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October 30, 2002 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-10-30

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October 30, 2002



'Frustrated' program loses two players

By J. Brady McCollough
and Jeff Phillips
Daily Sports Writers
EAST LANSING - The only positive coming out
of Bobby Williams' press conference yesterday was
that things can't get much worse.
Just five days after the Michigan State coach
announced the suspension of starting quarterback Jeff
Smoker, Williams confirmed that two redshirt sopho-
mores, fullback Jason Bradley and linebacker James

Cooper, voluntarily left the team.
Bradley, who hails from Sara-
sota, Fla., played mostly on spe-
cial teams for the Spartans.
Cooper, a St. Louis native, played
two games this season and record-
ed three tackles in limited duty.


entz said. "I haven't seen many of the players that are
talked about just because I haven't had a chance to
look at their film. I know there are a lot of great play-
ers out there, and I'll also say this: I don't think any-
body involved with our team would be willing to trade
Brad for anyone in the country. But whether or not he
is deserving of Heisman mention, I'm really not quali-
fied to say."
Banks' mobility has earned him comparisons to for-
mer Indiana quarterback Antwaan Randle El and Iowa
State's Seneca Wallace.
"I led the campaign for Seneca Wallace after seeing
him," Ferentz said. "He's an outstanding player and I
felt the same way about (Antwaan) Randle El last
QUITE A GAMBLE: Ohio State's 13-7 victory over
Penn State last Saturday was keyed by the play of
sophomore Chris Gamble, who returned an intercep-
tion 40 yards for the Buckeyes' only touchdown.
His play is all the more impressive when considering
Gamble was in on nearly 100 plays on offense, defense
and special teams.
Initially just a wide receiver, Gamble began playing
cornerback after Ohio State lost Richard McNutt for
the season. Gamble's defensive prowess was exposed
If 7T-

when the Buckeyes had the wide receiving corps play
defense in the spring and early fall.
"He always did very, very well when he was over
there on the cover side, as well as the good job he does
running routes," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said.
Playing as much as Gamble is no small task, and
he might not be able to keep up all season. But should
his time be limited, Tressel will have a tough decision
to make.
"I'm not sure a young man can play 95 plays week
after week, but Chris is one of those special kids: He is
a punt returner, a kick returner, an excellent receiver,
an excellent corner," Tressel said. "I think we are going
to have to pick-and-choose how to maximize his tal-
GIMME SOME Mo: Ohio State freshman running back
Maurice Clarett left the Penn State game with a shoul-
der injury shortly after passing 1,000 yards rushing for
the season.
The injury may have killed Clarett's Heisman hopes,
but it has hardly ended his season as Tressel said that
Clarett is listed as "probable" for the Buckeyes'
upcoming game against Minnesota. His status isn't
surprising considering Clarett missed just one game
after arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this season.

Michigan freshman defenseman Danny Richmond has proven he can put it in the
net, but wants to improve his play on the defensive end.
Extra effort pacing
'M'icers' strong start

By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Writer
Hustle plays made the difference
Saturday night for the Michigan
hockey team against Alaska-Fair-
banks. With three second-chance
goals, the Wolverines put the game
out of reach before the final period
even began.
"I think we left (goalie Preston
McKay) out to dry," Alaska-Fair-
banks coach Guy Gadowsky said. "I
don't think we got the puck out of
our zone when we had to. We cer-
tainly didn't clear any rebounds
when we had to, and we got out-
worked in the corners and in front
of the net.
"They outworked us, period. You
can say they're more talented, or
whatever you want, but the bottom
line is that they outworked us badly."
And while being outhustled isn't
something that Gadowsky wanted to
see from his team that was predicted
by many to be the upstart team in the
CCHA, it serves as a compliment to
the Wolverines who were without
sophomore Jason Ryznar and alter-
nate captains John Shouneyia and
Yung Krall, whose father was a
member of North Vietnam's Politburo
and its ambassador to Moscow during
the Vietnam War, recently told me
that North Vietnam was once within
four days of surrender. The orders
had been issued, even to soldiers
in the field. Then the protest
movement forced a halt to our bomb-
ing of North Vietnam. The war went
on for several years after that.
This proves whatany serious stu-
dent of the war must conclude:
The protest movement did not end
the war; it extended it, costing
tens or hundreds of thousands of
lives. Protest movements cost
lives, unless done correctly. Watch
for more info in coming ads.

Andy Burnes.
"We have a lot of skill and it can
only take you so far," freshman
Danny Richmond said. "But we're
one of the fastest teams in the league
that I've ever seen play, so if we
work hard we'll just keep going at
people and keep forcing mistakes.
No matter what they do, we'll out-
work them and we'll win."
It's that extra effort that has helped
Michigan recover from its mistakes,
as seen with Richmond especially.
Known for his offensive skills the
young defenseman has been known
to make his share of mistakes -
either by not clearing out a defender
on a rebound or making ill-advised
moves like the one that led to a 2-1
breakaway for the Nanooks in the
first period Saturday night.
"My offensive skills are pretty
good, but defense is something I have
to work on," Richmond said. "It
includes taking the man instead of the
puck, but it's a lot more than that.
When the puck's coming back my
way I have a tendency to move for-
ward in front of the play sometimes
and I shouldn't be doing that, because
I leave my partner back to dry."

It's undetermined whether or not the players' exit
from Michigan State has anything to do with Smoker's
recent suspension.
Williams said that Smoker, who sat out the Spar-
tans' 42-24 loss to Wisconsin this past Saturday
because of a violation of team rules, could possibly
return before the season is over and that Smoker is still
enrolled at Michigan State.
"It's an indefinite suspension, which means it's
open-ended," Williams said. "He could come back or
he may not come back. It depends on the terms that he
has to go through."
Smoker was widely considered the top quarterback
in the Big Ten coming into the season and was also
named a contender for the Davey O'Brien Award,
given annually to the nation's top quarterback.
"It was a very tough decision, very disappointing,
but it was the best decision for him and the program,"
Williams said.
The recent downward spiral of the Michigan State
program, particularly Smoker's suspension, has been
widely discussed in internet chat rooms. A wide vari-
ety of vicious rumors are circulating about Smoker and
other Spartans.
"We have no control over what is written in the print
media, and we have no control over what is going on
on the internet," Williams said. "The internet, the infor-
mation that is out there is unbelievable. We deal with
fact. The frame of mind is positive. There's so much
negative surrounding the program about things being
said about some of the players and things going on
inside the program that we have no control over."
BANKS FOR HEHsmAN?: After Iowa quarterback Brad
Banks' outstanding play against Michigan, when he
passed for 222 yards and three touchdowns and rushed
for 53 yards, the Hawkeyes are eyeing an undefeated
conference season and Rose Bowl berth. And come
December, Banks could be eyeing something else: The
Heisman Trophy.
Banks is no doubt a darkhorse to win, but the race is
wide open again this year and Banks is arguably play-
ing as well as anyone in the country. Iowa coach Kirk
Ferentz isn't quite ready to throw out Banks' name for
Heisman consideration.
"I'm kind of in the dark on the national scene," Fer-

Michigan State coach Bobby Williams (center) has already suspended starting quarterback Jeff Smoker (9).
Williams announced yesterday that redshirt sophomores Jason Bradley and James Cooper left the team as well.

Top to bottom, Big Ten could be tough to beat

By Daniel Bremmer
Daily Sports Writer

CHICAGO - While they may be
biased towards their own conference,
the talk among Big Ten coaches at
Sunday's annual women's basketball
Big Ten Media Day was nothing but
praise. Many coaches said they felt
the Big Ten was the strongest confer-
ence in the nation.
"I think it's a very competitive
conference top to bottom," Michigan
coach Sue Guevara said. "All you
have to do is look at how many teams
get selected to the NCAA tourna-
ment and how well we do."

Last year, nine Big Ten teams
advanced to postseason play, includ-
ing six NCAA Tournament teams and
three in the WNIT.
"We have enough TV exposure
that people have picked our confer-
ence to go up against the SEC and go
up against the Big 12," Penn State
coach Rene Portland added. "Our
records against those leagues are
very sound, so I think the league is
one of the premier leagues in the
Penn State and Purdue are expect-
ed to lead the Big Ten this season as
both are coming off strong finishes
last year. Purdue won the Big Ten
regular season title with a 13-3 con-
ference record, while the Lady Lions
tied for second with an 11-5 mark.
Penn State was selected as the pre-
season favorite by Big Ten coaches
this year, and Portland thinks her

team has improved from last season.
"I don't believe there's any nega-
tives, only positives," said Portland,
comparing this year's squad to last
The Lady Lions return four of
their five starters, including Kelly
Mazzante, who led all Division I,
players in points per game (24.9).
Mazzante, a member of last year's
Kodak All-American Team, was
selected as this year's Big Ten Pre-
season Player of the Year by the
coaches and media.
Penn State will have its hands full
at the top with Purdue, selected No. 1
in the Big Ten by the media.
Led by Shereka Wright, a member
of the 2001-2002 All-Big Ten First
Team, the Boilermakers return three
starters and add six freshmen to the
mix. Purdue coach Kristy Curry
believes her team's newcomers will

be able to step in and contribute.
"We're so much deeper than we
were a year ago," Curry said. "If we
can stay healthy, we have a lot more
depth and versatility."
Minnesota - which tied Penn
State for second in the Big Ten last
year - was picked to round out the
top three by both the coaches and
media, but this came as no surprise
to new coach Pam Borton.
"We expected to be in the top
three," Borton said. "I would've been
disappointed (if we weren't). With
the way this team ended last year,
that would've been a lack of respect
for the players themselves."
In addition to the obvious
favorites, Ohio State has gained
recognition as a sleeper pick by many
coaches. Despite narrowly finishing
under .500 last year (8-8 Big Ten, 14-
15 overall), the Buckeyes return 11

Preseason picks
Big Ten media top three:
Team 2001-02 record
1. Purdue 24-6
2. Penn State 23-12
3. Minnesota 22-8
Big Ten coaches Top Three:
Team 2001-02 record
1. PennState 23-12
2. Purdue 24-6
3. Minnesota 22-8

players from their overall roster and
have a new head coach in Jim Foster.
Formerly the head coach at Vander-
bilt, Forster led the team to a record
of 256-99 and 10 NCAA Tournament
appearances in 11 seasons.
"I think everyone has a lot of
respect for Jim Foster in the league,"
Borton said. "He's got a very athlet-
ic team, and he's got some veterans
returning. I think everyone's going
to be watching out for Ohio State
this year."

Tired of being a

Harriers' early success
put to test at Big Tens


By Daniel Bremmer
Daily Sports Writer

Want to be a

It's nice to do well early, but it's the
end of the season that counts.
Sunday, the No. 12 Michigan men's
cross country team will begin to see
what it is made of as it travels to West
Lafayette to compete in the Big Ten
The Wolverines will have their hands
full as the Big Ten is perhaps the
strongest conference in the nation. It
boasts an impressive record with seven
of its 11 teams in the national top 30.
Heading into this weekend, No. 11
Wisconsin is considered to be the

has been resurging as of late, along with
No. 20 Ohio State. Both teams - pre-
viously unranked - jumped into the
top 30 this week.
Rounding out the top competitors are
No. 18 Indiana and No. 23 Iowa.
Warhurst believes the Big Ten Cham-
pionships are a very important part to
his team's year.
"It's a start towards respectability,
towards stepping into the national
scene," Warhurst said.
The Big Ten Championships will be
the team's first championship meet, and
it will be followed by the NCAA Great
Lakes Regional Championship on Nov.
16. The top two teams from the regional
meetoa ranniv oan, amr.i...A.. into thPm



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