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February 07, 2008 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, February 7, 2008- 5A

MichiganOhio StatePenn State

APPHOT
Terrelle Pryor announcing he will postpone his college decision, opting to take time for visits to more schools. According to Pryor, his final choices are Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State.
Pryor: I don't know where I'm going |RARD
Here's a glance at some of
'~l~~f orsa eris

Even without prized QB,
Michigan's class still among
best in the country
By NATE SANDALS
ManagingSports Editor
The biggest prize of the recruitingseason,
Terrelle Pryor, remains uncommitted, but
if yesterday was any indication, Michigan
coach Rich Rodriguez doesn't mind fighting
an uphill recruiting battle.
With just three weeks on the road to finish
building a class, Rodriguez and his coach-
ing staff managed to get three high-level
recruits to switch from their original verbal
commitments with other schools to sign let-
ters of intent with Michigan yesterday.
Despite the time constraints, Rodriguez
and his staff were pleased with the class
- just a bit exhausted.
"We basically were limited to three weeks
on the road," Rodriguez said. "So you can
imagine the last three weeks have been kind
of hectic for us."
The first player to sign with Michigan
despite verbally committing elsewhere was
center RickyBarnum, who had verballycom-
mitted to Florida in January. The Lakeland,
Fla., native took an official visit to Michigan
last weekend and he informed Rodriguez

yesterday he would be comingto Ann Arbor
for school.
"Ricky is a tremendous young man," said
quarterbacks coach Rod Smith, who recruit-
ed Barnum. "He's got a world of talent."
The next flip was former Purdue verbal
commitment Roy Roundtree, who's listed
as a four-star wide receiver by Rivals.com.
Roundtree weighs in at just 154 pounds, but
his 4.4 speed turned heads on-the recruiting
trail.
And then at around 1 p.m., running back
Michael Shaw, a Penn State verbal, signed
with the Maize and Blue. Shaw is one of
three Michigan recruits from Trotwood-
Madison high school in Trotwood, Ohio.
"He's a guy you're going to want to get the
ball in his hands, because he's so explosive,"
Rodriguez said. "He's one of the fastest prep
players in the country."
Rivals.com ranked Michigan's 23-mem-
ber class of 2012 as the tenth-best nation-
wide - one spot behind Ohio State.
But the Michigan coaches say they aren't
quite done yet. There are still three available
scholarships, and Rodriguez hopes to fill
some of them.
"The biggest pressing needs for us, in
making the transition from one offensive
system to the other, are at the offensive skill
positions," Rodriguez said.
With quarterback the most glaring hole
in Michigan's roster, the biggest name the

coaches are waiting on is 'Pryor. The 6-foot-
6 dual-threat quarterback from Jeannette,
Pa., is widely considered the best prep player
in the country.
Most recruiting prognosticators felt con-
fident Pryor's final choice would be between
Ohio State and Michigan. But Pryor's deci-
sion to delay his announcement has thrown
expectations aside.
At a press conference held at his high
school yesterday and televised on CSTV,
Pryor's comments indicated Penn State has
made a late charge in his recruitment. He
said he intends to take an official visit to
State College in the near future.
Pryor would have a good shot to be Mich-
igan's starting quarterback from day one if
he commits to the Wolverines and his skill
set would fit well into Rodriguez's spread
offense.
There was concern yesterday when four-
star running back Sam McGuffie had not
signed his letter of intent by the time of the
Rodriguez press conference. McGuffie ver-
bally committed to Michigan last summer,
but had wavered since Lloyd Carr retired.
The Houston-area native, known for his blaz-
ing speed and ability to leap over defenders,
took an official visit to Cal last weekend.
But the rumors that McGuffie was going
to renege on his verbal commitment proved
unfounded when he signed his letter last
night.

Michigan's tour-star recruits.
(Pos., Ht., Wt., High School, Hometown)
RICKY BARNUM
OL e 6-209 265
Lake Gibson High School.
Lakeland, Fla.
SAM MCGUFFIE
RB " 5-110 190
Cy-Fair High School
cypress, Tex.
DANN O'NEILL
OL e 6-7. 295
Grand Haven High School
Grand Haven, Mich.
ROY ROUNDTREE
WR 6-0 154
Trotwood-Madison High School
Trotwood, Ohio
MICHAEL SHAW

ZACHARY MEISNER/Daily
Sophomore Krista Phillips must avoid foul
trouble in tonight's game against Penn State.
Michigan
stalls in
the clutch
Late-game shooting
has held back Blue in
conference losses
By CHRIS MESZAROS
Daily Sports Writer
One shot.
That's how close the Michigan
women's basketball has been to win-
ning five extra games this season.
But clutch teams
have to knock down
big shots when Penn State
they're needed at Michigan
most. And so far
this year, Michigan Matchup:
hasnt dne tat. Penn State
hasn't done that. 13-9; Michi-
With the excep- gan12-9
tion of a last second When:
wlh at Wisconsin, Tonight 7 P.M
Michigan hasn't
played well at the Where:
end of games. The Crisler Arena
one shot that is TV/Radio:
needed isn't usually 1290 WLBY
a buzzer beater.
The problem is that Michigan lacks
consistency down the stretch and a
go-to shooter for key situations. The
Wolverines lost tight contests to Pur-
due when they couldn't make late
baskets to cement the game. They fell
to Michigan State when they threw
away an eight point lead in the wan-
ing minutes. And they lost to Illinois
when they had two final chances to
make a shot and win.
"If we make one shot in those five
games wewin," MichigancoachKevin
Borseth said. "We just need to make a
shot, a lot of times just one shot down
the stretch, but it's a big shot."
That has to change tonight, when
the Wolverines tip off against Penn
State for the second time this season.
Penn State picked up some signature
wins against No. 10 Duke and No. 20
Pittsburgh in the middle of non-con-
ference play.
In a 68-57 win over Michigan on
January 20, the Lady Lions did an
effective job scoring with their explo-
sive transition offense. Penn State had
four players reach double digits in
scoring.
"They had a lot of (baskets) in tran-
sition," Borseth said. "It's very much
a part of their game, they're a very
aggressive team at both ends of the
court, we'll have to play well."
The Wolverines need to focus on
Lady Lion guards Tyra Grant and
Brianne O'Rourke, who manage Penn
State's transition offense and domi-
nated Michigan down the stretch last
game, scoring 26 combined points.
The biggest advantage for the Wol-
verines is their biggest player. At 6-
foot-6, center Krista Phillips towers
over the Penn State starters. How-
ever, the Lady Lions shut her down by
bringing6-foot-3 center Janessa Wolff
off the bench to frustrate Phillips and
get her into foul trouble.
Phillips cannot pick up early fouls,
or else Penn State will focus its
defense on the perimeter, frustrating
Michigan all night.

"(It takes) a combination of making
big stops, and getting key rebounds
when we have to," Borseth said about
winning tight games. "Then, getting a
good shot and making it, and if we get
a call from the ref once in awhile that
would help too."
The biggest question remaining:
Can the Wolverines regain their poise
and finish the season strong?
Only then will the Wolverines see if
they can make the one shot that gets
them over the top.

ATH 6-0 185
Trotwood-Madison High School
Trotwood, Ohio
SOURCE: RIVALS.

:OM

'M' lands large class of linemen

Speed, not size, matters
most in new offense
By COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
Daily Sports Editor
The biggest sign that the spread offense
has arrived in Ann Arbor may be Michigan
coach Rich Rodriguez's recruiting.
Rodriguez signed N
six offensive linemen NOTEBOOK
to National Letters of
Intent yesterday, twice as many as at any
other position.
Rodriguez also confirmed Michigan has
lost senior offensive linemen Jeremy Ciulla
and Alex Mitchell to graduation. Few of the
Wolverines' returning linemen saw signifi-
cant playing time last year, and Rodriguez's
six signings mean the line will be inexperi-
enced next season.
The teamusually carries about16 offensive
linemen, and Rodriguez estimated the Wol-
verines already had 15 on scholarship after
Signing Day. Though filling all scholarship
positions can be difficult with a new coach,
Michigan's work before Signing Day ensures
it most likely won't have a shortage of offen-
sive linemen next season.
Rodriguez repeatedly emphasized the
importance of speed on the offensive front,

and he said the new recruits are all "big guys
that can move."
"I think some people maybe still want that
big, lumbering, 340-pound guy, but he can't
play in our offense," Rodriguez said. "I don't
mind guys being 6-foot-8, 300 (pounds) -
that's great, as long as you can move and play
at our pace. And those are the guys we have
now on our team."
His preferred build is epitomized in Dann
O'Neill, a 6-foot-7, 295-pound offensive line-
man from Grand Haven.
Recruit Elliot Mealer, who also played
basketball in high school, is 6-foot-6 and 280
pounds.
THE PAST REVISITED: The last Michigan
football team to adjust to a drastic coaching
change was more successful than expected.
In 1969, former Michigan coach Bo Schem-
bechler's first year, the Wolverines (6-1 Big
Ten, 8-3 overall) finished tied for first in the
Big Ten before losing to Southern Cal in the
Rose Bowl.
At Tuesday's team meeting, about 30
members of the 1969 squad discussed their
experiences dealing with a new coach. The
former players, including Dan Dierdorf and
Jim Brandstatter, talled about the parallels
between the coaching transition 39 years ago
and now.
Rodriguez said the past players had his
currentteam "on the edge of their seats" with

their stories about the season.
"We had them list their height and weight
in '69 and their height and weight in 2008
- and they all lied, every one of them," Rodri-
guez laughed. "How they all got a little taller
and maintained the same weight, I don't
know how they did it. ... They probably told
stories for four hours - and I'm sure they
didn't embellish the truth, either."
IT'S NOT ABOUT THE NEGATIVE: Even at
a press conference lauding Rodriguez's new
recruits, the West Virginia questions were
inevitable.
But Rodriguez was determined not to talk
about the controversy surrounding his depar-
ture, and the subsequent lawsuit.
He made a disgusted face when asked if his
messy exit from West Virginia made recruit-
ing to Michigan more difficult.
"I understand we live in a sensationalist
society, and it's almost a National Enquirer-
type of mentality amongst some folks that
like to read certain articles," Rodriguez said.
"I've tried to just do my job and not stay too
concerned with what's being written or said
so everybody could just move on."
NOTE: In addition to Ciulla and Mitchell's
departures, wide receiver Antonio Bass and
tight end Chris McLaurin will no longer be
on the team because of career-ending inju-
ries. Both will remain on scholarship under a
medical exemption.

ROoiGo GAYA/ainy
RICH RODRIGUEZ
OPEN TRYOUT:
IF NOT PRYO R,
HOW ABOUT
YOU?
An open tryout will be held
offering students the chance to
make the roster as walk-ons.
WHAT: Open tryouts to walk-on to the
football team
WHO: Any undergraduate student
with some high school or junior college
expenrience
WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 14, 4 p.m.
WHERE: Schembechler Hall
For more information, call the Athletic
Department at (734)647-2583.

' l A

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