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September 06, 2005 - Image 17

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

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The Michigan Daily - SportsTuesday - September 6, 2005 - 5B

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Defensive Intensity



Rush Yards

Eh, lackluster at best. The defense forced five
turnovers, which is obviously impressive, but
that is the only reason the tank wasn't complete-
ly on Empty. The goal this year was to eliminate
the big play, but Huskies running back Garrett
Wolfe took the ball to the house on the first play
of the second quarter. The secondary gets a pass
because it was the first game with three new
starters, but the front seven should be better than
this. Rush linebacker LaMarr Woodley got the
team's only sack, and 411 yards would be unac-
ceptable in any other game.

It didn't take a genius to tell that Carr was
not pleased with the defense yesterday at his
weekly press conference. He called the defense
out for not showing enough effort and for not
being physical enough. Instead of sleeping,
Carr said he spent Saturday and Sunday nights
tossing and turning. And that's the fault of Jim
Herrmann's squad. On Saturday, Carr man-
aged to rev the offensive engine, which put up
33 points and 419 yards. But until his defense
gains a little horsepower, it looks like Carr will
be counting sheep.

So the 3:30 p.m. start gave you extra time to
play beer pong and get drunk. You got off to
a good start. The stadium looked pretty full
before kickoff, those yellow pom-poms added
a certain flair, and most of you were scream-
ing your butts off. But something happened
once the ball was in the air. Maybe your hang-
overs hit a little earlier than expected. Maybe
you were too busy trying to get cell phone
reception in the Big House. All we know is
you didn't bring in da noise. And you didn't
bring in da funk, either.

The Wolverines' ground game looked pretty
strong against Northern Illinois, rolling up
208 yards on 48 carries. Sophomore Mike
Hart looked solid, leading the way with 117
yards and a score. And freshman Kevin
Grady bolstered the attack with 42 yards and
a touchdown in his Michigan debut. This was
far from a perfect outing, however. Grady
fumbled on the two yard line in the third quar-
ter, and, although Hart was impressive, his 4.3
yards per carry average was almost a full yard
below his mark from last year.

Hart the leader, but many contribute

By Matt Venegoni
Daily Sports Editor
Going into the season, many prognos-
ticators and fans thought that sophomore
Mike Hart may have to give up some of
his carries this season to fellow sopho-
more Max Martin and freshman Kevin
Grady. But if Saturday's game against
Northern Illinois is any indication, Hart
is definitely entrenched as the starter,
with many other running backs making
By the time the first
quarter ended, the back
showed why it would
not be easy for any-
one to take his starting
Heading into the
second quarter, Hart already had 35
yards rushing and 38 yards receiving
while adding a touchdown. He ended the
day with 117 yards on 27 carries with a,
touchdown and four receptions for 49
"I think (Hart) is quicker, stronger, he
knows more, he's more mature and he's
more powerful," running backs coach
Fred Jackson said. "He's probably the
smartest kid I've ever coached. He'll be
a tremendous football player before the
season's done."
Hart's most impressive play came at
the end of the first quarter, when he took
a quick screen while led by a convoy of
blockers. A Huskies linebacker weighing
50 pounds more began closing in on Hart
quickly, but the shifty back would not be
denied on his way to the endzone.
"I turned it up, and then I guess I got
lower than him and ran him over," Hart
Even though Hart was able to con-
tinue where he left off from last season,
Grady saw his first game action and did
not disappoint. The Grand Rapids native
got the first touchdown of his career and
finished with 42 yards on nine carries.
But not everything went smoothly for
the first-year runner. After Michigan had
the game in check at 27-10, Grady took
over as the first option at running back
and fumbled the ball at the goal line. But
the coaches did not lose confidence in
the young back.

"That's probably the first time that
ever happened," coach Lloyd Carr said
of Grady's fumble. "I think you have to
learn that as you get closer to the goal
line, normally, there are a lot more peo-
ple closer to the ball. I'm sure he'll learn
from that, and this was a good day to
learn it."
Carr and Jackson put Grady right
back in the game after the fumble while
also giving playing time to Martin,
junior Jerome Jackson and senior Alijah
Bradley. In total, the Wolverines had five
different players run the ball, and the
coaches were happy with what they saw
from the stable of backs.
"Obviously we've got some depth at
that position, and I think that is one of
the real solid strengths of this team,"
Carr said. "In this league you're going to
get some guys dinged up."
WELCOME BACK:: After missing most
of last season and not attempting a pass,
former starting quarterback Matt Guti-
errez made his return to the gridiron
Saturday. He attempted just two throws,
but made the most of them, going 1-for-
2 with a nice rolling-to-his left toss to
senior Jason Avant.
"I felt good being out there again
because, according to a lot of people,
I wasn't supposed to be doing that,"
Gutierrez said. "It had been a while
since I had played a game in Michigan
Stadium or anywhere else. And two
years later, it felt really good, and it
was fun."
Carr was just as happy to see the red-
shirt junior out on the field. Before last
season he named Gutierrez the starter,
but-a shoulder injury cut Gutierrez's sea-
son short. Chad Henne took over and has
not looked back once, but Carr thinks
Gutierrez is a better person and player
because of the experience.
"It was extremely satisfying to play
him," Carr said. "I know his teammates
have great respect for him. Everybody
in our program does. Our situation at
quarterback is awfully good. I believe
attendance of 110,971 was the largest crowd
to watch a MAC team play. It was the ninth
time Carr has coached against a MAC
school, and his record remains perfect.

Sophomore Mike Hart (20) was pushed throughout summer camp by Max Martin and Kevin Grady, but he
showed in Saturday's performance that he is more than ready to continue as the starter this season.

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