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October 27, 2004 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-27

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October 27, 2004
sports.michigandaily. com



Woodley thrilled
with latest effort

Marlin and Braylon
practice with afury

By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Editor

LaMarr Woodley came out of the
Michigan locker room beaming from ear
to ear on Saturday.
One week earlier, Woodley had been
late to a team meeting - and subsequent-
ly removed from the Wolverines' starting
lineup against Purdue.
But instead of sulking, the sophomore
from Saginaw came off of Michigan's
bench and dominated Purdue's offensive
line, time and time again beating the Boil-
ermakers' linemen off the corner.
"You've got to learn from your mis-
takes," said Woodley after Michigan's
16-14 win over the Boilermakers. "I said
since I wasn't starting this game, I've got
to goout there and play as hard as I can.
"(Michigan coach Lloyd) Carr made a
challenge this week and he told me that I
had to do what I'm supposed to. I knew
(Purdue) was a passing team, so I wanted
to help the team get to the quarterback."
And that's exactly what Michigan
did. With Woodley storming from the
outside, the Wolverines were able to put
constant pressure on Purdue quarterback
Kyle Orton. All told, Michigan finished
the game with three sacks and countless
hurries of Purdue's Heisman Trophy can-

Woodley finished the day with two of
those sacks for negative-17 yards, four
tackles, a forced fumble, a pass deflection
and arguably his best performance in two
years wearing the Maize and Blue.
"He played like he should play," Michi-
gan defensive coordinator Jim Herrmann
said. "He's a fantastic football player, and
there at the end, when we needed him, he
came off the ball and made some great
plays to put some pressure on the quarter-
A standout linebacker at Saginaw
High School, Woodley shifted to the
defensive line in his freshman season at
Michigan. He recorded 23 tackles and
two sacks in 2003.
But with Michigan moving to a 3-4
defense this year, Woodley has returned
to a combination outside linebacker/
defensive end position - a move that
has paid off for the Wolverines' defense.
Woodley is the team's fifth-leading
tackler with 31 on the year, including
seven tackles for loss.
"I just call him 'Animal' out there,"
Michigan linebacker Roy Manning said.
"LaMarr - he's something special. He's
a big guy, he can run, he's faster than he
looks. (But) for the most part, he just over-
powers guys and he does it well.

O""I N i" " iy
Michigan defender LaMarr Woodley drags down Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton
on Saturday. Woodley turned in an impressive performance off the bench.

"He's just something to be reckoned
Manning himself has had a solid sea-
son, tying Woodley with 31 tackles, while
recording four tackles for loss.
Still, the fifth-year senior can't help but
marvel at Woodley's efforts.
"I wish, when I was that young, I
played the way he plays," Manning said.
"I give him a lot of credit - he's a hard
worker and he's just going to continue to
Woodley's performance this year has
been a critical factor in the overall steps
Michigan's defense has taken forward.

The Wolverines' pass rush was one of
their biggest question marks coming into
the season, but those fears have been
calmed in recent weeks.
According to Woodley, that's some-
thing everyone deserves credit for.
"You know, the other guys are doing
their jobs, too," Woodley said.
For his part, Woodley's personal game-
plan is simple.
"I figure, if I can get to the quarterback,
we can make something happen," Wood-
ley said.
And that would continue to give Wood-
ley reason to smile.

Mattu Fast, Mattu Furious
s Braylon Edwards and Marlin
Jackson have been discovering
this season, it's possible to be
too good.
On offense, there's Edwards, who's
suddenly got defenders flocking to him
on the field the way autograph-seekers
do off it. Sure, all the attention he draws
helps everyone from Mike Hart to the
tight ends, but in the process, the Bray-
Ion Edwards Heisman campaign has
lost some of its steam.
On the other side of the ball, there's
Jackson, who's been seeing the football
even less. Just last week Jackson lim-
ited Taylor Stubblefield, who leads the
nation in touchdown catches, to just one
grab. With teams avoiding his side of the
field, Jackson has just one interception,
and, thanks to him, the other defensive
backs have a lot more.
Now, there's no question that - in
leading Michigan to heights that didn't
seem possible when the conference sea-
son began - the two are accomplish-
ing what they wanted to do when they
decided to return for their senior year.
But they also came back to bolster their
draft stock.
In order to keep improving, the
receiver and cornerback had been squar-
ing up against each other at full-speed
in practice.
A couple weeks ago, Edwards men-
tioned that last year, he missed the
challenge of going up against Jackson
in practice because he had moved to
"He's the best cornerback I've ever
faced in my life, and I've faced a lot of
guys," Edwards said. "His aggressive-
ness at the line of scrimmage, his ability
to defend routes, his speed, his football
knowledge - he's just a great corner-
And when Jackson made the adjust-
ment back to cornerback this spring,
Edwards was standing opposite him,

challenging him and making the transi-
tion as quick as possible.
"Going up against the best in practice
is great," Jackson said. "For me, when
I moved back (to cornerback) in the
spring, going up against Braylon helped
a lot. Compared to him, no other receiv-
ers will be that tough."
But now that plan has hit a snag, too.
That's because, apparently, it's possible
to try too hard in practice.
The two players are so competitive
that when they would line up in prac-
tice, they would practically begin wres-
tling each other on occasion. It's typical
for the cornerback to keep the receiver
from running his route, and the receiver
to hit back.
But No. 1 and No. 3 would go a step
"When it's me and him one-on-one,
it gets heated," Jackson said. "We want
to make the most out of every rep. We
want to get better and better, and I guess
the coaches just thought we took it too
far sometimes."
Said Edwards: "If he jams me, I'm
going to keep fighting. I'm going to try
to throw him down and get away.
"And if I beat him deep, he's going to
hold me and grab me and try to stay with
me. When we go against each other, it's
just a battle every time."
Worried about the possibility of an
injury, Michigan coach Lloyd Carr had
no choice but to put a stop to the battle.
"They go at it like it's a game," Carr
said as if it was a bad thing. "Braylon
gets mad if he thinks Marlin is inter-
fering, and Marlin gets mad whenever
Braylon catches a ball.
"A couple weeks ago, it got to the point
where they gave me no choice. I had to
tell them, 'This is enough. I can't have
you two going against each other.' "
Though they don't square off as much
as they used to, Carr believes their
matchup was something that the entire
team benefited from.
"It's a fun thing to see, and it's a great
thing for our younger players to see,"
Carr said. "We're very fortunate to have
two seniors in practice competing so
hard like that."
And who thought, at this time a year
ago, Carr would be saying something
like that about these two.
See MATTU, Page 10

CRed-hot Werner bounces back

By Gabe Edelson
Daily Sports Writer
At the end of practice on Monday, senior defen-
seman Eric Werner worked with sophomore for-
ward Mike Brown in a two-man drill. The exercise
consisted of Brown - who was positioned next to
the goal - feeding passes to Werner at the blue
line. Werner proceeded to fire shots into the net
with ease.
While flinging the puck into the twine may not
be the usual activity for many defensemen, Wer-
ner has always been different. The Grosse Pointe
Woods native tallied an impressive 25 points in his
freshman season and posted nine goals - includ-
ing a team-high four game-winners - and 14
assists last year.
Not many defensemen are capable of putting
up a hat trick, but Werner did just that last season

against Michigan Tech in the Great Lakes Invita-
tional. So what's the secret?
"He doesn't look like he has breakaway speed or
size, but he's got the smarts," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "He has good instincts - he knows
when to jump and when to get into holes. He's very
patient with the puck. I would expect him to be one
of the top offensive defensemen in our league."
But Werner's valuable scoring abilities weren't
evident in Michigan's first few games this year.
After three contests, he hadn't put up a single goal
or assist and even his defensive play seemed shaky.
In an Oct. 15 game against New Hampshire, Wer-
ner looked uncharacteristically shaky, committing
several turnovers and defensive miscues.
"I think the first couple games, my preparation
wasn't there," Werner said. "My hockey sense was
a little off. I don't think I played horrible, but I
didn't play to (the level) where I should be play-

Werner also admits that the realization that this
is his last year of college hockey made him force
things a little, causing mistakes on the ice.
"I put a little pressure on myself seeing that I
have to have a good (senior) year," he said. "This
is my last run at it."
Berenson was slightly concerned about Werner's
early showings.
"(Werner) was taking unnecessary risks and
(wasn't) always on the right side of the puck,"
the coach said. "When you're cheating a little bit,
there's a risk you're going to get burned, and we
were getting burned."
But for now, Werner's struggles have been
pushed into the past. In his last three games, the
senior has scored two goals and dished out four
assists, while accumulating a plus-three rating.
See WERNER, Page 10

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