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September 23, 2003 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-09-23

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I

Tuesday
September 23, 2003
www.michigandaily.com
sports@michigandaily.com

Utbz I~id~igu 3fai~t
SPORTS

8

4

Mignery s
decisions
'shocking'
to say least
By Brad McCoiloug
Daily Sports Editor
A weekend in Northern Michigan with his
girlfriend's family turned into quite the adven-
ture for Andy Mignery.
Mignery had already
made a big decision. He just
had to execute it.
The fifth-year senior took $
his girlfriend, fellow Univer-
sity student Anna Fisher, to a
bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, got down on
one knee and proposed to her.
"I was like numb for three days," Fisher
recalled. "I was completely shocked. I could
hardly even cry. I can't really describe it. It was
just one of those overwhelming feelings.
"I had no idea (he was going to propose) until
the second it happened."
The same could be said for Mignery's deci-
sion to forget his dream of playing quarterback
and switch to tight end in 2002 spring practice.
"I woke up one morning and went straight
into coach (Lloyd) Carr's office and said, 'I want
to make a change.' " Mignery said. "Within 20
minutes, I switched positions, went to (equip-
ment manager) John Falk and got my pads
changed."
Ranked as the No. 10 pro-style quarterback in
the nation by Prep Football Report coming out
of Hamilton (Ohio) High School, Mignery did
not see much of the field his first three years.
And when Scot Loeffler took over for Stan Par-
rish as quarterbacks coach and his status still
didn't improve, he knew it was time to let go.
"I think it was really hard because I know that
the coaches suggested it for a while, and he was
determined to have his dream come true to play
quarterback," Fisher said. "He just wanted to be
the leader; it's his character. He wanted the spot-
light to be on him, and he just didn't want to
give up on that.
"I felt like (his switch to tight end) was pretty
spontaneous actually."
Mignery, 23, claims he's truly happy with the
change. But no matter how much fun he's hav-
ing this season at tight end, the execution of this
decision has been a little tougher than getting

Hi, I'm Curt, and for that
matter, so are the Wolverines

TONY DING/Daily
Michigan tight end Andy Mignery (14) walks off the field much like he walked away from his dream.

down on one knee in front of his main
squeeze.
"Mentally has been the most challenging
part," Mignery said. "From not even thinking
about dishing out a hit to trying to put someone
on their back was a tough thing."
Fisher said Mignery's father and high school
football coach, Ed Mignery, has been a constant
help in teaching Andy how to block. Ed has
even attended Michigan practices to help out
Andy.
"He's kind of like a sensitive, nice guy, but we
have to tell him he has to be mean;' Fisher said.
"I think he's gotten a little more aggressive."
Mignery has gained some meat along the way
as well, gaining 25 pounds since the switch by
dieting on what he calls "buffet style" food.
"It was fun," Mignery said. "I could eat just
about anything in sight."
For now, Mignery is concentrating on helping
the Michigan running attack eat up yardage.
With no receptions yet this season, he's become
more of a blocking tight end than a receiver, as
starter Tim Massaquoi plays on most passing
downs.
"He gets really excited about whatever contri-
butions he makes," said Fisher, a former pole
vaulter for the women's track and field team.
"He doesn't let himself look at the whole picture
and wish that he had been the quarterback or the
starting tight end."
Fisher, whose father, Dave Fisher, played full-
back for Michigan in the 1960s, says Mignery
hasn't gotten too carried away with being a fam-

ily man just yet. Trips to Home Depot and Bed,
Bath and Beyond can wait until after football
season.
"I don't think (he's changed much after the
engagement)," Fisher said. "I think he's been a
family man from the get-go."
CARR IMPRESSED WIm AUTZEN: Carr had heard
all the rumors about Autzen Stadium's raucous
fans. Now he's spreading them.
"That was the loudest stadium I've ever been
in," Carr said. "I want to commend our players
for the way they handled the crowd noise before
the ball was snapped.
"Our offensive linemen really had to see the
ball snapped, and anytime you have to watch for
the ball to be snapped and your eye is not on the
man you're going to block, you're at a distinct
disadvantage."
BRINTON DONE: Michigan quarterback Spencer
Brinton underwent season-ending shoulder sur-
gery last Tuesday.
Carr did not say whether Brinton, who was
third on the depth chart behind John Navatre
and Matt Gutierrez before his injury, would be
able to redshirt.
EDWARDS OK: Michigan receiver Braylon
Edwards, who caught 13 balls for 144 yards Sat-
urday at Oregon, was playing the entire time
with a dislocated finger.
Carr said that Edwards' finger is definitely
not broken, but knows that it was painful.
"If you've ever tried to catch a football with a
sprained finger, it's not an easy thing to do,"
Carr said.

G That's a great back, Curt Perry ... What's
his name? ... Whatever," said Oregon
defensive lineman Devan Long in jubila-
tion after Saturday's game.
Did he mean any disrespect? No, he just
stated the fact that
Michigan has lost itsn
name. After a 31-27
loss to the Ducks, no'
one in the country
really knows what toY
think of this team.
Who are theK
Wolverines now? Are KYLE
they still destined for a O'NEILL
national title, with this The Daily Janitor
just a minor setback?
Are they a team destined to desire a college
football playoff when the Bowl Championship
Series doesn't invite them into the title game
with one loss - even if they look like the most
impressive team in the nation, as Southern Cal.
did last year in its snub from the big game? Or
are they destined to end up in Central Florida or
- gasp! - San Antonio as one of the most
overrated teams in Michigan history?
"What's his name?"
His name was Chris Perry - media-anointed
heir to the throne that is Heisman. Now, he's just
your above-average running back, and even that
title is debatable after Notre Dame lost to
Michigan State. He gets what the offensive line
gives him and blocks as well as any back Michi-
gan has, sometimes taking out two blitzing
defenders at the same time with one shoulder
charge. But now he's no longer the game-break-
ing back that everyone expected him to be, for
the average ones can take the yardage that is
given to them. The great ones make their own
yardage happen.
"What's his name?"
His name was Tim Massaquoi, slated to be
the next Jerame Tuman, Jay Riemersma or
Bennie Joppru in Michigan's recent streak of
producing quality tight ends. And while Mas-
saquoi has gotten the blocking schematics of
the position down pat, it is the process of
becoming a threat John Navarre recognizes
that has Massaquoi in a class below the above
names. The fact that his only reception came
on the second-to-last play of Michigan's final
drive is not good enough to meet the standards
that Michigan has now set for the position.
Whether it's becoming more vocal in the hud-
dle, or just catching the balls that hit him in
the numbers, Massaquoi needs to gain
Navarre's confidence the same way Braylon
Edwards, Jason Avant and Steve Breaston
have.

"What's his name?"
His name was Marlin Jackson - Preseason
Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. I'll be
honest, Jackson has done nothing wrong this
season, and it's hard to call out someone who
can make quarterbacks throw to another side of
the field because of his presence. But as was
seen with his blocked field goal on Saturday,
Jackson can make plays with the best of them.
Now he must make more, which he is totally
capable of. In fact, had it not been for an over-
thrown ball early in the fourth quarter, Jackson
could have had an interception. He had baited
Oregon's Jason Fife into throwing deep to
Samie Parker. Jackson got into his stride to cut
off the streak into the endzone, only to see the
ball sail out of bounds. Obviously, Jackson can't
be blamed for any of that ... but yet it shows
he's that close to making game-breaking plays,
and he needs to make them if Michigan is to at
least make a challenge for the Sugar Bowl down
the road.
"What's his name?"
Their names were Steve Breaston, Jason
Avant and Braylon Edwards. Now they are the
best receiving triplet that Michigan has seen,
with Avant and Breaston looking to become the
next great duo since David Terrell and Marquise
Walker. Clutch only begins to describe their per-
formance on Saturday. Dropped balls aside,
each one made catches that they had no busi-
ness making and, in some cases, bailed out
Navarre on a misthrown ball.
"What's his name?"
Their name was Michigan's all-everything
offensive line. Now it's gut-check time. Minus-
three yards rushing. More than enough said.
"What's his name?"
His name was Kyle O'Neill, a student and
writer who believes that Michigan can still
win a national title. Some of his reasoning is
that of blind faith and the rest is from the fact
that -he can still see Avant running crisper
routes in spring practice than any wideout he
has ever seen. Or that he can still watch
Michigan's offensive guards break off double-
teams, get to a blitzing linebacker and open a
hole for Perry. Or that Michigan's front seven
is going to be even more vicious after losing a
game where it did little wrong. Now I am like
you, still optimistic, but seeing the pains of
years past creeping over the Wolverines'
shoulder.
What's in a name? Well, until they prove oth-
erwise, Michigan's is Curt ... or, whatever.

I

4
4

- Kyle O'Neill can be reached at
kylero@umich.edu.

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