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September 18, 2002 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-18

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Wednesday
September 18, 2002
michigandaily.com
sportsdesk@umich.edu

abe Aftic wni uiI
PO)RTrS

9.

'Parit' the '
buzzword

in Big

Ten

ALYSSA WOOD/Daily
Michigan's Mike Greenless and his teammates will have to step up this season for
the loss of Mike Wisniewski, Mark Pilja and Alan Webb.
Depleted Blue tomeet
Easter ichigan State

By David Horn
Daily Sports Editor
There was a time not long ago when Michigan
and Ohio State ruled the roost of the Big Ten con-
ference. The conventional wisdom across the
country was that as the Wolverines and Buckeyes
go, so goes the conference.
This past weekend, the Big Ten looked to
make a statement of sorts as many of its mem-
bers faced challenging games against nonconfer-
ence foes. After some
disappointing losses (notably FOOTBALL
Michigan's loss to Notre Notebook
Dame and Michigan State's
trouncing at the hands of Cal-
ifornia), it's difficult to argue that the conference
passed its "big test," but conference coaches
label what is happening as parity.
"What's happened is there's so much parity in
the game today," Penn State coach Joe Paterno
said. "Not only in the athletes, but in the coaching.
I think of my early days as a head coach when
there were four or five guys that I thought just did-
n't quite grasp it - they didn't understand the dis-
cipline and the little things - the nuances that
won and lost big games."
Other coaches acknowledge the difficulty faced'
each week in the Big Ten, but were cautious not to
give the nonconference schedule too much weight
in determining a team's - or a conference's -
actual quality.
"When you come out of your non-league sched-
ule and go into the conference, it's a different sea-
son," Michigan State coach Bobby Williams said.
"You can go undefeated in non-league and go into
our conference and get wiped out; we've seen that
happen here before."
ONE IN A MILLION: Nationally, 2002 is being
dubbed the "Year of the Quarterback." Nearly
every premier team in every premier conference
has a guy with NFL written all over him. In the
Big Ten, quarterbacks may be a little harder to
come by. Currently Penn State's Zack Mills is tops,
statistically, in the conference, and has generated a
buzz following the Nittany Lions' 40-7 thrashing
of Nebraska last Saturday in State College.
"Mills has really come and matured as a quar-
terback," Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said.
"We played them very early last year, and you can
see at the end of the season how well he was play-

By Daniel Bremmer
Daily Sports Writer

Because the first competitive event
of the season for the Michigan men's
cross country team is not scored as a
team, one might not think it's very
important. But don't tell
that to Michigan coach
Ron Warhurst, who EAST L
expects his team to run Who: No. 28
well no matter what the No. 12 Eastei
circumstances. and No. 14 M
So when the team com- When: 2 p.m.
petes in the Michigan Latest: After
State Open on Friday, look ed by graduat
for the Wolverines to come loss of Alan W
out with a bang. gan looks for
"It's a good gauge to see first race.
where we stand in compar-
ison with other teams," Warhurst said.
Slowing Michigan's progress has
been some key losses from last season.
Alan Webb, who left college to turn
professional, was the Wolverines' top
'M' favored
for another
CCHA title
By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Writer
DETROIT - For Michigan hockey
coach Red Berenson, this was one of
the toughest decisions he had to
make. Who was going to start the sea-
son as the No. 1 guy?
No, not in net, but behind the bench
in the CCHA's preseason coaches
poll.
"As much as we all talk about the
polls, I know I changed four times as
to who I picked for first place,"
Berenson said, "and I decided finally
to put the pressure on (Michigan State
coach) Rick Comley."
Though Berenson deferred some of
the strain onto Comley's shoulders,
eight other coaches decided to give
the preseason No. I burden to the
Wolverines. Michigan got the most
first-place votes in the media poll as
well with 39. Michigan State was No.
2 in the identical poll - Northern
Michigan, Ohio State and Nebraska-
Omaha rounded out the top five.
The problem with being ranked
high in the CCHA is that it doesn't
mean much. Last year, in the first
games of the CCHA playoffs, No. 12
Lake Superior State defeated No. 1
Michigan and No. 11 Bowling Green
took No. 2 Michigan State to over-
time. Both Michigan teams prevailed
in the three-game series and met up in
the finals, but even before that took
place, the Wolverines had to outlast
No. 7 Ohio State in overtime of the
semifinals.
With the departures of goalie Ryan
Miller at Michigan State and forward
Mike Cammalleri and defenseman
Mike Komisarek at Michigan - all
three regarded to have been among
the best in the nation at their respec-
tiv.P -_ tirnn .the-Ior is id

finisher in all six races he competed in
last season. In addition, seniors Mike
Wisniewski and Mark Pilja - two All-
Americans lost to graduation - both
consistently turned in top marks.
After their losses from last year, many
other programs are looking at the

AP PHOTO
Penn State coach Joe Paterno has his Nittany Lions playing like they could win an evenly-matched Big Ten
after their blowout victory against Nebraska last Saturday.

ANSING
Michigan vs.
rn Michigan
ichigan State
Saturday
being decimat-
ion and the
Nebb, Michi-
respect in its

Wolverines as being in the
midst of rebuilding - and
as a result, the team has
fallen to a national ranking
of No. 28 by the United
States Cross Country Asso-
ciation. Michigan will
come out on Friday looking
to regain respect against
national powers Nos. 12
Eastern Michigan and 14
Michigan State.
Warhurst thinks his team

ing, and I think he's picked up and improved even
since then."
Mills, a sophomore, has thrown for 227 yards
per game and has not thrown an interception. He
has moved his offense effectively and efficiently,,
and has gotten even his own coach to not just join
in the hype, but to tailor his offense toward an
aggressive style of play.
"Mills is an excellent quarterback," Paterno
said. "He's an excellent leader and a tough kid.
You're willing to do some things that you wouldn't
be willing to do with a kid with less judgement....
Some things happen in games that you can't script
in practice, and Mills reacts well to those things."
The athleticism Mills showed last Saturday is
the main cause of concern for opposing teams.
"Zack Mills' versatility is tremendous - how

he's able to be both a good passer and a good run-
ner," Williams said. "They mix it up, and kept
Nebraska off balance. It was an incredible per-
formance."
COUGAR KILLER: After leading his team to a thor-
ough defeat of No. 10 Washington State, Ohio
State running back Maurice Clarett was named the
Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.
Clarett, a true freshman, rushed for 230
yards and scored twice. He is averaging 157
yards per game and has scored six touchdowns
in three games this season.
But Clarett suffered a small injury to his knee in
the first half against Washington State. Ohio State
coach Jim Tressel reported yesterday that his star
running back is questionable for this Saturday's
game against Cincinnati.

is capable of surprising its opponents.
"I think we're better than 28th in the
country, but we'll have to wait and see,"
he said.
See SPARTANS,.Page 11

DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily
Despite not having standout Mike Cammalleri, Michigan still picked to finish ahead
of Michigan State and atop-the CCHA.
r

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