
said. "We've had defenses that have done
that - some of them - and those are
the great ones. And we've had some that
started off and played great, and then
didn't dominate at the end. November is
when the championship is won, and
that's when, if you're going to be a great
defense, you can dominate."
Against its own offense, the Michigan
defense was led by free safety Ernest
Shazor, who redshirted last year. He had
six tackles, more than any of his team-

mates. Shazor has played some at wide
receiver this spring, but if his performn-
ance on Saturday is any indication of his
.speed and toughness on defense, Carr
will likely keep him there.
"He's a safety, a defensive player
first," Carr said on Wednesday. "He's
gotten enough work that he knows what
to do. The challenge of being a two-posi-
tion player, from a conditioning stand-
point, is that it requires a guy that is in
tip-top shape because he doesn't get any
rest. We'll see how he handles it, and

we'll go from there"
After the scrimmage, Shazor said he
felt strong and well-conditioned.
But the defense's success will again
begin up front, where the returning veter-
ans showed on Saturday how and why
they are so effective.
"We did not protect the passer as well
as we'd like to," Carr said. "I think the
truth is that there's a lot of guys in that
front four - about two or three deep -
that are not easy to block. There's some
great pass rushers there."

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