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November 04, 2003 - Image 8

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Tuesday
November 4,2003
www.michigandaily.com
sports@michigandaily.com

RTBail

8

4

Thompson making
impact behind line
Bye week a time for school and rest

Michigan in the Sugar
Bowl? Hey, why not?

By Naweed Sikora
Daily Sports Editor
Following Michigan's win over
Michigan State, most of the post-game
praise went to Michigan running back
Chris Perry and the offensive line that
opened those holes for him. But there
was one more player in the mix.
Michigan fullback
Brian Thompson
spends most of the
game literally sand-
wiched between Perry
and the offensive line,
but he's not complain-
ing. The sophomore from Saginaw is
just happy to be out there.
A linebacker coming into Ann
Arbor, Thompson was redshirted as a
freshman and didn't get a chance to be
part of the defense. When the opportu-
nity came up to switch positions dur-
ing the spring of 2003, Thompson
knew it would give him a better
chance to play, so he jumped on it.
"It was definitely something differ-
ent for me," Thompson said. "Line-
backer is where I always wanted to
play. Coming over to fullback, I didn't
know what the expectations would be.
I am having a blast. I love the switch,
and I am having a lot of fun."
Michigan's offensive system hasn't
included many fullback runs so far
this season. Instead, Thompson has
been a bigger part of the passing
game, which he says he is happy to do
if that is what the opposing defense is
giving the Wolverines.
Thompson is following in the foot-
steps of his older brother Shawn, who

was a tight end at Michigan and
served as co-captain for the 2001 sea-
son. Brian says he wanted to beat the
Spartans for his brother more than
anyone else because of the way Shawn
had to leave Spartan Stadium two
years ago.
"He went out with losses to both
Michigan State and Ohio State,"
Brian said. "That was the hardest
thing for him. There was no better
feeling than walking out of that stadi-
um for him."
Even though linebacker was his
dream, Thompson is picking up quick-
ly on the intricacies of his new posi-
tion. He says the biggest adjustment
he had to make was learning the new
technique, but when it all came down
to it, both positions were still about
one thing.
"It is just going out there and run-
ning at people and hitting them,"
Thompson said.
The coaches have given Thompson
plenty of instruction about which
players he needs to block and where
he needs to be on every single play.
Thompson is currently sixth on the
team in catches with 11, but he is
still looking for his first touchdown
catch.
BY THE BYE: Even though the
Wolverines have the weekend off,
the focus this week will be about
maintaining the routine so that the
players are able to maintain their
timing and focus. Lloyd Carr said
the team planned on watching film
yesterday and having normal prac-
tices today and tomorrow. The play-
ers will get an opportunity to rest

TONY DING/Daily
Michigan fullback Brian Thompson isn't playing on defense, but he still gets to hit
people, which means he's enjoying his role with the Michigan football team.

over the weekend.
"We'll take some days off at the
end of the week so our players can
concentrate on academics and get
some rest," Carr said. "We've gone
10 straight weeks - that's two-and-
a-half months - in addition to three
or four weeks of training camp. I do

think that coming off two weeks of
emotional performances, it comes at
a good time."
Carr says that with the extra time,
the team will focus on the phases of
the game that it feels it is weak in and
making sure the offense maintains its
momentum.

KYLE O'NEILL
The Daily Janitor
There is lots of talk about
Michigan controlling its own
destiny, en route to a Jan. 1
trip to Pasadena.
But silently, away from the sun-
light, hidden in the ... well, hidden
depths of Michigan Stadium, there
are quiet-as-a-mouse-like whispers
going on about the Wolverines
making a certain trip on Jan. 4 to a
certain bowl game in New Orleans
(but be hushed about it, Florida
State or Southern Cal. might get
upset by the implications of these
rumblings).
In all honesty, a 10-2 Michigan
team (assuming it wins out) making
the national title game wouldn't be
the weirdest thing that has ever hap-
pened during my lifetime.
I mean, I've seen a 12-0 Marshall
team get sent to the Motor City
Bowl. I've watched a one-loss
Kansas State team get sent to the
Alamo Bowl, only to witness a
Drew Brees-led Purdue team take its
four losses and silence the Wildcats'
whining about being snubbed by the
BCS.
I have seen the Detroit Lions
make the NFC Championship Game
... and get trounced by the Washing-
ton Redskins. I stood in amazement
as Cecil Fielder legged out a triple
in the Metrodome.
I have witnessed newlyweds dance
happily to "Every breath you take."
(IT'S ABOUT A STALKER!!!!)
I was stunned to watch Kordell
Stewart give Michael Westbrook 15
minutes of fame in the Big House's
south endzone. While battling a
fever, I went crazy as Scott Dries-
bach hit Mercury Hayes in the
northeast corner to complete a 16-
point comeback against Virginia.
I was happy to see the Cartoon
Network give new life to "Family
Guy." But I was distraught when
"The Neverending Story" actually
ended and confused when "The
Land Before Time" managed nine
movies (three times more than the
series that was supposed to never
stop) over a time period that techni-
cally never existed.
I watched the Pistons fire the
2002-03 NBA Coach of the Year,
only to hire the man Rick Carlisle
defeated in the 2003 playoffs.
The Florida Marlins have won two
world titles in the past seven years
-just let that one sit in for awhile.
I have been on a date with an
attractive woman, had a beer after
21 years of avoiding it and worn
actual pants (instead of shorts) when
it is 20 degrees out.
I got to watch as Allen Iverson

became a better role model for the
kids - the kids! - than Kobe
Bryant.
I was in a Disney World shop
when Mickey Mouse televisions
were showing O.J. Simpson running
from the police in a white Ford
Bronco. My Bravada has lasted over
160,000 miles.
I was left speechless when Michi-
gan was punished by the coaches'
poll for winning the Rose Bowl in
1997. And I nearly cried when I
found out that computers would be
deciding the top two teams from
there on out.
I remember feeling that Juan
Gonzales was the answer to
Detroit's problems. I find it funny
that Danny Patterson ended up
being the best player the Tigers got
out of that trade. The 2003 Detroit
Tigers are not the worst team of all
time ... feels good, doesn't it,
Detroit?
My high school football team has
made the Michigan high school
playoffs each of the past three years.
During my two years on varsity, we
managed just two wins.
The Detroit Red Wings became
the New York Yankees of hockey,
and I could really care less. (F***
the Yankees, though.)
I was miserable to see ultimate
bad-ass Jason Giambi cover up his
tattoos, cut his hair and become one
of George Steinbrenner's puppets.
I have found better tasting chick-
en wings than those from Hooters or
Buffalo Wild Wings.
I was envious of Vince McMahon
for taking a circus sideshow and
making it bigger than any sport out
there. I found the hilariousness in
the XFL and revival of Tommy
Maddox of all people. Random
question: Does He Hate Me still
hate me ... he?
David Wells and John Daly are
considered athletes.
Justin Timberlake doesn't annoy
the hell out of me anymore. I don't
like his music, but I can tolerate it
- which is saying a lot.
You've read this far into this col-
umn expecting it to have a point ...
how weird is that?
I've watched Barry Sanders run,
which isn't anything too different
from the norm, but instead it is
more amazing than anything I have
listed thus far.
Yup, when it comes down to it,
Michigan going to the national title
game is hardly something that
would catch me off guard. The
Wolverines have the talent to be
there, and aside from two collapses,
should be there. So, should all the
teams ahead of them lose to send
Lloyd Carr and the boys to the Big
Easy, it wouldn't be that astounding.
Weirder things have happened.
I've seen the Tigers above .500
going into September.
-Kyle O'Neill can be reached at
kylero@umich. edu.

Southern Cal. now riding shotgun to Sooners

NEW YORK (AP) - Miami's first regular sea-
son loss in more than three years cleared a path for
Southern Cal. to get to the Sugar Bowl.
Southern Cal. was in second place in the Bowl
Championship Series standings yesterday, trailing
only unanimous No. 1 Oklahoma.
"I suspect that this ranking shows the respect
people have for our program and the way we're
playing," Trojans coach Pete Carroll said. "We
hope to continue to play like we have. If we do,
good things will happen."
The Sooners (9-0), the only undefeated team
from a major conference, got every first-place vote
in the polls and was the top pick by all seven com-
puters used in the BCS standings.
The standings are used to determine which teams
play in a national title game. The teams that finish
1-2 in the final BCS standings on Dec. 7 will play
for the championship in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4.
The formula uses the AP media and USA
Today/ESPN coaches' polls, seven computer rank-
ings, strength of schedule, losses and a bonus-point
system for quality wins.
The Sooners have a 1.0 for poll average, 1.0 for
computer-rank average, 0.24 for strength of sched-
ule and zero for losses for a 2.24 total. USC was

second with 7.02 points.
The Trojans (8-1) are off this week and close the
seasons with three unranked teams: Arizona,
UCLA and Oregon State.
"Our focus is on the remaining three games we
have on our schedule," Carroll said. "I don't pay
much attention to the polls and the predictions and
all that. And I really don't fully understand the
mechanisms of how the BCS rankings are deter-
mined."
Miami fell two spots to No. 4 with 10.26 points
following a 31-7 loss to Virginia Tech that snapped
a 39-game regular-season winning streak. Florida
State remained in third place with 9.52.
If Oklahoma wins its remaining three regular
season games and the Big 12 title game, it is guar-
anteed one of the two spots in the Sugar Bowl. The
other spot is still up for grabs, although USC has
the inside track.
"I've got enough problems without having to
worry about anybody else," Sooners coach Bob
Stoops said.
Following Miami are the other three major one-
loss teams: Ohio State (11.47), Virginia Tech
(12.47) and LSU (14.92).
Despite falling to sixth in the AP poll and sev-

BCS STANDINGS
TEAM REC PTS PVS
1. Oklahoma 9-0 2.24 1
2. Southern Cal. 8-1 7.02 4
3. Florida State 8-1 9.52 3
4. Miami (Fla.) 7-1 10.25 2
5. Ohio State 8-1 11.47 6
6. Virginia Tech 7-1 12.47 NR
7. Louisiana State 8-1 14.92 7
8. Michigan 8-2 20.79 13
9. Texas Christian 8-0 24.75 12
10. Georgia 7-2 25.15 5
11. Iowa 7-2 25.6 11
12. Texas 7-2 30.59 NR
13. Tennessee 6-2 33.64 15
14. Purdue 7-2 34.45 NR
15. Washington State 7-1 34.98 8

enth in the coaches' poll,

Miami remained in sec-

ond place among the computers with a 2.83 aver-
age.
"If we win the games, we're going to be fine,"
Miami coach Larry Coker said. "We'll be where we
want to be."

Brown gets monkey off back with first goal

By Michael Nisson
Daily Sports Writer
The clang of a puck hitting the
post is perhaps the most emotional
moment in a hockey game. It's a
sound that excites hockey fans and
players alike every time it happens,
and then immediately sends both
parties into temporary dismay
when they realize that the puck is,
in fact, traveling in a direction
other than straight into the net. It's
a sound that is haunting to its cre-
ator and also music to every
goalie's ears.
It's also a sound that freshman for-
ward Mike Brown knows all too well
already this fall.
"I've hit a bunch of posts actually,
and it's a little frustrating," Brown
said.

Brown, who hails from Northbrook,
Ill., has been cursed for most of the
season, missing his first 16 shots.
Crossbar, left post, right post - you
name it, Brown has probably left a
mark on it.
Brown finally was able to find the
back of the net during Saturday's
game against Niagara. With 13:02
remaining in the second period,
Brown received a cross-ice pass
from sophomore winger Brandon
Kaleniecki and put the puck past
Niagara goalie Jeff VanNynatten,
extending Michigan's lead to 4-0.
"It's a big relief," said Brown of the
goal. "It's just unbelievable to get all
that stuff off your back."
Playing in the shadow of fellow
freshman T.J. Hensick (the Wolver-
ines' current point leader), Brown has
quietly been having a solid season.

"I really like the way Mike Brown
has been playing," Michigan coach
Red Berenson said. "He's come here
with a solid work ethic, a physical
presence. He's fit right into our team
philosophy, and he's done some good
things with the puck."
Berenson also noted that Brown's
ability to play both forward posi-
tions has made him even more valu-
able to the team.
"It's good for us to know that he can
play either side and still be effective,"
Berenson said. "That gives him a lot
of flexibility, and it gives us some
flexibility, too. If we have injuries or
we want to make changes, we know
that Mike Brown can add something
to any line he plays on."
Brown, who was teamed with soph-
omores Andrew Ebbett and Kaleniecki
when he scored, has played alongside

at least six different forwards so far
this season.
"It's better to get a feel for all the
players on the ice instead of playing
with the same line the whole year,"
Brown said. "It teaches you to play
different (parts of the game)."
Brown himself is rather laid back
when asked about his play so far
this season.
"I'm doing my part and playing my
role," Brown said. "I'm just doing
what I'm told, and that's all I've got to
worry about."
One thing that he doesn't have to
worry about is butting heads with that
thin red bar that had been his enemy
until Saturday.
"As soon as you get one, you start
getting a couple and hopefully,
they'll all start going in," Brown
said.

WOULDN'T IT BE NICE IF JASON
GIAMBI WERE TO GET UP TO BAT
FOR THE YANKEES NEXT YEAR,
RIP OFF HIS JERSEY TO REVEAL A
SLEEVELESS A'S JERSEY, TAKE
THE PERT PLUS OUT OF HIS HAIR
AND THEN PROCEED TO BEAT
DOWN STEINBRENNER?
JUST WONDERING.
DAILY- SPORTS.

4

10k

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Study Tour to St. Petersburg, Russia
May 1-17, 2004; 2 credits
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120, Dinshaw Vachha Road, Opp. K.C. College, Vaswani Mansion, 6th Floor,
Churchgate, Mumbai - 400 020.
O.A. No. 450 /199
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