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December 08, 2009 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-12-08

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8 - Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Morris back on
track in 'M' win

Clemson senior C.Spiller didn't make it into the Heisman top five, even with more than 2,500 all-purpose yards this year.
Spiter got snubbed

Jn the final weekend of the
regular season - one full of
conference championship
games, big-time matchups and
BCS bowl clinchers - some of
college football's biggest names
get one
final shot to
cement their
spots afthe
New York
Club for the
annual Heis-
man Trophy ANDY
presenta- REID
weekend, some of the game's
current giants were given that
exact opportunity, and they
completely crumbled under the
national spotlight.
Texas quarterback Colt
McCoy almost cost the Long-
horns a spot in the BCS National
Championship Game, throwing
three interceptions and almost
letting time expire in the fourth
quarter with his team down two
Texas barely slinked past
Nebraska, but that can be more
attributed to the Cornhuskers'
lack of offense (they only posted
five first downs) than McCoy's
And the nation's Golden Boy,
Tim Tebow, was completely shut
down by Alabama. Can any Heis-
man voter really say they were
impressed with No. 15's perfor-
mance - or the measly 13 points
his offense put up in the SEC
No, but he was invited to New

York. Same with McCoy.
I'm not saying they shouldn't
be - both players are good
enough to at least be considered
for the award. But there was one
player who blew up on Saturday,
who proved he may be the best
player in America, and he was
snubbed by the committee for no
apparent reason.
He's-Clemson's C.J. Spiller,
and he's arguably the most excit-
ing player in the nation.
A Heisman winner is sup-
posed to show up in big games,
and that's just what he did in last
weekend's ACC Championship,
which Clemson lost in a heart-
breaker, 39-34. What's bigger
than four touchdowns, a stag-
gering 233 rushing yards, 301
all-purpose yards and the career
record for single-season touch-
downs at his respective school?
And it's not like that was an
isolated incident. Spiller posted
a ridiculous 310 all-purpose
yards - including a 56-yard
touchdown and a 90-yard kick-
off return - in an overtime
upset of then-No. 10 Miami in
With more than 2,500 yards,
Spiller is No. 5 this season in
all-purpose yards. He's gaining
almost 10 yards every time he
touches the ball. How has he not
garnered Heisman interest?
Toby Gerhart from Stanford
skyrocketed on people's lists
after a big game against lowly
Notre Dame. On the field after
the game, his coach publicly told
the nation that his running back
deserved to win the award. Does
it take shameless self-promotion
like that to get players from a

non-BCS Championship con-
tender into the mix? Apparently.
Well, Spiller isn't going to get
that kind of endorsement from
his more modest coach, Dabo
"He left it on the field and
that's all you can ask," Swin-
ney told reporters after Spiller's
awe-inspiring day in the ACC
The fact is, C.J. Spiller is - at
the bare minimum - one of the
nation's five best players this
season. He's done more for his
team, a Tiger club that is on the
rise after firing coach Tommy
Bowden last season, than anyone
on the exclusive list. I mean,
how many people could say they
thought Clemson would be with-
in a few minutes of a BCS bowl
this year?
And for thefew people out
there that believe the Heisman is
some kind of career achievement
award - that Tebow or McCoy
should win it in spite of their less
productive senior years because
their whole careers deserve
acknowledgement - who has had
a better four years than Spiller?
He's second on the list of cur-
rently active players in all-pur-
pose yards, with more than 7,400
yards and 50 touchdowns.
For the record, that's just
four scores behind Tebow, who
touches the ball every play.
They've already decided
to retire his jersey number at
Clemson. The Heisman commit-
tee should have felt compelled to
honor him, too.
- Reid can be reached at

Daily Sports Writer
Darius Morris still has a lot to
learn on the Michigan basketball
team. After struggling against the
Wolverines' opponents at the Old
Spice Classic and Boston College -
he scored a combined 12 points in
all four games - he started to show
signs of growth
Saturday. NOTEBOOK
coach John Beilein) has been tell-
ing me that there's goingto be some
bumps in the road early," the fresh-
man point guard said. "I'm still try-
ing to find my niche on this team
and on offense. But on the defensive
part, I just bring it every day. I just
feellike Iamgettingmore andmore
comfortable after each game."
The Los Angeles native tal-
lied eight points and three assists
against Arkansas-Pine Bluff Satur-
day, with most of his contributions
coming during Michigan's second-
half resurgence, where they out-
scored the Golden Lions by 14.
Morris's success came against
a lesser opponent, and Beilein
believes Morris's defensive perfor-
mance was more impressive than
his points.
"He's a better defender, he's just
in that delay where we're a step off
reading what's going on," Beilein
said. "That's just assimilating to col-
lege basketball. So the only way he's
going to get it more is by playing
Morris's speed on defense was
one of the reasons for the Wolver-
ines' success in shutting down the
Golden Lions. Michigan forced 22
turnovers, and the freshman did a
good job with ball control, commit-
ting just two turnovers himself.
On Saturday, Beilein rewarded
Morris for his efforts. He saw the
court for 34 minutes, the second-
most behind junior forward Manny
Harris. Both Beilein and Morris
realizecthatfor the Michigan offense
to be functional, it needs Morris to
direct traffic in the backcourt.
"I've learned certain simple
things like when to attack, what
time on the shot clock are we going,
if we're going two-for-one," Morris
said. "The main part is confidence."
helping you
Follow us on

Freshman Darius Morris played 34 minutes and showed improvement on Saturday.

was the firstthing Beilein addressed
in Saturday's postgame press con-
ference. And it has been one of his
team's glaring, recurring issues.
The issue is the 3-point struggles
of sophomore guards Zack Novak
and Stu Douglass, who seem to have
lost their touch on the deep ball.
Novak finished the game 0-for-4
from behind the arc, and Douglass
didn't fare much better, going just
l-for-7. In fact, Douglass had numer-
ous second-half opportunities from
deep that simply clanked off the
front of the rim.
"(Novak) didn'tshoot the ballwell
today. He was 3-for-9 the other day,
0-for-4 today," Beilein said. "We've
just got to keep working. Maybe
they're tired, I do not know."
There was one play in particular
that showed a lack of confidence.
Late in the game, with Michi-
gan trying to kill the clock, Novak
passed on a wide open shot. At the
next timeout, Beilein told his guard

to take the shot.
"We had said any fast break, we
weren't going to take any threes,"
Beilein said. "There was 17 seconds
left on the clock. He's being a good
-soldier there, he probably needed
to shoot that one when he was wide
open. He was a little bit too careful
IT'S A GIRL: Even as senior for-
ward Anthony Wright played eight
minutes against Arkansas-Pine
Bluff, he probably had other things
on his mind.
The night before, Wright's girl-
friend Stefanie Mitchell gave birth
to a 7-pound, 4-ounce baby gill
named Jordyn Cherelle Wright.
"I was there the entire time,"
Wright said. "She was in there for
like 31 hours of labor. She ended up
having a C-section, so 'in total in
the past 48, SO-something hours,
I probably had about six hours of
sleep. Other than that, it was a great

Wolverine 'inconsistent in OSU split

Daily Sports Writer
Coach Red Berenson is fine with
the Michigan hockey team's offen-
sive production - it's the defense
that concerns him.
The Wolverines , didn't give
Berenson any relief this weekend,
turning in another inconsistent
Michigan gave up five goalsi
Friday night in
a 5-3 loss, but NOTEBOOK
the next night,
it surrendered only one goal with
11 seconds left in the game in a 2-1
Friday marked the first time
in eight games this season that
the Wolverines lost when scoring
three or more goals.
"The Friday game was a tough
game to swallow, because we dom-
inated the game in terms of the
scoring chances and the shots,"
Berenson said. "And yet we found
a way to lose that game. That was a
tough game. But we bounced back.
"We needed (junior goalie
Bryan Hogan) to play better. We
needed our whole team defense
to play better, not give up those
unearned goals. And we did."
That improvement involved help,
in the defensive zone from both
the defensemen and forwards.
Berenson said that after the
team's five-game losing streak at
the start of November, the players
#tightened up their neutral-zone
Michigan's defense was key for
the team to get back in the win col-
umn, and it was also the reason the

Brown and Hagelin are tied for
the teamlead with 15 points,-and
Rust is third with 14 points. All
three have performed well during
Michigan's 4-1 run in its last five
games, with Brown and HAagelin
recording seven points apiece and
Rust notching five.
The Wolverines' other possibly
prolific scoring threat is the'line
that includes junior Louie Capo-
russo and sophomore David Wohl-
berg, Michigan's top returning
goal scorers from last season.
Caporusso's line saw its share
of good scoring chances over the
weekend but couldn't finish. Both
Hagelin and Rust were quick to
downplay the fact that the line
wasn't scoring.
"It will come," Hagelin said.
"They have a lot of good players
on that line, so you'll probably see
some change this weekend. And
they're going to do a good job."
Caporusso's line has been pro-
ducing more as of late, but if they
can finish like Rust's line did this
past weekend, then the Wolver-
ines' offense could be that much
more potent.
NOTES: Hogan lost a chance
to earn his second shutout of the
season Saturday when Ohio State
scored with 11 seconds remaining
in the game. ... Since the 2004-OS
season, Michigan and Ohio State
have split six out of the teams'
seven series ... Michigan has killed
23 straight penalties - a season
high - and the Wolverines lead
the nation with a 91.7 percent pen-
alty kill rate. ... Michigan is now
perfect on the penalty kill in 11
games this season.

Senior Chris Summers and the Michigan defense gave up five goals in Friday night's loss to mediocre Ohio State. The Wolverines currently sit at 10th place in the CCHA.

Wolverines split their series with
Ohio St4te last weekend.
"I think for now, it's really
important for our team to take
pride in defense," junior forward
Carl Hagelin said. "It feels like
games when we play good defen-
sively, we get a lot of good chanc-
"if we're winning 9ne to noth-

ing we're happy with that. Take
pride in (defense), and offense will
take care of itself."
PLAY: The source of Wolverines'
offensive production was easy to
identify last weekend.
Look no further than the line of
junior Matt Rust, freshman Chris
Brown and Hagelin.

Brown and Hagelin notched
goals in Friday's loss, and Rust
scored on Saturday. They also had
two assists each, all coming on
goals scored by fellow linemates.
Perhaps the most crucial part
for the line was how it finished
its man-advantage opportunities.
The trio scored two five-on-three
power play go js, and it also lit the

lamp just as an Ohio State player
ca me back onto the ice after a
power play.
"Not only our forwards, but
our 'D,' we were moving the puck
quick," Rust said of the power
play. "We were keeping it simple.
We were getting shots to the net.
... That's half the battle is getting
shots through."

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