November 2, 2004
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By Bob Hunt
Daily Sports Editor
Like many Americans who have great emo-
tional stock invested in the outcome of today's
presidential election, Ross Mann will be full of
anticipation as the results roll in. As Michigan's
long snapper, Mann has plenty of experience deal-
ing with anxiety. After all, he plays a pivotal role
in each field goal and punt.
"You've got to have ice water running through
your veins," Mann said. "You have to get (a
field goal) off in 1.3 seconds, or it's going to get
But Mann is best known on the team for being a
political junkie. As he refers to it, some people get
their fix by watching SportsCenter, while he gets
his by watching "Hardball" and "The O'Reilly
Factor." Michigan coach Lloyd Carr refers to the
Pikeville, Ky., native as a "staunch Republican."
"Mann someday will probably run for the gov-
ernorship of Kentucky, maybe the Senate," Carr
The fifth-year senior is taking the same approach
to today's events as he would to each snap he fires
- calm and collected. Mann is certain that Presi-
dent Bush will celebrate this evening with four
more years in office ahead.
"I think he's going to have 51 percent of the
vote," Mann said. "I think he's going to win Ohio.
I know he's going to win Florida. He's got a strong
chance in Pennsylvania. I think he'll make a good
showing in Michigan. I'm confident he's going to
win by 20 electoral votes."
Mann feels Bush is the right one for the job
because of his strong stand against the War on
"Strong conviction, resolve, man of character -
John Kerry doesn't have any of that," Mann said.
"We're living in such terrible times right now, if
we're not proactive on these terrorists, they're
going to be proactive on us. George Bush needs to
be in office right now."
As for the rest of the Wolverines, Carr is encour-
aging them to get out to the polls.
"He's definitely said, 'Go vote,' " left tackle
Adam Stenavich said. "And I think a lot of guys
are going to take his advice."
By Sharad Mattu then join th
Daily Sports Editor Michigan si
to the NFL.
Like many quarterbacks before But toda
him, Matt Gutierrez had patiently never losta
waited for his turn - redshirting in high school
2002 and backing up John Navarre a game for
last year. He would be the starter may never g
this season and for the next two, and Around t1
Give Carr credit
for Blue's success
Long snapper Ross Mann (52) blocks during a Garrett Rivas field-goal attempt against Illinois.
Carr hasn't told his team - or the media -
which candidate he'll be voting for, nor does he
know the opinions of most of his players.
"I don't know what they think about the issues,
but I know that they all have an opinion about who
they want to win," Carr said.
But Carr does have a very positive opinion about
Mann. Throughout the year, he has brought up the
player numerous times during press conferences
- all in praise - this year.
Mann's situation is unique for a Wolverine. He
came to Ann Arbor without a scholarship, yet he
still sees significant playing time. Ever since Carr
has been the head coach, it has been protocol for
Michigan to groom a walk-on into the long snap-
per position. Mann was discovered when defensive
coordinator Jim Herrmann went to his high school,
Lexington Catholic, to recruit a kicker. While
watching the kicker on film, he noticed Mann's
snapping ability, and Mann was eventually invited
to walk on to the team. Mann - who picked up
the craft in high school - says that there is little
to the art.
"I really don't think that much about it," Mann
said. "I just kind of grab it, grip it and just throw it."
Iges to rem.air
te ever-growing list of leaving Ann Arbor. If
gnal-callers to move on were to choose to leave
have to sit out the 2005
y, Gutierrez - who he would then have justo
a game as a starter in ing year of eligibility.
- still hasn't started "I committed to com
the Wolverines, and he of high school, and I wa
et that chance. to that decision," Guti
he third week of camp, "When people choose toI
t sophomore began to tain school at a certainI
n his right shoulder. say they commit. Maybe
higan played its first ple take that lightly -I
t Miami (Ohio), Gutier- that lightly.
ited to holding for kicks "I made a commitmer
Hatched true freshman Carr and the Universit
e quarterback the team here, and I value the edu
I'm getting right now. IN
hoped that time would that through and get a d
oulder needed, but that the University of Michig
ase. On Oct. 24, he had Gutierrez noted that
gery, and during Satur- for someone in his situ
ver Michigan State he "a negative energy," bu
to watch from the side- ing to find ways to be he
is arm in a sling. Henne and redshirt fresh
t commentssince the sur- ton Richard as Michiga
rez said that his upcom- quarterbacks, Gutierrez
y process is expected to himself assisting the tw
ine months. this season.
Lt an end to speculation For nearly two mont
transfer. was viewed as a last rest
Jenne - who leads Big amount of rehab alleviat
backs in passing effi- and when Gutierrez trie
nference games - has a in practice, he simpl
on the position, Gutier- throw with his normal v
he isn't thinking about accuracy.
Mann says he broke into the starting lineup
through hard work and his diligence paid off, as
he eventually earned a scholarship.
"Ross has done a great job, and I think his team-
mates understand the significance of what he does
and that it is a special skill," Carr said. "And he's
not a big guy.
"The thing that's remarkable about him is
that they're rushing the punts, and they're rush-
ing the field goals. And he's taking a beating in
there because he can't protect himself. So I think
he's done a great job, and he's done an extremely
important job on our team."
His political views notwithstanding, Mann's
amiable personality resonates well with his
"He's a great character," punter Adam Finley
said. "He gets along with the team more than
After he graduates, Mann hopes to acquire a
year-long internship with Kentucky senator Jim
Bunning before heading to law school.
But for now, Mann will be watching with the
rest of America, interested in what lies ahead for
the next four years.
i at Michigan
f Gutierrez "It's not like I thought I should
he would be out there and people were tell-
season and ing me no," Gutierrez said. "I knew
one remain- that in the way that I was throwing
the football, I wasn't performing at
e here out a high enough level to play and that
ant to stick something was wrong."
errez said. It is not uncommon for coaches to
go to a cer- say that players cannot lose starting
place, they roles due to injury. But earlier this
some peo- season, Carr made it clear he has
I don't take no such rule. Gutierrez admits this
situation has been difficult to deal
nt to coach with, but he is trying to maintain a
y to come positive outlook.
ucation that "I try not to think about what's
want to see been lost," Gutierrez said. "I can't
[egree from do anything about it. I don't want to
an." walk around feeling miserable all
it is easy the time.
ation to be "(Negativity is something) I've
A he is try- had to battle all the time. But tak-
.lpful. With ing those thoughts and feelings and
hman Clay- channeling them in a positive way
n's top two has been a learning process."
has found Sixth-year senior quarterback
vo at times Spencer Brinton dealt with a similar
injury last year, and he simply cannot
hs, surgery throw the ball the way he once could.
ort. But no Gutierrez is aware of the possibility
ed the pain, that his arm may never be quite the
.d to throw same again, and he is prepared for
y couldn't whatever the future holds.
elocity and "There's a lot of guys who have
gone through adversity in this foot-
ball program that have stayed and
persevered and succeeded," Guti-
errez said. "Maybe they didn't suc-
ceed in football the way they wanted
to. Maybe they succeeded in other
ways. Maybe you've never heard of
them, or maybe you have.".
Goin' to Work
Wi en a team comes back from
a deficit as huge as 17 points
in the final seven minutes of
a game, there are sure to be plenty of
Such is the case for Michigan.
Braylon Edwards has re-emerged as
a Heisman candidate after making catch
after catch late in Saturday's 45-37 triple
overtime victory over Michigan State.
Running back Mike Hart's been
given his well-deserved kudos for eclips-
ing the 200-yard mark on the ground
- becoming the first Michigan running
back to accomplish that feat in three
There's been talk of Chad Henne's
composure, Jason Avant's sprawling
touchdown grab in overtime, Roy Man-
ning's tackle-for-loss with the Spartans
threatening to end it in the first overtime
and Garrett Rivas's perfect kicking day
that included a critical onside kick.
But one person's name has been left,
for the most part, out of the discussion.
And notjust when reminiscing about
Saturday's game. One person has been
most responsible for Michigan's 8-1
record and first-place standing in the
Big Ten, and he's flown under the radar
That's not an easy thing to do when
you're the head coach.
Lloyd Carr has had some good years
here at Michigan. Make that some great
years - a national title in 1997, an
Orange Bowl win in 2000 and a Rose
Bowl trip last season.
Still, this season has been - bear with
me - Carr's best yet at Michigan.
Just think about. In 2003, the Wol-
verines finished the regular season 10-2
and went to the Rose Bowl. Then John
Navarre and Chris Perry graduated from
the backfield, Navarre's expected replace-
ment - Matt Gutierrez - went down
with an injury just days before the 2004
season opener, the offensive line was
bombarded with injuries, and there are
true freshmen starting at quarterback and
Still, Michigan is two wins away from
having a better record than last year.
That says something.
Don't agree? Then just take a gaze
at what safety Ernest Shazor attributes
Saturday's miraculous win to.
"Coach Carr kept telling us that it
wasn't over and that we (could) do it,"
Shazor said. "We believe in coach Carr
and what he tells us and we went out and
Look, Carr will be the first to tell you
that Michigan State's John L. Smith prob-
ably had his team more ready for Satur-
day's game - attribute it to Michigan's
emotional win the week before, the Spar-
tans coming off a bye week or whatever
The fact is, that when it came right
down to it, Michigan got it done.
And, in college football, when a team
shows the type of resiliency Michigan
has shown this season, it is heavily reflec-
tive of its coach's actions.
What Carr is doing, specifically, is
finding any way possible for this team to
win. Whether it be throwing the tradi-
tional Michigan values out the window
and starting Henne and Hart as true
freshman, or having a spectacular defen-
sive gameplan heading to Purdue, Carr
has laid the foundation for what Michi-
gan is accomplishing right now.
It's that sturdy base that keeps this
Michigan program at the top of the nation
year after year - and it's the attitude
that comes out in a game like Saturday's,
when the situation is as dire as it can get.
"As a coach of any sport, one of the
things I think is most important about
your responsibility is to continue the
fight," Carr said. "Play the next down as
hard as you can, regardless of the circum-
stances. If you can get a team to play as
hard as they can, every down, until the
last second is off the clock - and I know
that is something some people would not
believe in. But as long as you're fighting,
as long as you're giving your best, then
you have a chance."
Let's not forget, either, two of the
main reasons Michigan was able to rally
against the Spartans - Henne and Hart.
Who do you think is responsible for get-
ting them to come to Michigan? Carr
- with some help from quarterbacks
coach Scot Loefler - ripped Henne
from right under Joe Paterno's nose at
Penn State, then turned around and did
the same thing by stealing Hart from
Of course, Carr had no idea at the time
that this 2004 team would rely so heavily
on the two.
There, again, is why what Carr has
accomplished this season stands above
his prior years. Michigan entered the year
with a high preseason rank, but there
were question marks all over the field.
Would the defensive line improve?
How would the team adjust to the 3-4
defense? Could two true freshmen handle
running the backfield? What would the
offensive line look like?
The questions kept coming - and, so
far, so have the answers.
Saturday's game was a slimmed-down
version of the whole year for Michigan.
There was adversity, doubt and plenty of
reasons to just roll over.
But not this year - not under Carr's
"It was one of those games, it was
one of those teams, that found a way to
win when the odds were against them,"
And, as the praise continues to get
passed around for this team's ability to
overcome, it's time to start realizing that
the person most responsible for that suc-
cess never plays a down.
Chris Burke can be reachedat
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Redshirt sophomore Matt Gutierrez Is
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4 . TieUniversityUnions
Ar and Programs Office
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Lloyd Carr (far right) has led Michigan to a 6-0 start in the Big Ten this season, good
to place the Wolverines in a first-place tie with Wisconsin.
University of Michigan
IT Security Services
Location: Michigan Theater
Date: Friday, November5,2004
Admission: Free with U-M ID
(Bring a friend!)
Time: 8:00P M. & 11:00 PM.
Michigan Student Assembly,
IT Central Services,
Department of Public Safety
VI I s I i