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October 30, 2009 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-10-30

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8 - Friday, October 30, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Williams and Charest to
split snaps vs. Michigan

Daily Sports Editor
As the Wolverines continue
their experiment to determine the
ideal Tate Forcier:Denard Robin-
son ratio, Michigan football fans
have become well aware of the
pros and cons of a
rotation. Michigan
They've seen at Illinois
the highs and the
lows - hoping for Machun .
Michigan 5-3;
plays like Robin- Illinois1-6
son's jaw-drop-
ping impromptu en:
sprint to the end d
zone against Where:
Western Michi- Memorial
gan and cring-S
ing when they TV:ESPN
see plays like his Live Tweets:
game-clinching rmichdai-
interception at
Iowa or his two-
turnover performance against
Penn State.
But through it all, the Wolver-
Ines have come to accept the good
and the bad, as Michigan coach
Rich Rodriguez has committed to
playingboth his freshmen quarter-
backs since two-a-days in August.
Tomorrow at 3:30 p.m., the Wol-
verines (5-3 overall, 1-3 Big Ten)
will face an Illinois team that will
employ a two-quarterback rota-
tion. But unlike Michigan, the
Fighting Illini are cycling through
field generals out of desperation.
Senior Isiah "Juice" Williams
will split time against Michigan
with redshirt freshman Jacob
Charest, who brings more of a tra-
ditional pocket-passing attack to
the Illinois attack.
"Everybody says they don't
want to be a two-quarterback sys-
tem, and I'd be another one to say
that," Illinois coach Ron Zook said
during his weekly Tuesday press
conference. "But a lot of people do
it and a lot of people have success
with it. I think the thing we're try-

last long, going just 2-of-8 for 31
yards before he was relieved by
The problem may have been that
Williams and McGee, who are both
dual-threat quarterbacks,just play
too similarly to give the Illinois
offense a discernible advantage.
"With Eddie and Juice there
wasn't a lot of game planning and
not a lot of difference," Zook said.
"When you game plan against
Juice and against(Chares), there's
a little bit of difference. Now you
actually are dealing with a little
different animal."
Zook decided to give Charest his
first-ever game action last week in
the Illini's 24-14 loss to Purdue.
Charest went 4-of-8 for 52 yards
against the Boilermakers, and
Zook said he was "very pleased"
with the former three-star recruit
who threw for almost 8,000 yards
in high school.
"It's one thing going into a game
plan knowing you're going to
play in the beginning of the year
when everybody's optimistic, and
another going into a game under
those kinds of circumstances and
pressure and needing to win,"
Zook said of Charest. "I was very
impressed with him. I thought he
did a good job ... and I think he can
give us some help."
While Zook wants to be sup-
portive of his senior quarterback,
his team is still looking for its first
Big Ten victory - and its first win
against Football Bowl Subdivision
competition, for that matter.
And so in an attempt to salvage
their disaster of a season, the Illini's
quarterback carousel will continue.
"They're both going to be out
there, and I think Juice under-
stands that," Zook said. "I'm not
trying to dodge the question or
anything like that. They are both
going to play and as I said, Jacob
gave us some things that I'm excit-
ed about. You see that ball come
off his hand quick and he stuck it
in there well."

Senior Juice Williams shredded Michigan's 'D'last season, but has struggled this year.

ing to do, just like everyone else,
is to do the thing that's best for us
and what gives us the best oppor-
tunity to win."
Coming intothe 2009 campaign,
no one would have questioned Wil-
liams's spot atop the Illini's depth
chart. A starter since his fresh-
man season, Williams led the Big
Ten in total offense in 2008 while
compiling almost 4,000 combined
yards on the ground and through
the air. Of course, arguably his
best game last year came against
Michigan, when he racked up 431
yards of total offense, the highest
individual offensive output in Big
House history.
But it's been a tough year for one
of the Big Ten's mostdynamic play-
ers. His 107.51 passer rating ranks

99th in the nation. That's 27 spots
below Forcier, whose struggles as
of late have been well documented,
and 14 spots behind Miami (Ohio)
quarterback Zac Dysert, whose
RedHawks are winless through
eight games.
"I had a longtalk with Juice yes-
terday," Zook said. "It never really
came up. Juice wants to win. He's
pulling his hair out. The biggest
thing we have to do with Juice is
that everybody's pounding on him
and he has to somehow separate
that stuff. He's done it before. It's
a confidence issue."
Illinois (1-6, 0-5) has been
searching for other alternatives.
Williams was benched for backup
quarterback Eddie McGee against
Michigan State, but McGee didn't

Blue faces physical test up North

By NICK SPAR checking team, and they're going
Daily Sports Writer to play at a high (competitive) level
every shift the whole weekend,"
The Michigan hockey team Michigan coach Red Berenson
begins its CCHA season tonight, said.
and its area of The attributes Berenson listed
focus heading Michigan at are the same labels he gave No.
into this week- 16 Alaska-Fairbanks and Niagara
end's series Lake before games against those teams
against Lake Superior earlier this month.
Superior State is SaMichigan (2-2-0) didn't fare
strikingly famil- well against either team, losing to
iar. Matchup: the Nanooks in its season opener
The Lakers Michigan 2-2; and struggling offensively after a
plays host to the Lake State 4-1 quick start in a win over the Pur-
fifth-ranked Wol- When: Friday ple Eagles.
verines in Sault 7:05 PM The fact that the Lakers (4-1-0)
Ste. Marie. Lake Where: Taffy have a similar defensive style to
Superior State's Abel Arena Alaska and Niagara, compounded
strengths are its Radio: with the Wolverines' inconsistent
physical play and WTKA-Ann offense, could be a cause for con-
defense - two Arbor (AM cern. But Michigan came out of its
facets that will 1050) shell in its last game - a loss at No.
make it easier to 4 Boston University - by tallying
keep the already- Live Blog: two goals and 21 shots in the final
struggling Mich- chigandiy. period.
igan off om/blogs!
igan offense the game "We've had a little trouble with
stagnant. the Lakers in the past. I remember
"Lake State is last year, we didn't have our best
a blue-collar, hard-working, hard- weekend against them," sopho-

more defenseman Brandon Burlon
said. "If we just build off the game
we had in Boston - especially the
third period - I think we'll come
out with two wins."
Michigan found an offensive
spark in its 21-shot third peri-
od against the Terriers when a
series of penalties and ejections
led to line changes that lasted the
remainder of the frame.
Because of the success with dif-
ferent lines and because of players
missing practice this week due-to
illness, Berenson hadn't deter-
mined his forward lines before
the team left for Sault Ste. Marie
One of those players is juniorfor-
ward Louie Caporusso, who didn't
practice Tuesday or Wednesday,
but skated Thursday. A healthy
and effective Caporusso would
drastically improve the team's
offensive woes. He was the team's
leading goal-scorer last year and a
Hobey Baker finalist, but has yet to
register a point in four games this
Lake Superior State's clamp-

down defense will come as no sur-
prise to Caporusso and Michigan.
Berenson knows what type of Lak-
ers team to expect.
"I've played them a lot and seen
them a lot," Berenson said. "And
their team doesn't change a lot.
It's amazing that whoever wears
their uniforms plays the same way.
That's their creed ... the culture of
their program."
The Lakers wrap up a six-game
home stand with this weekend's
series against the Wolverines.
They had a four-game winning
streak snapped against Ohio State
last Saturday in a weekend split.
The stingy defense hasn't been the
team's only asset. Lake Superior
State also boasts the highest power
play percentage in the CCHA at
30.8 percent.
The power play has helped the
Lakers to a fast start, but their
extra-man attack has been anoth-
er weak point for Michigan.
The Wolverines ,haven't scored
on its last 10 power plays, dating
back to the win over Niagara on
Oct. 22.

Senior DeShawn Sims talked at Media Day about growing to love basketball.
Sims focused
on senior year
By GJON JUNCAJ an excellent chance this season
Daily Sports Writer to increase his professional pros-
pects after electingnotto enterthe
ROSEMONT, IlL. - Entering NBA Draft last spring. Although
the twilight of his college bas- Sims' passion for the sport was an
ketball career, DeShawn Sims acquired taste, it doesn't make the
already feels a sense of nostalgia, bond any less genuine.
reminiscing about a time when his "It's sort of like a girl that you
Michigan playing days were still don't like all the way," Sims said.
in front of him. "Everything wasn't right about
Listening to the senior Michi- it, or about her. But eventually,
gan forward talk at yesterday's through time, you get to learn
Big Ten Basket- more about her. You get to know
ball Media Day, NOTEBOOK how instrumental she'd be in your
you would think life, and you start to love her. Until
Sims was applying for Social Secu- you (actually) fall in love, and I fell
rity checks rather than gearing in love with basketball."
up for the upcoming season and, HARRIS' HAMSTRING: Michi-
eventually, the 2010 NBA Draft. gan coach John Beilein said junior
"I just get this extra conscious- small forward Manny, Harris
ness that I'm too old," the 21-year- would practice Thursday evening
old Sims said. "A lot of things I do, after missing the previous two
I think 'You're too old.' And it hits sessions with a hamstring injury.
when you realize (it). I'll be half- Harris suffered the injury in pre-
way a step in the door: 'You're too season conditioning and re-aggra-
old. You've got to turn around."' vated it during Michigan Madness
Though Sims jokes about how on Oct.16.
his accelerated maturity has put "I still don't think he'll be run-
him in an awkward place on a ning sprints, but he'll be sprinting
social level, his figurative growth in our scrimmages and our full-
spurt brought a much-needed sigh court play," Beilein said. "I'll hold
of relief to the Michigan coaching him out a little bit, but pretty soon,
staff this past March. we have to test it right now.
Sims said his in-game focus "We have to be very careful we
became as sharp as ever during the don't push too much right now, but
team's last five games prior to the he has to get some normalcy to it,
NCAA Tournament. The Detroit to get into shape."
native averaged 22.4 points on The Wolverines' exhibition
57.3-percent shooting during that opener is Nov. 6 against Wayne
stretch to lead the Wolverines to State.
their first tournament berth in 11 SPARTANSTABBED FIRST: The
years. media picked last season's confer-
"I had gotten this confidence ence champion and NCAA finalist
about my ability that's been so Michigan State to win the Big Ten
great for me, it just made my game for a second straight season. The
excel four or five more notches," Spartans bring back three start-
Sims said. ers from last year's team, led by
Sims has admitted that he has the reigning conference Player of
had problems in the past with his the Year, junior point guard Kalin
focus, since his mind would often Lucas. The media also selected
wander to matters in his personal Lucas as its conference Preseason
life during games. Sims said it's a Player of the Year yesterday.
habit he has struggled to break Purdue and Ohio State were
since childhood. picked to finish second and third,
"I didn't grow up loving (bas- respectively. Only the top three
ketball)," Sims said. "I wasn't one teams are released to the public.
of those kids that played in all Michigan State coach Tom Izzo
the leagues (or) had their parents said this year's Big Ten is the best
pushing them.... I just played it for in ten years, saying eight to 10
recreation, so I had to grow to love teams have a legitimate shot at
it." winningthe league.
Sims's attempts to ignore pri- NOTES: The Wolverines are
vate distractions were even more ranked No. 15 in both the Associ-
important when a late-season loss ated Press and ESPN/USATODAY
at Iowa put Michigan's tourna- Coaches polls, which is Michigan's
ment hopes in jeopardy. firstcpreseason ranking in 12 years.
"I did a great job of blocking ... The preseason All-Big Ten first
that out towards the end (of last team was also released yesterday.
season), and it became like exer- The five selections were Lucas,
cise," Sims said. "Nothing I have Harris, Ohio Stateswigman Evan
to think about." Turner, Penn State junior guard
Now one of the elite post play- Talor Battle and Purdue junior
ers in the conference, Sims has forward Robbie Hummel.
The Daily football beat will have

your back while you're at Night-
mare on Elm St. Check michigan-
daily.com for a breakdown and staff
picks, and follow @michdailysports
for Tweets from Champaign.

With more offense, M could contend in Big Ten

All four teams were emotionless.
Over the last 10 days, the Michi-
gan women's soccer team and
its foes - Wisconsin, Minnesota
and then-No.22 ZA
Indiana - have
walked off the PYZIK
field in silence. No On women's
team was cheering soccer
because it won, yet
no team was disappointed by a loss.
The Wolverines have a knack for
ties. They have played to a stalemate
in five of their last six games, and it's
clear why: the defense is young and
strident, but the offense is aged and
quiet. The defense is composed of
mostly freshmen, and the offense is
In eightofthe last nine games,
Michigan held its adversary to one
tally or less. Likewise, in the same
eightgames, it didn't notch more
than one point. The problem is sim-
ply offensive production.
The Wolverine ballhandlers
looked likethey had a spark on Oct.
23 against the Golden Gophers when
senior midfielder Amy Klippert
showed true ballhandling skills,
juggling past opponents. Butthat
didn't help Michigan much once she

received a red card late in the second
half and had to sit out. With a lack of
scoring and alack of discipline, the
squad is struggling.
"Amy's red card has really hurt
the team," Michigan coach Greg
Ryan said after the team's tie with
the Badgers. "We needed Amy on
the field, and we needed herto be
disciplined enough."
Against Minnesota, the Wolver-
ines' only score was on a disputable
penalty kick rewarded because of an
unintentional hand ball.
In Sunday's game against the
Badgers, junior forward Amanda
Bowery had a great opportunity to
beat a goalie when she ran down-
field with two teammates on the
wing against a defense that looked
fatigued and stunned. Instead of
another offender taking a lane in the
box, Bowery was forced to uncon-
ventionally shoot about 25 yards
away and out of the box.
"We don'thave thatplayer that
will try and break a defense down by
itself," Ryan said. "Then that will set
up something for somebody else."
Michigan also plays too con-
servatively on offense. Ryan has
emphasized thatthis isn't always

intentional but rather, none of the
players are calling for the ball or are
eagerto take the kick. The frustra-
tion is prevalent, but not just for the
low-scoring Wolverine front line.
The defense has also showed
signs of irritation. Redshirt fresh-
man Haley Kopmeyer served her
fifth shutout of the season on Sunday
against Wisconsin, to tie the Michi-
gan rookie shutoutrecord, but three
of those have ended in 0-0 ties.
"I definitely would like to puta
few more in the back of the net,"
Kopmeyer said. "We are working
towards that. Hopefully next game,
we can stick a couple inthere."
Bowery played a few games as
defender, but was most recently
started on the other side of the ball.
In the back line, Ryan started fresh-
man Alyssa Engstrom. Against Min-
nesota, she came in late and played
for 65 minutes, rousingthe crowd
after winningmultiple one-on-ones
against the Golden Gophers.
"Alyssa is a really, really good
defender," Ryan said. "She is young,
but she has learned how to become a
good, intelligent college defender."
Engstrom and Kopmeyer are
doing their job. They are not let-

ting opponents score often, and the
limited times they do, it'sjustbeen
one point. If the team wants to win
games, it's time for Michigan to
push theball and to establish plays.
To fix the problem, the team
needs strikers. It must recruit play-
ers who will take initiative on the
field and take advantage of the
team's ability to impressively stun
opponents on defense. The wins will
come to Ryan and Michigan as long
as nextyear's roster has some more
talented forwards on it.
The team's problem can easily
be summed up after its recent 0-0
stalemate against the Hoosiers.
"I can't remember them hav-
ing anygreat chances in front of
our net," Ryan said after the loss to
Indiana. "But I can remember alot
of great chances in frontof their net.
You have to look at who has the bet-
ter chances, and today we had the
better (chances), we just had to put
them away and we didn't."
Those better chances won't
come this year, but the team has the
potential to win the Big Ten and be
a top-ranked program. And that all
relies on improving its roster forthe
2010 season.


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