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November 02, 2007 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-11-02

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T D r es

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, November 2, 2007 - 9

Spartans pose no 'Red' threat

Daily Sports Editor
Political football 101: offenses, with
Michigan linebackers coach Steve
When you see spread, think red.
"I call that Communist football,"
Szabo said. "I'm so tired of it. Good,
red-blooded Americans snap the ball,
hand it to the guy and have a normal run
game or pass game."
Szabo and the rest of the Michigan
defense will finally get a break from
the spread offense. Beginning Saturday
at Michigan State, they will face more
traditional offenses in the final three
weeks of the regular season.
After opening the season with losses
to two spread-oriented offenses, the
Wolverines got a brief respite with
games against Notre Dame and Penn
State. The former didn't boast much
of an offense at all, and the latter used
a more traditional, straight-forward
Since the win over Penn State Sept.
22, Michigan has faced five straight
spread offenses, a rarity for the Big
"Well, you know, we've seen it so
much, it's what we're used to," defensive
coordinator Ron English said. "We're
going to have to learn howto play gap
schemes again next week."
But, as defensive tackle Will Johnson
pointed out, it's unlikely the team has
forgotten how to play against a tradi-
tional offense. After all, it goes against
the Wolverine offense every day in
The Spartans present perhaps the
most balanced Big Ten offense Michi-
gan (5-0 Big Ten, 7-2 overall) has faced

this season. But that might not be saying
much, since Purdue and Northwestern
didn't present any rushing attack at all,
and Illinois doesn't yet have a handle on
the forward pass.
Michigan State (1-4, 5-4), on the
other hand, has proven its ability to beat
opponents both through the air and on
the ground.
Running backs Javon Ringer and
Jehuu Caulcrick form the two-headed
monster at the head of conference's best
rushingattack. Providingthe thunderto
Ringer's lightning, Caulcrick leads the
conference with 16 touchdowns. Ring-
er, on the other hand, ranks third in the
conference in rushing yards, averaging
120 per game.
"I think Ringer is a great back,"
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "I
think he's very strong, has great feet
and great acceleration. He's an explo-
sive back. He's very tough and is a good
pass receiver. He's had a great career."
Said cornerback Morgan Trent:
"They've got a different offense (than
the spread). They're running the ball
very well. We watched a little bit (Sun-
day), and they're really being tough, just
running down your throat. They just
line up and run it down your throat."
But Trent will probably spend most
of the game worrying about Spartan
wide receiver Devin Thomas. Thomas
ranks just behind conference leader
Mario Manningham in receiving yards
per game (100.7).
And he's not just a threat when he's
split out wide. Thomas leads the Big
Ten in all-purpose yards, racking up 772
yards on kick returns to go with his 176
rushing yards and 906 receiving yards
on the season.
But for all the skill-position match-

Junior Terrance Taylor has been a force on the defensive line, often taki

ups and breakdowns, spread offenses
and traditional ones, Saturday's game
will still be about a bitter in-state rival-
ry that Michigan players say includes
more physical play on an annual basis
than almost any other game.
"It's nothing illegal or dirty - just
very physical," captain Jake Long said.
"It's about just going as hard as you can

and trying to beat the guy across from
And in the rivals' tooth meeting of
all time, there's unlikely to be too many
tricks or surprises. Both teams feature
relatively straight-forward, traditional
Big Ten offenses.
Should be some good, red-blooded,
American football.

share ice
Daily Sports Writer
Three freshmen, two spots and fierce intrasquad
competition in practice.
That has been the formula for success for the
Michigan hockey team's defensive unit, which
boasts just one upperclassman.
Freshmen, Scooter Vaughan, Tristin Llewellyn
and Kevin Quick have shared two spots on the bench
all season. This has given them game experiencethat
they would otherwise miss out on.
Three weeks into the season, all three have
played at least one game each weekend, while one
has scratched for each game. With the rotation, each
defensemen plays both games every third weekend.
Vaughan got the nod for the Wolverines' first road
trip, playing against both Minnesota and Boston
College. He will skate in both games against Nebras-
ka-Omahathis weekend.
The other freshman defender, Chris Langlais, has
had a spot in the lineup every weekend, because he
had more experience coming into college.
"(The rotation) helps because everyone gets right
on the ice," Vaughan said. "It's a whole different
game here than we've been playing. It gets us all on
the ice, it gets us ready to play and it gets us comfort-
able playing with all the other defensemen."
Added Llewellyn: "We each get to play against big
teams. I know some junior teams sometimes won't
let a new guy play at all, and then all of a sudden he
has to jump in the lineup. He just doesn't stand a
The rotation has also made practice more intense,
the freshmen said. Because there are three of them
and just two open spots, practice can get pretty com-
petitive with each trying to distance himself from
the other two.
"I have to play practice like it's a game," Vaughan
said. "Be physical, make big passes on the tape - just
do the little things and hopefully the coaches will
put me in."
As much as the team will attest to the rotation's
effectiveness, the statistics may be even more con-
vincing. Two of the rotating freshmen defensemen,
Vaughan (+1) and Quick (+2)have positive plus-minus
ratios through four games played. Llewellyn isn't too
far behind, sitting at -1.
No. 3 Michigan (2-0-0 CCHA, 5-1-0 overall) is
giving up just 2.5 goalsa game largely because of
scrappy defensive play.
With the rotation working so smoothly, Michigan
coach Red Berenson sees no reason to change it..
"We're definitely watching them, evaluating
them, week-in and week-out," Berenson said. "I like
the direction they're all going. I wouldn't saythere's
been much separation from game-to-game between
the three of them, but I think they're all improv-
Berenson said the freshman defensive talent will
get one of its biggest tests of the young season this
weekend. He said Nebraska-Omaha (0-2-0, 1-2-0)
is more talented offensively than either Northern
Michigan or Boston University, which combined for
just eight goals in four games against the Wolver-
Although the Mavericks' record leaves something
to be desired, their two losses came at the hands of
the No.1 Miami(OH)last weekend. Inlast Saturday's
game, Nebraska-Omaha hung with the RedHawks
into the third period before falling behind 5-2.
"(Nebraska-Omaha) will play that really-come-
after-youstyle," Berenson said. "They (playlike Bos-
ton University),but they've got more skill. They'll be
scrappy.... Listening to the coach talk, he was pretty
happy with'how they played on the road with one of
the top teams in the country (Miami)."
For today's game, Vaughan and Llewellyn will
most likely skate. When they both dress, Michigan
has given up just six goals. Vaughan and Quick will
play Saturday night.

Intrastate rivalry should provide thriller

DailySports Editors

mark in every game
season. And if he do
and Minor have the
in and perform lik

No matter what fans think of the few games.
Michigan-Michigan State rivalry, the Even though tf
Spartans have done their best to raise less than 130 yards
the level of hype. game, Michigan ha
Michigan State coach Mark Danto- a healthy Hart, it's
nio has a clock counting down to the on the ground.
start, and he even went as far as to set
the Wolverines as a model for his pro- Edge: Michigan
Michigan has a seven-game win- Michigan pass
ning streak to defend after its 0-2 start gan State pass defi
- not to mention it wants the Paul Bun- Mario Manningi
yan Trophy. 100-plus-yard game
The Spartans need a win to save a one of the nation's e
disappointing season while the Wol- When you throw in
verines still have a Big Ten Champion- likely the nation's t
ship on their mind. an emerging Greg P
Which can survive the backyard one of the most fo
battle? corps Michigan has

e he's played in this
oes go down, Brown
e confidence to step
e they did the past
:he Spartans yield
on the ground per
as shown that with
nearly unstoppable
offense vs. Michi-
ham's four straight
es have proven he's
elite wide receivers.
Adrian Arrington,
op No. 2 option, and
Mathews, you have
rmidable receiving
ever had.

ary have been a mixed bag. They can
lock down the opposing aerial attack
and then inexplicably fall apart. Michi-
gan State has allowed more touchdown
passes than it has thrown, And no mat-
ter who is throwing it up to the Maize
and Blue receivers, it's likely Super
Mario and co. will come down with it.
Edge: Michigan,
Michigan State rush offense vs.
Michigan rush defense
The Michigan defense finally gets to
face a traditional, pound-it-down-your-
throat offense. The players seemed
relieved after facing spread offenses
for most of fhe season.
But be careful what you wish for.
The thunder and lightning combo of
Javon Ringer and Jehuu Caulcrick is
the best running tandem Michigan has
faced this season and could be the cata-
lyst for a Spartan upset. Shawn Crable
should move back to his natural line-
backer position, opening the door for
emerging defensive end Brandon Gra-
ham to see more snaps, but it probably
won't be enough to stop the Spartan
backfield tandem.
Edge: Michigan State

With Michigan's defensive line on
a mission to strike fear into every Big
Ten quarterback, the Wolverines have
looked increasingly effective against
the pass. Last week, Minnesota entered
the game allowing just six sacks on
the season. Michigan laid out Gopher
quarterback Adam Weber three times
behind the line.
The added pressure has made life
much easier on the defensive backfield.
Weber completed just 14-of-30 passes
for 99 yards, well below his season
average of 238.33, which ranks 36th in
the nation.
The Spartans, however, come in
with their own potent attack. After
shadowing Drew Stanton the past two
years, Michigan State quarterback
Brian Hoyer has emerged as one of the
most efficient quarterbacks in the Big
Ten (152-for-253, 1910 yards, 11 tds). It
helps that he gets to throw to 6-foot-2
Devin Thomas, an Ann Arbor native
who grew up idolizing the Wolverines.
But Hoyer has one big problem:
His offensive line. The Spartans have
allowed more sacks than nearly anyone
in the Big Ten. Given the Wolverines'
recent performance, Hoyer might want
to make sure the trainers bring extra

Michigan rush offense vs. Michi-
gan State rush defense
Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor,
thanks. But now'it's time to step aside.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr wisely
rested star running back Mike Hart
over the past few weeks, and all indi-
cations are that the Heisman Trophy
candidate is ready to go this weekend.
That's great news for Michigan, con-
sidering Hart has topped the 100-yard
The Daily football
writers do their best
to predict what happens
in the 2007 college
football season.

But who will be throwing to them?
Chad Henne is listed as the starter on
the depth chart, but he suffered an
injury to his throwing shoulder two
weeks ago against Illinois. If Henne
can't go, true freshman Ryan Mallett
will get the starting nod for the fourth
time as a Wolverine. He has been solid
at times, but shaky at others. And a first
start in a hostile environment could
rattle the 18-year-old.
Otis Wiley and the Spartan second-

Michigan State pass offense vs. Edge: Michigan
Michigan pass defense See BREAKDOWN, Page 10

Scott Daniel
Bell Bromwich


Student guest:
Matt Devine

No.15 Michigan(-4)vs. MICHIGAN STATE
No.1 OHIO STATE-t.5)nvs. Wisconsin
No.2 BC (-7) vs. Florida State
No.G3 Louisiana St. (-7) vs. No.17 ALABAMA
No.5 OKLAHOMA (-21) vs. Texas A&M
No.8 KANSAS (8.5) vs. Nebraska
No.9 Missouri (-4) vs. COLORADO
No.10 GEORGIA (-16) vs. Troy
No. 11 Virginia Tech (+2.5) vs. GEORGIA TECH
No.13 SOUTHtRN CAL (-15) vs. Oregon St
No. 14Texas (-3) vs. OKLAHOMA ST.
No. 16 CONNtCTICUT (-2) vs. Rutgers
No.18 FLORIDA (-14.5) vs. Vanderbilt
No. 19 AUBURN (no line) vs. Ten Tech
No. 20 SOUTH FLORIDA (-5) vs. Cincinnati
.No. 21 Wake Forest (-1) vs. VIRGINIA.
No. 21BOISE STATE (-25.5) vs. San Jose State
No.23 South Carolina (+4) vs. ARKANSAS
No. 24TENN (-28.5) vs. Louisiana Lafayette
.N .~eon(-16) .DK
No. 25 C ern..son . s..DKE....
.owa(+15) vs. NORTHWESTERN .
INDIANA (-6.5)vs. BallState .
Purdue (+7) vs. PENN STATE
Illinois (-12) vs. MINNESOTA
Best Bet
Overall Record

Michigan State
Florida State
Arizona State
Texas A&M
Virginia Tech
Southern Cal
South Florida
Wake Forest
San Jose State
104-85-5 (3-5)

Ohio State
Florida State
Louisiana State
Virginia Tech
Southern Cal
South Florida
Boise State
South Carolina
Penn States
95-94-5 (6-2)

Ohio State
Florida State
Louisiana State
Texas A&M
Virginia Tech
Oregon State
Wake Forest
San Jose State
South Carolina
Louisiana Lafayette
........I....nd i.an.a. ........
Penn State.
90-99-S (2-6),

Ohio State
Boston College
Texas A&M
Virginia Tech
Southern Cal
Oklahoma State
South Florida
San Jose State
South Carolina
Louisiana Lafayette
Penn State

Boston Co lege
Louisiana State
Arizona State
Texas A&M
Virginia Tech
Southern Cal
South Florida
Boise State
Penn State
90-99-5 (2-6)

he . fn 0

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