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September 04, 2003 - Image 15

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-09-04

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The Michigan Daily - Kickoff 20

10B - The Michigan Daily - Kickoff 2003 - Thursday, September 4, 2003

Senc

your Cove

ii

Michiganfootball:You'1
the girl you just can't kic

Those in the media who bashed the Big Ten in 2002 were silenced after last year's 5-2 bowl
record, and are now calling the conference nothing less than spectacular going into this sea-
son. We at the Daily feel no different, and to the tune of Sting's past songs and new songs
from "Sacred Love" we preview the remainder of this Big Ten season.

Stfhe miyhty
Team lyric: "Brothers are we, marching on the roads of
time ... Trusting in the knights' noble vow; In the brother-
hood that binds us."
Explanation/outlook: For the first time since 1997, this looks like Michi-
gan's most complete team. With more depth at wide receiver and line-
backer than in previous years, Michigan will have plenty of playmakers for
close games down the stretch. Quarterback John Navarre enters his fourth
season as a starter and will be attempting to break numerous Michigan pass-
ing recordsthroughout. Youth willalso a factor for the Wolverines, as
wide reciever Steve Breaston, linebacker-turned-defensive end LaMarr
Woodley and safety Prescott Burgess all look to play considerable roles.
Zf ever Cose my faith in you
Team lyric: "You could say all of this and worst, but; If I ever
Explanation/outlook: Those who felt that John Cooper's
reign at Ohio State ruined the program for years to come did not
know that Jim Tressel was no slouch in working miracles. With two
straight wins against Michigan and a national title last year, Ohio
State has once again become the perrenial power it once was under
Woody Hayes. And Tressel has done it in a way that would make
Hayes proud. Fueled by his defensive line - possibly the nation's best
- Tressel has made the Buckeye's defense top in the conference and
nearly unbeatable on the run.
'Koth in3 'bout me
Team lyric: "Pick my brains, pick my pockets; Steal my
eyeballs and come back for the sockets; Run every kind of
test from A to Z; And you'll still know nothing about me."
Explanation/outlook: No matter how many teams try to emulate Joe
Tiller's spread offense, no one does it better than the origiator. The reason
why? Because even in an offense designed for the pass, Tiller opens up his
running game and had a 1,000-yard back last season in Joey Harris. With
nine returning starters on defense - including those who led in tackles,
sacks and interceptions - the Boilermakers will be no factor in a brutal
road schedule against Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State. Receiver John
Standeford returns to a group that features four to five wideouts a play.

SMad about , 9Athousand
you years

Team lyric: "But every step I thought
of you; Every footstep only you ...
Tell me how much longer?"
Explanation/outlook: Fans in Wis-
consin are k-eaming over the fact
that wide receiver Lee Evans has
returned from a knee injury. Evans,
projected by many to be ready for
the NFL Draft after the 2001 season,
stayed in school and blew out his
knee last year. With Evans' return,
many have writ ten in Wisconsin as a
favorite to mak its fourth Rose
Bowl in 13 years - which would be
the most for any Big Ten team. And
with Ohio State coming to Madison
and Michigan off the schedule all
together, the Badgers' schedule
plays into their hands. One-thou-
sand-five-hundred yard rusher
Anthony Davis also returns.
Ded odo4,
Team lyric: "De do do do, de da
da da; They're meaningless and
all that's true."
Explanation/outlook: For a see-
ond-straight season, the Golden
Gophers have the easiest non-con-
ference schedule in the conference.
Given the lack of challenge that
Minnesota is likely to receive from
the likes of Louisiana-Lafayette, it is
a wonder whether any of these
games will do anything for the
Gophers except give them a 4-0
record. Their first challenges will
come the during their Big Ten
opener at Penn State and Oct. 11 at
home against the Wolverines. Min-
nesota does have 16 starters return-
ing, but is breaking in a new kicker
and punter - something to watch
when games go down to the wire.
D-3-Have Psoriasis?

Team lyric: "I may have lived a thou-
sand lives, a thousand times; An end-
less turning stairway climbs."
Explanation/outlook: Coach Joe
Paterno hasn't been at Happy Val-
ley for 1,000 years, but seeing any-
one else on that sideline would just
be wrong. The fact he produces
winners when everyone writes him
off is an attribute to the program
Paterno has built. With just 11
starters returning and no proven
tailback, it can be expected that
critics will write them off again.
ol B rand new
day
Team lyric: "How could it be that
what you need the most; Can
leave you feeling just like a ghost."
Explanation/outlook: Aside from
running back Fred Russell (1,264
yards), this is not last year's Big
Ten co-champion. With just one
returning offensive lineman and a
new quarterback, Iowa's offense
will be put to the test early and
often. Safety Bob Sanders is a dif-
ference maker, though, who will
help on roadtrips to Ohio State,
Purdue and Wisconsin.
qnsid{e
Team lyric: "Annihilate me, infil-
trate me, incinerate me, accelerate
me, mutilate me, devastate me."
Explanation/outlook: Fans of the
Illini don't have a lot to look for-
ward to in comparison to previous
years. While Jon Beutjer returns
at quarterback, he'll be breaking
in all new wide receivers and a
new back behind him. Defensive
end Derrick Strong (5 sacks)
returns with six other starters.

Seven
days
Team lyric: "The fact he's over six
feet ten; Might instill fear in other
men; But not in me, the mighty
flea (flee?)"
Explanation/outlook: Small only
begins to describe Northwestern's
defense. Without a linebacker over
240 pounds, the Wildcats are
attempting to go into the Big Ten
season with another undersized
crew. Northwestern does feature one
of the best tailbacks in the league,
though. Jason Wright was all-confer-
ence last season and rushed for the
second-highest amount of yards of
any back that went against Ohio
State last year. Brett Basanez also
averaged 220.4 yards a game throw-
ing as a freshman. Unfortunately,
Northwestern returns the worst scor-
ing defense in the conference and
just one starting defensive back.
Aftrer the rain
has fal((en
Team lyric: "After the lightning
bolt's been hurled; After the
dream is broken, there'll; Still be
love in the world."
Explanation/outlook: After a
2002 season that was filled with
dreams and expectations of going to
the Rose Bowl and possibly compet-
ing for a national title, the Spartans
are trying to forget the 4-8 record
and off-the-field problems that
marred a very talented team. New
coach John L. Smith has brought a
feeling of cleansing to the program
and has even brought back troubled
quarterback Jeff Smoker as his
starter. But even with a talented
Smoker, there are just 13 players
returning from last year's team.
While new faces might be a good
way to forget last year, it means
Michigan State will be rebuilding.
qfeaycloud
no rain
Team lyric: "The sun won't shine
till the clouds are gone; The clouds
won't go till their work is done."
Explanation/outlook: Gerry
DiNardo's rebuilding process is in
progress, but talent-wise still a few
years from reaching what former
Louisiana State coach would deem
successful. Matt LoVecchio, a
transfer from Notre Dame, will lead
the Hoosiers from behind center.
Aside from that and the return of
safety Joe Gonzales from injury,
there is little to be happy with in
Bloomington. Indiana's offense was
worst in the conference last year.

J. BRADY MCCOLLOUGH
All About the Cause
t was 2 a.m. on the mornm of last
year's graduation, and r three of
y best friends, it t like the last
chance to sit by- onfire with your
boys, sip an ice cold brew and talk
Michigan football. It was one of those
moments in which everything was so
clear.
Some things I didn't want to see, like
the fact that I wouldn't see those guys in
the fall. But then, there were other
things that rang so true and made such
sense. Things so perfect that they could
never have been discovered m any other
situation.
Things like this.
You know that girl who you just
can't get rid of? No matter how many
times she breaks your heart, you just
can't kick her to the curb? Yeah, you
know her. If you think you don't, you
either haven't gone out with enough
girls here at Michigan, or you must not
have a very good relationship with
Michigan football. Because that is what
Michigan football is.
I know. You're a little confused.
"Michigan football is like a girl?
Huh?" Just bear with me for a few min-
utes, and don't take things literally. We
all know the Wolverines tackled like
girls on Saturday against Central, but
I'm not talking about that.
I'm talking about how every single
year, no matter what happened the past
year or which players are coming back,
we believe that Michigan can win the
national championship. We believe she's
changed.
She won't nag at you because you
never take her to any nice places to eat.
She won't come out totally flat at home
against Iowa in the biggest game of the

season. No way, not this year. This ri
tionship will be different, that's
sure.
She won't bitch at you for leav
the toilet seat up. If she falls in the
let this time, you won't hear a w
about it. She won't fumble away a ri'
ry game on the road against the Ir
Won't pass interfere or hit someone
of bounds to extend a drive with
game on the line. Not this year, not -
relationship.
Won't tell you that she loves you
then, two days later, tell you that
wants to see other people. Won't p
with your emotions by leading O
State 9-7 in Columbus, only to n
no offensive adjustments and lose 14
Won't tell you that Valentine's Day i
very important to her, and then ju
on a broom on V-Day when all you
is buy her a biggie meal at Wend
Won't call three running plays to be
a New Year's Day bowl game. Not 1
year, not this relationship.
Won't cheat on you with another
while abroad in Costa Rica, then co
back and tell you that she wants to
"independent." Won't jump ahead
10 in the second quarter and end
losing the game twice in one seas
Won't beat you in beer pong, no ma
how much better she is than y
because she knows it crushes you. l
this year, not this relationship.
We just can't let her go. Part of
reason is that even though she can
so annoying and harsh, she's so da
gorgeous. Those deep blue eyes. Th
succulent lips. Those winged helm
Those winged helmets. Those wing
helmets. Those maize-and-blue u
forms. The way she walks into the d
and the room lights up, The way :
runs through the tunnel and the cro
goes wild. The aesthetic value
enough by itself to keep us comi
back for more.
You may be wondering what is <
ferent about being in a relations]
with Michigan than any other colc
or a pro team. As a guy who's been i
lifetime relationship with the Bosi
an
on
by
A
13
53
Ar
or
as

2000
UCLA 23, Michigan 20
Purdue 32, Michigan 31
Northwestern 54, Michigan 51

2001
Washington 23, Michigan 18
Michigan State 26, Michigan 24

2002
Notre Dame 25, Michigan 23
Ohio State 14, Michigan 9
2003 ?

Broken in '02, linebackers all fixed

By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Editor

The University of Michigan
Department of Dermatology
is currently offering
a new investigational
treatment
for Psoriasis.
For more information, please call:
(734) 764-DERM
Office visits and medication are provided free of
charge to eligible participants. If you are 18
years of age or older, you may be eligible.

"Don't let your
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get ahead of9
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668 9329
WWW.DASCOLABARBERS.COM
BY APPOINTMENT

The setting was just a table inside
Crisler Arena in mid-August, but if
someone would have looked at Michi-
gan linebacker Carl Diggs as he sat and
responded to interview requests, one
would have thought it was gametime.
Diggs sat with legs in constant
motion and eyes locked on to the
person he was talking to. One might
have been afraid to ask a tough ques-
tion as the answer might have
involved a shoulder response instead
of a verbal one.
After Michigan's win over Central
Michigan, Diggs was seen giving inter-
views again. He still looked at every
reporter like a running back coming
through his lane, but he seemed to be at
peace that he had completed his first
game of the 2003 season. For Diggs,

just completing a game was a step back
to returning where his season was
interrupted last year.
Early in the second quarter of Michi-
gan's 14-9 loss to Ohio State last sea-
son, Diggs tackled Ohio State's Craig
Krenzel on a short-yardage play. While
the play looked harmless, Diggs' leg
was bent back by other players piling
on, causing his fibula and tibia to snap.
With that, Diggs became another sta-
tistic: the fourth Michigan linebacker
to go down to injury last season - the
third to go on the injured reserve with a
leg injury. He joined Roy Manning, out
in the first game of the season; Zach
Kaufman, injured at Minnesota and
Lawrence Reid, who had a blood clot
in his shoulder that knocked him out
just five games into the season.
All four are back now, and their
presence has surely been felt - the
four combined for 17 tackles

(including two tackles for loss) in
Michigan's 45-7 win over Central
Michigan: For some it has also
altered the state of mind of those
who were hurt by misfortune.
"It's really hard to watch your team
go on without you," Kaufman said.
"Luckily I knew I had another year."
Throughout summer training, Kauf-
man felt that his knee, fresh off of
rehab, was ready to go when camp
started in early August. But as Kauf-
man got into actual football practice,
he found that his knee was feeling
residual effects from his injury on Min-
nesota's Astroturf field. Kaufman is
still feeling some pain, evident in his
reduced role against the Chippewas.
"I guess that's the difference between
working out and playing football,"
Kaufman said. "There's more to it than
just running."
See LINEBACKERS, Page 9B

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