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September 17, 2007 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-09-17

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The Michigan Daily I michigandaily.com ( Monday, September17, 2007

Team rallies behind Hart's guarantee

ike Hart showed exactly
how you back up a guar-
carries for r -
187 yards and
two touch-
downs came
to play, but
his guaran-
tee stretched
deeper than
tion. He used K I
it to reach out WRIGHT
to his team-
mates. The
When Hart Sophomore
went up to the
podium after
a horrific loss to Oregon and pre-
dicted victory over Notre Dame,
the senior captain drew a fair
share of criticism.
What prompted Hart to put
so much faith in a team that
opened the season with two bad
losses? Why would he put even
more pressure on a group of guys
already hanging their heads over a
hearthreaker and a blowout?
Most important, how confident
could he have been in an offense
that had a freshman quarterback
filling in for a four-year starter?
But if you watched the same
game I did on Saturday, you can,
see why this team's emotional
leader did it.
He wanted everyone to play RODRIGO
together, to unite around a single Senior Shawn Crable and the Michigan defense held the Fighting Irish offense to just 79 total yards, while recording eight sacks.
cause - a guarantee. w
"Anytime your leader goes out there He broke tackles and found a way to stay tackle. It was aggressive, pressuring the field against Oregon.
and guarantees something, you have to on his feet when other backs would've quarterback with blitzes. And it caused And the offense, for the first time this
put aside some of your pride and just surrendered to the ground. turnovers. season, converted on early opportunities
play for the seniors," wide receiver Greg But he also mustered out of his team- Granted, the Fighting Irish looked lost to give the Wolverines a lead that they
Mathews said. "And the fact that he just mates an intensity that had been missing on offense (and defense), but the Wolver- wouldn't relinquish.
went out there and put his neck on the in Michigan's horrendous start. ine defense played with confidence. The The offensive line protected freshman
line for us showed us a lot." The defense played like the Michigan unit came out with the chip on its shoul- Ryan Mallett and opened up holes Hart
Hart followed through on his promise. unit of last year. It remembered how to der most expected to see when it took the had yet to see this season.

It all goes back to Hart's choice
words and his teammates rallying
behind him.
"He wanted everyone to come
with him," runningbacks coach
Fred Jackson said. "It was just him
saying he wanted the other guys
to come and play as hard as he's
going to play."
The cohesiveness started in
practice. Hart said everyone gave
him grief about the guarantee,
especially in the stretching lines.
Senior Adam Kraus said the team
discussed Hart's words because it
had to make the win happen.
Even with all the heat Hart took
in practice, his words served their
His teammates weren't stuck on
the way they fell flat on their faces
coming out of the gates this sea-
son. They had a new talking point.
"You don't forget, but you have
to put it behind you because if we
would have been thinking about
the first two games in this game,
it would have been a loss again,"
defensive tackle Terrance Taylor
At the Wolverines' weekly press
conference last week, safety Bran-
dent Englemon said he doesn't
make guarantees, but in the same
breath, he added he would do his
best to turn Hart's into a reality.
"We had a great time with it,"
Hart said. "We had a great time all
week. We were all a group, andI
think it helped us out."
Hart's words did more than
loosen the team. The guarantee gave
it purpose.
"We didn't want to make him look
bad," Mallett said.
Mallett and company can rest assured
they held up their end of the bargain.
- Wright can be reached
at kpwr@umich.edu

Strength and honor:
Crowe inspires Blue

Senior libero Stesha Selsky overcame an illness to record 38 digs in Saturday night's comeback win.
IM' battles back to
keep streak alv

Daily Sports Editor
Heading into Saturday's game, the
usual suspects were expected to fire
up the Michigan football team.
Embattled coach Lloyd Carr needed
to pick up his team following an 0-2
start, running back Mike Hart need-
ed to rally his teammates following
his guarantee and defensive captain
Shawn Crable needed to get his much-
maligned defense back on track fol-
lowingtwo dismal performances.
But an unexpected source deliv-
ered perhaps the game's most rousing
speech: Academy Award-winner Rus-
sell Crowe.
The Australian actor flew in from
Washington, D.C., Saturday morning
to meet with his friend Carr and the
team prior to kickoff.
What did he say to get them so fired
"I think that's secret information,
mate," Crowe joked.
Crowe later opened up a bit about
the message of his pre-game speech.
"It's just amatter of being one voice,"
he said. "Everybody wanting to do the
same thing for the same reason."
Crowe and Carr forged an unlikely
friendship last year. Carr used clips
from Crowe's "Cinderella Man" as
motivation for his team. The film,
about underdog boxer Jim Braddock
overcoming odds to become a world
champion during the 1930s, has been
credited as one of the catalysts to
Michigan's 11-0 start to last season.
Crowe found out about Carr's team
screenings and decided he wanted to
meet the coach.
"I was really touched that he was
using it, but also, by seeing what he
was using, I could really understand
that Lloyd was a very, very smart indi-
vidual," Crowe said.
Carr flew to Australia in May to
speak with Crowe's rugby team, the

Actor Russell Crowe addressed the football team before Saturday's game

Daily Sports Writer
It usually takes a team's
worst game to expose major
weaknesses, but the No. 10
Michigan volleyball team
was fortunate to find out its
flaws, and simultaneously
winthe Michigan/Nike Invi-
tational Championship, via
a five-game victory on Sat-
urday night in front of 1,180
fans - the biggest crowd to
watch a volleyball game at
Cliff Keen Arena this year.
The Maize and Blue (12-0)
faltered early against Geor-
gia Tech, but rallied back to
win 17-30, 30-24, 30-32, 30-

25 and 15-12 to solidify its
second-straight undefeated
non-conference season.
"We gotinabattle," Mich-
igan coach Mark Rosen said,
"Anytime you get in a battle,
it's good to win a battle."
After beating up on Tem-
ple and Utah Valley State on
Friday in straight sets, it was
clear from the outset the
Yellow Jackets (6-4) were
for real. Georgia Tech pulled
away from a 17-14 lead in the
first game by giving up just
three more points to Michi-
gan and going on a 7-0 run.
. Michigan came out with
more energy in game two,
led by senior Katie Bruzdz-

inski's five kills and two ser-
vice aces to even the match.
After losing game three,
a back-and-forth affair that
featured 11 lead changes and
18 ties, a loss didn't seem out
of the question.
Georgia Tech's system, -
led by Lindsey Gray's 15 kills
through three games - cre-
ated problems for Michigan
and revealed soft spots in its
defense with quick attacks.
"They exposed some
things that nobody yet this
year has exposed," Rosen
Although Rosen wouldn't
say precisely what those

South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Crowe figured he'd return the favor
on Saturday. He saw the Wolverines
struggling and decided he would give
Carr a call.
"I could sense through what I was
watching on TV that my friend was in
a bit of pain, so I thought I'd just take
his mind off things and gave him a call
and started teasing him about it, and
he said 'Get over here,"' Crowe said.
Following his speech on Satur-
day, Crowe joined the Wolverines
on the sidelines and even got to grab
the Go Blue banner during the team's
The largest crowd Crowe's ,Rabbi-
toh squad played in front of last season
had 34,500 people. With that nearly

tripled on Saturday, it's understand-
able that Crowe was slightly over-
"I just want to say that it was an
incredible privilege to be part of being
here today and the atmosphere," said
Crowe, who said he wanted to grab a
couple beers with Carr before he left
Ann Arbor.
Although Crowe admits he doesn't
know everything about American
football yet, he's pretty familiar with
Michigan's roster.
When asked whether he'd have
Mike Hart or Shawn Crable on his
Rugby team, Crowe didn't hesitate
before veering toward option C.
"I want Jake (Long)," he said, gar-
nering laughs from the media.

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