September 20, 2005
sports. michigan daily. com
By Gabe Edelson
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan receiver caught the ball
near the left sideline and quickly moved
away from the cornerback attempting to
tackle him. After eluding the initial defend-
er's shaky grip and running to the outside,
he juked his next obstacle, the free safety,
to the inside. The Wolverine beat a third
would-be tackler before he was eventually
dragged down at the end of a 21-yard gain.
On the very next play, the quarterback
got the ball to a different wideout. This
time the pigskin went to the right flat,
where the offensive player slipped the same
cornerback from the previous play. A line-
backer tried his best to corral the threat,
but he was made to look silly when he flew
by his intended target on a cutback. Finally,
a group of gang-tacklers managed to bring
the ball carrier to the turf after a pickup of
Most fans are accustomed to seeing this
caliber of athleticism from redshirt junior
receiver Steve Breaston, but the names of
each of the above-mentioned Wolverines
are significantly more obscure. The fourth-
quarter plays came courtesy of true fresh-
men Mario Manningham and Antonio Bass,
respectively. Saturday's game against East-
ern Michigan served as Bass's offensive
debut. Even though Manningham has lined
up out wide in each of Michigan's first three
games this season, he has served strictly as
a backup. But despite its inexperience, the
first-year duo is turning heads early on.
"I am truly impressed that (Manning-
ham and Bass) have picked up what they've
picked up so fast," redshirt junior receiv-
er Carl Tabb said. "I know for me, I had
a year, and the second year was still dif-
ficult. So I can only imagine what it's like
having to learn the offense in such a short
amount of time and to be proficient at it.
So that speaks to their work ethic and their
willingness to listen. They're taking all the
help they can get, and you can just see the
results of all that hard work paying off."
Manningham and Bass have benefited
from a leg injury suffered by sophomore
wideout Adrian Arrington in the season
Saturday' apathy not
something to be proud of
et's all be honest - no one was as excited
for the Eastern Michigan game as for the
Notre Dame contest the week before. I
was thinking in the week prior to the game that
this could be the least cared about game in my
four years here. That was painfully clear. In fact,
I found out just how true this was well before the
game even started.
When I woke up Saturday morning, I wasn't
greeted by the sounds of girls yell-
ing, horns honking or music blast-
ing. No, I was stirred by my own
restlessness. That hasn't happened
on a football Saturday since I've
been at Michigan. As I walked down
Packard to meet with fellow football
writer Ian Herbert, we recognized
that something was amiss. There
was hardly a beer bong to be hadz
and no more than a couple games of
beer pong being played. It's like we M
had been transplanted to a Division VEN
III school - not one of the premier The
college football schools.
As we strolled along, I noticed that the sun
wasn't even shining. Yeah, I'm all too aware that
Michigan is a cloudy state, but not in September
during football season. It was like Mother Nature
was either hungover or still pissed about the
loss the previous week. It was dreary, wet and
all-together gloomy. Not even the weather was
But that wasn't going to stop the Leaders and
Best, right? We were going to cheer the mighty
Wolverines to a victory before the Big Ten sea-
son started. Well, not exactly. I know way too
many people that decided not to go to the game.
I know a guy that could've had a ticket for a dol-
lar but didn't buy it. What was he planning on
doing with the dollar, saving it and buying a slice
of Sgt. Pepper's pizza and chilling on the couch?
Nice school spirit, bud.
So there were a large number of students
sleeping in or watching the game on TV. Well,
forget them. Walking with the people actually
going to the game wasn't that encouraging,
either. Most were just going through the motions,
like this game was more of a chore than fun.
"It's more of a hassle than anything else," my
pathetic friend Jack said.
But evidently he wasn't alone. Probably the
saddest sight of the day came as I headed toward
the gates. A dude - who I know sits in the front
row - was yelling at the flock of people. Wear-
ing a "Michigan Fired Up" shirt, he pleaded and
begged the crowd to, not just be loud, which is a
common request, but to stay for the whole game.
How depressing is that? This really was a differ-
As I left the masses to go to the media
entrance, I felt as if I could just walk in and no
one would notice. And sure enough, as I headed
through the gates, the person didn't even seem
to look at me. To be honest, maybe they did and
I didn't notice, but the security just didn't feel
as tight. It didn't stop at the gate. I went to the
pressbox and the usual security wasn't there,
either. I kind of just strolled in.
So even before the game started,
the game was definitely not hyped.
Then I get to the press box, and there
aren't any chicken salad sandwiches
left. That's the only pressbox food
that's decent, and they didn't even
have them before the game. What
was going on with everyone? Where
was the thrill?
I know that the person who
decides which players go on the
TT game program wasn't thrilled. The
GONI program featured the special teams
3a/1 unit picture. Seriously, a group shot
of the lonesome kickers. Nothing
says excitement like the guys who kick extra
points and punts. What the deuce?
Was there a single person who was excited for
this intrastate showdown?
I think that, of all the Michigan players, only
one - Willis Barringer - seemed visibly
I can't blame the players though, it has to be
tough getting up for an Eastern Michigan team
that doesn't even compete well in the MAC.
"The truth is every time you step on the field
you can get beat," coach Lloyd Carr said in the
postgame press conference. "They're not my
favorite kind of game because sometimes kids
that are 18 and 19 years old read the newspaper
and they make decisions based on what they
think is going to happen or should happen. So
there are a lot of things there."
So the players would have to rely on the crowd
to inspire them. Well, the student section was
spottier than the top of Hulk Hogan's head, so
that didn't help. The rest of the stadium, already
known for its quiet reputation, didn't get rowdy
either; they couldn't even give a full fist pump
during "The Victors" or "Let's Go Blue" cheers.
In the end, it didn't matter that no one cared.
Michigan took the Eagles behind the woodshed,
55-0. Business was taken care of handily. But
maybe at the next home game, against Minne-
sota, I will be woken up at 8 a.m. to the sounds
of a hyped campus. We can only hope so.
- Venegoni, who is going to Madison this
weekend, is so excited he could wet himself
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Freshman Antonio Bass rushed for 20 yards in Michigan's 55-0 win over Eastern Michigan.
opener. Coupled with the fact that redshirt
freshman Doug Dutch missed last week's
game due to illness, extenuating circum-
stances have thrust the freshmen into the
limelight. Still, coach Lloyd Carr is quick
to point out that they are far from polished
"(Injuries) gave us an opportunity that
we really were looking for, and that was to
play Mario Manningham more and to get
Antonio Bass into the game," Carr said.
"We were able to do that, and I think they
made some mistakes in there. They are not
where they need to be in terms of under-
standing all of the nuances of their posi-
tion. But certainly they will learn from that
experience. I think both of them did some
Bass, a Jackson native, did more than
simply catch the lateral from Matt Gutier-
rez, who was inserted at quarterback for
Chad Henne at the start of the second half.
The receiver also took two snaps at quarter-
back, rushing twice from under center for a
combined eight yards and a first down. It
wasn't an unusual role for Bass, who played
quarterback at Jackson High School. But
his position shift displayed the versatility
of this year's incoming receiving corps.
"It felt great to help out the team and do
the little things I can do to help the team
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Mundy out for year with nerve injury
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At the football team's weekly
press conference yesterday, coach
Lloyd Carr announced
that junior free safety
Ryan Mundy would
most likely miss the
remainder of the sea-
son with an unspecified
nerve condition similar
to the one that ended
the playing career of
Reid last year.
"Mundy, I think, will Mundy
not play in game com-
petition this fall," Carr said.
Mundy's last action came in the
season opener against Northern Illi-
nois, when he played sparingly in a
backup role to redshirt junior Willis
Barringer. The third-year defender
saw action in 11 games during his
freshman season and started all 12
contests last year. Because he only
played a few downs in
one game this season,
he will be eligible for a
redshirt season if he is
able to return..Mundy
has 61 tackles, two
interceptions and three
pass breakups at Michi-
gan in his career. His
loss was a shocking one
for the Wolverines.
"We were hoping
that he would be able to
return," Carr said. "We would like
to give it some rest so that we can
see what happens in spring practice.
I'm not particularly encouraged. I'm
disappointed that it just hasn't come
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