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October 20, 2003 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-10-20

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - October 20, 2003 - 5B

X's

AND (kv(e) 0'S

Michigan Daily Sports Editor Kyle O'Neill is not a collegiate athlete, nor is
he a collegiate coach. But he was a starting wide receiver for his winless
\ a team at Garber High School, was third in Bay County in receptions his sen-
ior year and claims to know something about the game of football. So each
game, we'll let him and his 5-foot-10, 158-pound frame break down why
Michigan either succeeded or failed.
3 Observations Key play: 1st-and-10; 11:12, Third quarter

1. You hate to see someone
get hurt because they went
balls-out, but kicker Troy
Nienberg is an animal on his
own kickoffs. He's already
got five tackles this season
- three individual. So, to
watch him get injured for
running down to make a
play is a shame. Nienberg
has also been one of the
unsung heroes this season,
as his constant touchbacks
have been excellent for the
defense in terms of field
position.
2. The shotgun - the media
hyped it like it was sliced
bread and it had just been
invented, and the fans
desired it like the turkey leg
on Thanksgiving. You saw
hints at it, but it wasn't a pri-
mary threat like it was
against Minnesota. Don't
sweat about it. It'll be back.
Probably not like it was used
against the Golden Gophers,
but it'll be used against Pur-
due in situations where the
coaches want to keep Pur-
due's secondary and line-
backers back in pass
coverage instead of rushing.
3. For the first time in years,
Michigan has talented depth
in the secondary. Jeremy
LeSueur's coverage is easily
the best on the team.
Markus Curry has great
closing speed that allows
him to staytoffreceivers a
little more than other defen-
sive backs. The safeties -
even without Marlin Jackson
- are not allowing much
room to breathe for quarter-
backs. If Jacob Stewart
doesn't return, Jackson will
need to step up.
MCCOLLOUGH
Continuedfromn Page 1B
lost to a Michigan State team that
Indiana defeated a week later. Say
what you will about the phantom sec-
ond; Michigan lost its phantom head
in that one.
After losing to Sparty, the Wolver-
ines rolled off two wins. All they had
to do was beat a mediocre Ohio State
team in the Big House to head to a
BCS bowl game. Oopsie ... they for-
got to show up in the first half and lost
26-20. Illinois, a team Michigan beat
45-20, won the Big Ten title instead.
Last season was similar to 2000 in
ILLINI
Continued from Page 1B
"He's a tremendous athlete back there
and a lot of teams like to put their best
athletes back there to catch punts. He
shows a lot of confidence, a lot of
heart and he's confident in his block-
ers, that his blockers will make plays
for him. So he does a tremendous job
for them."
Post-Breaston hysteria, the game
belonged to the defense and the back-
ups.
Backup fifth-year senior tight end
Andy Mignery got his first touchdown
when Navarre hit him for a quick nine-
yard hitch - Mignery actually carried
a defender into the endzone as he
caught the ball on the 4-yard line.

ICHIGAN
26-- DLNE
MICH
PART Two 30-Y R4E
P T ONE
PART THREE
50-YARD E
ILL oIs
40-YARD E
PAIT ogU
Explanation: I've been waiting too long to have a Steve Breaston punt return as the key play ... so here it is,
sans the lines and other players that would make a diagram impossible to read. Essentially, this run came
down to four parts.
Part one: Marcus Mason meet Steve Breaston ... well, actually say good-bye. Illinois' freshman running back
got through Michigan's protection nearly untouched to get within a yard of the early-phenom. The two stared
each other down before Breaston did two quick juke moves to free himself to the left.
Part two: As Breaston ran across the field, credit should be given to his blockers, especially safety Jon
Shaw, who took out gunner Eric McGoey and running back Alijah Bradley and who removed linebacker Win-
ston Taylor from chasing down Breaston. The redshirt freshman then used his wheels to get him to the west
sideline. Illinois defensive back Kyle Kleckner actually might have had a shot at Breaston, but his teammate
Bryan Truttling took a bad angle of pursuit and ended up tripping himself and the defensive back.
Part three: This is where things could have turned ugly for the Wolverines, but a heads-up play saved the
touchdown return. Breaston was turning around defenders so much that many were getting hit in the back
by Michigan blockers. But those like LaMarr Woodley, who were setting up the final seam, kept their arms in
the air in order to stay penalty-free. Darnell Hood's final block allowed Breaston to make his cut to the mid-
dle of the field at the 40-yard line
Part four: No real analysis here. Breaston met up with Michigan's other punt returner Markus Curry and
strolled into the endzone with him.

4Tje IMidtgan j ug
Hype-meter
'-I Ohio State fans
Penn State
game last year
.>"Tremendous"
-Lloyd's proud
a} You'll be a fine
Michigan alum
'£ £ haking keys
}£ on 3rd down
SSorority girls
on cell phones
This wasn't your best by any
means. But we're hyped that
the claw is catching on the
way it is - to even see the
two-handed claw was simply
... well as Lloyd Carr would
put it, "Treeeee-mendous."
With that said, there was
room for improvement. We
understand Homecoming fes-
tivities kept you occupied
before the game, but when
the National Anthem is
played, there shouldn't be
one-third of the student sec-
tion missing in action.
Also, those of you who tried
to start the wave in the
fourth quarter ... watch the
game. The wave in the first
place comes at the worst
possible times during the
game (you applaud the wave
when something negative
happens to Michigan ...
opposing teams' fans don't
need your help).
But, in the long run, Satur-
day was one of your better
showings - mainly because
of the enthusiasm shown
behind the claw (depicted
below) and the fire shown by
those of you who stayed
until the end of the game.
It was a win that warrants a Stevie-
like response.
Thanks to some help from Purdue
and Ohio State this past weekend, the
Wolverines have been handed a new
lease on life; they can forget about all
that has happened this season and

Q
A

Ask the
Football Writers
EDITOR'S NOTE: On age
5B of SportsMonday, the foot-
ball writers will answer your
questions about anything, and
we mean anything. E-mail us
with questions or just to vent at:
askthefootbalwriters@umich.edu

What has become of
kicker Phil Brabbs?
After his game-winning
field goal in the
season opener last fall
with Washington,. he
seemed to slowly fade
out of the
scene. Now this year,
he has only been seen
on the sideline, not
dressed in uniform.
While it had been
shown that his abili-
ties were not always
as reliable as some of
the other kickers, it's
still hard to see him
out of the game
completely.
- Andrea Tuck, sopho-
more
Andrea,
We caught up with Phil
after Saturday's game,
and here's what he
had to say:
"I got hurt about 13
weeks ago, so I've just
kind of been nursing
the injury, getting
rehab. I just started
kicking a little bit now,
(and I'm) just trying to
get back out there.
My goal is to get back
out on the field. This is
my last year, I'm a
fifth-year senior, so
this is my last go at it.
But Troy (Nienberg) is
kicking the ball off
really well and Garrett
(Rivas) is doing all the
field goals, so if I do
come back, I'm going
to have to come back
strong."

the way it shook down. Two wins in a
row, a loss, four wins in a row, a loss,
three wins in a row, a loss. What
makes us think this season will be any
different?
Maybe it's because this team is
more talented than every one of those
other squads from top to bottom.
Maybe it's because the Big Ten is jum-
bled at the top and is waiting for
someone to take control.
That team should be Michigan,
and it all starts with how the
Wolverines react to their recent
success. Saturday's game was the
most complete game they have
played since they whipped Notre
"It feels so good, it's awesome - I
saw the endzone and I said, 'I'm get-
ting in there,' " Mignery said. "And
that was it."
Backup running backs Tim Bracken
and Jerome Jackson each got eight
carries and one touchdown, producing
54 and 57 yards, respectively.
The defense also showed its worth,
holding Illinois to just 252 yards on the
day - 89 coming on the ground. Safe-
ty Ernest Shazor had an interception,
cornerback Jeremy LeSueur broke up a
Chris Pazan pass to Ade Adeyamo that
would have gone for a touchdown and
Woodley recorded two tackles in his
first start as a Wolverine - including
one sack that was taken away because
of a holding penalty on the Fighting
Illini.

Dame 38-0. But beating the Irish
- they haven't earned the distinc-
tion of being fighters - is noth-
ing to hang your hat on. Michigan
learned that in Oregon when it lost
to a team that since has lost three
straight games.

The Wolverines should devote as
much thought to their dominating win
over Illinois as I've devoted space in
this column. That win was nothing -
nothing but a win against a team that
could have lost to Ann Arbor Pioneer
High School right down the street.

focus on the new season.
Four games, four wins or bust. If
only it were that simple.
J Brady McCollough can be reached at
bradymcc@umich.edu.

That claw's so hot right now. It was a beautiful thing to watch you guys in action from the
press box Saturday, especially when you did the claw just for the hell of it during halftime
as the band played "Temptation." But change is never without resistance. There are still
hard-headed choppers out there that try and intimidate clawers by saying things like, "The claw is
lame." If that happens, just turn around and tell them that they're lame while you keep scratching away.

The chop: The true
meaning of this
motion IS not really
important here. The
point is, it's a thing of
the past!

The one-handed
claw: Make sure
to keep your
elbow up, your
wrist locked, and
your mouth open.

The two-handed claw: This
is mainly reserved for big
stops, but just like when you're
playing sports, it's always good
to use two hands. Really get
your shoulders into this one.

The Ohio State claw: That's
right. When the Buckeyes come to
town, Michigan must play at a high-
er level. And as such, the claw
must go to the next level. There are
no rules here; just go crazy!

r

able 3 an BdU1
STAFF PICKS
Predictions AGAINST THE
SPREAD for 10/18/03
Illinois at No. 17 Michigan (-26)
No. 13 Purdue at No. 14 WiscoNSIN (No LINE)
Temple at No. 2 MiAmI (-31)
No. 10 Louisiana State (-4) at SOUTH CAROLINA
Texas Tech at No. 23 OKLAHOMA STATE (NO LINE)
Mississippi State at No. 19 AUBURN (-21)
lorda at No. 11 ARKANSAS (-5)
No. 5 Southern Cal. (-8.5) at NOTRE DAME
No. 15 Michdgan State at No. 25 MINsoTA (-6)
No. 7 Florida State (-7.5) at VIRGINIA

Courtney
Lewis

Michigan
Wisconsin
Miami
South Carolina
Texas Tech
Auburn
Arkansas
Southern Cal.
Minnesota
Virginia

J. Brady
McCollough
MIchigan
Purdue
Temple
Louisiana State
Texas Tech
Mississippi State
Arkansas
Southern Cal.
Minnesota
Florida State

Kyle
O'Neill
Michigan
Purdue
Miami
Louisiana State
Texas Tech
Mississippi State
Florida
Southern Cal.
Minnesota
Virginia

Illinois
Wisconsin
Miami
South Carolina
Oklahoma State
Mississippi State
Arkansas
Southern Cal.
Michigan State
Florida State

Naweed
Sikora

Juan Mathews
Crisier Arena
Michigan
Wisconsin
Miami
Louisiana State
Oklahoma State
Mississippi State
Florida
Southern Cal.
Minnesota
Florida State

Janitors dominate
week s picks
For Kyle O'Neill - the Daily jani-
tor - this was a week needed.
For Juan Mathews, it was actu-
ally worse than what he expect-
ed to do.
Either way, two people good at
cleaning up other's messes took
care of business on staff picks.
With a 13-5 record, O'Neill
moved himself into second
place, and going 10-8, Mathews
continued to move the Ann
Arbor celebrities back toward
respectability.
Naweed Sikora - who takes his
time cleaning up his press-box
messes - kept a one-game lead

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