The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 14, 2005 - 3B
polish skills at
By Max Sanders
and Robert Kaitz
Daily Sports Writers
Don't let the glitz of the gridiron distract you.
Be careful not to let the last-second buzzer-beat-
ers and 360-degree dunks mesmerize you. Be
wary of falling in love with overtime hockey and
one-timers. Follow these warnings because, if
you don't, you might forget that wrestling season
has indeed begun. The Michigan wrestling team
is a perennial contender on the national scene,
but due to its long season - extending from fall
to spring - and other factors such as a lack of
TV contracts, the team is often overlooked.
Over the weekend, the squad competed at the
Michigan State Open in East Lansing. Leading
the team with impressive performances were red-
shirt sophomore Jeff Marsh and redshirt fresh-
man Casey White.
While Marsh took second place in the 157-
pound weight class, White finished fourth in the
197-pound weight class. Some of the more pol-
ished and experienced wrestlers did not compete
in the meet so that others could get a chance to
"This meet gives us a great look at where our
younger wrestlers are at," coach Joe McFarland
With such a long and grueling season, the older
wrestlers yielded to give the underclassmen some
In the finals, Marsh fell to Central Michigan's
Eric Neil, 5-2, in a tight and defensive match.
After a scoreless first period, Neil scored a point
on an escape move. He added two takedowns,
while Marsh could manage just two escapes.
As the best performer at the meet, Marsh
showed that he might wrestle at an extremely
high level this season.
"Jeff really laid it on the line," McFarland said.
"This year, he has given a much bigger commit-
ment, and it has paid off."
Marsh was pleased with his performance but was
quick to mention the strength of the team as a whole
- even at a meet for individual achievements.
"Team-wise we really excelled today," Marsh
said. "The season is just beginning, we're start-
ing to get where we need to be."
Another notable match involved White and
Northwestern's Matt Delguyd, the returning Big Ten
champion. White took Delguyd into double over-
time before succumbing. It was the second-straight
competition in which White placed in the top four.
He earned second last week at the Eastern Michigan
"Casey (White) is wrestling with the best
guys in the country, and he is holding his own,"
White was pleased with the result but is still
trying to overcome Delguyd. The loss was the
Henne's season rests
on game vs. OSU
Ihate to break it to you, Chad
Henne, but how you play in next
week's game will define your year
I know you don't want to hear it,
but with a potential Big Ten Cham-
pionship on the line, it will probably
define the entire team's season - and
certainly coach Carr's (by the way,
it's funny how I didn't
see any of the "fire
Lloyd Carr" people
protesting outside the
Big House two days
ago. My, how things
have changed since thek
last time we watched a
game at home.).
But I think, more
so than anyone else
- even more than Carr IA
or the 10 players on the A
roster who are actually HER
from the god-awful red The Sports
state just south of here Colu
- your year will be
made or broken over a 60-minute
stretch next Saturday.
They say the head coach and quar-
terback are the only two guys on the
field who win and lose games, and
so it goes. Your predecessor, John
Navarre, had to deal with it for three-
plus years. Now, unfortunately, it's
You don't want to admit it. I know.
Because admitting it would put a lot of
pressure on yourself. But from what I've
seen over the last two years, you like the
pressure, which is why I'm here stress-
ing the importance of this game.
At Saturday's postgame press
conference, you were asked if you
thought Michigan's season would
be pigeonholed as "good" or "bad"
based on this one game.
"It's a possibility," you said
frankly. "But we can't look forward
towards that. We need to come out
with the mindset that we need to win
this game. And from what we came
from, it's been a tough road. If we
come out with this victory, it will just
match our season."
And boy is that a true statement.
At the beginning of the year, people
were calling for your head. And to
think, people were calling for Matt
Gutierrez to take over. After this
weekend, that looks pretty silly,
considering the offense never punted
when you were at the helm and was
forced to punt three times with Guti-
errez under center.
You've had one of those seasons
that's tough to define. Your numbers~
have been pretty average - your
200 yards per game in the air with
a completion percentage around 50
percent rank eighth out of the 11 Big
Ten starters. But the one number that
sticks out, at least through the first six
games, is three - as in the number
of losses. So how do you assess your
season? Based on statistics? Losses?
A BCS game, perhaps?
I think a win over your archrival
might just do the trick. After all, a
win would at least give you a chance
at winning a Big Ten Championship
- something that appeared impos-
sible six weeks ago. I'm pretty sure
that an 8-3 record would be enough to
silence all your critics, considering a
7-3 record has done the same for your
coach and his doubters.
You've struggled in big games in
your career. Although you threw for
more than 800 yards and 10 touch-
downs last year in games against
Michigan State, Ohio State and
Texas, your team went just 1-2 in
I think of Nov. 19 as a
perfect opportunity for you.
You said this weekend
that you were overwhelmed
by the crowd at Ohio State
last year when you were
a freshman signal-caller.
That won't be a problem
this time around - the
game is in the friendly
confines of Michigan Sta-
dium, where you've lost just
RT two games in your career.
fonday You'll probably have more
n than 112,000 people cheer-
ing for you instead of root-
ing for your demise.
You didn't have much of a chance
last year. Though you had a pretty
decent day, your counterpart, Troy
Smith, shone even brighter. The guy
put up almost 400 yards of total
offense by himself, and he made you
look like, well, a freshman.
But you shouldn't have to worry
about that either. I don't know if it's
something defensive line coach Steve
Stripling did with teaching his play-
ers about rush lanes or something Jim
Herrmann did with defensive schemes,
but the defense doesn't seem to have
problems with mobile quarterbacks
or spread offenses anymore. It's prob-
ably the best Michigan defense since
I've been here (almost - I said almost
- makes you think of stories of Charles
Woodson and the '97 squad), and it
might be the best defense in the Big
Ten. So far this year, it has contained
quarterbacks like Drew Stanton, Brett
Basanez and Drew Tate. It gave up 17
points to Notre Dame, but it was the
only defense in the country that held the
Irish to fewer than 31 points. So with a
little bit of help, you might be able to do
your thing and actually have it work.
Last year, you had Braylon
Edwards, and that was all fine and
dandy. But when you didn't have him
at the beginning of the year, it was
obvious. Passes were overthrown.
Timing was off. Receivers were being
missed. Now that's not a problem,
either. So you don't have Edwards?
Who cares? You've got Jason Avant.
You've got Steve Breaston. You've
got Antonio Bass, Mario Manning-
ham and Tyler Ecker. If Mike Hart
comes back next week like Carr says
he will, then you should have all the
weapons you need.
So it looks as if you're fine. It looks
as if everything that used to haunt
you has disappeared. The only prob-
lem is that it all adds to the pressure.
This is going to be the ultimate test,
on the biggest stage, against your big-
Time to show us what you've got
- and let us judge you.
FIL P'T' O
Michigan's Jim Shutich finished sixth at this weekend's Michigan State Open in East Lansing.
second overtime failure White has had at this
"Delguyd is an experienced wrestler," White
said. "In time with some more matches under me,
I'll be able to pull out some victories."
Other Wolverines who placed at the meet were
Jim Shutich, Justin Chrzanowki and Braden
L'Amoreaux, who finished in sixth place in their
respective weight classes, and Brad Cusumano
and Hassen Berri who were eighth.
With the season just beginning, McFarland
is looking forward to the improvement of the
"We still aren't where we want to be, but they
will all progress as they get more practice and
experience," McFarland said.
Tournaments like this are crucial to the devel-
opment of younger wrestlers. They get an oppor-
tunity to compete against many competitors at a
high level early in the season.
This Friday night, Cliff Keen Arena will host
the annual Maize and Blue Intrasquad scrim-
mage. The event is much more important than
it might appear, because the wrestlers' perfor-
mances will be a large factor in whom McFar-
land selects for the starting lineup.
"youngest to 4,000
Mazlin continues on to consolation semis,
Hung defeated in three sets at Big Tens
Michigan tennis freshman Andrew Mazlin remains the only Wolver-
ine alive in the Big Ten singles championship held this weekend in East
Lansing. Mazlin has posted three-straight victories to advance to the
consolation round semifinals against Penn State's Michael James today.
Junior Brian Hung, seeded fifth in the main draw, made it to the
round of 16 before exiting. Hung fell to 10-seeded Dennis Mertens of
Ohio State 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 after winning both his first and second round
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - LeBron
James made history. Donyell Marshall
helped make sure it came in a victory.
James became the youngest player in
NBA history to reach 4,000 career points
and finished with 26 to help the Cleveland
Cavaliers beat the Orlando Magic 108-
100 in overtime on yesterday night.
"Unbelievable," Cleveland coach
Mike Brown said. "That kid is a
talent. It couldn't happen to a better
person. He's a great person, great
leader and I enjoy being around
him. To be around him when it hap-
pened is a tremendous feeling."
James (20 years, 318 days) entered the
game needing 10 points to pass Kobe
Bryant (21 years, 216 days). After scor-
ing on a jumper, two driving layups and
a dunk, James reached the milestone on
a 21-footer with 58.7 seconds left in the
"I don't let individual statistics make
me unfocused or more focused," James
said. "I just came out and tried to attack
early, and get us a big lead. We were able
to take it into overtime and get a win."
Marshall sent the game into
overtime, making a 3-pointer with
18.1 seconds left. Francis missed a
potential game-winning 18-footer
at the buzzer.
"It's devastating ... it's a heartbreaker,"
Orlando's Deshawn Stevenson said of
Marshall's shot. "Donyell's a good shoot-
er. You have got to give him credit."
Larry Hughes had 22 points for Cleve-
land, which has won four straight. The
three previous wins came by an average
of 19 points.
"We needed a game like this," Mar-
shall said. "We needed a game to show
what we can do and start learning how
to think at the end of the game. It was a
good test for us."
Steve Francis led Orlando with 22
points and Dwight Howard had 21 points
and 16 rebounds.
7vdnmas Ilkauskas. who had 20
"The first half, they took our hearts,"
Howard said. "We just came back and got
our hearts back. We fought so hard to get
back into the game. Marshall hit the shot at
the end of the game ... we were supposed to
get that win."
- Ian Herbert can be reached
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