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March 06, 2007 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-03-06

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Speed counts atcombine

Tuesday, March 6, 2007 - 9

By KEVIN WRIGHT
Daily Sports Editor
INDIANAPOLIS - The two players
stood next to each other like old friends,
even though they played on teams in dif-
ferent parts of the country.
Former Michigan receiver Steve
Breaston and former Louisiana State wide-
out Dwayne Bowe nonchalantly watched
clips of the Senior Bowl in the Indiana
Convention Center on Feb. 23. Both were
quick to laugh and smile as they talked
shout the game's highlights.
But when they took their turns at the
podium in front of reporters, the simi-
larities between the two quickly disap-
peared.
Bteaston came into the NFL Scouting
Combine projected solely as a return spe-
cialist in the pros.
And he's fine with that.
"I would be happy just to come in and
contribute any way I can," Breaston said.
"Special teams or receiver, it doesn't mat-
tet. Whatever the coaches ask me to do, I'll
be happy to do."
His counterpart, Bowe, looks to make
a greater impact in the NFL as a wide
receiver. The Tiger wideout complement-
ed the Louisiana State aerial attack fueled
by quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Bowe

racked up nearly 1,000 receiving yatds
and 12 touchdowns on 6S receptions this
But even though the 6-foot-3 star from
Miami arrived in Indianapolis battling
for the same job as the 6-foot-1 Breaston,
neither let that affect their friendship off
the field.
"When it's time to compete, we compete,
but it's just like anything in life," Breaston
said. "You have friends sometimes com-
pete for the same job. That's what you see
here. Everyone's outchere competing, (but)
you still have that same friendship that at
the end of the day. You're just hanging out
and chilling."
Breaston hopes the exciting play of Chi-
cago Bears' return man Devin Hester in
the NFL regular season and in the Super
Bowl raised return specialists' stock in
this year's draft.
In his four years suiting up for the Wol-
verines, Breaston stood out more as sput
and kickoff returner than a wide receiver.
Breaston sees his versatility as an
advantage heading into the draft.
"Being able to punt return and kick
return, I think that will get me on the
field a lot more than just being a receiver,"
Breaston said. "My ability to return kicks
and make plays after I get the ball."
After collecting a Rose-Bowl record

221 kickoff return yards in the 2005 Rose
Bowl against Texas, it seemed Breaston
would build on his success. But the North
Braddock, Fa., native struggled this sea-
son both as a wideout and in the return
game.
He caught just two touchdown passes
on 670 receiving yards and returned one
punt for a touchdown. In the third game of
the season against Notre Dame, Breaston
became the Big Ten career punt return
yardage leader with 1,3S2 yards.
Throughout his career at Michigan,
he accepted a supporting receiver role
behind stars like Braylon Edwards and
Mario Manningham.
Breaston headed out to Arizona follow-
ing the season to train for the combine.
Since the combine heavily stresses the
40-yard dash time, Breaston came into
Indianapolis with a target 40-time in
mind, but he wouldn't divulge the secret.
When he ran on the third day of the com-
bine, he was clocked at 4.41 seconds.
While in Indianapolis, Breaston talked
to a couple of teams, but when it comes
to ideal situations, the fifth-year senior
would be happy with a roster spot on any
NFL team.
"If I get drafted, I just want the oppor-
tunity to get my foot in the door," Breaston
said. "Then, after that, see where it goes."

MItt HULSOOIJS/DaiI5
Former Michigan wideout Steve Breaston ranta 4.41-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Defensive-zone errors haunt Blue

By JAMES V. DOWD
Daily Sports Writer
The ability to learn from past mis-
takes is what makes or breaks a play-
off hockey team.
r And after drawing Northern
Michigan for the second round of the
.> CCHA playoffs this coming weekend,
No. tO Michigan's ability to repair
deficiencies will be under the micro-
Facing the Wildcats, who advanced
to Ann Arbor after knocking out Ohio
State in the first round of the CCHA
* tournament in Columbus, the Wol-
verines will try to cut down on the
defensive-zone turnovers that cost
ry'them their first defeat of 2007 - a 2-1
loss at the hands of Northern Michi-
gan - on Jan. 13.
Unfortunately for Michigan. that
same carelessness led to its regular-
season-ending loss at Ohio State on
Feb. 24, more than one month after
Northern Michigan's upset at Yost
PETER scHOTTtsrtLo/oaily IteeArena.
Michigan's top toal scorer, sophomore Andrew Cogliano, and his The Wolverines started off their
teammates mast cut down on turnovers this weekend. final game strong, holding the Buck-

eyes to a single goal in the opening
period. But as the game wore on,
Michigan struggled to get the puck
out of its own zone, giving Ohio State
too many short-range shots.
After taking 3-1 and 4-2 leads in
the second period, the Wolverines
allowed Ohio State to climb back
into the game. The Buckeyes' Matt
Waddell found open space deep in
the Michigan zone for an easy goal.
Twenty seconds later, Kenny Bernard
tapped the puck in behind Michigan
goaltender Billy Saner after the Wol-
verines allowed Ohio State's Andrew
Schembri to make a pass across the
front of Saner's net, tying the game
at four.
"We just made too many turn-
overs," Michigan senior captain Matt
Hunwick said. "We didn't make them
earn their chances. We gave up the
puck way too easily. We basically let
them take the puck, get to open areas
and get shots off."
The Wolverines' most egregious
mistake - the one that stuck out in
Michigan coach Red Berenson's mind
after the game' - was a miscue by

sophomore Andrew Cogliano that led
to the game-winning goal.
The Maize and Blue had an oppor-
tunity to clear the puck out of its zone,
but Cogliano misplayed the puck. By
missing the chance to clear, Cogliano
gave Ohio State's Mathieu Beaudoin
the space to slap a shot past Saner
from just inside the blue line.
"That was one mistake," Berenson
said. "That was a forward overskating
the puck and just not stopping, not
having enough of a sense of urgency."
On that play, Berenson also gave
Beaudoin credit for a perfectly placed
shot.
In recent weeks, Saner has earned
Berenson's praise, making saves on
similar shots to make up for defen-
sive lapses while reducing his goals
against average from 3.41 on Dec. 30
to 3.03 today. But even with stron-
ger goaltending, Berenson knows
his team must cut down on defensive
mistakes to have a chance to succeed
in the playoffs.
"I don't like any goalie that gives up
six goals," Berenson said. "t's a tough
game for him to play. I can't tell you

that he had a bad game, but he was a
victim, like our whole team was. He
was victimized by mistakes."
After the loss at Ohio State, Michi-
gan's Spring Break plans centered on
learning from the costly errors that
have cost it several games in the past
two months. The team studies film of
its mistakes in order to help eliminate
miscues in upcoming games.
Despite the continued struggles
with defensive zone turnovers, alter-
nate captain Jason Dest said the first-
round bye gave Michigan a chance to
learn from the film and work out the
kinks in practice.
"We have to analyze this game,"
Dest said. "We have to learn a lot
from this game, because if we don't,
it's going to be the same thing."
According to Hunwick, whether or
not the film and subsequent practices
pay off might make or break the Wol-
verines' season.
"Now it's do or die for us," Hun-
wick said. "If we lose this next series,
we're probably not going to go to the
(NCAA) Tournament, so this is huge
for us."

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