2 - The Michigan Daily - Football Saturday - October 15, 2005
The Michigan Daily - Football
2005 Michigan Schedule
2005 Michigan Roster
More Than Meets the Eye
There isn't much this 313-pound former running back can't do
Pos. Ht. Wt. YearEIig.
Notre Dame (Sept. 10), L 17-10: Not an unfamilar sight for
Michigan - a September loss. The Irish used an effective opening
drive to take a 7-0 lead. They never looked back and were able to
hold off the Wolverines, despite Michigan's late-game comeback.
Wisconsin (Sept. 24), L 20-23: Last season the Wolverines
couldn't stop the mobile quarterback. In this game it was the immobile
quarterback that sealed the deal. John Stocco's four-yard scamper
capped an 11 play, 54 yard game-winning drive. Chad Henne's "I've
fallen and I can't get up" impersonation was just a dagger to the heart.
Shawn Crable OLB
Kevin Grady RB
Ross Ryan P
Darnell Hood CB
Charles Stewart CB
Prescott Burgess OLB
Chad Henne QB
Jason Avant W R
Matt Wilde QB
Anton Campbell S
Matt Gutierrez QB
Landon Smith WR
Jeff Kastl QB
Grant Mason CB
Tyrone Jordan Il WR
Morgan Trent CB
Steve Breaston WR
Chip Cartwright ILB
Adrian Arrington WR
James BloomsburghP K
Carl Tabb WR
Antonio Bass WR
Ben Wright WR
Willis Barringer S
Jason Forcier QB
Mike Hart RB
Ryan Mundy S
Jamar Adams S
Kyle Plummer CB
Max Martin RB
Jerome Jackson RB
Johnny Sears Jr. CB
Alijah Bradley RB
Mike Carl S
Shakir Edwards DB
Brandon Harrison S
Sr. J r.
28 Dan Moore
28 Chris Richards
29 Leon Hall
31 Brandent Englemon
31 Craig Moore
32 Mister Simpson
33 Scott Hamel
34 Jason Gingell
35 Brian Thompson
36 Scott McClintock
37 Chris Graham
37 James Logan
38 B.J. Opong-Owusu
38 Garrett Rivas
39 Andre Criswell
40 Obi Oluigbo
41 Zoltan Mesko
42 Chris McLaurin
43 Mark Spencer
44 Jason Eldridge
44 Jim McKinney
45 Brad Cischke
45 David Harris
46 Brandon Logan
49 John Thompson
49 Eric Van Beek
50 Jeremy Van Alstyne
53 Kyle Myers
54 Mark Bihl
56 LaMarr Woodley
57 Adam Kraus
60 Patrick Lyall
60 Dave Moosman
61 Turner Booth
62 Tim McAvoy
62 Jon Saigh
64 Grant DeBenedictis
Sr. J r.
Sr. J r.
Sr. J r.
72 Rueben Riley
73 Alex Mitchell
74 Brett Gallimore
75 Cory Zirbel
76 Mike Kolodziej
77 Jake Long
78 Justin Schifano
78 Gabriel Watson
79 Adam Stenavich
80 Alan Branch
81 Doug Dutch
82 LaTerryal Savoy
83 K.C. Lopata
83 Mike Massey
85 Carson Butler Jr.
Leo Henige Jr. OL
Paul Sarantos DT
Matt Lentz OL
Terrance Taylor DT
Patrick Sharrow OL
David Schoonover OL
Jeremy Ciulla OL
Sean Griffin LS
Mark Ortmann OL
6.4 339 5th Sr.
6-3 261 Sr. Jr.
6-6 305 5th Sr.
6-2 295 Fr. Fr.
By Gabe Edelson * Daily Sports Writer
Minnesota (L, 23-20): A 61-yard run from Gary Russell
during what appeared to be garbage time allowed the Gophers
to run down the clock before kicking a field goal for the win.
The victory sent the Little Brown Jug back to Minneapolis
for the first time since before most of us were born.
86 Mario ManninghamWR
88 Tim Massaquoi TE
89 Tyler Ecker TE
90 Tim Jamison RLB
91 Rondell Biggs DE
92 William Paul FB
94 Pat Massey DT
95 Marques Walton DT
96 Eugene Germany DE
97 Will Johnson DT
97 Max Pollock OLB
99 Pierre Woods OLB
Iowa (Oct. 22): The Hawkeyes' offense looked great last weekend,
racking up a total of 535 yards against Purdue in a 34-17 romp.
F F Quarterback Drew Tate threw for a career-high 357 yards and
three touchdowns while Albert Young ran for 165. Captain Kirk
seems to have the Enterprise righted after two early season losses.
FOOTBALL SATURDAY PRODUCTION CREW
Indiana (Nov. 12): Blake Powers threw four touchdowns on just
198 yards, and a 36-13 victory over Illinois improved the Hoosiers
record to 4-0 against teams that won't be playing in bowl games. But
their 41-24 loss to Wisconsin earlier this season is a likely indicator
of what will happen when they square off against Iowa this weekend.
Special Thanks to
Editor in Chief
Managing Sports Editor
Managing Photo Editor
Display Sales Manager
Ad Design Manager
Jack Herman and Lindsay Unger
Tbe SO .OW
There's something special about
football Saturdays in Ann Arbor.
Tradition is everywhere, from stu-
dents and alumni singing "The
Victors" to the team running onto
the field and jumping to touch the
banner. One hundred twenty-six
years after the Wolverines first
suited up for a football game,
those traditions are part of what
makes Michigan football what it
Football Saturday is one of our
traditions at The Michigan Daily.
In each section, we preview Mich-
igan's upcoming opponent, pro-
viding our breakdown of how the
two teams' offenses,, defenses and
special teams match up. We also
profile players and coaches to give
our readers a better understanding
of what the Wolverines are like on
and off the field. And we have a lit-
tle fun, too, simulating Michigan's
game in Procrastination Station
and making our picks for some of
the weekend's biggest games.
The team has had it's up and
downs - three losses before the
middle of October hasn't ever hap-
pened here in Michian. But no
matter what, every week, we seek
to provide the most in-depth cov-
erage of Michigan football in the
country. We hope you enjoy it.
Gabe Edelson " Ian Herbert
Matt Venegoni " Stephanie Wright
I f you've been watching Alan Branch
this season, chances are you've
already formed some opinions.
You've probably noticed the way the
defensive lineman has terrorized quar-
terbacks John Stocco, Drew Stanton and
Bryan Cupito in Big Ten play. Seen him
leap over fallen offensive lineman on his
way to devastating tackles in the back-
field. Maybe even clapped and cheered
as he's forced fumbles, hustled downfield
in pursuit and dragged down some of the
nation's most talented running backs.
It would seem likely thatBranch has been
schooled since childhood in the nuances of
playing on the defensive line. After all, for
a sophomore to become a regular starter
at both the tackle and end positions, pass-
rushing and run-stuffing must have gone
hand-in-hand with learning the alphabet
and memorizing multiplication tables in
Branch's education, right? And certainly
he's a mean, nasty, no-nonsense type of
guy, just what you'd expect from his style
of play. It seems logical, no doubt.
But if you subscribed to these views
concerning the Rio Rancho, N.M., native,
you'd be pretty far off the mark. Because
when it comes to Alan Branch, appear-
ances can be deceiving.
Just a short five-minute drive from the
Rio Grande, in Albuquerque, N.M.,
stands Cibola High School, home of
the Cougars. Ben Shultz, the head football
coach at Cibola, knew Branch was some-
thing special as early as the seventh grade.
By the time Shultz became his coach,
Branch had already grown to 6-foot-6 and
well over 300 pounds. In addition to foot-
ball, he has played soccer, baseball and
"He was just a once-in-a-lifetime ath-
lete," Shultz says. "With his size and
strength and speed and agility and foot-
work, he could do it all."
And that's exactly what Shultz pushed
Branch to do. Everything. Simply playing
on the line wouldn't be enough. By the
time Branch left Cibola for Ann Arbor, he
had contributed from a dizzying array of
positions. Sure, the gargantuan teenager
played defensive end. But the laundry list
of Branch's responsibilities included roles
most athletes his size would never dream
of playing: linebacker; tight end; wide
receiver; running back; kickoff and punt
returner; even quarterback.
"He was so versatile, we could do any-
thing with him," Shultz says. "It really cre-
ated problems for otherteams. We (put Alan
in unusual situations) just to mess with the
other teams' heads. They just didn't know
how to deal with him. We would put him
back on punt returns and kickoff returns on
purpose. You know, 'Go ahead and try to
bring this kid down.'"
For the most part, the other teams
couldn't. Branch returned five punts for
touchdowns during his high school career.
He accumulated nearly 600 combined rush-
ing and receiving yards as a senior alone.
When he lined up in the backfield, Branch
promised his coach five yards a carry.
"I told (Shultz) I could give him a guar-
anteed five yards every time," Branch
says. "Even if I got hit in the backfield, I
just fell forward and got at least four."
For his part, Shultz - now in his 13th
season at Cibola - was thrilled to have
such certainty in short-yardage situations.
The Cougars already had a speed back,
but Branch provided a change of pace. The
bruiser was a smashing success, except for
one memorable instance.
"In the state semifinal against Carlsbad
his senior year, he went exactly four yards
and about 11 1/2 inches," Shultz said. "He
was about a half-inch short of a first down
that would've probably tied the ball game."
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr remembers
watching Branch's recruiting tape. Carr
stared in utter disbelief as the oversized
running back sprinted down the field for a
"He is a very, very talented athlete,"
Carr says. "I will never forget turning the
film on of one of Alan's high school games,
and he was in the backfield. They gave him
the ball, and I think he ran 65 yards."
From the outset, it was clear to Carr
that Alan Branch was a different type of
Naturally, a high school running
back the size of an NFL lineman
caught the attention of college
scouts around the country. Branch visited
Michigan and Arizona State, where cur-
rent Wolverines defensive backs coach Ron
English had recently left his position men-
toring the Sun Devils' cornerbacks. He got
offers from Colorado, Tennessee, Washing-
ton State and Texas Tech. Texas A&M even
used a private plane on a recruiting trip to
see the budding star. English worked hard
to persuade Alan to come play for Michi-
gan. He even sat down with the prospect
during his junior year at Cibola to warn
him of the importance of good grades.
"(School) was an area where Alan had
to be pushed a little bit," Shultz says. "I
think the person who made the biggest
impact on him was coach English. He sat
Alan down and read him the riot act. He
said, 'If you ever even hope to go to Mich-
igan, you have to get your crap together.'
From that point on, Alan was like a 3.5
student. Coach English did a world of
good for Alan."
David Branch, Alan's father, was par-
ticularly moved by Carr's personal visit to
the family's home in Rio Rancho. David
- who grew up in Detroit and graduated
from Northern High School along with his
wife, Valarie, before playing college foot-
ball at New Mexico with Shultz - had
long admired Big Ten football.
"I think the deciding factor for us as a
family was when coach Carr came down
to visit us in our home and ate dinner with
us," David says. "That was very impres-
sive, to have coach Carr in my home.
Then he sat there and ate my dinner, so I
was that much more impressed. We had a
quite frank conversation with coach Carr,
pretty forward and up-front. Of course,
Alan wanted to know if he would have
an opportunity to play. Everyone that's
competitive wants to get in there and see
if they can help."
When it came time to make a decision,
David and Valarie left the choice to Alan.
"We kind of wanted Alan to go away,"
says David, who served as defensive line
coach at Cibola during Alan's high school
years. "I know it sounds kind of weird, but
we felt that would give him an opportu-
nity to grow up somewhat. We thought,
with Alan being a high-profile athlete,
he would be under a microscope (staying
close to home). And my biggest fear, being
an athlete myself, was realizing you're
dealing with a bunch of 18- to 20-some-
thing-year-olds. They're going to make
18- to 20-something-year-old mistakes. I
didn't want his mistakes to be magnified
that much more."
Ultimately, Alan picked the Maize and
Blue. He was one of just eight true fresh-
man to see the field last year, and he played
in every game. Would you honestly expect
anything less from Mr. Everything?
B ut the gridiron isn't the only arena
in which Alan excels. David has
recognized his son's passion for
working with children.
"As big as he is, Alan's a gentle giant,"
David says. "One of the things that I
noticed during high school was that Alan
was really good around children. I think
that's where he's kind of leaning for his
career after football. He would always go
visit his elementary school teachers and
they just love him. (But) those images
don't really fit together when you think
about competitive Big Ten football and
the individuals that participate in it."
So maybe No. 80 isn't quite as vicious
as his countless hits on the turf make him
seem to be. As it turns out, the man whose
legendary high school tackles were lik-
ened to "body slams" by local newspapers
is a bit softer when he's not wearing a hel-
met and shoulder pads.
"He was just such a fun-loving, hard-
working person," Shultz says. "Nobody
worked harder than Alan, nobody got the
job done like Alan. He wasn't a practical
joker, but he liked to have fun."
Shultz also remembers Alan's appetite.
After big wins, the coach's wife would
bake sugar cookies for the team. There
was never any question which player
would be the most frequent customer.
"Alan was always the first person in line
for the cookies," Shultz recalls. "And he'd
always be the last one in line, too. My wife
would make him extra. He was a big guy."
Sugar cookies and working with chil-
dren. Not your typical defensive lineman's
list of passions.
ranch began this season on the
bench. After the loss to Notre
Dame, Carr moved him into
the starting lineup at defensive tackle.
But after defensive ends Rondell Biggs
and Jeremy Van Alstyne suffered inju-
ries, Branch was forced to move to the
outside against Minnesota. Still, the sec-
ond-year player managed to record four
tackles, including one in the backfield on
stud Gopher rusher Laurence Maroney.
He now has 12 tackles, two sacks and a
forced fumble in his last three contests.
But the numbers don't tell the whole
story. Branch - who still has weekly
phone conversations with Gino Sattriano,
his defensive coordinator at Cibola - has
a work ethic and attitude that have rubbed
off on his current teammates.
"He's knowledgeable about the game,"
defensive tackle Gabe Watson says. "He's
going to be a great, great player if he con-
tinues on the path he's going on. He's a
Sophomore Alan Branch has turned his p
humble guy and he doesn't talk much, but
he speaks a lot on the field."
Linebacker David Harris has a differ-
ent take. He claims Branch frequently
reminds his fellow Wolverines of his pas
glory in the backfield.
"He gloats about it a little bit, but we
all know the story behind it," Harris says
pondering how he would try to tackle such
a big ball-carrier. "I'd just have to go for
his legs. If you go up high, you're going to
get run over."
Prescott Burgess, another linebacker
ventures that he would be up to the chal
lenge if Branch broke through the line
with the ball cradled in his arm.
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