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December 10, 2003 - Image 17

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 10, 2003 - 17

PERRY
Continued from Page 14
and asked, "Did you see the game Sat-
urday?" He referred to Sproles' 235-
yard performance in his team's Big 12
title-game win over Oklahoma.
"I'm begging for votes," Perry joked.
"I've decided I'm going to be scenery
at every event. If I go to New York, I'm
just the guy to shake the hand of the
lucky guy who wins."
It's been Perry's style all season to
downplay the Heisman hype. Even at
this crucial final juncture, Perry isn't
going to begin stumping; he'll let his
teammates do it for him.
"I don't watch every game every
year, but if I had a vote, I would vote
for him," defensive tackle Grant Bow-
man said. "I have never seen somebody
be able to make so many plays for his
team to create so much out of nothing.
I think he is the quintessential college
football player."~
Center Dave Pearson has opened
plenty of holes for Perry, but he's also
benefited from Perry's ability to make
something out of nothing.
"I just watched the film from the
Ohio State game, and he made some
unbelievable cuts in that game - even
some big plays where there wasn't great
blocking up front," Pearson said. "But I
think the thing that impresses me the
most is how unselfish he is when he
pass protects for John (Navarre)."
Receiver Braylon Edwards, who
enjoys Perry's "silly" personality, cred-
its him with some of his own touch-
down grabs.
"Chris does not care about if he got
the ball," Edwards said. "His pass pro-
tection was unbelievable this year. A lot
of the touchdowns I had were credit to

him saving John from being sacked.
Chris is a guy you want on your team,
because he is going to do the little
things it takes to win ballgames.
"(Voters) should look at everything,
not just at statistics."
Perry would take offense to that last
comment by Edwards.
"I mean, if you look at my stats, my
stats aren't too bad," Perry said.
Aren't too bad? Perry
led the Big Ten in rush-
ing this season with ,
1,589 yards, nearly 400
yards more than the closest
competitor. He is third on the
Wolverines in pass receptions
with 42 for 366 yards and
two touchdowns. Bar-
ring a stalwart per-
formance by
the Trojan r . .
defense in
the Rose R
Perry will
finish the
s e a s o '
with more than
2,000 total yards - a zenith to
which all running backs aspire.
Perry's Heisman candidacy received
a boost when a leading candidate,
Oklahoma quarterback Jason White,
threw two costly interceptions in the
Sooners' drubbing at the hands of
Kansas State on Saturday. Pittsburgh
wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who is
viewed by many as a frontrunner, made
just three catches for 26 yards and one
score in a losing effort Nov. 29 against
Miami.
Still, while the frontrunners have
taken some hits, voters will likely look
at Perry's numbers in Michigan's loss-

es at Oregon (11 carries, 26 yards) and
at Iowa (24 carries, 87 yards, one
score).
"My performance in those two
games was sub-par, I know that,"
Perry said. "If (the voters) want to nit-
pick, and they want to look at those
losses, more power to them. But I'm
looking at the whole picture of
each loss."
The whole picture in Ore-
gon shows a Michigan team
down by 15 at halftime
n.that abandoned the run-
ning game for the entire
second half. In Iowa, the
whole picture of Perry's
game would show his spec-
tacular run in the final minutes
that was brought back by a sus-
pect holding penalty. Perry's
scamper would have
put Michigan inside
the Iowa 20-yard
line with a chance
for a game-tying
field goal.
"You can nit-
;-, pick a lot of stuff,"
Perry said. "You can nitpick about
that holding call at Iowa if you want to
nitpick."
There's nothing to nitpick about the
way Perry has played during his team's
current six-game winning streak that
began in Minnesota. Against the
Gophers, Perry rushed for 85 yards and
a score and led the team in receiving
with 122 yards and a score. His per-
formances against Michigan State and
Ohio State, the game which clinched
the Big Ten title for Michigan, will go
down as legendary. Who could forget
Perry willing himself up from the turf
against the Spartans as his carries

mounted all the way to an all-time
Michigan record of51?
"The (memories from those two
games) stick with me a lot," Perry said.
"Fifty-one carries, I didn't think it was
that big of a deal. You guys, the media,
made it a big deal. I feel like with 51
carries, I should have had 300 yards
(instead of 219)."
And who could forget Perry limping
to the sideline in the second quarter
with an injured right hamstring against
Ohio State, only to punish the Buck-
eyes for 154 yards and two touchdowns
in the end? Perry won't soon forget the
reaction of his fans as he grimaced on
the turf in pain.
"The 'Perry! Perry!' (chant by the
fans) against Ohio State, that was a big
deal. It was such a big deal that I didn't
want to focus on it during the game
because it would distract me. It was a
great feeling, and I do not know when
I'll have another feeling like that"
Perry certainly did not have that feel-
ing walking off the Big House field two
years ago after losing to Ohio State. The
feeling he had then was painful enough
that he even had a transfer school
picked out in his mind soon after.
"(Which school I considered) is going
to stay in my mind," Perry said, laughing.
Looking back on it now, Perry does-
n't fault Carr for giving him tough love.
"I don't know if I'm glad he did that,
but I appreciate it," Perry said. "It's
something they do to every sophomore.
They always say that your sophomore
year is your worst year."
Perry still remembers the conversa-
tions he had with Thomas after his dis-
appointing sophomore campaign.
The "A-Train" told him, 'Don't let
them break you.' "
Perry listened.

Golder 'excited' for Saturday's intrasquad

By Ian Herbert
Daily Sports Writer
There are a lot of young faces in the lineup of
the Michigan men's gymnastics team. The team
has no seniors, and many young gymnasts are
competing in events that are new to them. Even
though Michigan coach Kurt Golder has to learn a
lot of new faces and styles, he is not worried about
it affecting his team at crunch time.
Michigan returns national vault champion
Andrew DiGiore, and the coach believes that Luke
Bottke could be national floor champ by the end of
the year if his ailing wrist improves. Even though
the two are sophomores, Golder believes they can
help lead this team to its first national champi-
onship since 1999.
"Some years you have teams that develop,"
Golder said. "And I think this one has a real
good shot at developing and shocking the gym-
nastic world."
The quest to shock the world begins this week-

end for No. 4 Michigan. The team will divide
into two squads on Saturday and compete against
each other in the Maize and Blue Intrasquad
scrimmage at Cliff Keen Arena. Golder is espe-
cially excited this year because he thinks that this
team is well-prepared and will keep getting
stronger throughout.
"I'm excited," Golder said. "This could be a
really good year for us. It's the kind of year
where it's just going to build from start to finish.
Barring any unforeseen problems, we should
come out strong. Our focus is really geared
toward the NCAAs."
It may be a little early in the season to start wor-
rying about April's NCAA Championships, but
every meet is important to Golder for evaluating
the Wolverines' progress. He explained that the
Maize and Blue scrimmage is important for both
the young and veteran gymnasts. The new guys
use it as a benchmark to see where they stand in
relation to their teammates, and the returners use it
to compare themselves to where they were at the

end of last season. It also allows younger gym-
nasts who are currently not on the traveling roster
to strut their stuff in front of the coaches in the
first competitive setting of the year.
"This is kind of a report card," Golder said. "It's
a report card for the freshmen. And for them to go
through just one meet will give us tremendous
insight as to how they work. And it will be a wake-
up call for some people if they look at it seriously.
But the main thing is that they need to look very
carefully at themselves and analyze."
"This is going to be a team that is going to have
a little bit of a slow start," Golder said. "Some
years you can start out, and you have a team that,
right out of the gate, looks like it is going to win
the NCAA championship. This team is not one
that's going to come out and just blow the doors
off from the get-go, but it will be exciting to watch
them build over the year and particularly, to see
the finish. I think at the end of the year we'll start
to put the frosting on, and at the NCAAs we'll put
the cherry on top."

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