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April 18, 2005 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-04-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

A departing sports
editor reflects on one thing
he learned in college.
The SportsMonday Column

Ups AND DowNs
Michigan's sports teams have had
plenty of highs and lows this year. We
take a look at the best and worst.

The Michigan football team has a
lot of holes to fill this spring. Here's
a look at how they're doing it.


0 April 18, 2005


u rlstpf tackle-fre e spnng game

By Ian Herbert
Daily Sports Editor
In the only contact drill of the day, the Michi-
gan offense fell just short of scoring when soph-
omore quarterback Chad Henne was picked off
by cornerback Leon Hall with one second left.
But there was still time for one more play - a
two-point conversion with no time left. The Wol-
verines lined up Michigan coach Lloyd Carr at
wide receiver and sent him across the back of the
endzone. When the pass was thrown his way, Carr
made a spectacular, diving grab and rolled on the
ground to break his fall. Carr's catch drew a flurry
of cheers from both the 10,000 or so fans in atten-
dance and the Michigan players, who gathered
around and jumped on their coach in celebration.
"I told him right when we got in the locker room
that that was better than any catch I ever made,"
senior wide receiver Jason Avant said. "That was
fantastic. He hasn't made a play like that in my
whole four years here."
Carr, 59, said afterwards that he might have
tweaked his back during the celebration. How-
ever, he was the only one of the Wolverines who
risked injury. Because of numerous injuries
this winter - most nagging, correctable prob-
lems - the annual spring game did not feature
any tackling. Carr said more than a month ago
that anyone who wanted to see a physical game
should wait for the season opener against North-

ern Illinois on Sept. 3.
Without big hitting, one of the main attractions
was freshman running back Kevin Grady. The
highly touted recruit split time with them other run-
ning backs and fit in well with all the other blue
But the coaching staff managed to keep practice
physical with the "Michigan Drill" and a two-min-
ute-drill finale.
In the final two minutes, Henne and the offense
took the ball from their own 35-yard line, but the
quarterback was fairly unsuccessful on his first few
snaps. His first pass attempt was broken up at the
line of scrimmage by inside linebacker Prescott
Burgess, and the next throw was a couple feet
behind junior Steve Breaston, the intended receiv-
er. But then, Henne found his rhythm.
He hit Breaston on two short outs for a first
down and went to his favorite target again on a
20-yard curl up the middle between the safeties
and linebackers.
"Breaston is a big-play guy any time he touches
the football," Carr said.
Breaston was impressive the rest of the day -
laying out and narrowly missing a one-handed grab
at one point during the drill.
And he wasn't the only Wolverine putting a
good foot forward. Hart got just one carry in the
two-minute offense but made the'most of it, run-
ning for 12 yards off the left tackle before the play
was blown dead.

"It all starts with the guys up front," Avant said.
"If the guys up front are going to knock some
people back, then Mike is going to do what he
does. I don't know how he does it, but he does it,
and he does it well. He can run the ball with the
best of them, and he can make guys miss with the
best of them."
Other than the scrimmage at the end of the game,
the fan favorite was the Michigan Drill, something
that Carr enjoys as well.
"It's a great drill because you have a full-contact
drill but you don't have a drill that has a high injury
risk," Carr said.
The drill pits an offensive player against a defen-
sive player in a one-on-one matchup. The two fight
for position, and the defender tries to shed the block-
er and make the tackle on a pursuing running back.
In most cases this weekend, the blocker pre-
vented the tackle, but the drill ended with defen-
sive tackle Alan Branch getting past Alex Mitchell
and making a strong tackle on the running back,
junior Jerome Jackson. The tackle got strong reac-
tions from both the crowd and the Wolverines'
defensive team.
Although "the game" didn't feature tackling,
Carr said that the experience was productive. He
said that the only downside was the fact that inju-
ries kept them out of full-contact drills.
"We got a lot done, but we still have a lot of work
to do," Carr said. "We'll see what happens now
between now and September."

Wide receiver Steve Breaston made a handful of catches in Saturday's spring game.

-- - - - --- ------------ . ... .. ..... ..... .

take Pool
in second
nounJ r
By Stephanie Wright
Daily Sports Editor ~r.;.
Coming out of high school in 2002,
former Michigan forward Tabitha Pool
was one of the most highly recruited
players in the nation. Pool could have
attended an established national power
in women's college basketball such as
Tennessee. But the Ann Arbor native
chose to stay home and help rebuild a
Michigan program that has seen more
downs than ups in recent seasons.
Four years later, Pool has another
chance to play on a national stage. And
this time, she's heading to New York.
On Saturday, the New York Liberty
selected Pool with the 23rd overall pick
in the 2005 WNBA Draft.
"All of us that have coached or
played with Tabitha have understood
just how much ability she has," Michi-
gan women's basketball coach Cheryl
Burnett said in a statement Saturday.
"We are excited she has this opportu-
nity to display that ability at the high-
est level because she earned it with her
work ethic."
Following a disappointing season in
which the Wolverines won just one Big
Ten game and finished last in the con-
ference, Pool's selection highlighted
her hard work and natural athletic tal-
ent. An All-Big Ten third team honoree
for the 2004-05 season, Pool finished
the year as Michigan's leader in scor-
ing and rebounding, averaging 16.3
points and nine rebounds per game. She
ranked in the top 10 in the conference
in both categories.
Pool's scoring prowess and ability to
drive to the basket could help a Liberty
team that is in need of offensive weapons
this season. Last year, guard/forward
Vickie Johnson - the seventh leading
scorer in WNBA history - failed to
S post a double-digit scoring average for
the first time since her rookie season
in 1997. If Johnson is unable to bounce
back from her rough year, and New York
struggles with injuries for the second
straight season, Pool may be able to
make an early impact on the team.
Pool is the sixth Michigan player -
and the fifth in the past six seasons -
to be picked in the WNBA Draft. The
forward matched former All-America
honorable mention selection Stacey
Thomas - a standout for the Wolver-
ines from 1996 to 2000 - for the high-
est draft selection by a Michigan player.



Michigan 3, Michigan 6, N_.
Michigan 1, Michigan 8,

splits -seres
with leader
of Big Ten.
By Matt Singer
Daily Sports Writer
CHAMPAIGN - Throughout its frustrating
start to the Big Ten season, the Michigan baseball
team saw just about every bounce, break and call
go its opponents' way. But in the second inning of
yesterday's game against Illinois, the Wolverines'
fortunes finally took a positive turn.
Riding a four-run second-inning outburst,
Michigan took home an 8-5 victory over first-
place Illinois yesterday (9-3 Big Ten, 20-10 over-
all). Junior pitcher Derek Feldkamp shined in
his second relief appearance of the year, pitch-
ing four shutout innings to close the door on the
Illini. The crucial win earned the Wolverines a
series split, which was a huge momentum boost
going into their upcoming series at home against
Ohio State.
"We've had a lot of things not going our way;
but the kids kept battling and beat a really good
team," Michigan coach Rich Maloney said. "We
earned a split - and it was earned - and (we)
darn nearly took three of four. We're on the cusp,
and that was nice."
Illinois had jumped out to an early lead thanks
to a mammoth three-run blast by cleanup hitter
Dusty Bensko, who planted the ball way over the
left-centerfield fence.
But in the bottom of the second, Michigan
struck back in unconventional fashion. With Wol-
verines on first and second and no outs, freshman
Derek VanBuskirk hit what appeared to be a tay-
lor-made double play ball to Illinois starting pitch-
er James Morris. But the lefty turned and fired the
ball about 10 feet to the left of second base, and it
sailed into centerfield, allowing Michigan junior
Jeff Kunkel to score from second. Just like that;
the tone for the inning was set.
Junior Leif Mahler came up next and hit anoth-
er comebacker to the pitcher's mound. It deflected
off Morris and was scooped up by Illinois short-
See ILLiNI, page 51


Junior Derek Feldkamp pitched four shutout innings of relief in yesterday's 8-5 win over Illinois.

Senior pitcher brings in clutch wins

By Matt Singer
Daily Sports Writer
CHAMPAIGN - Michael Penn isn't con-
sidered the stud of the Michigan pitching staff.
His fastball isn't the hardest, he's never been
drafted, and his starts are mostly limited to
seven-inning doubleheader games. But recently,
the senior has done what other Wolverine pitch-
ers haven't - come up with victories when his
team needs them the most.

"Michael's really done an outstanding job,"
Michigan coach Rich Maloney said. "He's an
outstanding competitor. And when the team
needed a lift both of (the last two) weekends to
get us a 'W,' he's answered the bell."
Exactly one week after Penn (4-1) beat Iowa
for Michigan's first Big Ten victory of the sea-
son, Maloney trotted out the righthander for
the first game of Saturday's doubleheader at
Illinois. The situation was desperate. The night
before, the Wolverines had suffered a heart-

breaking 4-3 defeat that dropped their Big Ten
record to 1-8. Michigan needed a win, and it
needed one badly.
"At this point, every game is a big game for
us," Penn said. "So there's a little more pres-
sure on me. But that's all right; I like pressure.
It's fun. It's a game, and you've got to keep that
Penn rose to the occasion. He allowed just one
run on five hits, striking out five Illini batters in
See PENN, page 5B

Ritter pitches perfect game 1n four-game sweep

ttT..f_ __.._.._11__ --'--_____'.__. /al__a TIu.___ - _11 r-"._ --'*-_\9e

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