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September 17, 2008 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-09-17

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8A - Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Early report: the
freshman impact

Senior Danelle Underwood is enjoying playing soccer for the first time in years under new Michigan coach Greg Ryan.
Underwood feels fresh again

By TIM ROHAN you can do, and not playing for six
For the Daily months is-really hard."
Underwood scored her first goal
Senior Danelle Underwood would since her sophomore year Sept. 5th
like to forget the last two years of against Dayton. She seemed happy
her soccer career. about gettingthe goal outof the way,
After ACL surgery ended her even though it came in a 3-2 loss.
sophomore year, Underwood didn't "You know, you go through ups
score a single goal her junior year. and downs in soccer, and so it felt
"I kind of felt like I was in a really good to score a goal," Under-
slump," Underwood said. wood said.
But thanks to a coaching change Michigan coach Greg Ryan, in
and a new outlook on the game, she his first year with the Wolverines,
has returned to form. praised Underwood and her game.
"I feellikeI'm a freshman again," "Danny is just one of these kids
Underwood said. "I'm enjoying that's full of life," Ryan said. "And
soccer. I'm enjoying my team. I feel she leads by example. She steps on
fit. I feel like finally I'm back from the field with tremendous energy,
my sophomore and junior year and she has that same bubbly energy
slumps." off the field."
In her first season, Underwood There's no doubt Underwood is
was named to the Big Ten All- focused and on the right track for
Freshman Team, and contributed the rest of her senior season.
14 points, including five goals, to the "She's just one of those people
team. But the struggles that began who makes the whole thing work,"
in her sophomore year carried over Ryan said.
into junior year. Underwood and the rest of the
"The first time I played (last sea- women's soccer team have had a
son) was the first practice," Under- rough time in recent years. But with
wood said. "Even that sophomore Ryan's arrival, the team has taken a
year coming back from an ACL, more positive approach. That atti-
which is one of the worst things tude is allowing the players to turn

past troubles into success this sea-
During her turnaround, Under-
wood saw a change in how she and
her teammateswere treated as play-
ers. That's helped the team have fun
playingsoccer again, she said.
"He shows that he cares about us
individually," Underwood said. "He
shows concern for us."
Ryan said he was proud his phi-
losophy was getting to the players.
"In terms of having fun, that was
one of my main goals for this team,"
Ryan said. "That they would enjoy
playing again, they would enjoy the
training sessions, they would have
good team chemistry off the field
and on the field."
Ryan has the team thinking posi-
tively and ready to peak at the right
time' this season, during Big Ten
play. Though the Wolverines have
just three wins so far, Underwood
sees an improved team.
"Last year, our highlight was
tying Notre 'Dame," Underwood
said. "That was our firstgame of the
season, and that was our peak. And
so I think peaking later is going to
be better for us."

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It's time to figure
out who plays and
who gets redshirted.
Daily Sports Editor
The Michigan football team has
25 true freshmen on scholarship.
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez
said this is the time of year when he
figures out which will be relied on
and which will redshirt. Here's a
breakdown of what to expect from
each this year, ranked in order of
projected impact.
Running back Sam McGuffie
Hometown: Cypress, Texas
rivals.com ranking: four stars
scout.com ranking: four stars
McGuffie has shown the vision,
speed and cutting-ability that
made him a YouTube star. His
213 yards and 50 attempts lead
the team.
But he also proved he's capable
of much more than a few impres-
sive runs. His nine catches for
101 yards are both second on the
And, most importantly, he
hasn't fumbled. That's why he's
the starter.
Wide receiver Martavious
Hometown: Pahokee, Fla.
rivals.com ranking: three stars
scout.com ranking: four stars
Odoms has been excellent in
the slot. His 14 catches equal the
total for the Wolverines' next
three wide receivers.
His speed has allowed the
quarterbacks to have positive
gains with screens when nothing
else is working. When the offense
gets rolling, he'll be an excellent
deep threat.
Wide receiver Darryl Stonum
Hometown: Stafford, Texas
rivals.com ranking: fourstars
scout.com ranking: four stars
Stonum is very talented, and
enrolled early, so he it's not a sur-
prise he's already starting. He has
five catches for 48 yard, but he's
capable of much more. The quar-
terbacks have routinely missed
Running back Michael Shaw
Hometown: Trotwood, Ohio
rivals.com ranking: four stars
scout.com ranking: four stars
Shaw has just two carries
in each game as McGuffie has
grabbed control of the running
back position. But Shaw, an
explosive back, is second on the
team with 8.5 yards per run (red-
shirt junior punter Zoltan Mesko
is first because of a 13-yard run on
a fake punt). Shaw will probably
continue to be a quality change-
of-pace backup.
Defensive tackle Mike Martin
Hometown: Redford, Mich.
rivals.com ranking: four stars
scout.comranking: four stars
The coaching staff has repeat-
edly praised Martin for his physi-
cal readiness. Martin has proven
himself, earning plenty of playing

time as a backup. He has gotten a
nice push up the middle, record-
ing a sack against Miami (Ohio).
Cornerback Boubacar Cissoko
Hometown: Detroit
rivals.com ranking: four stars
scout.com ranking: five stars
Cissoko, the top-rated player in
his class from the state of Michi-
gan, has seen some time as the
dime back. He has also showed
potential as a kick returner, but
had a costly fumble at Notre
Middle linebacker J.B.
Hometown: Princeton Junc-
tion, N.J.
rivals.com ranking: four stars
scout.com ranking: four stars
Coaches have called Fitzger-
ald the best of the freshmen line-
backers, but he plays behind the
most stable player in that posi-
tion group, redshirt sophomore

Obi Ezeh. Fitzgerald has played
special teams every week , and
will probably continue to see
action there. If Michigan were
involved in a blowout, he could
play defense, too:
Wide receiver Terrence Robin-
Hometown: Klein, Texas
rivals.com ranking: four stars
as a running back
scout.com ranking: four stars
as a running back
A knee injury has kept Robin-
son out of the first three games,
but Rodriguez said he-might be
back for Wisconsin. He prob-
ably would've been the second
slot receiver behind Odoms. How
ready he is in practice over the
next few weeks will determine
whether he redshirts.
Guard Ricky Barnum
Hometown: Lakeland, Fla.
rivals.com ranking: four stars
scout.com ranking: three stars
Rodriguez said he would prefer
to redshirt the talented but raw
Barnum. But if the Wolverines'
injury woes on the interior of the
line continue, that might not be a
viable option.
Left tackle Patrick Omameh
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
rivals.com ranking: two stars
as a defensive end
scout.com ranking: three stars
Like Barnum, Rodriguez would
prefer to redshirt Omameh.
Omameh entered Michigan as
an extremely raw talent. After
redshirt junior Mark Ortmann
dislocated his elbow, Rodriguez
mentioned Omameh as a possible
replacement. Omameh may be
developing quicker than expect-
ed, but it's more likely Michigan's
offensive line is that thin.
Wide receiver Roy Roundtree
Hometown: Trotwood, Ohio
rivals.com ranking: four stars
scout.com ranking: three stars
Rodriguez has said he wanted
to play Roundtree, but the Wol-
verines' offense hasn't run enough
plays for Rodriguez to go through
his planned substitutions. Round-
tree is thin for a wide receiver
and hasn't played yet, meaning he
will probably redshirt.
Offensive tackle Rocko Khoury
Hometown: Traverse City
rivals.com ranking: three stars
scout.com ranking: three stars
Initially, Khoury was the first
offensive lineman Rodriguez
mentioned when asked which
freshmen could get playing time.
But Khoury's name hasn't popped
up lately, and he hasn't played yet.
Like most offensive linemen, he
will probably redshirt.
Tight end Kevin Koger
Hometown: Toledo, Ohio
rivals.com ranking: four stars
scout.com ranking: four stars
Koger has been listed on the
official depth chart as a possible
starter for every game this year,
but he hasn't played at all. Rodri-
guez praised him for his smarts
and ability to pick up schemes
quickly. Still, the coach said he

thinks a redshirt year would be
advantageous for Koger.
Strongside linebacker Kenny
Hometown: OaklandPark
rivals.com ranking: four stars
scout.comranking: three stars
Demens has appeared in one
game on special teams. He will
likely redshirt.
Defensive back J.T. Floyd
Hometown: Greenville, S.C.
rivals.com ranking: three stars
as an athlete
scout.com ranking: three stars
Floyd is a physical player who
will probably redshirt this year to
work on his speed.
Quarterback Justin Feagin
Hometown: Deefield, Fla.
rivals.com ranking: three stars
as an athlete
scout.com ranking: two stars

Tight end Brandon Moore
Hometown: Trotwood, Ohio
rivals.comranking: four stars
scout.com ranking: three stars


More a rdceiver than a blocker,
Moore is behind more-experi-
enced players at his position. He's
not ready to crack the depth chart
and will probably redshirt.
Running back Michael Cox
Hometown: Dorchester, Mass.
rivals.com ranking: three stars
scout.com ranking: four stars
Running backs coach Fred
Jackson said he heard Cox was
considering transferring, but Cox
has decided to stick it out. Caugh
behind a crowded backfield, he's
an almost-certain redshirt this
Long snapper George Morales
Hometown: North Las Vegas,
rivals.com ranking: four stars
scout.com ranking: four stars
Morales is the team's third
long snapper. Barring an injury to
fifth-year senior Sean Griffin or
redshirt freshman Tom Pomarico,
he will redshirt.
Safety Brandon Smith
Hometown: New Brunswick,
rivals.com ranking: four stars
scout.com ranking: four stars
Smith had his appendix
removed last week, and will be out
for a couple of weeks. He probably
would've redshirted anyway and
definitely will now.
Offensive tackle Elliot Mealer
Hometown: Wauseon, Ohio
rivals.com ranking: four stars
scout.com ranking: four stars
Mealer is recovering from an
injury sustained during an off-
season car accident. He will red-
Weakside linebacker Taylor
Hometown: Youngstown, Ohio
rivals.com ranking: four stars
scout.com ranking: three stars
The weakside linebacker told
Rodriguez he wanted to transfer
to a school closer to home after
the Utah game and is no longer
with the team.
Linebacker Marcus Wither-
Hometown: Absecon, N.J.
rivals.com ranking: four stars
scot.com ranking: four stars
Witherspoon came to Ann
Arbor in the summer, bet he
returned to New Jersey when
the NCAA Clearinghouse didn't
declare him eligible.
He told the Press of Atlan-
tic City he got an 'A' in the class
he needed to become eligible,
an online sociology course at
Brigham Young.
Still, Rodriguez said Wither-
spoon won't play for Michigan, so
the linebacker opted to transfer to

as a safety
Most teams recruited Feagin
as defensive back, but Rodri-
guez, desperate for a dual-threat
quarterback, offered him as a
quarterback. Feagin had trou-
ble learning the schemes, so
Rodriguez announced he, would
redshirt. In practice, Feagin is
splitting time between quarter-
back and slot receiver, which may
end up his only position next sea-
Tackle Dann O'Neill
Hometown: Grand Haven
rivals.com ranking: four stars
scout.com ranking: four stars
O'Neill's upside is huge, but
Rodriguez hasn't mentioned
him playing this year. Like most
offensive linemen, another year to
grow physically will do wonders.
Offensive guard Kurt Wermers
Hometown: Crown Point, Ind.
rivals.com ranking: three stars
scout.com ranking: four stars
Like O'Neill, Wermers isn't
ready to play this year.



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