18A - The Michigan Daily - SportsTuesday - September 7, 2004
MICHIGAN 43, MIAMI (OHIO) 10
7 1 . n a .. 1 . A U = n IU, nAr ?nrnWner n
Practice makes pertect
for opportunistic defense
Time of Poss
By Shmud Mattu
Daily Sports Editor
If Michigan's defense continues to play as well as it did
Saturday, maybe the offense won't have a difficult time
breaking in a new quarterback and running back.
Throughout training camp the Wolverines focused on
tactics to create turnovers. They practiced drills like pok-
ing at the ball while making a tackle or staying alert on a
pass in case the ball is deflected into the air.
"We go out there and we want to cause as many turn-
overs as we can," linebacker Roy Manning said. "That
was a big emphasis of our camp this year, causing turn-
overs and just getting the ball back.
"It kind of felt natural, just like a transition from foot-
ball camp to the game."
The Wolverines' defense was opportunistic against
Miami (Ohio), forcing seven turnovers (five intercep-
tions, two fumbles). The last time Michigan forced seven
turnovers in a game was in 1985 against Wisconsin. Last
season, the Wolverines forced 21 turnovers.
Michigan clinched the win when safety Ernest Shazor
scored on an interception return in the fourth quarter to
give Michigan a 30-10 lead. On the other six turnovers,
Michigan's offense began its drives inside the Miami 30-
yard line. Thirty-six of the Wolverines' 43 points came
"Whenever we needed a play, they made it," wide
receiver Braylon Edwards said. "If they can do that for 11
more games, who knows what can happen."
Michigan's overall speed on defense overwhelmed
Miami's offense. RedHawks quarterback Josh Betts
rushed some throws and as a result was inaccurate. And
Continued from Page 13A
Truth is, if Michigan is going to win at Notre Dame
on Saturday and challenge for the Big Ten title and a
national championship, then everyone, in addition to
Henne, is going to have to do his job.
Fortunately, that fact seems to be something that the
Wolverines already know.
"The defense has to carry the team this year," safety
Ernest Shazor said. "We've got to carry this team until
the offense can get going."
The other members of the offense are ready to sup-
port Henne, too.
"I just told the rest of the offense that we just have
to come out here and support (him)," wide receiver
Braylon Edwards said. "(We have to) do what we're
supposed to do and play better than normal to make
sure that he was comfortable."
Said offensive lineman Adam Stenavich: "We
just figured with a guy coming straight in from high
school, we have to do our jobs even better. It puts more
pressure on us - that's the way we like itC"
The fact that Henne knows his teammates have full
confidence in him, and are ready to help him out, is as
valuabl6as anything else'he learned ini te openr.
'They said they're behind me and that's the biggest
seemingly every time, more than one defensive back was
ready to pounce.
"Ithink the key defensively was that we played collec-
tively"Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "In most cases, I A
think that we had people around the football."
Cornerback Marlin Jackson, who recorded three
tackles before sitting out the second half with a shoulder Q
injury, also marveled at how well the team made the tran-
sition from practice to a game.
'That is what was going on in camp," Jackson said.
"We were getting turnovers like that all the time. We
practice that every day. We practice strip drills and we do
a lot of interception drills. .
"Practice makes perfect, so we just go out everyday
in practice and focus everyday on getting turnovers and
getting the ball back for our offense."
Michigan shut down Miami's running attack so thor-
oughly that the RedHawks abandoned it in the first half
and tried to put pressure on Michigan's passing defense.
'All the DB's played great today," Ryan Mundy said. K
"Every play we were where we needed to be. We were
working together real well":
What makes the defense even scarier is the fact that
the players believe they can be even better, particularly:
on the defensive line. Though Michigan eventually wore
Miami's offensive line down, the Wolverines had trouble
reaching Betts at first. LaMarr Woodley, who will play a
key role in Michigan's pass rush, also sat out the second
half with a shoulder injury.'
"It was decent," defensive end Pat Massey said. "We
got to him a lot, but we need to get more sacks. I think
we had two on Saturday; we definitely have to improve a
thing," Henne said."Knowing that they're behind me r
and they're confident in me, you've just got to go out and
show them that you're right where you need to be."
Saturday's victory over Miami was a nice start
to the season. Michigan was able to break in a true
freshman quarterback, who played very well in front 3 u'
of the home fans. The defense forced seven turnovers,
and the Wolverines took advantage of their opportu-
Still, Michigan has bigger fish to fry. It starts on Sat-
urday in front of a hostile crowd at Notre Dame.
Put what Henne said after the win over Miami
aside. We don't really know how well he'll react the '
first time the Notre Dame crowd gets on him, or the
first time he gets criticized by the home fans.
We don't really know if Michigan's other question
marks - the running game, the offensive line, the pass
rush and special teams - are capable of helping tor
ease Henne's transition from high school to college.
Heck, we don't even know what's going to happen
when Gutierrez is healthy and ready to challenge for
his starting spot again.
And it's a bad idea to look to Henne - and Henne
alone - for all the answers.
' Chris Burkercnt beedcft d at Michigan defensive Ii elfarG0blWitson hurries Miami (Ohio) quarterback Josfr Betts during the
email@example.com. Wolverines' 43-10 win on Saturday..
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