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October 24, 2007 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-10-24

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8A - Wednesday, October 24, 2007
More mayhem in
store for weekend

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Campbell up for any role


Daily Sports Editor
What has the college football
world come to? The No. 2 team in
the nation has lost three straight
weeks. A Catholic college not
named Notre Dame is undefeated.
A traditional basketball power-
house (Connecticut) is currentlyin
the BCS top 25 for the first time in
school history. And, oh my good-
ness, Michigan ran a trick play!
The soap opera that is the col-
lege football season gets more
unpredictable with each passing
week, so for making my picks, I'm
just goingto use a dartboard.
No. 2 Boston College at No. 8
Virginia Tech, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
Congratulations, Boston Col-
lege. You're the new No. 2 team in
the nation! Enjoy it while it lasts,
because it's meant disaster for any
team not named Louisiana State.
And Thursday night's game
doesn't bode. well for the Eagles.
They're also on the road and play-
ing a solid Virginia Tech defense.
Boston College quarterback Matt
Ryan will have to wait to hoist the
Heisman, because the Hokies' pass
defense is scary good. What does
Virginia Tech have going for it?
Um, the team is playing at home.
Oh, what the heck, it's worked
for the last three weeks. Why
shouldn't it work for now? The
Eagles will lose.
No. 8 Virginia Tech 21, No. 2
Boston College 17
No. 12 Southern Cal at No. 5
Oregon, 3 p.m.
So it turns out Oregon really is
that good. Despite a loss at home
to California, the Ducks have been
rolling. All of their wins have been

blowouts, and their success starts
with quarterback Dennis Dixon.
He's passed for 1,721 yards and 16
touchdowns and has run for 423
yards and seven touchdowns this
season. There hasn't been a week
where Dixon failed to show up.
Saturday, Southern Cal gets the
pleasure of trying to stop Dixon.
The Trojans had a rough two
weeks when they lost to Stanford
and played poorly against Arizona.
But as Michigan fans can, Notre
Dame is the best cure for poor play.
Southern Cal looked more like
itself during the 38-0 thumping
last week.
Autzen Stadium should be rock-
ing after the home loss. Oh, and
this will be Mark Sanchez's first
game against a good team. Expect
him to have some trouble.
Ducks fly together!
No.5 Oregon34, No.12 South-
ern Cal23
No. 21 California at No. 4 Ari-
zona State
Just two teams stand unblem-
ished atop the Pac 10 standings
- UCLA and Arizona State. The
Bruins will be lucky to survive
the rest of the season, but the Sun
Devils might be a legitimate threat
to run the table. Their toughest
stretch begins this week when
they butt heads with stumbling,
bumbling California.
Two weeks ago, the second-
ranked Golden Bears were to end
Southern Cal's reign as confer-
ence champs. Since then they've
had two embarrassing losses, and
many of their fans would love to
go into hibernation. Keep you eyes
closed, California fans. It's going to
be another ugly one.
No. 4 Arizona State 35, No. 21
California 17

Daily Sports Editor
When fifth-year senior Anton
Campbell visited Michigan as a
high school senior, his host told
him exactly how his career in Ann
Arbor would unfold.
Darnell Hood, the then-fresh-
man who became a special teams
aficionado himself, had gone
through a similar transition dur-
ing his time as a Wolverine, and
he envisioned the same path for
Campbell was being recruited
by Illinois, Nebraska and Michi-
gan to play running back, the
position he starred at in O'Fallon,
But Hood told him the coach-
es would move him to defensive
back, the same scenario Hood
At the time, Campbell was less
than impressed with the predic-
"I was like, 'You don't know
what you're talking about,' "
Campbell said. "And then it hap-
pened, and I was like, 'Wow.' "
The switch came during spring
drills during his sophomore year,
and Campbell, described as an
ultimate team player by Michigan
coach Lloyd Carr, accepted the
Campbell never broke into the
defensive rotation, so he focused
his attention on making an impact
any way he could. And because
Carr values special teams, Camp-
bell knew that oft-overlooked unit
was his route to the field.
- "When you're a young guy, you
want to play now, ASAP," Camp-
bell said. "I told the coaches I
wanted to play special teams from
day one justbecause I did it in high
school, and it was always fun."
To excel at special teams like
Hood did for four years, Campbell
has developed a unique mindset.
He doesn't get the recognition
of the skill players, and his craft
is usually praised only within



Fifth-year senior Anton Campbell has made the most of his decision to return for another season.

Schembechler Hall. Still, he
knows if he doesn't do his job, it
might cost the Wolverines a win.
"Special teams is going to win
or lose the game eventually,"
Campbell said. "It might not be
this week or next week, but even-
tually, it's going to happen, so you
have to take pride in it."
Campbell's pride has earned
him the distinction of special
teams captain and the respect of
his teammates and coaches, some-.
thing he said you have to earn on
the field.
Over his five years on the foot-
ball team, Campbell has appeared
in 45 career games, mostly on

special teams, but running backs
coach Fred Jackson made an
interesting proposal last week.
With both Mike Hart and Bran-
don Minor sidelined with ankle
injuries, Jackson asked Camp-
bell to return to his former posi-
tion this past week to add depth.
Campbell was more than happy to
oblige, even though it took a day
to readjust.
"He's one of those guys that is
willing to do anything to give his
team a chance (to win)," Carr said.
"He never complains. He's always
had a great attitude."
But if Campbell took one thing
above all others from the player

who laid out his career at Michi-
gan, it was to have fun with what
he was doing.
Whether taking snaps at run-
ning back, playing in the defen-
sive backfield or anchoring the
special teams units, Campbell
is just enjoying one final year in
maize and blue.
"Now that time is winding
down,.I'm like, 'Wow, I only have
this much time left, I have to take
advantage of it,' "Campbell said.
One thing left on Campbell's
to-do list is to call Hood and let
him know he's playing some run-
ning back, something Hood didn't


Two take Big Ten
weekly awards
A pair of redshirt freshmen,
Rachel Severin and Peter Christ-
mas, both received their first Big
Ten Conference
Runner of the-
Week honors of
their short careers
at Michigan.
Severin paced
the women's cross
country team at
the EMU classic CHRISTMAS
last Friday with a
fourth-place fin-
ish. The Chelsea
native posted a
time of 18:12 in
her 5,000-meter
race. i
Christmas, an
Ann Arbor native,.
also finished
fourth for the
Michigan men's
cross country team on the same day.
He finished the 10,000-meter race in
Both runners hope the momen-
tum from their individual accolades
will extend to this weekend's Big Ten
Championships in Columbus, Ohio.

After two years in shadow,
Mitera emerges as leader


Daily Sports Editor
Mark Mitera's first two years
* at Michigan were relatively quiet
with big-name defenseman Matt
Hunwick and Jack Johnson on the
Well, as quiet as can be for a
first-round draft pick with clear-
cut NHL talent.
Johnson and Hunwick are
gone now, and this season, it's the
junior's turn to lead a young Wol-
verine defensive corps.
"We talked about it last spring,"
"how our defense would change
without Hunwick and Johnson
and all the defensemen (four total)
we lost, and how challenging and
how good it would be for Mark
Mitera to now step up and really
blossom into this challenge. And I
think he's done exactlythat."
One of the biggest adjustments
for Mitera has been increased
ice time. In the past two seasons,
Johnson and Hunwick accumu-
Dl lated the most playing time, often
spending nearly half the game on
the ice.
Now, Mitera . is a rock on
defense, skating on the power play
and penalty kill, as well as at even
"This summer, I worked hard

!on my skating and conditioning,"
Mitera said. "I knew I'd be play-
ing 25-30 minutes a game without
those guys here."
Just looking at Mitera's play-
ing time undervalue's his presence
on the team. With four freshman
defensemen, Mitera has also taken
on a leadership role with the blue-
In each of Michigan's four
games, the Livonia native has been
paired with a first-year player,
most often Scooter Vaughan.
Mitera is a quiet guy who rarely
gets in someone's face to chastise
him. Instead, Mitera leads best by
example, both on and off the ice.
"He works the hardest in the
weight room," Vaughan said. "He's
one of the strongest guys on the ice
at all times. He just plays aggres-
Mitera uses his strength to pre-
vent opponents from scoring goals
when he'son the ice. Last season,
despite being hampered by a wrist
injury that limited his stick han-
dling, Mitera used physical play to
finish with a plus-23 rating.
His forceful style and 6-foot-3
frame make Mitera an imposing
presence on the blue line, but his
offensive numbers are unlikely to
rival those of Johnson and Hun-
Mitera has 29 points as a Wol-

verine, including just two goals.
While he's not expected to be an
offensive force, Mitera has the
ability to shoot and pass the puck
with the best. So far, it just hasn't
always shown up in the score
Those talents made Mitera a
good fit on Michigan's second
power-play unit the past two sea-
Saturday night, Mitera's pres-
ence on the power play paid off in
quantitative terms when, on the
man-advantage, he scored Michi-
gan's first goal of the game.
The tally came off a flutter-
ing wrist shot. Still, it got the job
"I guess I'll take whatever
goals I get," Mitera said after the
game. "They're kind of few and far
between, but I just got the puck
and shot it to the net. I don't think
the goalie saw it."
Even with the goal, Mitera still
garners the most praise for his
efforts inhis ownend. Muchofthe
credit for Michigan's 3-1-0 start
goes to his ability to top opposing
As senior alternate captain Chad
Kolarik said over the weekend,
Mitera has been, "a man amongst
boys" this season. And Kolarik
wasn't referring to Mitera's fresh-
man teammates.


Junior Mark Mitera has emerged as the veteran leader of the defensive corps
His physical style has set the tone for the rest of the blueline.

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