8A - Thursday, November 5, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
0-line again facing changes
By ANDY REID
Daily Sports Editor
The argument could easily be
made that the Michigan football
team lives and dies with the play
of its offensive line.
The Wolverines controlled the
line of scrimmage against Notre
Dame, rackingup almost200 yards
on the ground and giving quarter-
back Tate Forcier plenty of time
to throw - which came in handy
when he tossed the game-winning
pass to Greg Mathews.
In Michigan's win over Eastern
Michigan, the offensive line domi-
nated almost every snap, easily
opening huge holes for the run-
ning backs. The Wolverines post-
ed nearly 400 rushing yards and
cruised to victory..
But the line has been just as
critical in Michigan's losses.
The Penn State defense was in
the backfield all day. Excluding
the Wolverines' smooth game-
opening drive, Michigan managed
just 74 rushing yards, and Forcier
was sacked five times.
And the line's influence on the
game was never more apparent
than last weekend. Against Illi-
nois - which, statistically, has the
worst rushing defense in the Big
Ten - Michigan had a first and
goal from the one-yard line, with
a chance to grab a touchdown and
push its lead to 20-7.
Four plays later, the Fighting
Illini took over on downs.
"Coming off the sideline not
converting on those four plays was
rough, and obviously was the turn-
ing point in the game," left guard
Steve Schilling said at Monday's
press conference. "We could have
been a lot more physical. It defi-
nitely wasn't scheme."
The line must make a commit-
ment to play more physically this
weekend, when Purdue comes
to the Big House for a game that
could determine both team's bowl
Although the Boilermakers,
have right guard Mark Huyge shift
out to'tackle and have Omameh fill
in at guard. Omameh will continue
to take reps at both positions.
Yesterday, Rodriguez confirmed
that the latter may be more prob-
able, saying, "We're looking at Pat-
rick Omameh more at guard than
"The game was kind of new to
him," Rodriguez said. "He was
kind of a late developer coming out
of high school, and obviously last
year he redshirted and has got-
ten bigger and stronger. I'm really
excited about the future with Pat-
The backups' increased role
doesn't mean they're necessar-
ily seeing more action in practice,
though. Because of the tempo that
Rodriguez likes to bring to his
practices, he's able to give all of his
linemen equal reps throughout the
"Our second group gets as many
reps as our first group, anyway,"
Rodriguez said. "It's just some-
times we haven't rotated some of
those second guys in with the first
group. We've done a little more
this week out of necessity and try-
ing to find the right mix."
The line isn't the only position
group that could see changes.
Rodriguez has maintained all
seasonthat whoever earns the spot
will play, which has allowed walk-
ons like safety Jordan Kovacs and
linebacker Kevin Leach to crack
the starting lineup.
Players, specifically on defense,
may get more opportunities for
playing time this week and moving
forward this season.
"There are some spots that guys
are still battling," Rodriguez said.
"We're trying to get more depth
defensively. That's been the big
issue. We have not played nearly
as many guys as we've liked to, but
again, sometimes that's because the
guys behind the guys that are start-
ing aren't quite ready yet. That's
something that we've tried to devel-
op, but they're just not there yet."
ARIEL BOND/Dai ly
Junior Bryan Hogan is glad the games against Miami aren't in Goggin Ice Arena.
By RYAN KARTJE Tohear Red Berensonand
Daily Sports Writer his playerstalk more about
thisweekend's matchup, visit
Redshirt sophomore Mark Huyge may switch from right guard to right tackle.
who give up almost 170 rushing
yards every game, shouldn't pose
too many problems for the Michigan
offense, the Wolverines will want to
keep Purdue's potent passing attack
off the field for as long as possible.
But finding that physical play
might be an issue - the Wolverines
have struggled to find consistency
up front since center David Molk,
who anchored the line for the first
three games of the season, was side-
lined with injuries to his foot and
anterior cruciate ligament.
The Wolverine offensive line has
had four different starting lineups,
and a fifth could be employed this
At yesterday's press conference,
Rodriguez announced that right
tackle Perry Dorrestein, who has
started the last six games, has been
having issues with his back that
could keep him from playing on Sat-
"(His back problem) has been
ongoing," Rodriguez said. "He's
been fighting it every week, and
it flared up a little with him in last
week's ballgame. He's been battling
that the last couple weeks, really."
Dorrestein's injury has forced
backup players like Patrick Omameh
and Ricky Barnum to step up - and
Omameh may start this weekend
against the Boilermakers.
Omameh may replace Dorrestein
at right tackle, or Rodriguez may
With the distinction as the
No. 1 team in the country and an
appearance in the NCAA Tour-
nament championship game last
season, the Miami (Ohio) hockey
team certainly has high hopes.
But nothing will compare to
what The Miami Student - the
school's student newspaper' -
had to say in Oct. 2007 about the
"Miami has all the necessary
components to become a dynasty
in the world of collegiate hockey,"
beat writer Mike Zoller wrote.
Since then, the phrase has
caught fire in Oxford.
But the Michigan hockey team,
who has reached just as many
Frozen Fours (one) as Miami in
the past two years, hasa few con-
tentions with that claim.
"A dynasty, huh?" said junior
forward Matt Rust, baffled by the
And although a hockey dynasty
at Miami may be a bit of a stretch,
the fact remains the Michigan-
Miami matchup is slowly becom-
ing one of college hockey's most
anticipated weekend series.
Last year, in Michigan's first
series against the RedHawks,
the Wolverines came up with
just one goal on the weekend and
were swept in Oxford.
But back in Ann Arbor two
months later, Michigan gave
Miami a taste of their own defen-
sive medicine, sweeping the Red-
Hawks in convincing fashion and
only allowing one goal on the
The budding rivalry has been
gaining steam ever since the
Wolverines' 14-game winning
streak (1998-2003) against the
RedHawks snapped. Although
Michigan holds a 43-3-1 record
against the RedHawks atYost Ice
Arena, the Wolverines are hesi-
tant to get too confident - espe-
cially against the No. 1 team in
For junior goaltender Bryan
Hogan, not having to play at
Miami's Goggin Ice Arena this
year is a lucky break for the Wol-
verines and especially for him as
"Those fans are ruthless,"
Hogan said. "And the warm-ups
were the worst part of the game.
Every time your own guy scored
on you, they'd cheer. So our team
had a little thing, I'd tell them,
'Make sure .you guys hit me and
don't score during warm-ups.'
That intensity surrounding
the matchup has contributed to
the creation of the CCHA's new-
est rivalry. And although the
game doesn't hold the same sig-
nificance as an in-state or Big Ten
rivalry game might, the fact that
these teams are often in the con-
ference's top few slots has made
it competitive in itself.
"You can tell that (the Red-
Hawks) just believe in them-
selves now," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "They've got the
record to go with it, and there's
been some good games between
us. It's another real strong pro-
gram in our league. Just like
Notre Dame has emerged, Miami
has been emerging for some
This year, with the two teams
separated by just three spots in
the national rankings, the sig-
nificance of this weekend's series
is paramount for the rest of the
And since Miami is not in the
Wolverines' conference cluster
this season, Michigan will only
get two shots at defeating what
they call "the best offense in the
"Obviously, you want to beat
the No. 1 team in the country,"
freshman forward Chris Brown
said. "As far as a rivalry goes, it's
going to be a bloodbath on the
Jordan ready to step
up in freshman year
By ZAK PYZIK contributions will be her desire to
Daily Sports Writer succeed.
"I think they want to win," Jor-
It could be intimidating for dan said. "I just want to do good
freshman forward Nya Jordan. for my team. Freshmen will play
The former high school star will a big part this year, being that it's
be thrust onto the Crisler Arena half of the team."
stage as one of six freshmen on One worry is that Jordan and
the Michigan women's basketball the other five freshmen will strug-
team. gle to adapt. Being back at the bot-
With a strong presence on the tom is typically a difficultthing for
floor, the six-foot-tall Jordan may recruits to adjust to, but Jordan
not be able to have much of an disagrees.
adjustment period, since she will "I play better at the bottom,"
likely play a prominent role in the Jordan said. "I don't like being
Wolverines' season opener against on top, because I feel like there is
Ball State next Friday. nobody to go against."
"There is going to be a big dif- This year, the team hopes to
ference between college and high restructure its offense with the
school," Jordan said. "Once I start help of Jordan and the other
the game, I gain confidence and freshmen.
that makes me playbetter." Michigan was ranked dead
Jordan attended Detroit Com- last in the preseason Big Ten
munityHighSchoolandaveraged media and coaches' polls. The
more than 15 points per game. freshmen-filled roster's chance
For her dominant high school for success has been considered
performance, she was selected doubtful by many outlets, except
for the Detroit Free Press All- for one - its coach.
Detroit team. Michigan lost two "Those kids have to be ready to
senior forwards in Carly Benson be a presence," Michigan coach
and Stephany Skrba, and it needs Kevin Borseth said. "I think
someone to step up. Like in high the freshmen are ready to play.
school, Jordan is expected to But I don't think it's fair to put
heavily contribute to the Wol- the weight of the world on their
verine offense as a leader of this shoulders."
year's newest class. In the Wolverines' first game
"The coaches did a good job at next week, the Cardinals also hope
bringing (the freshmen) in and to capitalize on Michigan's expect-
making them feel welcome," senior ed last-place conference finish.
center Krista Phillips said. "They "They are going to compete,"
all want to play well. They all want junior guard Veronica Hicks
to win." said. "This year, we are just going
And Michigan has struggled to go out. We're not gonna do too
to do just that in recent years, so much talking - we're just going
one of Jordan's biggest trpmediate to act on it."