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September 09, 2002 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-09

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cJb llrbirguu Du tilj
SPORTSb>: A.

Monday
September , 2002

SECTION B

- ---------

MICHIGAN 35, WESTR:N iCHIGAN 12

e

real

eal?
Hold it: Edwards can be a star if
he learns to take care of the ball

O ffensive coordinator Terry Mal-
one remembers how receiver
Braylon Edwards literally
jumped off the practice field to catch
balls in his freshman year.
"Everyone stopped in practice and
said, 'This guy
could be some-
thing special,"'
Malone said.
The problem:.
Edwards con-
sidered himselfx
too special.
He heard the
comparisons of
his physique, JOE
competitiveness SMITH
and playmaking The One
ability to former and Only
Wolverine and
first-round NFL Draft pick David Ter-
rell. Just like Terrell, Edwards is a legiti-
mate deep threat who can soar over
defensive backs to make great plays -
and let them hear about it afterwards.
Hold it.
Edwards has a ton of ability. But
sometimes last season he thought too
much of that ability.
Hold it, his parents told him last sea-
son.
Edwards didn't understand why with
all the hype surrounding him, he wasn't
getting the ball. He thought he could
step right in like his father, Stan
Edwards, did. Stan played as a fresh-
man Michigan running back in 1977,
and Braylon thought he could and
should do the same.
Braylon got so frustrated he said he
cracked under the pressure. He almost
decided to leave Michigan.

Then his parents gave their tough, yet
immature son some words of advice:
"Braylon, you're not here to have a self-
ish attitude - you're here to listen!"
And he took that advice to heart.
So instead of listening to the hype
and trying to live up to Terrell and his
father, he listened to coach Lloyd Carr
telling him to "Pick it up! Stop slack-
ing! Stop fumbling!"
Edwards' cockiness issue is over and
done with. There's only one remaining
problem.
Edwards has to remember something
extraordinarily important when he
catches the ball.
Hold it.
While Edwards has three touch-
downs this year, he also has three
fumbles in just two games. The soph-
omore has shown flashes of brilliance
in this young season. Whether it was
his 45-yard touchdown grab against
Washington, when he out-leapt the
Huskies' cornerback Terrell-style and
celebrated in the end zone, or his two
touchdown catches against Western
Michigan on Saturday, Edwards is
finally reaping the benefits of wait-
ing, working and learning.
Hold it. Edwards isn't done improv-
ing yet.
"don't consider myself the go-to-
guy," Edwards said on Saturday. "I feel
that I'm just a player in a great system
doing what I'm supposed to do."
What happened to that brash and
selfish Braylon from a year ago?
"That difference between freshman
year and sophomore year is night and
day," Malone said. "He learned a lot of
lessons his first year, had to go through
some tough times, but it will help him

in the end."
Hold it.
Ah yes, the fumbles. That's the one
thing Malone feels Edwards must
address before he can be considered
"the real deal."
Edwards fumbled twice last week -
once on the goal line, which was not
ruled a fumble by the officials, but con-
sidered one by Carr. He fumbled again
on the critical fourth-and-two in the
final minute.
After all, if fellow receiver Tyrece
Butler didn't hustle over and fall on
Edwards' fumble with 27 seconds left
- as the sophomore froze up and stood
still like a statue - Edwards could have
been the goat of the game. If Washing-
ton had recovered the ball, the game
would have been over and there would
be no time for Philip Brabbs' heroic
kick.
Hold it.
Big-play receiver or not, if you cough
up the ball, you won't score too often
- nor will you win too much praise
from coaches and fans.
That fumble was "a mistake I never
want to make again," Edwards said.
Edwards was willing to eat some
humble pie and wait his turn, listen to
coaches and let his play speak for itself
on the field. And if Edwards' can tight-
en his grip on the ball and learn from
his mistakes much like he did in his
rookie campaign - he could be one of
Michigan's greats.
And that's another thing worth
holding on to.

Joe Smith can be reached at
josephms@umich.edu.

BRENDAN O'DONNELL/Daily
Braylon Edwards celebrates his second touchdown in Michigan's 35-12 win over Western Michigan on Saturday. Edwards led
the Wolverines with four receptions for 93 yards.

No surprise as Varsity crushes MAC opponent

By Jeff Phillips
Daily Sports Editor
To the surprise of nobody, Michigan marched
over Western Michigan 35-12 last Saturday, led
by four John Navarre touchdown passes, two of
which were caught by sophomore wide receiver
Braylon Edwards.
The Wolverines suffered no emotional letdown
after their thrilling 31-29 victory over Washing-
ton, but they were still disappointed with their
play at times.
"We didn't play good enough to win a champi-
onship," Defensive lineman Norman Heuer said.
"Today we got the job done, but we have to come
out next week with an improved effort and con-
tinue to do what we have been doing."
In winning by 23 points, Michigan increased
the defensive line pressure, but still gave up
nearly 250 yards and two touchdowns passing.
"We had a lot of confidence," Western Michi-
gan wide receiver Greg Jennings said. "We knew
we would be able to move the ball downfield,
especially the first possession."
But the Wolverines' defense did more than
enough to limit the Broncos' scoring opportuni-

ties and the Michigan offense proved too potent
for the Broncos. Michigan followed up its offen-
sive success against Washington well, both in the
running game and the passing game. The Wolver-
ines pounded the Broncos on the ground for 220
yards with Chris Perry, David Underwood and
Tim Bracken each rushing more than 10 times in
the game.
This success helped set up play-action passes,
leading to Michigan's 226 yards in the air and
Navarre's four touchdowns, which tied a Michi-
gan record.
Western Michigan has a "very difficult
defense to run against, and very difficult to run
outside. So you have to run north-south,"
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "You need to
sustain some drives and keep their defense on
the field."
Perhaps the greatest sign of success in the
game for the Michigan offense was the fact that
Western Michigan knew what was coming but
still could not stop it.
"I know that we couldn't stop it," Western
Michigan coach Gary Darnell said. "I just felt
like there were times that we pretty much knew
what to expect and there wasn't anything we

could get done with it."
The Wolverines again utilized their improved
offense by spreading the ball around. Nine differ-
ent receivers notched a reception, with Edwards
and Tyrece Butler leading the way.
See BRONCOS, Page 4B
Last time, this time
Although the end results were similar in Mlchi-
gan's past two wins over Western Michigan,
some key Michigan stats showed how the
Wolverines have improved since the last time
they met the Broncos.
2001: MICHIGAN 38, WESTERN MICHIGAN 21
Pass yards allowed: 374
Fumbles forced: One
Receivers with catches: Four
Navarre touchdown passes: Two
2002: MICHIGAN 35, WESTERN MICHIGAN 12
Pass yards allowed: 249
Fumbles forced: Five
Receivers with catches: Nine
Navarre touchdown passes: Four

ALYSSA WOOD/Daily
Michigan linebacker Victor Hobson nails Broncos quarterback Chad Munson from
behind in the second quarter.

Stickers fall behind, but use Powers to steal weekend

By Dan Rosen
Daily Sports Writer
A tentative start and an early one-goal deficit
quickly turned into a blowout for the Michigan
field hockey team yesterday afternoon. The
Wolverines completed their weekend sweep of
Central Michigan and Ball State with a 5-1 win
against the Cardinals.
Ball State jumped out in front early with a
drive by senior Allison Haynes past Michigan
goalie Molly Maloney just 10:13 into the first

our offensive talent" said senior Molly Powers.
"There's no reason why we shouldn't score. We
knew it was just a matter of time. We needed to
pick up the tempo and the communication."
April Fronzoni made sure that Michigan's
patience and confidence paid off. The junior
forward managed to deflect a ball off of a
Ball State defender and passed goalie Susan
McDowell to tie the game at one. Powers then
added a tally just a minute later to put Michi-
gan in front for good.
But even with her team leading, Michigan

they continued to execute.
"She told us that we can't be satisfied with a
2-1 score," Powers said. "We need to continue
working hard, to get to the ball first and all of
those types of things."
It's not the first time Michigan has started
slowly during the second game of a two-game
weekend. Last week, the Wolverines had trouble
with Wake Forest after their 2-0 shutout of North
Carolina. Michigan gave up a goal 12 minutes
into the game against the Demon Deacons and
never recovered.
'The Wnh~-iprin c wre fyi cic. of that fodlow-.

mental lapses that occurred against Wake Forest
to prevent them from happening in the future.
Despite that sentiment though, Pankratz felt
that the team wasn't loose enough to start yester-
day's game.
"(We were) trying to be very safe and to do
everything right, instead of just relaxing and
playing hard," Pankratz said. "So we kind of got
organized and got our feet under ourselves and
started to play a little bit tougher as the game
went along."
Part of the Wolverines slow start could also be
ittrihited to, Rall State'sconse~rvative 'stv~le of

ICCCIl.A VlIDA CCU /1'1ni1..

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