4B - November 3, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
New defensive scheme no helu
Kick returns/ Yds
Time of Poss
M I C H I G A N
C-A Yds TD
9-21 123 2
9-21 123 2
By COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
Daily Sports Editor
WEST LAFAYETTE - At
first glance, the Wolverines'
defensive play Saturday looked
almost the same as every Satur-
With the score tied at 28 in
the third quarter, on a criti-
cal Purdue third-and-9 at the
Michigan 30-yard line, Purdue
running back Kory Sheets broke
multiple Wolverine tackles
before being stopped - but not
before getting a first down. The
Boilermakers tied the game four
Missed tackles. Failed third-
and-long stops. Blown coverage.
The only difference between
Saturday and the eight games
ran a new defensive scheme.
But revamped or not, the unit
gave up 522 total yards and con-
tinued to regress in Michigan's
48-42 loss to Purdue.
It was the third Big Ten
game this year in which the
defense has allowed 45 or more
points, and this is the first sea-
son in Michigan history where
the Wolverines have given up
more than 40 points in multiple
"Tackle better," Michigan
coach Rich Rodriguez said
crisply after the game, listing
the issues with the defense.
"Get off the blocks, break to the
ball better, tackle better. That
will solve a lot of problems."
Michigan implemented a
stack 3-3-5 defense for Satur-
day's game, a change from the
4-3 defense it has run in recent
The Wolverines started
practicing the defense Tues-
day, a decision linebacker John
Thompson said was made when
it was announced Purdue soph-
omore Justin Siller would likely
start in place of injured fifth-
year senior Curtis Painter.
Before Saturday, Michigan
used the scheme exclusively
on third downs against spread
In theory, the 3-3-5 defense
puts more emphasis on pass
defense because there are more
players in the secondary to
eliminate passing lanes.
Against Michigan State on
Oct. 25, the Wolverine second-
ary was torn apart as it missed
tackles and failed to get off the
field on third-and-long. The
Spartans threw for 306 yards
and three touchdowns with a
So-percent third-down conver-
On Saturday, with the new
defense, the statistics were
The Michigan secondary
allowed 266 passing yards and
three touchdowns, and the Boil-
ermakers were 8-of-17 on third-
The Wolverine starting line-
backers - fifth-year senior John
Thompson, and redshirt sopho-
mores Obi Ezeh and Jonas Mou-
ton - weren't.shuffled, but usual
cornerback Donovan Warren
started at free safety.
A possible reason for War-
ren's switch was his lack of
physicality while locking down
"We know (Warren) is fast
and he doesn't get off blocks
well, at least as far as what
we've seen on film," said Purdue
fifth-year senior wide receiver
Desmond Tardy, who scored
the winning touchdown for the
Boilermakers with 26 seconds
remaining. "So it's easier to
block him for me, being a slot
receiver, because he's not really
wanting all this contact."
The defensive line person-
nel rotated throughout the
game, with Tim Jamison, Ter-
rance Taylor and Brandon Gra-
ham as the starters. Freshman
nose tackle Mike Martin, who
rotated with Taylor at defensive
tackle Saturday, said constantly
shifting the line kept them fresh
Sophomore Donovan Warren played free safety in Michigan's loss at Purdue
Entering the game, he had only played cornerback for the Wolverines.
o. Yds Avg Lg
and was a "good decision by the
At the beginning of the sea-
son, the veteran-laden Wolver-
ine defense was expected to
carry the young offense.
But it was the poor play of the
defense that ended any hope of a
bowl trip for many of those vet-
"I thought the strength of
the Michigan team was defen-
sively," Purdue coach Joe Tiller
said, looking at the box score
during Saturday's postgame
press conference. "Never in my
wildest imagination did I think
we'd score 48 points."
No. Yds ANg
3 82 27.3
3 8? 273
Solo Asst Tot
6 1 7
5 2 7
5 1 6
4 2 6
Wackiness on special teams continues
P U R D U E
Avg Lg TO
11. 35 1
14.0 23 1
14.5 16 0
48.0 20 1
37 37.0 37
207 34s5 41
No. Yds Avg Lg TO
3 T 23A3 27 0
No. Yds Avg g TDO
2 17 8.5 13 0
By DAN FELDMAN
Daily Sports Editor
WEST LAFAYETTE - Pur-
due football coach Joe Tiller
the ridiculous NOTEBOOK
play by both teams in his team's
48-42 win over Michigan on Sat-
But for the Wolverines, it was
just another Saturday.
Michigan freshman Martavi-
ous Odoms returned the Boiler-
makers' first punt 73 yards for a
touchdown. Then he fumbled his
second return, setting Purdue up
for a short touchdown drive.
And the special teams play
didn't getmuch more usual as the
game progressed with a 61-yard
run on a fake punt by Purdue
linebacker Anthony Heygood,
the Boilermakers downing a punt
at the one-yard line and negative-
three-yard kickoff return by
"They say 'If you've been
around enough, you've seen it all.
If you've seen it all and you stick
around, you'll see it all again,' "
said Tiller, who has been coach-
ing for 54 years. "Well, I ain't
never seen that. I'm not going to
see it again either, I don't think."
The Michigan special teams
roller coaster started when the
Wolverines dropped their first
two kickoff returns at Notre
Dame and has rarely slowed
From page 1B
"They were coming in hun-
gry too with the same record
and the same things at stake,"
Purdue wide receiver Desmond
Tardy said. "So we had to come
in and overpower it and think
past their tradition, just think
this team is here now - not the,
I don't know, national champi-
onship team they might have
had years back."
All afternoon, the Wolverines
had chances to seal the game but
couldn't quite close the door.
With just over a minute
remaining, Michigan (1-4 Big
Ten, 2-7 overall) tied the score
on junior Brandon Minor's third
rushing touchdown of the game.
The defense needed to hold the
Boilermakers for 80 seconds to
force overtime. Purdue moved
the ball into field-goal range
after three plays, setting up sec-
ond and seven from the 32-yard
Against Michigan's man
defense, Purdue quarterback
Justin Siller passed it four yards
over the middle to Greg Orton,
who pitched it back to Tardy. He
ran down the sideline to the end
zone and put the Boilermakers
(1-4 Big Ten, 3-6 overall) on top
as the crowd went crazy.
Senior safety Brandon Har-
rison said the defense was sup-
posed to be lined up in press
coverage but gave the receivers
too much cushion on the play.
Redshirt junior Zoltan Mesko,
one of 10 semifinalists for the Ray
Guy Award, given to the nation's
top punter, had been the lone spe-
cial teams bright spot.
And he kept Michigan in the
game Saturday. The Wolverines,
outgained 522-300 in total yards,
averaged 21.7 more net yards per
punt than Purdue.
"There wasn't much pressure,
just because I trust my team-
mates and they do their job,"
Michigan's returners played
well Saturday, too. In addition to
his punt return for a touchdown,
Odoms had a 45-yard kick return.
Freshman Boubacar Cissoko had
a 53-yard kick return.
Ranked 110th in the nation
in punt returns two weeks ago,
Michigan now sits at 64th.
But a play in the fourth quar-
ter, which junior defensive end
Brandon Graham called the
game's turning point, tarnished
the Wolverines' mostly improved
With the game tied at 35 and
Purdue facing a fourth and eight
at its own 32-yard line, Tiller
called for Heygood's fake. His
coaches asked him three times
if he was sure. He was, and Hey-
good, the up-man on the play,
took the snap and raced 61 yards
along the left sideline.
"I'm disappointed on the punt
because we kind of anticipated it,
and we yelled that it may be com-
ing because of the alignment,"
It was the biggest swing in a
wild special teams game.
"It was an entertaining kick-
ing game for everybody but me,"
Imagine how Michigan coach
Rich Rodriguez feels every week.
BURN THAT RED SHIRT:
About two months ago, Rodri-
guez said freshman Justin Feagin
would redshirt. Eventhoughhe's
Michigan's best running quarter-
back, he wasn't polished enough
to play this year.
But Feagin made his college
debut Saturday, burning his red-
shi-t in the process. His playing
time came on the punt-return
Feagin said he talked with the
coaches before the game about
whether he would play.
"I wanted to play," Feagin
Most schools recruited Feagin
as a defensive back, but Rodri-
guez offered the Deerfield, Fla.
native a chance to play quarter-
Feagin worked at quarterback
in fall camp, but struggled to pick
up the schemes. He has worked
at slot receiver as well during the
Rodriguez has previously said
Feagin's future is likely at slot
SILLER TIME: It was difficult to
watch Purdue quarterback Justin Junior running back Brandon
Siller and not wonder how much Minor wore a brace on his right
he could have helped Michigan wrist, which he said he wears
this year. after every game. His wrist kept
Siller was the prototypical him out for a short period during
spread quarterback Saturday - the game.
21-of-34 for 266 yards and three Senior nose tackle Terrance
touchdown passes, 15 runs for Taylor had his right hand cov-
77 yards and a touchdown on the ered in ice after the game.
ground. Freshman running back Sam
"He's got a lot of improving McGuffie and redshirt freshman
to do," Tiller said. "I'm not quite free safety Michael Williams
sure where, but he does." missed the game after suffering
Siller played at Orchard Lake concussions last week against
St. Mary's High School, but he Michigan State.
wasn't offered a scholarship by NOTES: Minor took two direct
the Wolverines. snaps. He ran for seven and zero
"I grew up watching Michi- yards on those plays. Junior run-
gan," Siller said. "When I was ning back Carlos Brown, who has
younger, they were really good." been plagued by several injuries
And the Detroit native's break- throughout the year, has, also
out game came in his first career taken snaps and run this sea-
start. son.... Redshirt sophomore John
"We put pressure on the quar- ' Ferrara started at left guard
terback early, a young quarter- after redshirt junior Tim McA-
back, inexperienced," fifth-year voy started at the position the
senior defensive end Tim Jami- last two games. Ferrara started
son said. "As the game got along against Wisconsin, but redshirt
he got more confidence. He's junior Mark Ortmann replaced
going to be a good player in the him for the next two games....
future." Redshirt junior Carson Butler
Siller started for the injured made his debut at defensive end
Curtis Painter, who missed his after switching from tight end
first start in 40 games. It was the about two weeks ago. After being
longest streak in the nation. dropped to third string at tight
INJURY UPDATE: A Michigan end, he asked to move to defense.
official helped redshirt fresh- ... Odoms, redshirt junior wide
man quarterback Steven Threet, receiver LaTerryal Savoy and
who was sacked three times in freshman wide receiver Dar-
the game, walk out of the locker ryl Stonum all scored their first
room after the game. career touchdowns.
SANDALS wouldn't talk to the media, but
From page 1B it wasn't because he was miffed
about the cut in playing time. It
was because he knew his col-
struggles - it's been a group lege football career would be
effort. But it's sad to see a group over in three short weeks. He
of players that has given so genuinely looked too sad to
much to this program, most- talk.
ly unnoticed, leave on such Fifth-year senior cornerback
depressing terms. Morgan Trent has lost playing
As sophomores, many of time to a freshman this season,
them played a key role in the too. But that hasn't stopped him
team's undefeated run to the from receiving an unfair shre
Ohio State game. Last year, of the blame for a struggling
they helped right the ship after secondary.
an 0-2 start with a much more As Trent walked off the field
talented team than this year's. at Ross-Ade Stadium Saturday,
This year, they stuck around a Michigan fan yelled, "You
through a coaching change suck, Trent."
even thoughthey knew it meant But will fans remember that
their final season would be see this year's senior class isn't
drastic changes. They knew marking the end of an era but
they would essentially be fresh- the beginning of a new one?
men to the new coaching staff. Will that fan who yelled at
They knew they couldn't live up Trent take it back when Michi-
to the legacy of Long, Hart and gan returns to its winning tra-
But these seniors stuck it "The seniors, I'm sure, are
out. disappointed more than any-
Some of the seniors have body, but they've laid, they're
been benched in favor of still laying, the foundation for
younger players. They've suf- our program," Rodriguez said.
fered through that indignity Right now the Michigan
because they want to do what's football program is in a deep
best for the team now and in hole. But fans shouldn't give up
the future. hope that the Wolverines will
On Saturday, senior nose be back on top in the not-so-
tackle Terrence Taylor prob- distant future.
ably played fewer snaps than When they are, remember
he has all season. Taylor had to this year's senior class - a
watch as Martin, a true fresh- group that paid it forward.
man, took the repetitions he has
worked for four years to earn. -Sandals can be reached
After the game, Taylor at email@example.com.
1 1 2
1 0 1
1 0 1
1 0 1
1 0 1
0 1 1
0 1' 1
35 18 53
Team Big Ten Overall
Junior running back Brandon Minor rushed for a career-high 155 yards in
Michigan's loss at PArdue AT Saturday. He alGA ran fAT thnee touchdowns.
Earlier in the fourth quarter,
Michigan was equally unnerved
when it allowed another trick
With the game tied;the Wol-
verines forced Purdue into along
fourth down. But a 61-yard fake
punt run by the up-man turned
an opportunity for Michigan to
get the ball back into a prime
scoring chance for the Boiler-
makers, which Siller completed
two plays later for one of his
"We kind of anticipated it,
and we yelled that it may be
coming because of the align-
ment," Rodriguez said. "They
did a nice job executing."
Despite the close score, the
Boilermakers held a clear sta-
tistical advantage on the after-
noon. They had a 25-15 edge in
first downs and held possession
of the ball for 15 more minutes.
They outgained Michigan by
The frustration will only
mount as the Wolverines look at
the missed opportunities they
had through out the game.
And for the fourth time in
five weeks, the Wolverines
allowed 21 unanswered points,
which leaves more unanswered
THIS WEEKEND'S RESULTS
PURDUE 48, Michigan 42
Central Michigan 37, INDIANA 34
MIcHIGAN STATE 25, Wisconsin 24
Northwestern 24, MINNESoTA 17
ILLIsNIS 27, Iowa 24