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October 22, 2002 - Image 9

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-10-22

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Tuesday

vbe iditign aUp
SPORTS

michigandaily.com
sportsdesk@umich.edu

9

. ....... ..

LeSueur and secondary
need to stop mobile QB

JEFF
PHILLIPS"

By J. Brady McCollough
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan defense was admittedly
frustrated by the running ability of Pur-
due quarterback Brandon Kirsch.
The Wolverines might have to get
used to the feeling.
Iowa quarterback Brad Banks has
rushed for 262 yards
this season and FOOTBALL
almost five yards per Notebook
carry, giving the
Hawkeyes a dimen-
sion of versatility that always seems to
trouble Michigan.
Kirsch, a true freshman who has been
splitting time with sophomore Kyle
Orton, ran 15 times for 81 yards. Michi-
gan did not know which quarterback
would start the game for the Boilermak-
ers, and once Kirsch established him-
self, he forced Michigan defensive
coordinator Jim Hermann to make some
adjustments.
"We had played some (man-to-man
coverage) earlier in the game and did
some good things," Hermann said. "But
when a quarterback scrambles, you're
minus guys in terms of help on him."
Even with the zone coverage, which
assigned more players to keep an eye on
Kirsch, Michigan allowed Purdue to
convert third down after third down in
the first half of Saturday's game. The
Boilermakers were 8-of-15 on third
down in the first 30 minutes.
"It's very frustrating, because a cou-
ple times some defenders had (Kirsch)
and he ended up scrambling and get-
ting away," Michigan linebacker Carl
Diggs said. "A lot of times it happened
on third down."
The zone defense is designed to take
away the possibility of a big play. Michi-
ll bri
By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Writer

gan was willing to give Purdue passes
underneath to keep long gains from
occurring.
"When you play a lot of zone, you
basically don't want people to hit you
deep," Diggs said. "You want to let them
have the stuff underneath and then drive
to them. Everybody works together."
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr was con-
tent with the way his team played in the
zone, except for Purdue wide receiver
John Standeford's 31-yard touchdown
catch in the third quarter. Stande ford
slid behind Michigan cornerback Marlin
Jackson and caught a 5-yard out pattern.
Jackson missed the tackle on Stande-
ford, who proceeded to tight-rope the
sideline for a touchdown.
The zone is tough on the Michigan
defensive line, which was forced to rush
three men on most plays. It was particu-
larly tough on nose guard Grant Bow-
man, who was confronted with three
Boilermaker blockers on each play.
"I would prefer a couple more guys
rushing so that I'm one-on-one and not
trying to take on three guys at once,"
Bowman said. "It's a little bit more fun."
Odds are, with Banks' ability to cre-
ate with his feet, this weekend won't be
much fun for Bowman either.
STEPPING up: It has been a long road
with many turns for Michigan corner-
back Jeremy LeSueur. The junior was
arrested for soliciting a prostitute last
year. He was widely blamed for Michi-
gan's loss to Michigan State last season,
after his personal foul penalty that pro-
longed the Spartans' final scoring drive.
But with the recent injury to corner-
back Zia Combs, whom Carr said yes-
terday would likely miss the rest of the
season, LeSueur has been given a sec-
ond chance by the Michigan coaching
staff to garner more playing time.

Citrus Bowl

BRENDAN O'DONNELL/Oaily
Junior cornerback Jeremy LeSueur has seen increased playing time since the injury
suffered by corner Zia Combs.

LeSueur took full advantage of his
opportunity Saturday, making eight
tackles and breaking up a number of
Kirsch passes.
"Last year is just that," Michigan
safety Cato June said. "Jeremy is a year
older and a year stronger and faster. We
can't dwell on the past"
"When one player goes down, anoth-
er one has to step in and you have to
pick up the slack," LeSueur said. "You
can't miss a heartbeat."
Carr said he thought LeSueur
played his best game since he has
been at Michigan. That's probably
because LeSueur was one of the only
Michigan cornerbacks that was able
to jump in front of some of Purdue's
short passing routes.
"That comes from coaches and being
in the film room studying and anticipat-

ing and being ready to expect a certain
route coming," LeSueur said.
Carr was also happy with the per-
formance of free safety Jon Shaw,
who spelled Charles Drake and Cato
June after Julius Curry was injured.
Shaw should see more time in
upcoming weeks, as Carr would not
say how long he expected Curry to be
out of commission. Carr did say that
Curry's other role as Michigan's top
punt returner would most likely be
filled by receiver Ron Bellamy or
receiver Jermaine Gonzales.
INJURY UPDATE: Carr said that defen-
sive tackle Norman Heuer would play
this week and could have played last
week against Purdue. Carr also con-
firmed that running back Chris Perry,
who rolled his ankle Saturday, would
play against Iowa.

of the endj
n an era of college football when
fans and athletic departments are
fickle and hyper-critical of their
coaches, creating unrealistic expecta-
tions that have little hope of being
accomplished, there is one case where
fans, media and athletic departments
should be more critical: the perform-
ance of Michigan State's Bobby
Williams.
If the Spartans were ever going to win
the Big Ten title, this was the year to do
it. A down year for the Big Ten in which
almost any team has the chance to win,
Michigan State appeared to have the
edge at the beginning of the season. It
did not have to face the conference's
best team in Ohio State and played eight
of its 12 games at Spartan Stadium.
But the Spartans have failed to take
advantage of the schedule so far, going
3-4 in their first seven games. And it
isn't so much the fact they lost the
games -- California and Notre Dame
both have come out of nowhere and
Iowa and Minnesota have been pleasant
surprises in the Big Ten - but it is how
they lost the games.
Michigan State was absolutely run off
the field in losses to California, Iowa
and Minnesota - and twice that field
was its own. The Spartans are talented
(several of the players are pro
prospects), but are undisciplined, play
with no pride and at some point, the crit-
ics of the team will start to take a closer
look at Williams.
There is no reason for Michigan State
to be committing an obscene amount of
turnovers and penalties and be unable to
put up points with wide receiver Charles
Rogers and quarterback Jeff Smoker.
Williams may have been given too
much, too soon, after he was named
head coach following Michigan State's
thrilling victory over Florida in the 2000
Citrus Bowl. Williams had coached in
the place of Nick Saban who left for
Louisiana State before the new year.

(

'beginning
r Spartans
The win set the bar high for the Spar-
tans and for Williams.
The team appeared to carry a bit of
the momentum over to 2000 by begin-
ning the season 3-0, including a win
against Notre Dame. But after that the
wheels came off the wagon as the Spar-
tans lost their next four games and
coasted to a 5-7 season.
In a similar fashion, the 2001 Michi-
gan State team started well by winning
the five of the first seven games of the
season, including victories over Wiscon-
sin and Michigan. Yet just like in the
2000 season, the Spartans collapsed by
losing their next three games after the
win over the Wolverines. Only a victory
over Missouri in the last game of the sea-
son kept Michigan State bowl eligible.
At some point, a coach is expected to
follow up a big win with more success.
Williams simply has not done this, and
he will eventually have to take the
blame. His teams have proven they can
win, but only sporadically.
There is a growing movement in the
media to place blame on the players
rather than the coach, after all they are
the ones on the field and playing the
game, not the coach. This was a hot
topic regarding Texas' Mack Brown,
whose Longhorns suffered another let-
down in a big game. But if the blame
cannot be placed on the coach than nei-
ther can the praise for a good season by
the same reasoning.
The blame should be split between
both the coach and the players, but the
majority of the responsibility falls on
the shoulders of the coach and his assis-
tant. They design the playing systems
and the disciplinary actions. They
decide how to motivate and how to dis-
courage.
Respect should be given to those
coaches that have proven themselves
under extreme duress and high expecta-
tions. Ohio State's Jim Tressel built a
See PHILLIPS, Page 10

12!5

character and work ethic to M'

an 87-71 triumph.
"Lester's a great player. He's real

During last year's Mic
school basketball playoffs,
the Michigan basketball pr
focused squarely on Lester
The third-place
finisher in Michi-
gan's Mr. Basket-
ball voting was
winding down his
final season at
Pontiac Northern
en route to a Class
A state champi-
onship while being
one of Michigan
coach Tommy Harrel
Amaker's most
highly regarded recruits fo
03 season.
Lined up across from Ab
title game on the opposing
Central team was Sherrod
player who had collected h
of awards and headlines dur
school career.
But Harrell had one of
games of the year in the fin
ing just eight points to go al
rebounds as Pontiac Northe

aggressive on offense and defense,"
higan high said Harrell. "He's one of those guys
the eyes of that are always willing to sacrifice -
ogram were he's a great player."
Abram. Now, seven months later, Harrell has
been granted the chance to redeem
himself against Abram - in practice at
Crisler Arena.
Turning down the option to play
large minutes at smaller schools, Har-
rell opted to sign on with Michigan,
and was immediately rewarded with a
walk-on role on the Michigan basket-
ball team by Amaker.
"It's always been a dream of mine
to play at Michigan, ever since the
I days of the Fab Five" the 6-foot-3
Harrell said. "I've always wanted to
r the 2002- come play here."
. Now that he's gotten chance, Harrell
ram for that isn't letting it pass by. Amaker has
Kalamazoo praised Harrell, saying that he is
3 Harrell, a "thrilled" with the progress the fresh-
is fair share man has made.
ing his high After helping Kalamazoo Central by
playing both guard and forward posi-
his quietest tions, Harrell has made the transition to
ials, collect- playing strictly at the guard spot for the
ong with 10 Wolverines and could be a valuable
rn rolled to contributor at a position the Wolverines

have struggled to gain consistency
from in recent years.
"Personally I'm just going to work as
hard as I can," Harrell said. "I'm going
to play whenever I'm needed and
whenever that time comes, I'll be ready
to help this team earn the victory."
Helping his team to victory is noth-
ing new to Harrell, who was unques-
tionably the go-to-guy during his high
school days, averaging 21.2 points, 12
rebounds, seven assists, two steals and
more than three blocks per game
through his career.
When it comes right down to it, Har-
rell's credentials are just as impressive
as other member of Michigan's fresh-
man class. And there's no doubt that
Amaker and the Wolverines can benefit
from having an athlete of Harrell's cal-
iber to the team.
But the attitude Harrell brings to the
team might be more important than any
of his athletic accomplishments.
Amaker has preached a steady diet
of patience and hard work to his team
and Harrell, a member of the National
Honor Society, his high school's stu-
dent government and a four-year honor
roll member, is more than ready to buy
into that system.
"Before (Michigan basketball) can

make that jump back to the top, you've
got to build a base and we've got a real
good corps of guys," Harrell said.
"From there you build with the charac-
ter of the guys - make sure that the
whole team is willing to work hard.
"You've got to be ready to compete,
and we've got a bunch of guys that are
willing to do that here." .

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