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April 17, 2009 - Image 8

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8 - Friday, April 17, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Paulus still mulling
over football options

By RUTH LINCOLN,
COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
and ANDY REID
Daily Sports Editors
Former Duke point guard Greg
Paulus said in a conference call yes-
terday that he has been offered an
opportunity to join the Michigan
football team and compete for play-
ingtimeatquarterback,accordingto
ESPN.com. He has not been offered
a scholarship, school officials told
the Detroit News yesterday.
The ESPN.com report on Thurs-
day morning was unclear whether
the offer was fora scholarship or just
to join the team. Because it's techni-
cally a recruiting issue, a spokesman
fortheAthleticDepartmentdeclined
to comment when contacted by The
Michigan Daily.
Michigan early-enrollee quarter-
back Tate Forcier told The Michigan
Daily he saw the report yesterday
morning and talked with quarter-
backs coach Rod Smith about the
situation.
"I've been talking to coaches all
morning, and my position coach,
Coach Smith, he told me specifically
that they have not offered him - they
don't know why he would lie," Forci-
er said Thursday afternoon. "They
said, 'We'll let you'll know what's
up,' because right now, their specific
words were, they haven't offered."
When asked how he would react
if Paulus did indeed join the team,
Forcier said that "if it happens, it
happens."
"I'm not worried about it," Forci-
er said. "A kid like that was good in
high school, but it's nearly impos-
sible to come back to this level and
play. It might be possible, but not in
the quarterback position. You have
to know too much, you have to know
the speed of the game."
Forcier's olderbrother Jason, who
missed the 2007 season per NCAA

eligibility rules after transferring
to Stanford from Michigan, saw the
Paulus situation similarly.
"Football might be the hardest
sport to come back from a layoff
and play," Jason said to The Michi-
gan Daily. "If you look into different
sports, professional leagues, you've
got minor leagues for baseball and
basketball. The NFL doesn't have
any of that.
"It just doesn't materialize
because that's how hard it is to stay
competitive."
Paulus attended Tuesday's final
spring practice to talk with Michi-
gan coach Rich Rodriguez about
joining the team, according to FOX-
Sports.com.
Jason said Tate's understanding
was that Paulus arrived at Tues-
day's practice unannounced and the
coaches weren't aware of his arrival.
Paulus was a highly touted dual-
threat quarterback in high school,
passing for 11,763 yards and 152
touchdowns.
Michigan isn't the first place Pau-
lus has looked to play football. On
Wednesday, Duke coach David Cut-
cliffe offered Paulus a tryout at wide
receiver, according to ESPN.com.
"He's a quarterback at heart, but
there was no way he was going to be
able to compete and play quarterback
for us," Cutcliffe said to ESPN.
But Paulus told reporters ina con-
ference call Thursday morning he is
only interested in playing quarter-
back, according to ESPN.com.
"The chanceto competeforastart-
ing job is important," Paulus said in
the conference call. "With me only
having an opportunity to play for one
year, the chance and the opportunity
to compete at a high level is impor-
tant. There is an opportunity to do
that at Michigan."
On the Dan Patrick radio show
Thursday morning, Paulus con-
firmed that he worked out with the
NFL's Green Bay Packers last week.

He said he talked with a Big Ten
and a Big East team, as well as other
schools. Paulus also was interviewed
Thursday on ESPN's "Pardon the
Interruption."
"What he's doing is generating
great interest, and that's smart on his
part," Jason said of Paulus. "If he's
considering himself a product, that's
really good marketing. It should be
a snowball effect, whatever school
takesunoticeof it."
Paulus played four years of bas-
ketball at Duke. But under NCAA
rules, he has a fifth year of eligibility
should he choose to use it in a sport
other than basketball. Every student-
athlete has five years of blanket eligi-
bility and can play four years of one
particular sport.
The NCAA released a statement
yesterday considering Paulus's situa-
tion. Itsaidthat if an athlete wants to
compete immediately as a graduate
student, his school will have to apply
for a waiver.
"One of the factors our members
have determined is appropriate for
a graduate student waiver is if the
transfer is academically motivated,"
the statement read, according to
ESPN.com.
Paulus had garnered various aca-
demic awards in his career, including
a third-team ESPN The Magazine
2007-08 Academic All-America
selection.
If Paulus joins the Wolverines in
the near future, he would compete
with Tate Forcier, incoming fresh-
man Denard Robinson and redshirt
junior Nick Sheridan for the Wolver-
ines' starting quarterback spot.
"The next step is to keep learn-
ing about the different opportuni-
ties that are out there," Paulus said
on the Dan Patrick radio show.
"Whether it's a university or the
workouts with the NFL teams ...
basketball is an option as well.
Just trying to learn about each
opportunity."

ARIEL BOND/Daily
Sophomore Ben Baldus-Strauss scored a 15.6 on vault in the NCAA qualifiers last night. He matched his best score of the year.
wolverines surge past Cal for
second place in NCAA qualifier

By COLT ROSENSWEIG
Daily Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS - When the
final rotation of the NCAA men's
gymnastics team qualifiers began,
the No. 4 Michigan men's gym-
nastics squad stood in third place,
just .65 points ahead of No. 8 Penn
State.
Less than 30 minutes later, junior
co-captain David Chan came racing
back to the sidelines after hitting
his handspring double front vault.
He pumped his fists and practically
skipped back into the arms of his
teammates.
The Wolverines had not just left
the Nittany Lions in the dust - they
also surpassed No. 5 California to
secure second place in the session
with their best score of the season,
358.30.
Michigan has made it to NCAA
team finals in the last two seasons
by the skin of its teeth, sliding into
the Super Six in sixth place both
years. This year, Michigan quali-
fied fourth overall for tomorrow
night's Super Six team finals, giving
the Wolverines fourthpick of which
event on which to begin the night.
Few other than the Wolverines
themselves would have predicted
their finish after one rotation of
competition. Michigan opened the
session on parallel bars, its worst
event atthe BigTen Championships,
and didn't do much better than two
weekends ago.
Freshman Syque Caesar led the
Wolverines off with a hit set in his
first appearance since partially
tearing his meniscus. But his team-
mates couldn't build on it. Senior
co-captain Phil Goldberg called the
rotation "atrocious."
After that, the Wolverines pro-
gressed slowly but steadily through

the rankings, posting consistenthits
through the next five events. Just
like at Big Tens, sophomore Thomas
Kelley earned Michigan's top high-
bar score in the anchor slot, putting
the team on a roll.
On floor, the energetic, fiery
atmosphere that manifested at Big
Tens returned with a vengeance.
Sophomore Ben Baldus-Strauss,
who is often ribbed by his team-
mates for looking dissatisfied after
every performance, even gave a fist
pump while he ran off the floor.
Senior Scott Bregman, who missed
his set at Big Tens, hit every pass
in Minnesota's Sports Pavilion as
his teammates went crazy. Kel-
ley and sophomore Chris Cameron
anchored the rotation with Michi-
gan's two highest floor scores.
Most teams dread the pommel
horse rotation - it is widely regard-
ed as the most difficult event in
gymnastics and the easiest on which
to make a major mistake. Michigan,
on the other hand, welcomed the
challenge.
Goldberg got the Wolverines
started with a 14.60, his high-
est score of the season. Redshirt
freshman Adam Hamers smoothly
executed his set for a 14.90, a sea-
son high, and Chan and Cameron
finished it off with two huge 15.15
scores.
"I was joking with the coaches
that I was going to break a 14.50
today, but I didn't actually think I
was goingto do it," Goldberg said.
Though No. 1 Stanford pulled
away, eventually winning the ses-
sion with a 361.10 score, the Wol-
verines were still within striking
distance of Cal as they headed into
the two highest-scoring events of
a gymnastics meet, still rings and
vault. And Michigan had all the
momentum it needed.
When Cameron followed Gold-

berg's near-perfect 15.15 rings set
with Michigan's top rings score
(15.35), his father beamed from ear-
to-ear in the stands. Cameron's spe-
cialties are usually pommel horse
and parallel bars - and last night,
he competed through intense pain
in his right shoulder.
"(Cameron's) doing an excellent
job," Kelley said. "He's just such a
tough kid. He's giving all he's got for
this team and he's making sure that
his routines are the best that they
can be."
In the final rotation, Michigan
didn't look back at Penn State, even
though the Nittany Lions trailed
close behind. Instead the Wolver-
ines had their eyes on the Golden
Bears - and second place.
Baldus-Strauss and Chan were
the final Wolverines to vault. For
Baldus-Strauss, it was the one-year
anniversary of breaking his ankle
on the same event. To make mat-
ters worse, he had to wait through a
lengthy judging conference regard-
ing senior Ralph Rosso's vault.
Finally, he got the signal to go and
tied his season-high with a 15.60.
"It was probably one of the best
meets I've ever had, and it's such a
good feelingto peak rightat the end,"
said Baldus-Strauss, who had about
20 family members and friends at
the meet. "And we're seeded so well
- we almostgave Stanford a run for
their money, and we have room for
improvement."
Like Baldus-Strauss, anchor
Chan has also been teased for
not celebrating. He made up for it
Thursday night. Never before had
the junior shown such emotion in
a meet as when he landed his vault
and took a small hop forward.
"After Big Tens, I just told myself,
'You've got to find the landing. It's
there, I just have to find it,' " Chan
said. "I found it today."

Berset, Burgoon finally back

By TIM ROHAN
Daily Sports Writer
Most kids have a teddy bear, an
action figure or a blanket to make
them feel safe.
The Michigan baseball team has
junior catcher Chris Berset.
Michigan's safety blanket
returned to action yesterday dur-
ing the Wolverines' doubleheader
against Eastern Michigan.
The whole pitching staff, aside
from senior Chris Fetter, has strug-
gled of late, allowing an average of
8.7 runs over the last 10 games. In
six of those contests, they allowed
10 or more runs, including Wednes-
day's 11-5 loss to the Eagles.
Berset played in his first game
since breaking his thumb on his
throwing hand in February against
Jacksonville.And he's alreadythink-
ing about turning things around.
"It feels great just tobe out there
with the guys and to help them out,"
Berset said. "We're going through a
tough time right now and I'm just
trying to help them out any way."
He went 1-for-4 against the
Eagles with a double and one RBI.
Berset also was 1-for-2 on prevent-
ing stolen base attempts.
Beyond the scatsheet, the Wolver-
ines will welcome back Berset's abil-
ityto handle their pitchingstaff.
"It's tough," Berset said. "I tried
to battle with some of the pitchers.
I mean they're missing spots right
now, and pitching is all about locat-
ing, changing speeds. And rightnow
we're not doing a very good job of it.
So we need to pick it up. And some-
one's got to go down, dig deep for us.
That's what we need."
Berset could be the guy the pitch-
ers need to help them "dig deep" in
tough situations the rest of the year.
Michigan coach Rich Maloney
and Berset both said the junior
would have to shake the rust off after
missing six weeks, and he said he
still needed to get his "groove" back.
Once he settles into that groove, his
effectiveness as a catcher could make

Sophomore Tyler Burgoon has a 3.24 ERA for the Wolverines this season.

the pitching staff that much better.
Along with Berset's return, the
pitching staff got a boost from soph-
omore pitcher Tyler Burgoon, who
injured his shoulder against Oak-
land on Mar. 31.
He entered the first game of the
doubleheader in the sixth inningwith
Michigan down by one. The Eagles
had tworunnersonbase and Eastern
was poised to extend its lead.
When Michigan needed someone
to shut down the Eagles, Burgoon
delivered.
With just nine pitches, Burgoon
efficiently pitched 1.1 innings. He
got Eastern Michigan's Jim Gulliver
to fly out to end the scoring threat in
the sixth. In the seventh, he induced
a double play to end the game and
improve his record to 3-0.
"Being back from an injury like
that, it was scary at first - never
know what's going on in there,"
Burgoon said. "But it felt like forever
just sitting out watching the team."
The sophomore reliever is now
tied withsophomore Matt Miller for
the most appearances as a pitcher

this season with 13 and is fourth on
the team with a 3.24 ERA.
Burgoon pitched to Berset
Wednesday and acknowledged the
importance of having his battery-
mate back from injury.
"Havinghimback, I think, instills
a lot of confidence," Burgoon said.
"He knows my pitches. He knows
where it's going to go.It's great."
Burgoon and the rest of the pitch-
ing staff are looking for positive
while trying to reverse their recent
slump. Maloney was also looking for
bright spots to take into this week-
end's three-game series against
Michigan State, which starts this
afternoon with game one at3 p.m.
"Chris Berset, it was good to see
him back out there," Maloney said.
"And the team feels so much more
confident with him there, which is
very encouraging.
"And the other thing is, Burgoon
pitched an inning. We didn't want
to pitch him more, because we need
him against Michigan State.... It's
really encouraging to see him back
on the mound. So that's a positive."

Ambassadors to the game of lacrosse

Y..u.MSir t 'r b it4 ,
9 ,,
u ~~~ ,wwQ N ,l,ncrlfr & mlererlmes4
T 9S,.ai,9-_

By JAKE FELDMAN
Daily Sports Writer
"Sick lax."
Like a baby's first words, it was
repeated over and over: "Sick lax."
For six Japanese lacrosse players,
the phrase definedtheirlthree-week
spring vacation in Ann Arbor. The
players lived with senior midfielder
Nick Standiford and other members
of the Michigan lacrosse team.
It was all about experiencing the
life of an Wolverine lacrosse player
- the grueling practices, the long
hair, the glamorous gear, the par-
ties and the undefeated record.
"Sick Lax is a clothing company
that my roommate started," Stan-
diford said. "And (the Japanese
players) got T-shirts, pink T-shirts.
They're pretty cool. And it's also a
term to describe good lacrosse play,
so the first thing I taught them was
the phrase 'Sick lax.'"
Michigan hosts players from the
University of Tokyo each spring as
part of an initiative to help fuel the
sport's rapid growth, especially in
Japan. The country has around 100
teams compete on a collegiate level.
And Michigan coach John Paul
visits the University of Tokyo each
summer to facilitate the develop-
ment of its growing program.
Few Japanese high schools have
lacrosse teams, and most players
are new to the sport when they
come to the collegiate level. College
students coordinate the teams and
fill their coaching slots with for-
mer players. The Blue Bullets at the
University of Tokyo are one of the

best teams in Japan and excel at an
academically oriented school.
"University of Tokyo has very
weak sports, because we always
studied in high school," Bullet mid-
fielder Tokeiji Michitoshi said. "In
Japan, (we) all start lacrosse in col-
lege, so we have no disadvantage,
and we are not so weak compared
to other sports."
Despite their lack of experi-
ence, players are expected to learn
"There's no
party like
America."
the game quickly. When Paul first
arrived on the scene, the young Jap-
anese team routinely held five-hour
practices each morningbefore class.
Players and coaches spent much of
their time discussing strategies and
simulating game situations through
conversation. But now, their prac-
tices are much more efficient.
"I think having eight years of
involvement, especially with the
Tokyo team, we've had a lot of
influence on how they do things
and what they do," Paul said. "Tac-
tically, they run a lot of the things
we run, so they learn a lot of their
systems from us."
In the last three weeks, the Jap-
anese players practiced with the
Wolverines. Their lacrosse skills

surpass those of an average lacrosse
player, a testamentto the focus and
dedication of the Tokyo team.
Michigan coaches also gave each
player individual coaching ses-
sions outside of practice. They held
weight-lifting sessions, form-shoot-
ing drills and game-speed exercises
as part of their training program.
"I stay'in touch with their coach-
es throughout the year, and a lot of
their alumni, and I hear a lot that
coming here really influences a lot
of their players," Paul said. "Espe-
cially when they send us over some
of their better players. A lot of those
guys can take a big leap after play-
ing here for a few weeks."
Standiford and junior midfielder
Svet Tintchev also coordinated a
social schedule to complement the
strict lacrosse instruction. Michi-
gan players gave Michitoshi and
his teammates the opportunity to
drive on the right side of the road,
attend a Detroit Tigers game,
go bowling and experience Ann
Arbor's nightlife.
"Every year, they get more and
more excited about living the life-
style of a college lacrosse player,
which they love," Tintchev said.
"They think it's so cool that we
go to class, have a social life, play
lacrosse, and just so easygoing
compared to their lifestyle, which
is justway more strict."
When asked how he would
describe the experience to his
teammates back home, Michitoshi
responded with a big smile.
"Very fun. There is no party like
America."

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