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October 16, 2008 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-10-16

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, October 16, 2008 - 5A

Despite lower prices,
season ticket sales lagging

D -line fooled by tricky
Rocket spread offense

By JASON KOHLER
Daily Sports Writer
In 2003, an anonymous donor
paid for free student tickets for the
entire bleacher section of Crisler
Arena.
More than 1,907 students
ordered season tickets for men's
basketball that year. The following
season, the last year of the anony-
mous donor, 2,088 ordered tickets.
This year, the Athletic Depart-
ment has sold about 411 of the 629
seats available for student season-
ticket holders. Last year, 632 stu-
dents purchased season tickets.
"I've been surprised so far with
how slow they've been," said Craig
Johnson, Business school senior
and co-president of the Maize
Rage. "One way or another, I think
we'll get there. But I'm not sure
how easy it'll be."
Although the tickets are not free,
the price was reduced from $125
last season to $99 this year.
"We thought this year was a big
year to help student engagement
and to help students from a finan-
cial standpoint," said Marty Bod-
nar, associate athletic director for
ticketing services. "I don't envision
the $99 price to cause a thousand
students to all of a sudden go order
them."

The prioritydeadlinehas already
passed, but students will be able to
purchase tickets on a first-come,
first-serve basis until Oct. 31.
"If students buy now, they're
going to get into the bleachers,"
Bodnar said.
If all 520 bleacher seats are
filled, there will be an overflow
section with room for 90 students
in section 19.
The students in the overflow
section will sit behind the pep
band, which is moving from the
floor into the seats and increasing
in size from 35 to 75 members. The
move was championed by Michigan
coach John Beilein to help make a
louder, more frenzied environment
behind the second-half basket of
the visiting team.
Johnson said the environment
won't be exciting at all if students
don't buy tickets.
Some students said the best way
to draw fans back to Crisler Arena
would be to once again provide free
student tickets.
"It's no secret that we would've
liked to have seen the price lower,"
Johnson said. "Even though we
didn't go all the way down to free,
a deeper discount would've had a
substantial effect on student ticket
sales."
Members of the Maize Rage met

with Beilein last spring to discuss
the idea of free student tickets.
Bodnar said the idea was consid-
ered within the Athletic Depart-
ment but wasn't a viable long-term
option.
With the demand for tickets
down, the Athletic Department is
marketingthem more aggressively.
In a new promotion, ifstudents buy
basketball tickets, they are entered
into a drawing to win one of six
prizes - four tickets to the Ohio
State football game this year, four
tickets to the Ohio State football
game next year, free books next
semester, two season tickets to
football games next season, $500
worth of Adidas gear and a $100
gift card to Outback Steakhouse.
But no matter what the promo-
tions the Athletic Department
tries, ticket sales are probably low
because last season the Wolverines
went 10-22.
Many fans are hopeful that this
season will be better, now that the
players have a year of experience in
the new system and Beilein is work-
ing with some of his own recruits.
"In that first year, there are
always some growing pains," John-
son said. "But the product on the
court is going to get better. At the
end of the day, that is the biggest
factor in drawing students in."

By NATE SANDALS
Daily SportsEditor
Football players and coaches say
the film never lies. But last week it
definitely deceived the Michigan
defense.
On film, Toledo looked like an
inside-running team, but the Rock-
ets came out last Saturday with
empty sets and max-protection
packages. The Wolverines weren't
prepared for the switch, at first.
"Whenwegot to the game, every-
thing changed," senior nose tackle
Terrance Taylor said. "It was seven
on three. What really changed the
game is how they took the D-line
out of it."
Michigan's vaunted defensive
line had little impact in the 13-10
loss, because of Toledo's scheme.
The Wolverines recorded just one
sack, by redshirt freshman Michael
Williams, and went without a sack
the previous week against Illinois.
Coming into the season, the
defensive line was supposed to be
Michigan's biggest strength, with
all four starters returning. And it
has come up big in key situations
already, especially in the final min-
utes of the comeback win over Wis-
consin.
But against Toledo, the line
struggled to get pressure on the
quarterback, and the Rockets took
advantage, usinganemptybackfield
and quick passes to move down the
field a few yards at a time. Toledo
quarterbackAaronOpeltrarelytook
a drop deeper than three steps.
"They hadn't shown the spread
as much," Michigan coach Rich
Rodriguez said at his postgame
press conference. "But then again,
having watched us on film and'see-
ing we had struggled with it, it
didn't really surprise me."
Considering the defense's dif-
ficulties against the spread in the
past two weeks, Taylor said he
expects to see more of the same
against Penn State on Saturday.
But the Wolverines should get a
boost with the possible return of
junior defensive end Brandon Gra-
ham. Graham missed the Toledo

Senior Terrance Taylor and the Michigan defense have one sack in the last two games.

game with a leg infection stemming
from a turf burn. He was on antibi-
otics last week and expects to play
against the Nittany Lions. Graham
leads the nation in tackles for loss
per game (2.1) and averages a sack
per game.
"When Brandon Graham's
healthy, he gives us a lot," fifth-year
senior defensive end Tim Jamison
said. "He's a great athlete, power-
ful. He brings a lot to the table."
Returning to Happy Valley
should bring back some proud
memories for the defensive line. In
2006, the last time Michigan trav-
eled to Penn State, the defensive
line created constant pressure,
knocking the Nittany Lions' first
two quarterbacks out of the game
with injuries.
"That was a crazy game," Jami-
son said. "The D-line did stand out

that game. But we need to stand out
as a team (this week)."
There is a greater sense of urgen-
cy for the members of the defensive
line this week. The three senior
starters - Taylor, Jamison and
tackle Will Johnson - want to fin-
ish their college careers undefeated
against the Nittany Lions.
But more important than getting
another win over Penn State, Jami-
son said the veterans are focused
on taking advantage of their final
opportunities.
"There's a lot of seniors on that
defensive side of the ball," Jamison
said. "We only have six weeks to
prove, to change this team around,
and it's going to be all on us, the
seniors as a whole."
For more Michigan football news,
check www.michigandaily.com.

A true educator, Bottom takes reins in A2

By RYAN PODGES on talk shows and really have an
Daily Sports Writer effect on the world."
- - But Bottom was already addict-
If coaching hadn't been so ed. Although he finished the
addictive to Michigan's new men's coursework for a Ph.D, he never
head swimming and diving coach earned the degree.
Mike Bottom, "I fooled myself into thinking I
you might have would stay away from swimming,"
endedupwatch- Bottom said. "To see the joy in a
ing him on guy when he touches the wall and
television talk puts is hands over his head, the
shows or read- exhilaration you feel as a coach
ing his books. is an adrenaline ... It's a powerful
In the early emotion, and once you get a sip of
1990s, Bottom BOTTOM that, it's addicting."
was an assistant So addicting that Bottom is now
coach under entering his 18th year of collegiate
David Marsh at Auburn while coaching.
he worked toward his masters Bottom accepted the Michigan
degree in counseling psychology. job in June after Bob Bowman
His goal was to continue coaching announced that he would leave
while working on a Ph.D in sport the program to become CEO of the
psychology. But Bottom received North Baltimore Aquatic Club in
some unexpected advice from Maryland. Bowman, best-known
Marsh, who won 12 national titles for being the personal coach of
at Auburn: don't get addicted to Michael Phelps, served as Michi-
coaching. gan's coach for four seasons.
"As a coach, you have a very Phelps trained with Bowman at
narrow influence on the bigger Michigan from 2004 until leav-
picture," Bottom said. "David felt ing for the 2008 Olympic Games
like by what I was doing (with psy- in Beijing, where he won eight gold
chology), I could write books, be medals.

Bottom's first opportunity to
introduce himself to his new team
came at the U.S. Olympic swim-
ming trials in early July. Bottom
made time to meet with Michi-
gan's swimmers at the meet.
His goal may have been just to
meet the guys on the team, but the
meeting did more than that. For
senior co-captain Jamie Martone,
it eliminated many of the concerns
he had about working with a new
coach.
"I'll never forget that meeting,"
Martone said. "We were in the cor-
ner by a warm-down hot tub and
See BOTTOM, Page 8A

SPECIA, 1LIST S
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