16 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 6, 2006
By Matt Singer
Daily Sports Editor
Growing up in Charlotte, N.C., Jamar Adams
didn't know much about the University of Michi-
gan. ACC football - Florida State in particular
- dominated the airwaves in the football-rich
Southeast, leaving little exposure for Midwestern
schools like Michigan.
That is, until the Wolverines' national-title run
made waves in 1997.
"I mean, I think the only year really I
was a big-time Michigan fan was '97 with
Charles Woodson," Adams said. "Because it
was on TV a lot."
Twelve years old at the time, Adams had no
idea he would wind up donning the maize and
blue. But Michigan's swaggering superstar left an
impression on the youngster.
"I got to see Charles, and I was like, 'Next year,
I'm gonna wear a shield like he wears, I'm gonna
wear No.2 like he wears,' "Adams said.
When it came time for Adams to choose where
to play his college football, the Maize-and-Blue
seed Woodson had planted years before sprouted.
Adams left behind his old dream of playing for
the Seminoles and headed to Ann Arbor ready to
compete for playing time at safety.
"This program has so much to give to a player,"
Adams said. "Academics and athletics are great.
The tradition. It's far superior."
Now in his junior year, Adams is coming
into his own as a leader of the secondary Wood-
son once dominated. Standing 6-foot-2 and
tipping the scales at 210 pounds, Adams has
the physical attributes of a prototypical strong
safety. He's strong, he's fast, and, as Vanderbilt's
offense found out the hard way last Saturday, he
certainly can hit.
Adams boasts all the necessary physical tools,
but his mind sets him apart from the pack - he
was a three-time honor-roll student and chess-
team member in high school. His studious nature
translates perfectly to the safety position.
After starting eight games at strong safety
in 2005, Adams worked closely this offsea-
son with new defensive coordinator Ron
English, who continues to coach the safeties.
Studying film with English, Adams does his
best to absorb every morsel of information
his coach provides in an effort to become
English's on-field representative.
"As a defensive coordinator, he studies situa-
tions, what (Michigan's opponents) want to do,"
(AP) - Michigan is back in the top 10 in the Associated Press col-
lege football rankings for the first time since last season's week two loss
to Notre Dame at the Big House.
The voters also set up a premier matchup for Saturday's primetime
game on ESPN.
As if Ohio State at Texas wasn't already a big enough game, now it's
No. I vs. No. 2.
The Longhorns moved up one spot to No. 2 in The Associated Press
Top 25 on Tuesday, right behind the top-ranked Buckeyes.
The two powerhouses will square off in Austin, Texas, on Saturday,
a much-anticipated rematch of last year's 25-22 victory by Texas in
It'll be the first time since 1996 that the top two teams in the AP
poll will meet in a regular-season game. That year, No. 2 Florida State
beat No. 1 Florida, 24-21, in mid-November. The Gators and Seminoles
met in a rematch in the Sugar Bowl about a month and a half later, and
Florida won 52-20 to earn its only national championship.
Southern Cal moved up three spots to No. 3 in this week's first
regular-season media poll, and Notre Dame slipped two places to No.
4 after a 14-10 victory at Georgia Tech. The Fighting Irish share the
fourth spot with Auburn.
Ohio State received 39 first-place votes and 1,568 points in the poll
after opening its season with a 35-12 win over Northern Illinois. Texas,
which began its season with a 56-7 win over North Texas, received
seven first-place votes and 1,453 points.
Southern California and Auburn each received three first-place
votes; Notre Dame got eight; and No. 6 West Virginia had five. The rest
of the Top 10 is Florida, Louisiana State - up two spots after a 13-10
win over Miami on Monday night - and Michigan.
No. 11 Tennessee made the biggest jump, rising 12 spots after a
35-18 victory over California. The Golden Bears, who had their best
preseason ranking in more than 50 years, fell from No. 9 to No. 22 after
the meltdown in Knoxville.
Miami slipped five spots to No. 17.
Last year's meeting between Texas and Ohio State was the first
between the two storied programs. The Longhorns' comeback victory,
led by Vince Young, allowed them to clear a major hurdle on the way to
their first outright national title since 1969.
That was also the year Texas was last involved in a No. 1 vs. No.
2 regular-season matchup. Texas beat Arkansas in 1969 in one of the
most famous games in that rivalry.
The Longhorns are 4-0 in No. I against No. 2 games, the latest com-
ing last season when they beat Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl for the
national title as the second-ranked team.
Ohio State is 2-0 in 1-2 games, the last coming in the 2002 Fiesta
Bowl. The No. 2 Buckeyes beat top-ranked Miami in that game to win
their last national title.
There were no new teams in the Top 25. The only ranked teams to
lose on the opening weekend were California and Miami.
Georgia came in at No. 12, followed by Louisville, Iowa, Okla-
homa, Virginia Tech, Miami, Clemson, Penn State and Oregon.
The 19th-ranked Nittany Lions play at Notre Dame in Saturday's
other marquee game.
The final five in the rankings were Nebraska, Cal, TCU, Texas Tech
and Arizona State.
Leading those teams also receiving votes were Alabama, Wisconsin,
UCLA and Georgia Tech.
Junior safety Jamar Adams tied for the team lead with six tackles in Saturday's victory over
Adams said. "So he echoes that to (the safeties),
and we have to try to echo that to the defense.
So I'm trying to be (English's) mouthpiece on
the field, so it helps me out a lot. Because I try to
know what he's thinking, in the sense of what he
said to me earlier in the week."
Adams has always been a student of the game
- as shown by coach Lloyd Carr's decision to
play him as a true freshman in 2004 - but he
says his mental game has reached a new level this
year. After winning back the starting strong safe-
ty job in a deep and talented Michigan secondary,
Adams's confidence is at an all-time high.
"I don't know what it is, I think it's just, you've
been there for a while," Adams said. "You just
feel comfortable. You don't feel like, man, if I
mess up, coach is gonna be looking behind my
back saying, 'Oh yeah, he doesn't know what he's
doing out there.' So it's just a comfort level"
Unfortunately for the Commodores, Adams
looked awfully comfortable on Saturday. Roam-
ing the secondary, he anchored Michigan's rock-
solid defensive performance, tying for a team-high
six tackles. Adams also notched an electrifying
pass-breakup late in the third quarter, perfectly
timing a powerful hit on star Vanderbilt receiver
Earl Bennett and dislodging the ball.
Finally, in the fourth quarter, Adams put the
cherry on top of a superb game when English sent
him on a safety blitz. Adams sped into the back-
field and picked up the first sack of his collegiate
career, taking down Vanderbilt quarterback Chris
Nickson nine yards behind the line of scrimmage.
"It's always kinda cool to come up with a sack,"
Adams said. "That's something you're always
used to seeing D-lineman and linebackers get.
... Coach (English), he wants everybody to get a
chance to get in there (on the blitz). I love it."
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