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October 27, 2003 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-10-27

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - October 27, 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
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: 2nd-and-9; 2:35, First quarter

1. LaMarr Woodley is one of the
most exciting freshmen to ever wear
the maize and blue. His size is ridicu-
lous, and his instincts for the posi-
tion of defensive end are almost
pro-like (evident in the Minnesota
game against scrambling quarter-
back Asad Abdul-Khaliq). But he is
0-for-2 on open-field tackles on quar-
terbacks. He whiffed on Iowa's
Nathan Chandler, leading to a touch-
down. Then he let Orton escape a
big loss with a quick side step. Luck-
ily, Orton hit defensive back Leon
Hall in the numbers, saving Wood-
ley's misplay. This isn't a callout on
Woodley, but he needs to do what
he's good at when he gets in those
one-on-one situations: Breakdown
like he did against Abdul-Khaliq and
react to the quarterback's move-
ment instead of trying to deliver a
diving blow that is easier to avoid.
2. I'm pretty sure Joe Tiller would
give anything to have Michigan's
receivers in his offense. Not to say
that Terry Malone is a wrong fit for
the trio of Jason Avant, Braylon
Edwards and Steve Breaston, but
the spread offense was designed
for a trio like this. Speedy Breaston
running underneath, Avant using his
strength over the middle and
Edwards just being Edwards 15-to-
20 yards deep would probably give
Tiller everything he's ever wanted.
3. This is the most talented Michi-
gan secondary I've ever seen. I
wasn't sure how they would handle
the spread. They stopped it in
straight-up man coverage - some-
thing not easily done when safeties
are blitzing. Corner Leon Hall and
safety Willis Barringer are making
unbelievable strides for being
thrown into such a hectic environ-
ment.

BUSHONG O O
DAMiS
OBUTLER HARDWICK
PURDUE
L J 0 0 0 41-YARILINE
X X X
X X
HEUER
SHAZOR BI GS
X WOODS PURDUE
45 -YARDUNE
X
Explanation: A team will traditionally live and die by the blitz. Michigan just lived by it on Saturday
and showed a lot of faith in its secondary by doing so. As seen here, Michigan attacked Purdue's
spread offense with no safeties more often than not. In doing so, Purdue's offensive line was con-
fused on how to react to seeing eight defenders or just three defenders in the box. On this Ernest
Shazor sack, Michigan was originally in a dime package to take on the five-wide-receiver set the
Boilermakers put on the field. When Purdue shifted into the formation shown above, the Wolver-
ines went into a man-to-man defense and brought an almost goalline-like to the front. Right before
the ball was snapped, linebacker Pierre Woods (who dropped into coverage), hit defensive end
Rondell Biggs on the side, essentially telling him to move to the left. When Biggs did this, Purdue
adjusted by having tight end Garret Bushong take on Woods, slot back Charles Davis handle Biggs
and both Kelly Butler and Nick Hardwick take on Norman Heuer. The confusion of four Boilermak-
ers taking on three Wolverines left Shazor free to blitz untouched and knock quarterback Kyle
Orton to the ground. What made this so effective was that Michigan knew how Purdue was going
to shift - as shifting is something that has made Joe Tiller's offense so successful. When the Boil-
ermakers would shift, Michigan adjusted with them with no delay. Orton would try to adjust off
that shift with another one, but in doing so, the play clock became his enemy, and he would use a
timeout or run the called play against a defense that was prepared for it.

Hype-meter
} ~Ohio State fans
Penn State
game last year
:.t,. Tremendous f
I : 0-uLoyd's proud
~~ -
xs:.. re You'll be afine
ichigan alum
:eShaking keys
o 3d down
Sorority girls
on cell phones
- O
Not too shabby, kids. Not too
shabby at all. Great? No, but
more than acceptable.
Use of the claw was good,
and the timing of the wave
did not interfere with much
of the actual viewing of the
game. So kudos to you all,
especially on the latter.
There was also much poten-
tial seen on third-down
plays when you were at your
highest volume.
Also, we had problems with
some of you hitting other
people in the back as a
method of cheering. Senior
Jeff Snyder of row 12
expressed much dislike for
this method of showing
excitement.
Finally, never cheer against
John Navarre when he is
throwing the ball away to
avoid a sack, it's a safe play.
Props to our boy Travis from
the Squad.

Q
A

Ask the
Football Writers
EDITOR'S NOTE: On page
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:
askthefootbaUwriters@umich.edu

I have been a claw
supporter for two
years, so I'm excited
people are converting.
But I had one unfortu-
nate incident when I
was clawing and my
watch got caught up
in a sorority girl's hair.
She got really pissed.
Is there anything we
can do to harness the
claw?
- Kristen Schulte,
LSA senior
Tragic. Absolutely
tragic. Here's the
thing, though. You
should never, ever
doubt the way you
claw. Everyone is
developing their own
claw style, so if yours
means getting your
claws mixed up in a
sorority girl's hair,
more power to you. If
the girl is doing her
job, she'd claw you
right back and you
guys could execute
the Ohio State claw.
Anyway, never try and
harness the claw. Let
it flow naturally and
take down whoever is
in its path. Keep us
posted.

O'NEILL
Continued from Page 1B
said "Chris Perry" as he knows he gets
nothing without a consistent running
game.
He was asked if he and Avant try to
one-up one another during games.
Edwards almost looked insulted that he
would ever try to knowingly compete
with a teammate.
But most of you wouldn't expect that
from him. Most of you just expect him
to drop balls that look like easy catches
and act like a jerk when he scores a
touchdown.
Being a wide receiver is one of the
most, if not the most, taxing positions in
the game. Mentally you tell yourself not
to think of your individual failures
(dropped passes), while at the same time
you wonder whether you should think
about them so that you could fix them.
Physically you take the hardest hits, as
your job is to catch the ball at any cost.
Edwards' ribs, assuming they're still
together, will have plenty of horror sto-
ries of high passes that left them out to
dry by the end of the season.
And then, you have to answer the
boos and critics who probably couldn't
catch a bullet from John Navarre or
Matt Gutierrez if their season ticket or
laptop depended on it. You have to
answer to coaches wondering why you
BOILERMAKERS
Continued from Page 18

couldn't catch a simple eight-yard out
route when you're able to make leaping
grabs that leave pro scouts drooling.
If you're Braylon Edwards, you have
to go through all this and ten-fold.
Edwards placed the No. 1 bulls-eye on
himself last spring, and the number got
over-hyped to the point where it devel-
oped a personality for Edwards that
wasn't Edwards.
Then the drops happened. What fans
didn't understand was that drops do in
fact happen. Even loveable Breaston
has drops, but because he's the most-
exciting player since Charles Wood-
son, he's forgiven. Because Edwards
threw the No. 1 on his back, he's been
chastised.
But the next three months are big for
Edwards, as he could become the
biggest hero Michigan has had since
Woodson and Brian Griese.
More key catches, like the ones he
had against Purdue, will be the differ-
ence-makers in the Michigan State and
Ohio State games.
A big game in the bowl game will
promote his status for the 2004 Heisman.
And his final decision to turn down
the appeal of agents and the NFL in
January will make him the greatest
conqueror ever. That role was sup-
posed to be Drew Henson's in 2001,
but he went back on his word and left
fans wishing for the triple-A prospect

to return in any fashion.
Loyalty is a trait that would erase
any misperceptions of Edwards that
are out there.
Edwards had just six catches for 86
yards and two touchdowns. Pretty much

an average day, but he's shown the
Michigan Nation why he is No. 1.

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

overpower the Purdue defensive backs. Braylon
Edwards jumped over the top of senior cornerback
Jacques ReevLs in the side of the endzone and took
the ball away for his second touchdown catch of the
game. Jason Avant caught five passes for 90 yards,
as he continued to establish his role as Navarre's
main option on third down. Avant, who is Michi-
gan's most physical receiver, might have made his
best play of the game when he laid out Purdue's

Jerome Brooks on Breaston's 30-yard punt return in
the first quarter. Brooks looked like a car running
into a brick wall.
And besides running wild on punt returns, Breast-
on's speed was too much to handle on offense, as he
zipped into the endzone on a well-executed reverse in
the first quarter that began around the 21-yard line.
Following the game, Tiller said that Michigan has
the best receiving corps he's ever seen.
Free safety Stuart Schweigert also praised the
receivers, but didn't forget about Navarre.
"They have a really good receiving corps, but I

give a lot of credit to John Navarre," Schweigert
said. "He was out there making checks, and he was
doing a lot of stuff that was hurting our defense."
With this game out of the way, the Wolverines
have come one step closer to their first Rose Bowl
since 1997. But with three games left, the players
say there is still much work to be done to get ready
for Michigan State.
"We start preparing right now, as we speak," Sha-
zor said. "Two years ago, we lost down there in a
tight game, so we need to go in there and play hard,
just like we did this week."

UDANY MULUlOrHUa~iy
Quarterback Kyle Orton falls to the field dejected. Orton felt the pressure from the
Wolverines all day, being sacked seven times for a total loss of 50 yards. Known for
his ability to run the spread offense well, Orton managed just 184 yards In the air.

I I

STAFF PICKS
Predictions AGAINST THE
SPREAD for 10/25/03
No. 10 Purdue at No. 13 MICHIGAN (-4.5)
No. 8 Ohio State (-20.5) at INDIANA
No. 20 Wisconsin (-10.5) at NORTHWESTERN
Minnesota (-14) at ILLINoIS
Wake Forest at No. 6 FLORIDA STATE (-18.5)
N.C. State (-21) at Duke
Penn State at No. 16 IowA (-10.5)
Kansas at KANSAS STATE (-20.5)
Notre Dame at BOSTON COLLEGE (-4)
Iowa State at No. 14 Nebraska (-23.5)

Courtney
Lewis

Michigan
Indiana
Wisconsin
Minnesota
Wake Forest
N.C. State
Iowa
Kansas
Boston College
Nebraska

J. Brady
McCollough
Purdue
Indiana
Wisconsin
Minnesota
Florida State
N.C. State
Iowa
Kansas
Boston College
Nebraska

Kyle
O'Neill
Michigan
Indiana
Northwestern
Minnesota
Florida State
N.C. State
Iowa
Kansas State
Boston College
Nebraska

Naweed
Sikora
Michigan
Ohio State
Wisconsin
Minnesota
Florida State
N.C. State
Iowa
Kansas State
Boston College
Nebraska

Laura Leinweber of
"Tony Ba'lony's"
Michigan
Indiana
Wisconsin
Minnesota
Florida State
N.C. State
Penn State
Kansas State
Notre Dame
Nebraska

Holy Ba'lony,
celebrity is 11-7
With just four weeks left in the
regular season, the final stand-
ings are beginning to take
shape. Naweed Sikora is quietly
running away with staff picks -
throwing down his second 13-5
record of the season. Kyle
O'Neill, who was in fourth place
and staring up at a three-way tie
for first, has shown he is back
on track with a combined 24-12
record in the past two weeks.
The surprise, though, has been
the recent emergence of our Ann
Arbor celebrities. Joe Kraim and
Juan Mathews set the tone with
10-8 records, but Laura Leinwe-

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