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September 08, 2008 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-09-08

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Junior Brandon Minor leaps over Miami (Ohio) defenders for the game-clinching touchdown on Saturday. JEREMY CHO/Daily
- FALLING FORWARD
MICHIGAN 16, MIAMI (OHIO) 6
Offense displays potential in first win

By DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Editor
When legendary Michigan coach Bo
Schembechler came to Michigan from
Miami (Ohio) in 1969, his assistants had
to hang their jackets on nails. They com-
plained they had better facilities at their
old job.
But Schembechler scolded them, say-
ing Michigan had tradition they wouldn't
find anywhere else.
The latest group making the trek from
Oxford, Ohio to Ann Arbor found out the

Wolverines still hung onto at least one
tradition amidst a regime change - beat-;
ing Mid-American Conference teams.
With its 16-6 win over Miami on Satur-
day, Michigan improved to 24-0 against
MAC opponents. But the Wolverines still
are not hitting on full cylinders yet. The
previous 23 wins came by an average
margin of 26.3 points per game.
"As I told the team in the locker room
afterwards, I'd rather win ugly than lose
pretty," Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez
said. "It certainly wasn't pretty, but the
guys played hard and we didn't execute

it well."
Despite struggling offensively for most
of the game, the Wolverines (1-1) found
the defensive spark they needed to give
Rodriguez his first win with the program.
Michigan's defense hasn't allowed a
touchdown in 90 minutes and 13 seconds
of game time, despite being on the field
for more than 54 minutes of that span.
On the Wolverines' first possession, it
seemed like the offense had finally hit its
stride after struggling against Utah last
Saturday. Led masterfully by first-time
starter Steven Threet, the Wolverines

drove 77 yards in 2:04 for a touchdown.
Inn narly flwless drive, none of Michi4
gan's five plays went for fewer than five
yards.
Threet, a redshirt freshman, hit fresh-
man Martavious Odoms in the slot on
Michigan's opening play. Odoms raced SO
yards through space before finally being
brought down.
On the drive's fifth play, Threet faked
to freshman Sam McGuffie and ran in
untouched for the score from nine yards
out. Threet was no Pat White, but except
for a play where he fumbled the ball while

trying to pass, he had four carries for 36
yTds.
On the ensuing possession, Miami
(0-2) fumbled on its own 36-yard line
when RedHawk center Josh Satterthwait
snapped the ball too early. Michigan used
the shortfield to set up a 47-yard field goal
by fifth-year senior K.C. Lopata.
A nine-play, 57-yard drive set up a
missed 41-yard field goal on the Wolver-
ines' next possession. But Threet failed to
move the offense successfully after that
and was pulled for redshirt sophomore
See REDHAWKS, Page 4B

Let's look beyond the quarterback

Last week, Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez
announced quarterback Justin Feagin was
redshirting.
The news appeared on the
front page of ESPN.com and
on the channel's Bottom Line
ticker.
Feagin is a true freshman, a
three-star quarterback recruit
according to rivals.com, who
has never made it onto Michi-
gan's official two-deep depth
chart. Is the decision to redshirt IAN
him really one of the 10 biggest ROBINSON
headlines in sports?
It might have been a slow
news day, but the Feagin hype just goes to show that
there's been too much attention paid to the Michi-
gan's quarterback situation.
On Saturday, quarterbacks Steven Threet and
Nick Sheridan had their ups and downs. Threet
started the game strong but couldn't recover his
rhythm. He substituted with Sheridan throughout
,the day. In the fourth quarter, Sheridan put togeth-
er an 87-yard touchdown drive, but was otherwise
unimpressive.
The offense couldn't establish the tempo it want-
ed, and, after the game, Rodriguez faced several

questions about the quarterbacks.
"Everybody is grinding on the quarterback
thing," Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. "It's
just one position. It's obvious to everybody else that
we are still searching at times to get a rhythm on
offense. It starts with the quarterback, but it's not
only the quarterback."
There are, after all, 10 other guys on the field.
Because of the nature of the spread offense, the
quarterback has a greater responsibility, but it's
time to look beyond Threet and Sheridan when
judging this offense.
Bubble screens to the wide receivers are an
important aspect of this timing-based attack, for
example. The idea is to get the ball to players with
game-breaking ability in open space. It relies on
big-play receivers and blocking from other outside
receivers to create the initial separation.
You saw that on Michigan's first offensive play
against Miami (Ohio), when freshman wide receiver
Martavious Odoms broke a SO-yard gain on a pass
that didn't cross the line of scrimmage. A crucial
block from a wide receiver gave Odoms the initial
separation he needed.
- Threet made the read to get the ball to Odoms,
but the throw wasn't complex. The blocking and
Odoms's speed werethe keys to the play.
When these passes along the line of scrimmage

go for little to no gain, it's not always because the
quarterback made a bad read. The receiver might
have missed a hole, or a receiver might have missed
a block. This was evident against Utah, when Odoms
caught five passes for seven yards.
Against the RedHawks, the Michigan running
game showed some of its potential. Freshman Sam
McGuffie showed quickness getting to the outside,
and junior Brandon Minor broke through multiple
tacklers in a fourth-quarter touchdown run.
On option plays, the quarterback decides where
the ball goes. But beyond that, the running back has
to choose which hole to hit. The offensive line's job
is to create those holes.
But when the running game stalled in the second
and third quarters and the quarterbacks switched
in and out, how much of the blame should go to the
quarterbacks?
When watching the game, focusing on the
offensive line can be difficult, but when Michigan
struggles to reach the line of scrimmage on a run-
ning play, the line is probably losing the battle in the
trenches.
This is an inexperienced offensive line that is
already missing two starters and lost another one,
Mark Ortmann, on Saturday. Lines need time to
coalesce, and they will make mistakes. When the
See ROBINSON, Page 4B

JEREMY CHO/Uaily
Redshirt freshman Steven Threetlthrew forojust 13 more
yards after a 50-yard screen pass on the game's first play.

A tale of two shots: Bowery nails game-winner

By JASON KOHLER
Daily Sports Writer
YPSILANTI - Sophomore Amanda
Bowery collided with Dayton goalie
Deana Waintraub and found herself
with an open
net and the WESTERN MICHIGAN 1
ball at her feet. MICHIGAN 2
Bowrey
shuffled towards the goal and rushed a
shot that inched just right of the post -
a shot that would've tied the game with
less than ten minutes left.

Instead, Bowery and the Michigan
women's soccer team fell, 3-2, to the Fly-
ers on Friday night.
But yesterday against Western Michi-
gan, Bowery pushed herself into a simi-
lar position - staring down an empty
net.
After beating goalie Julia Francy to
the ball on a pass through the box, Bow-
ery lofted a shot over charging defenders
and into the top right corner of the goal.
"That was a much harder one today,"
Michigan coach Greg Ryan said. "She
had to lift it over two players into the

net. Amanda is going to score goals. She
is just one of those kids around the net
that the ball just seems to find her foot."
Bowery's shot gave Michigan a 2-1
advantage with 12 minutes left in the
game, which proved the difference.
The Wolverines (2-3-1) played
aggressively throughout the game, but
they outshot the Broncos 6-1 in the first
period but didn't connect with the back
of the net.
Ryan adopted an aggressive strategy
after Friday's game, in which Michigan
sat back in the first half and let Dayton

control the pace.
"I just said, 'the heck with defending.
Let's just throw some people forward,' "
Ryan said. "We just said the same thing
about today. Let's get forward lets take
chances, let's take risks."
The Wolverines had several quality
shots on goal, but never scored off of a
set play.
Freshman Kelsey Rogind scored two
minutes into the second half off a free
kick, and Bowery scored on a counter-
attack.
See BRONCOS, Page 3B

Sophomore Amanda Bowery missed an empty-netter Friday,
but redeemed herself with a goal on Sunday.

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