ony Gonzales in
ht ends don.
In his fifth year at Michigan, the Allentown, Pa., native
finally gets a chance to start against Penn State.
i talking began last week when Nittany Lions tailback Austin
:eammate of Massaquoi's at Parkland High - called Massa-
him that one of Penn State's defensive ends has "something
him this weekend.
game means more than bragging rights for Massaquoi this
hance for the Wolverines to beat a top-10 opponent and turn
:id, Massaquoi seemed to equate lesser hype with
to prove Joe Paterno right.
saquoi dismisses the critics who have ques-
1Michigan in light of the team's down year.
.assaquoi said. "I've got a couple of Big Ten
e any regrets."
are that sentiment. The long-time Penn State
:ruited Massaquoi out of high school, and with
ioi remains Lehigh Valley's all-time leader in
he caught 114 passes for 1,928 yards and 22
is at Parkland. At the time, Rivals.com rated
nd the nation's fifth-best wide receiver.
nade his mistake. Patemo wanted to convert
believing that his size and "big, long arms"
up inside. Like almost all of the coaches who
upfront with.Massaquoi from the start about
positions. And why not? Paterno had the home-
vanted the local hero to go to State College.
roblems: Massaquoi wanted to be a wide
>ach Lloyd Carr promised him an opportu-
"Tim wanted to be the best player on the field," Sniscak says. "Wide
receiver is where he thought he could be the best."
So when he came to Ann Arbor in 2001, Massaquoi pursued that
position. It was clear from the start that he would have to fight for play-
ing time - Marquise Walker was returning for his senior season, and
Massaquoi's recruiting class included Braylon Edwards. Still, Carr
had faith in Tim as a receiver, saying at Media Day that he had been
"impressive" in the first two days of training camp.
But it soon became clear that Massaquoi's career as a wide receiver
would probably involve quite a bit of time on the sidelines. He played in
Michigan's season opener against Miami (Ohio) but underwent surgery
and did not play again that season. Sitting on the bench as he redshirted the
year gave Massaquoi time to re-evaluate his position.
"It was his first experience on the sideline," Sniscak says. "It was not
where he wanted to be. Tim is astute. He wanted to get on the field, and
he knew what he had to do. If he stayed at receiver, he was going to be on
the sideline longer"
plays. But during the game, when the ball is
thrown to you, you have a tendency to not
look at the ball and just catch it and go.
That's something I can do with two good
hands, but I can't do that with the cast."
Instead, Massaquoi has tried to
guide the ball into his body with
his left hand, using his right
"stump" only to slow its
speed. The wrap has also
affected Massaquoi as a
blocker. He says there
have been situations
in which he has a'
ravado or pure desire to help Michi-
s the ball - wrap or not - and balks
role in the offense.
uld never say that," Mas-
d show a lack of confi-
ever want my coaches
ink I'm not confident
i lose confidence in me.
it, I'm a playmaker, and
ng leader that it's
when he's not at
didn't tell him he'd be a wide-out,"
~d we lost him. We tried hard to get
is he chose N\
Tim that he v
ht end wasn't
Is him a "phe
kler" could h
4 wouldn't be
ays; we're s
assaquoi was blinded by the glamour of being a wide receiver.
At that position, he was the star, the go-to player, the guy who
had every ball thrown his way. With exceptions like Bennie
his ability to catch the ball. But a number of dropped passes later, he special meanin;
now admits the protective foam impedes him as a receiver. As he says w
"It is difficult," Massaquoi says. "In practice, I can make those as a tight end."
a smile, "I've never played Penn State