The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Tuesday, November 3, 2009 - 9
On Friday,§'Mhas chance to
prove it belongs in spotlight
Before too much is made
of the Michigan hockey
team's pair of wins
against Lake Superior State last
weekend, just remember who
comes to town on Friday.
That's right - No. 1 Miami
While the 5-1 and 6-3 victories
in Sault Ste. Marie are nice, they
will be quickly forgotten if the
be duplicated NICK
"This will On ice hockey
be a good test
for us, just to
see where we are," Michigan
coach Red Berenson said. "If
you have any chance of finishing
ahead of a team in this league,
then you have to win the series
against them ... These games will
decide the order of finish down
But for No. 4 Michigan, this
weekend is about more than just
standings. It's a chance to gain
confidence against the best of
the best and an opportunity to
answer questions that have lin-
gered for the first month of the
For instance, will the Wolver-
ines even show up for three full
They entered Friday's con-
test against the Lakers with an
offense prone to long, dormant
stretches. It had been held score-
less in four of its previous six
frames and on its previous 10
And despite the 11 tallies on
the weekend, the inconsistency
continued. This was especially
true on Saturday, when after one
period, Lake Superior State had
doubled Michigan's shot total.
Whether Michigan maintains
focus for the full 60 minutes will
be answered on the scoreboard
at the end of each game.
The Wolverines are talented
enough to beat Lake Superior
State after taking a period off -
but not enough to beat the Red-.
"We just gotta get the job
Sophomore Luke Glendening and the Wolverines dropped their only game against a
ranked team this year, 2-1, at Boston University. They play No.1 Miami (Ohio) Friday.
Senior Brandon Graham is second in Michigan football history with 25 sacks and is looking to motivate his young teammates.
off field for solutions
done," freshman forward Chris
Brown said. "Miami is not going
to give us just two periods.
They're going to make us play all
Another looming question
is whether the Wolverines
can limit the neutral zone and
offensive zone turnovers, which
would provide a big lift for goalie
Bryan Hogan and the defense-
men. The miscues haven't led
to many goals on the other end,
but it's a good bet that they will
against the highest-ranked team
in the nation.
"A turnover happens because
I've got the puck and I make a
mistake - I force it into traffic
or I try to beat a guy one-on-one
and he strips me and goes the
other way," Berenson said. "So
part of your defense is what you
do when you have the puck."
Limiting these unnecessary
turnovers will pay dividends
threefold. Pressure will be sus-
tained in the offensive zone
instead of Michigan's, fewer
odd-man rushes will occur and
fewer penalties will be taken in
an attempt to recover from the
If mistakes leading to chances
for the opponent are trimmed,
other teams will have a tough
time controlling the tempo of
the game and pushing pucks past
Hogan. And that includes the
The final question, and the
most important one, is whether
the Wolverines can make a state-
ment and gain much-needed
momentum as they head into the
meat of the CCHA schedule.
Michigan already had a
chance to knock off defending
champion Boston University.
But that game was in the
rowdy Agganis Arena in Bos-
ton, and it was settled by a rare
Hogan blunder behind the net
with 2:30 left.
This is different. It looks
like Berenson has finally found
offensive line combinations that
clicked. The defense has jelled
almost perfectly, especially on
the penalty kill. Hogan is begin-
ning to find a rhythm. And this
time, the RedHawks will have
the hostile Yost Ice Arena crowd
to contend with.
Really, there's no better time
for Michigan to answer these
questions, garner its first win
over a ranked team, and prove
itself worthy of its top-five rank.
After all, home games against
the nation's top team aren't
exactly easy to come by.
By RUTH LINCOLN
Daily Sports Editor
After two consecutive defensive
collapses, the Michigan football
team is looking for an answer. Any
It's a time when many want to
write the Wolverines off, giving
them a slim chance to even make a
bowl. But accord-
ing to junior cor- NOTEBOOK
Warren, the answer to the Wolver-
ines' woes isn't schematic or overly
technical - it has to come from
"You've got to take a look in the
mirror and ask yourself, 'Are you
doing everything that is possible to
make this team better?' " Warren
said. "I feel like some guys just need
to take a look in the mirror, includ-
ing myself and including everyone
on the team. Everyone from the
trainers, to the weightroom coach-
es, everyone, just take a look in the
mirror and come to work."
This season, Warren has done
his share on the field to make the
Wolverines a better team and give
the increasingly weak secondary a
chance. His pass coverage, the best
on the team, is third-best in the Big
Ten with 10 pass breakups. He is
also tied for fifth with three inter-
But Warren said yesterday it's
off-the-field things that he and
seniors Stevie Brown and Brandon
Graham will do to motivate their
teammates and lead the young
defense out of its slump.
Graham said he planned to
address the team during yester-
day's practice. The defensive end's
speech was set to include seizing
the opportunity to play in a bowl
game, ignoring distractions and
how at this point in the season,
the product is less about effort and
more about heart.
"They really tune into those
breaks at practice, especially when
their teammates are talking," Gra-
ham said. "They going to listen to
what I got to say or any senior got
to say because (Michigan coach
Rich Rodriguez) always calls on
the seniors to break down the hud-
dle and someone's always giving a
Graham's words will need to be
pretty strong to compensate for the
Wolverines' recent defensive short
fallings. Rodriguez said yesterday
that the defensive effort has been
there, but'it's.more of an issue of
overthinking plays and playing
"tight" and nervously. He named
Graham as one player who hasn't
fallen victim to those problems.
"He makes mistakes, but he
plays at a high level all the time,"
Rodriguez said of Graham. "And
he makes a lot of plays, because
he's an experienced guy, and he's
been there, and he lets it loose..Very
It seems simple for Graham now.
He has been one of Michigan's best
playmakers all year and moved
into second place on the Michigan
career list for sacks (25) during the
Illinois game. His blocked punt
against the Illini in the final min-
utes of the Wolverines' demoraliz-
ing38-13 loss exemplified Graham's
He is trying to motivate his
teammates the best he can on the
field and off, but it doesn't take
the senior long to put himself in
his younger teammates' shoes and
remember what it was once like.
"You just get nervous just being
out there on the field for the first
time," Graham said. "That second
year still, you just kind of nervous
because you want to make sure
everything is just right. You want to
make sure you hold up your end.
"It comes in time, and I believe
they'll end up playing looser soon-
And even though Rodriguez
praised Graham's fluid play, the
senior quickly admitted he still gets
just as jittery before games as he
did in his first year.
"Before games, I always think
about what I'm goingto say because
I'll be nervous, just as nervous as
everybody else, before tht irst
hit," he said.
PRESIDENT'S SUPPORT: Uni-
versity President MarySue Cole-
man gave Rodriguez a vote of
confidence in an interview with the
Wall Street Journal last weekend.
In light of Rodriguez's recent
struggles, Coleman told the Journal
she didn't "think it's fair to coaches
to bring them in and say, 'We're
going to give you three years."'
"Mary Sue has been very sup-
portive," Rodriguez said. "Just
about every week, she'll send a note.
We talked a couple weeks ago very
briefly. Everybody has been sup-
portive. I mean, I want everybody
to have patience. I don't have much
of it, but I wish our players would
INJURY UPDATE: Rodriguez
said yesterday that senior tailback
Brandon Minor continues to battle
a high ankle sprain and is day-to-
day. Minor has been limited during
practices for much of this season,
and Rodriguez said he felt that the
injury will continue to be an issue.
... Defensive lineman Greg Banks
suffered a foot sprain against Illi-
nois and will be limited this week.
... Slot receiver Martavious Odoms
(knee) is also day-to-day.
Madden leads Wolverines
at conference tournament
Junior falls short in
Big Ten finals
By ZELL ZOERHOF
For The Daily
After coming off a sophomore
season where he was named the
team's most improved player,
junior Chris Madden made a deep
run to the championship finals of
the Big Ten Individual men's ten-
nis tournament held Oct. 30- Nov.
2. He won his first four matches in
straight sets with ease, and his play
improved with every match. Then,
in a match against Indiana's Santi-
ago Gruter, he found himself down
5-1 in the second set tiebreaker after
already dropping the first 2-6.
"I waited for my opportunity,"
Madden said. "I swung out, and
when I got a chance, I took it."
Though Madden went on to lose
in the final, his play never lacked
excitement. Madden hit four win-
ners in what was left in the breaker,
then found his game and won eight
out of ti
of the d
henext 11 gamesto complete zynski won three out of their four
e-from-behind win. matches in the first flight of dou-
den went on to play Indi- bles, while freshman Chris Cha
Josh MacTaggart in the teamed with sophomore Duncan
He played well, taking the Muil to win two matches in the
t, but eventually fell as Mac- second. Cha and Sroczynski also
t's play increased and Mad- looked impressive in singles, win-
nergy waned in his sixth set ning five combined matches.
lay. "It was good to see where our
guys were at individually," Michi-
gan associate head coach Sean
Maymi said. "It was also good to
I w aited for see us get some wins under our
opportunity Muil made his collegiate debut
in the tournament, and went 2-2 in
when I got a doubles before being eliminated in
.I took t singles. But Maymi said the match-
n e, I t k . es gave Muil more confidence and
experience heading into the start of
"We're tryingto gethim as many
den's performance was one matches as possible," Maymi said.
y vital Michigan victories "It was good to have him out there
the five-day tournament. playing matches."
Wolverines looked strong, "It felt really good to get... a win-
-3 through Friday's doubles ning record because these are the
aturday's singles rounds. kinds of players I will be playing
n and senior Mike Sroc- against," Madden said.