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December 10, 2002 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-12-10

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December 10, 2002




Grossman & Navarre:
A tale of two QBs


By Joe Smith
Daily Sports Editor
One junior quarterback was a Heis-
man Trophy favorite coming into the
season, fresh off a record-shattering
season during which he led the nation
in several passing categories.
Meanwhile, more than 1,000 miles
north, another junior signal caller
seemed to be everyone's favorite punch-
ing bag. The much-maligned quarter-
back faced an endless barrage of
criticism from fans and media - and
had to survive an "open competition"
before he was officially named starter
less than a month before the season.
On Jan. 1, these two juniors - Flori-
da's Rex Grossman and Michigan's
John Navarre - will find their paths
intersecting at the Outback Bowl in
Tampa, Fla.
And not many would have guessed
that it would be the overachieving
Navarre coming in with better numbers
and a more successful season thus far.
"It just goes to show you that any-
thing can happen," Michigan captain
Bennie Joppru said. "That's the great
thing about college football."
As odd as it may seem, Navarre's
steady and improved play, along with
his statistics - 55-percent completion
percentage, 2,586 yards, 20 touch-
downs and just seven interceptions -
overshadow Grossman's so-called aber-
ration of a season.
Grossman had to adjust to a complete-
ly new coach and a more conservative
offensive system when Ron Zook took
over for Steve Spurrier this offseason. As
a result, he has watched his record-
breaking numbers dwindle, and his
Gators have fallen from national title

contenders to an inconsistent 8-4 team.
His fans even booed him off the field on
his home turf, "The Swamp," after the
Gators' 36-7 loss to Louisiana State.
Not many of his critics consider the
fact he lost his two favorite receiving
targets, Jabar Gaffney and Reche Cald-
well, who both left Florida early for the
NFL after combining for 132 receptions
and 23 touchdowns. This was more
than the eight returnees at the receiver
position had totaled in their college
careers. The fact that the Gators lost
three starting offensive lineman could
have been a factor as well.
But the critics just notice the cold,
hard facts: Grossman's 58 percent com-
pletion percentage, 20 touchdowns, 17
interceptions. Not to mention that the
once flashy, "Fun n' Gun" offense that
averaged 43 points and 405 yards pass-
ing last year is down to a conservative
25 points and 266 yards.
"If people label me as a product of his
system, then, yeah, I want to break that
mold," Grossman said. "But it's my opin-
ion that there's no good quarterback in a
bad system. So it takes both"
Those who've coached Grossman
say he's more than good.
Just two years in college were
enough for Spurrier to label him "the
best pure passer of the quarterbacks I
have coached" and "one of the most
courageous players."
Grossman often draws comparisons
to former Florida great Danny Wuerffel
in terms of his quick release, strong
arm, athleticism and agility.
"As a passer he has a rare combina-
tion: Kurt Warner-like ability to see
things before they happen with a little
bit better arm strength," Gary Daniel-
son, ABC college football analyst,

Supporting 'M' hoops
hard to do these days

Florida quarterback Rex Grossman avoids the Florida State rush in the Gators' 31-
14 loss to the Seminoles Nov. 30.

wrote on ESPN.com.
No matter how tough this season has
been on him, or how many disagree-
ments he had with Zook, Grossman
will definitely catch the eyes of the
Michigan secondary, which was victim-
ized by Tennessee's offense last season
for 45 points in the Citrus Bowl.
"Rex Grossman may be one of the
toughest guys I've ever been around,"
Zook said. "Does Rex make me mad
sometimes? Absolutely. But that's one
tough guy, and I'll go to war with him
anytime, anywhere."
Navarre said he understood partly

what Grossman went through this year,
as the Wolverines also changed their
offense. He said despite Grossman's
issues this year, he's still an "explosive
passer" and one of the nation's best.
"He's got a strong arm, he's very tal-
ented and has a real good cast around
him," Navarre said. "He is a very dan-
gerous quarterback."
But Joppru said that with an over-
whelming performance by Navarre on
Jan. 1, there may be some "Heisman
hype" in Ann Arbor.
"It'd be great for him," Joppru said.
"You never know."

fter the self-imposed sanctions
on the Michigan basketball
team were announced, I consid-
ered asking for my money back. Cer-
tainly I understood when I bought my
season ticket package that this team was
not going to be playing the highest cal-
iber of NCAA Division I basketball, but
I felt cheated out of the opportunity to
root for my Michigan team to even
make some noise; to begin its rise from
the ashes and hustle and fight its way
into the N.I.T.
I was eventually convinced - by
friends and coach Tommy Amaker -
that I ought to rally behind this team. It
takes real fans to stick with a team like
this at a time like this, and if Michigan
was going to be rebuilt it needed my
support this year. Fine. You're right. I'll
root for the Maize and Blue even if
there is no pot of gold at the end of the
rainbow. I've supported this team for
four years, and I ought to rough it out
like everyone else. No regrets for pur-
chase. I'm in.
Then they started losing. A trip to the
Virgin Islands left Michigan 0-3 before
the end of Thanksgiving break. I didn't
care. I'll support a losing team (I've been
a Mets fan for most of my 21 years).
Then Avery Queen got booted for
violating team policies.
Avery Queen was probably my
favorite Michigan basketball player.
During my sophomore year my friends
made yellow t-shirts that displayed the
Superman logo, but with a 'Q' instead
of an 'S.' SuperQueen Superfans. He
was a hero in miniature; a diminutive
point guard in the proud Washtenaw
County tradition of Earl Boykins.
Queen, I was fond of saying, would be
the best point guard in the Big Ten if he
were a foot taller. What he lacked in
court vision he almost made up for in
hustle. Almost. But regardless of his
shortcomings (and the fact that he was
being replaced by an Amaker-recruited
McDonald's All-American) Queen
remained my fave - he was a guy for
whom I had cheered, and for whom I
happily paid to see play.
Queen dismissed.
Then last Tuesday, a day before I
would finally use the first of my season
tickets (to see Central Michigan take on
my Wolverines), the word came down

No fun in the sun for M' tankers in Hawaii

that another crowd pleaser was leaving
the team. Dommanic Ingerson - Dom
Bomb - announced his intention to
transfer from Michigan. Ingerson's game
was inconsistent, but when he got hot he
was as good a shooter as anyone in the
conference. He had the raw talent to be
something spectacular, and was the only
Wolverine with a style and attitude com-
parable to the Fab Five. But like C-Webb
and the boys, Dom is destined to become
yet another ghost of Crisler Arena.
My two favorite players were gone
and I had yet to see a game live. Still, I
could deal. I mean, those were Ellerbe's
guys, and the reality is that they weren't
winning us any Big Ten titles. Amaker's
got his own troops, and he is giving
them playing time, and he thinks that by
doing so he is truly building for the
future of this program. Fine. I trust him.
Then I watched the game.
Freshmen Graham Brown and Chris
Hunter -Amaker's two big men -
were non-existent. I would say that they
got pushed around and bullied, but I
hardly even noticed that they were out
there at all. They had a difficult time
posting up and were nothing if not
always out of position. Central Michigan
center Chris Kaman connected on 11-
of-13 field goal attempts on his way to
30 points, 21 rebounds and five blocks.
Meanwhile, my friends and I won-
dered how freshman point guard Daniel
Horton could be a McDonald's All-
American. The kid who was supposed
to be one of the best guards coming out
of high school last year committed three
times as many turnovers as he was
given credit for, picked up his dribble at
half court, couldn't efficiently or consis-
tently beat the press and still managed
to lead Michigan in scoring. That last
fact speaks to the Wolverines' lack of
true on-court leadership or offensive
Beyond that, Amaker's squad looked
confused while trying to execute its half-
court trap when it trailed late in the
game, and shot 57 percent from the free-
throw line in the second half. To me,
those are signs of a poorly coached team.
Yet I was still ready to excuse.
They're young. They lost a crucial piece
of the puzzle last year (departed center
Chris Young) and are still finding and
See HORN, Page 11
By Kyle O'Neill
and Courtney Lewis
Daily Sports Writers


By Steven Shears
Daily Sports Writer

Hawaii, for many tourists, is a place to take in the
sun and have some fun. But for the Michigan women's
swimming and diving team, it will be a place to train.
That's right, the Wolverines will spend this winter
break in warm Pacific islands, only to complete one of
their most rigorous training schedules of the season.
On Dec. 26, the team will travel to Honolulu, Hawaii
to train for the rest of winter break. The trip will culmi-
nate in a dual meet with an undetermined opponent.
Workouts for the Wolverines have increased in both
length and intensity these past few weeks, and they
hope to maximize their workload by the end of this trip.
"The nature of the work is becoming more specific
and rigorous as the season progresses," Michigan
coach Jim Richardson said. "Training times have been

increasing, and we are gradually increasing the practice
time spent in the water."
Richardson has arranged quite an itinerary for this
"vacation." The team will start its day at 6 a.m. with a
45-minute run. This warm-up will be followed by a
one-hour stint in the ocean with surfboards to work on
the lower back and deltoids.
"'We will paddle out, catch a wave, and then paddle
back out, over and over again," Richardson said. "The
paddling is a really good workout."
From 9 to 10 a.m., the team will start its strength and
conditioning dry-land workout, followed immediately
by in-water endurance swimming.
"We want to touch base on the two areas of the ener-
gy continuum -Oendurance and speed," he said.
The team will then have a chance to enjoy the island
surroundings that Honolulu provides. But Richardson
also expects that the team will be indirectly involved in

some sort of training during its free time.
"One of the pleasures of being in Hawaii is the 'hid-
den' training," Richardson explained. "The team will
be outdoors and able to do other activities that they
wouldn't be able to do in Ann Arbor. This a very good
place to train from a climate standpoint."
But the day is not complete just yet for the Wolver-
ines. At 6:30 p.m., the team will regroup and build
abdominal strength until 7 p.m. At that time, the
Wolverines head back to the pool for another two-hour
session. This time, the team will work on specific
races, consisting mostly of middle distance lengths.
To comply with NCAA rules, Michigan must end its
trip with formal competition of some sort. The Wolver-
ines were scheduled for the Jan. 2 Rainbow Invitation-
al. But due to travel conflicts, they decided to withdraw
and arrange a single-day dual meet with another visit-
ing team, possibly Purdue, Iowa or Stanford.

--~ ~~-- I


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It was only a matter of time before
all three put one on the scoreboard
Entering Saturday night's game
against Northern Michigan, Michigan's
three freshmen forwards - Jeff Tam-
bellini, Brandon
Kaleniecki and HOCKEY
Andrew Ebbett -
had played rela- Notebook
tively equal min-
utes this season, but had rarely been on
the ice together at the same time.
The weekend's second contest
against the Wildcats changed all that
when the three were skated on the
same powerplay unit. The first time
that the trio played together came on a
checking-from-behind penalty by the
Wildcats' Mike Stutzel in the first
At the 13:05 mark of the opening
stanza, Ebbett passed to Michigan
defenseman Nick Martens, who shot
from the blueline. The powerplay shot
deflected off the chest of Northern
'Michigan goalie Craig Kowalski right
to Kaleniecki, who put the puck over
the left shoulder of Kowalski for the
early 1-0 lead.
Kaleniecki, nicknamed "the Pit


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