88 - Football Saturday - October 4 2008
fwMinor could see role increase
By DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Editor
In 2004, the Michigan football
team faced the tough task of replac-
ing Heisman Trophy finalist Chris
Perry, who is now the starting run-
ning back for the Cincinnati Ben-
Then-senior David Underwood
entered the season as the Wolver-
ines' leading returning rusher and
started the opener against Miami
(Ohio). But after
looking tentative nhnois at
in that game, he
carried the ball MIchigan
just seven times Matchup:
the rest of the sea- Indiana 2-2;
son as then-fresh- Michigan 2-2
man Mike Hart When: Satur-
grabbed hold of day 3:30 P.M.
Fouryearslater, Where: Michi-
to replace Hart, TV/Radio:
who went on to
become the Wol-
verines' all-time leading rusher.
With 623 career yards entering
the season, junior running back
Brandon Minor was Michigan's top
returning rusher. But like in 2004,
a freshman, Sam McGuffie, has
earned the most carries.
Many expected Minor or fellow
junior Carlos Brown to emerge as
the Wolverines' feature back this
year. Various injuries have slowed
both, but Minor has the better
chance to avoid Underwood's fate as
Junior running back Brandon Minor entered the season as Michigan's leading returning rusher, but he has just 10 carries so far this year.
Brown is out at least this week with team," Minor said after the Wolver-
a sprained ankle. ines' comeback win over Wiscon-
Minor has had just 10 carries this sin.
year, but his role could increase this Minor has run with reckless
week when Michigan hosts Illinois abandon that screams to Michigan
at 3:30 on Saturday. coach Rich Rodriguez for more
"I always had a place on this carries. His 7.2 yards per carry
are best on the team (minimum 10
attempts). Minor's two touchdowns
tie McGuffie for the team lead, but
he has needed fewer than a sixth of
the carries to get them.
On his lone carry against Miami,
Minor plowed 15-yards down the
left sideline, slipping by a RedHawk
tackler and diving three yards over
a couple players and into the end-
His second touchdown came
on his second of two runs against
Wisconsin. He raced 34 yards past
a blitzing Badger defense to bring
Michigan within five points early
in the fourth quarter.
Don't think Minor can't handle
a heavier load, though. His touch-
down came on the 10th straight
play for which he was on the field,
and the fifth was a deep fly route.
"The linebacker that was chas-
ing me (on the fly route), he was
out of breath after that," Minor
said. "I came back, ran a couple
more plays, went and scored. I still
wasn't tired until teammates beat
me up on the sideline."
After the game, Minor credited
director of strength and condi-
tioning Mike Barwis with helping
the team stay confident.
"We didn't give up," Minor said.
"Most people expect us to give up.
Mike Barwis, he preaches to us.
All the coaches preach to us not to
give up. So, that's what we did. We
started believing in ourselves. We
If his play follows that attitude,
he should get more chances this
season to show what he can do.