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September 19, 2002 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-19

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September 19,2002

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Carr prepares Finley
for 'emergency' duty


By J. Brady McCollough
Daily Sports Writer

When punter Adam Finley commit-
ted to Michigan, coach Lloyd Carr
was convinced Finley "was the best
kicker and punter in the nation."
But through two years, the redshirt
sophomore hasn't
kicked a single FOOTBALL
field goal. That's Notebook
because before eboo
Finley joined the
Wolverines, he had to have surgery
on his right knee. And once he
arrived in Michigan, the Indiana
native injured his left knee and had to
go through yet another surgery.
"As a result of that, when he came
back last fall, he just did not feel
comfortable at that time placekick-
ing," Carr said.
Finley focused his efforts on punt-
ing all last season, getting ready for
the time when Hayden Epstein would
graduate. In his first three games as
the starter this season, he's punted 14
times for an average of 45.2 yards.
"You can always do a little bit bet-
ter," Finley said. "I am somewhat
pleased with the way I have been
The "somewhat" probably results
from his inability to pin Michigan's
opposition inside the 20-yard line.
He's accomplished that just one time

this season.
Finley's decision to concentrate on
punting opened the door for walk-on
kickers Philip Brabbs and Troy Nien-
berg, who haven't been much of a
dynamic duo this season. Brabbs has
hit 2-of-6 field goals, while Nienberg
has missed both attempts he's made.
Therefore, it was no surprise to
anyone that before last Saturday's
game against Notre Dame, Finley
was practicing field goals. He said
that he and the coaches made a mutu-
al decision for him to start trying to
find his stroke again --just in case.
"If I would have gone in (Satur-
day), I wouldn't have felt that my
stroke was there," Finley said. "But
you always have to be ready because
you never know when you're going to
get the call."
Said Carr: "I think at some point
we could end up with him in an
emergency situation."
Most Michigan fans would consid-
er the Wolverines' make-to-miss ratio
an emergency, but Finley hasn't given
up hope that the kickers will get it
"I think that Phil and Troy are
going to come around," Finley said.
"They are both hitting the ball really
well in practice."
MOTHER MAY I?: Carr was obvious-
ly still perturbed about the officiating
against Notre Dame at his weekly

Harrington cannot save
Lions from horrible year

Michigan coach Lloyd Carr is still sour about the officiating during last week's loss
at Notre Dame. The Wolverines will host Utah on Saturday.

press conference on Monday. When
asked what he thought about the call
giving Irish quarterback Carlyle Holi-
day a touchdown at the end of the
first half (the replays showed other-
wise), Carr had to bite his lip.
"You can't print what I think. My
mother would not be proud."
. Carr also said he received no
explanation for a holding call during
a second quarter punt return that
pinned the Wolverines on their own
six-yard line.

"Normally we don't have that prob-
lem in the Big Ten," Carr said. "I
never got an answer to that."
LULLABY: If Michigan's fans needed
any motivation to get pumped for a
Mountain West opponent Saturday,
Utah coach Ron McBride did the job.
"It's not a real raucous type of
crowd," McBride told the Salt Lake
Tribune. "It's more like a going-to-
the-symphony kind of crowd. They
kind of get up and clap at the same
time, and sit down at the same time."

Those living in the metro-Detroit
area consider Joey Harrington to
be many things. He's a proven
winner, a charismatic leader and eternal
optimist. He's got a cannon for an arm,
throws a nice deep ball and can play the
video game Pac-Man like no other.
He's the future of the Lions' fran-
chise, there's no question about it.
But behind the Superman shield of
unfazed confidence and unlimited talent,
he's still human. And that's why Marty
Mornhinweg's decision to yank Mike
McMahon and start the rookie now after
two painful losses may serve as a smoke
screen for fans, but it won't solve the
miserable problem called the Lions.
Throwing Harrington into the fire
may make the Lions a little better, but
the quarterback switch should prove just
as effective as plugging a dam with a
pinkie finger.
The Lions are a disaster. Outscored
80-28 in their first two games _ includ-
ing a 31-7 drubbing by the woeful Car-
olina Panthers - the Lions nearly have
as many penalties (17) as points.
They're undisciplined. They can't
stop the run. They can't stop the pass.
They can't stop an old lady from cross-
ing the street. And nearly their entire
starting secondary - full of Pro
Bowlers from less than 10 years ago -
is closer to collecting social security
than collecting interceptions.
And the Lions' offense isn't that much
better. That's why no matter how good
Harrington is, the move could do more
harm to the quarterback than good.
Harrington has said he knows full
well the track record of rookie quarter-
backs starting in the NFL, and how they
get punished. Obviously there's a few
exceptions, but most of those signal
callers had Pro Bowl, or even Hall of
Fame players around them.
Harrington just doesn't have the tools
around him, not yet.
He inherits an offense, supposedly
the West Coast Offense, that has an old,
beat-up offensive line. Ray Brown, 39,
had his best years as a member of the

St. Louis Cardinals football team nearly
two decades ago. Jeff Backus is solid,
but struggling at the ever important
position of left tackle. Kerlin Blaise, is
out for the season with a knee injury.
Is Lomas Brown still playing?
And if Harrington actually gets a mil-
lisecond to throw the ball and survives
this season without injury, what then?
Free-agent pickups Az-Zahir Hakim
and Bill Schroeder haven't quite
evolved into the playmakers Mornhin-
weg envisioned. Hakim has yet to
unleash the speedy, game-changing
plays he had in St. Louis, and Schroeder
has pulled more groins than he's caught
touchdown passes.
But it's not Harrington's fault he's
running a West Coast Offense that has a
makeshift offensive line, inconsistent
wide receivers and a tailback in James
Stewart who is so good that the Lions
shopped him in the offseason.
It's the M&M team of Mornhinweg
and team president Matt Millen.
They're the one's that gave up on loyal,
Pro Bowl-type players like Johnnie
Morton, Herman Moore and offensive
lineman Jeff Hartings and still say each
week they're "looking for improve-
ment" at those same positions.
But the M&Ms' track record speaks
for itself. At 2-16 in their short tenure,
they can't afford to make any more mis-
takes. They notice what happened
across the street at Comerica Park -
the shine of a new stadium rubs off
when the team stinks up the place.
And the sad thing is, the Lions sold
out the 80,000-seat capacity SilverDome
for most of the past decade despite the
hometown team winning just one playoff
game since the late '80s.
Starting Harrington will wake Lions'
fans up from hibernation. It may help
the Lions win a few more games.
But that just adds up to 2-14: Haven't
we already seen that show before?


Fnends, family battle at Cliff Keen

By Albert Kim
Daily Sports Writer
It will be a battle of best friends
tonight as the Michigan volleyball team
welcomes Toledo to Cliff Keen Arena.
Michigan coach Mark Rosen and Tole-
do coach Kent Miller each served as the
best man at each other's weddings, but
for two hours, starting at 7 p.m. tonight,
they will put all that aside.
Michigan is 12-0 against Toledo in
the series history, and will be looking to
keep the undefeated streak alive. The
Wolverines come in with a 5-3 record,
and are trying to snap a two-match los-
ing streak. Toledo is also on a two-
match losing streak, and will have
nothing to lose.

"They're one of those teams that will
play like crazy against us because it's a
chance to knock off a Big Ten team,"
Rosen said.
The Wolverines are coming off of a
tough weekend, in which they lost to
two top-25 teams in Santa Clara and
"I was pleased with how we played
against Nebraska, but I'm not pleased
with the way we played against Santa
Clara," Rosen said. "I just felt like we
were a better team, and let that match
slip away."
Toledo boasts a senior-laden front
line, and a nasty service game that
Michigan will have to be wary of.
"One thing they typically do is that
they serve the ball very aggressively,"

Rosen said. "It will be a good challenge
for our ball-control game."
The Wolverines will counter with a
balanced and consistent attack that
includes the strong play of junior cap-
tain Erin Moore, who continues to shine
in every aspect of the game.
"She's doing a great job of stepping
into the leadership role as a captain,"
Rosen said of Moore, who just missed a
triple-double against Santa Clara.
Adding intrigue to the matchup is the
chance that Michigan's Nicole Poquette
will face her sister Chelsey, who is a
freshman at Toledo.
With the nonconference schedule
almost over, the Wolverines are looking
forward to a inspired Big Ten season.
One of the reasons why the future looks

Who: Michigan (5-3) vs. Toledo (7-2)
When: 7 p.m.
Latest: Michigan coach Mark Rosen will face
Toledo's Kent Miller, who served as the Best
Man in his wedding. Michigan's Nicole Poquette
will also compete against her sister, Chelsea.
bright is what Michigan has been able
to do up to this point.
"We haven't made a lot of unforced
errors, I like our defense, and we'll play
a lot of good pursuit defense," Rosen
Also contributing is Michigan's
newly crowned all-time leader in block
assists Katrina Lehman, who is just 18
blocks away from the school record for
career blocks. As the lone senior,
Lehman has been a stabilizing force up
front, continually producing the defense
needed for the team to win games.


Joe Smith can be reached at



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