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September 06, 2005 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-06

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

Al Montoya, Jeff Tambellini and Mike Brown
opt for the NHL over another season at Yost.

This Northern Illinois squad can actually
put on quite a show. So don't hate.
The SportsTuesday Column


September 6, 2005


MICHIGAN 33, Norther Illinois 11

- - - ----- - ------------------ -- mommumm





Defense needs
to make some
key changes ...
loyd Carr announced yesterday that he plans to make
some changes on defense this week.
I don't think anyone who watched Saturday's game
can blame him - especially with Notre Dame on the way.
Michigan's defense infamously cost the team victories
against Ohio State and Texas last season. There were no
mobile quarterbacks to trip up the Wolverines this week,
but the defense was exposed in Michigan's 33-17 win over
Northern Illinois. The Wolverines
missed tackles, over-pursued plays
and let Huskies tailback Garrett
Wolfe run all over them - or around
them, as was the case on his 76-yard
touchdown at the start of the second
Carr singled out the front seven as
the worst offenders and made it clear
that at least one of last week's start-
ers will begin the day on the bench
this Saturday. STEPHANIE
"We're going to make some chang- WRIGHT
es in the lineup because we're not Wright on Target
going to sit and watch that type of
effort," Carr said. "We need to play harder; we need to play
Linebacker Chris Graham and rush linebacker LaMarr
Woodley are safe, and rightfully so. Graham led the Wolver-
ines with a career-best 10 tackles in his first start, and Wood-
ley made the defensive play of the game on Michigan's lone
sack, stripping the ball from Northern Illinois quarterback
Phil Horvath and recovering the fumble in Huskies territory.
That leaves five players on the hot seat.
Carr was characteristically vague when asked to identify
which player (or players) had lost his job. But it's likely
not Prescott Burgess, who notched five tackles and forced
one fumble in his first career start. While linebacker Scott
McClintock is now listed beneath Dave Harris in the depth
chart, that move is probably the result of Harris - who
missed the first game due to injury - being healthy, rather
than McClintock playing poorly.
So it comes down to defensive linemen Jeremy Van
Alstyne, Pat Massey and Gabe Watson.
Ironically, the line has been widely considered the strength
of the defense. Massey is a co-captain, Watson was an
All-Big Ten first-team selection in 2004, and Van Alstyne
impressed last season despite missing five games due to a
nagging knee injury.
But Carr has a history of being hardest on the players
he believes have the most talent. In 2003, Carr sat Braylon
Edwards for extended periods of time at the beginning of
the season. After that, Edwards straightened up his act
and became the most dominant wide receiver in the nation
last year.
For that reason, I think Watson's job is in the most danger.
Carr believes the senior has as much potential as anyone he's
coached at Michigan - presumably, that includes Edwards.
See WRIGHT, page 4B

Michigan linebacker John Thompson blocks Northern Illinois placeiker Chris Nendick's E5-yard ffeki goal attempt early in the third quarter of the Wolvednes' 3347 win Saturday.
..But offense carries Blue over Huskies

By Ian Herbert
Daily Sports Editor
In each of Michigan's final two games - against Ohio
State and Texas - the Wolverines gave up more than 35
points. Saturday, the defense kept Northern Illinois to fewer
than half that, beating the Huskies convincingly, 33-17. But
0 even though the Wolverines left the Big House with a vic-
tory and an impressive offensive performance under their
belts, the questions surrounding Michigan's defense didn't
go anywhere.
Michigan scored early on a four-yard fade route to senior
co-captain Jason Avant and never gave the lead away to
the Huskies. The score capped a 14-play drive by the Wol-
verines in which they looked close to untouchable. Quar-
terback Chad Henne in particular was nearly flawless on
the first drive of the game. He threw just two incomplete

passes - a drop by Avant on a quick slant and a 40-yard
bomb to Steve Breaston down the right sideline.
The sophomore finished with 227 yards and two touch-
downs, but he wasn't even the most notable starter on the
offense. Avant finished the day with 127 yards on nine
catches, many of which were high-flying, acrobatic grabs.
"We started off fast and kept control throughout," Henne
said. "And that's the key. When you have a team that can
control the ground and control that clock, it's going to be an
advantage. And that's what we did."
When the Wolverines came out and put the ball into the
endzone once again on the second drive, the rout looked
to be on. Henne threw the ball to four different receivers
on the first two drives, including sophomore running back
Mike Hart, who scored on a 34-yard screen to make it 14-3.
Hart finished the day with 166 all-purpose yards and two
touchdowns, picking up right where he left off last year as a

Doak Walker Award candidate. He got the nod at the start,
but eventually split the carries with true freshman Kevin
Grady, who gained 42 yards and, in his first game in Maize
and Blue, also made it into the endzone.
But Henne, Hart and Avant were never the real question
marks on this team. Having been burned in each of the final
two games of last season, the defense spent the offseason
taking the brunt of the program's criticism. One talking
point for the Michigan defensive unit was on eliminating
plays over 25 yards.
"When they say to limit the big plays or have a small
amount of big plays for this game or this season, as a core
defensive back, I really take that personally," cornerback
Leon Hall said before the season opener. "We have expec-
tations for ourselves. That's definitely one of our biggest
goals not to give up big plays in the secondary."
See HUSKIES, page 4B

Swimmers help
collect cash for
* hurricane relief
By H. Jose Bosch
Daily Sports Writer
After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and destroyed
everything in its path, hundreds of thousands of people were
left without homes, food or water. The University of Michigan
soon decided it would take its title as "the leaders and best,"
With help from the men and women's swimming and diving
teams, the Youth Community Action Team of the Washtenaw
County Chapter of the American Red Cross collected money
for families affected by Hurricane Katrina at the gates of Mich-
igan Stadium before Saturday's football game.
"Being a varsity athlete, we have a special opportunity
(at Michigan), and we have a lot of privileges," senior Chris
DeJong said. "And when we see something like the hurricane,
we feel it's our duty to be the leaders and the best, come out
here and raise money for the hurricane victims."
It was the Michigan who approached the Washtenaw County
Chapter of the American Red Cross and proposed the idea of
raising money for hurricane relief at Michigan Stadium. Jenni

National Championship marks softball first
By Kevin Wright
Daily Sports Writer

With one swing of her bat, Michigan
freshman Samantha Findlay changed the
landscape of women's college softball.
Findlay's tenth-inning blast over the
leftfield fence carried the Wolverines past
UCLA, 4-1, in the Women's College World
Series championship series on June 8 and
secured Michigan's position as the first
school east of the Mississippi River to win a
Women's College World Series.
"It was a great moment for Michigan
and for Michigan softball," coach Carol
Hutchins said. "I was so proud of those kids.
They were incredible all week."
The Wolverines enjoyed a stellar year,
finishing with a 65-7 record. In addition to
maintaining a No. 1 ranking for the major-
ity of the season, Michigan won the Big Ten
regular-season championship and the Big
Ten tournament championship. The team
used that momentum to win an NCAA
Regional and Super Regional to qualify for
the Women's College World Series.


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