The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 -- 7A
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, April 14, 2010 - 7A
From Page 1A
declined to comment on the status of
the West Virginia investigation.
"We actually have a policy where
we can't comment on a current or
pending investigation," she said.
"The school may choose to do so but
we are not allowed to."
Members of the media were not
permitted to question Rodriguez
about the news of the NCAA inves-
tigation at West Virginia during his
press conference on yesterday.
The following advisory has been
distributed before each media ses-
"Rodriguez, staff and players are
unable to comment on the ongoing
NCAA process untilit has been com-
pleted. Please do not ask questions
or they will not be answered and we
will move onto the next question.
This will be in effect throughout the
spring and into the fall."
At the press conference Rodri-
guez said he's been able to put aside
off-field distractions and focus on
"It's just been focusing on what
we come here to do," he said. "I
think our players and our staff have
really done a good job of staying
focused on the things we need to do
to take this program where we need
to take it.
"If I ask that of our staff, and I ask
that of our players, I certainly have
to do that myself"
University Athletic Director
David Brandon reaffirmed that
Rodriguez expecting a
more mature Forcier
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez was reported to be under investigation at WVU.
Rodriguez would continue to be the
Michigan football coach in a release
"There is nothing new that would
cause me to change my position," he
said in the release. "Rich will coach
our team this fall."
When University officials
announced they had received the
notice of allegations, Brandon said
Rodriguez would stay on, regardless
of the charges.
"Rich Rodriguez is our football
coach," Brandon said at the Feb. 23
In yesterday's release, Brandon
directed all questions relating to the
investigation to the NCAA.
"There is no new NCAA inves-
tigation involving The University
of Michigan," Brandon said in the
release "Any question regarding an
NCAA query should be directed to
As the head coach of the Moun-
taineers, Rodriguez compiled a
60-26 record and led West Virginia
to two BCS bowl games. He left fol-
lowing the 2007 season - and before
the team's Fiesta Bowl appearance
- to replace Lloyd Carr as the head
coach at Michigan.
Rodriguez's departure from the
Mountaineers was controversial, to
say the least, as West Virginia Uni-
versity sued him for a $4 million
buyout. The lawsuit was eventually
settled in the summer of2008, when
Michigan agreed to pay $2.5 million,
and Rodriguez the remaining $1.5
- Daily News EditoriJillian
Berman contributed to this report.
By NICOLE AUERBACH
Daily Sports Editor
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez
has said repeatedly that he sees the
most growth in his players between
their first and second years.
For one player in particular,
there's a giant spotlight tracking
that first-to-second-year growth
period - and everybody's watch-
Tate Forcier, who started every
game last season at quarterback for
the Wolverines, has found himself
in the middle of a quarterback race
this spring - something that not
many expected heading into his
second year with the program.
But thanks to an improved
Denard Robinson and electrify-
ing early-enrollee Devin Gardner,
Forcier has some competition at the
position. And the Michigan coach-
ing staff is making sure Forcier is
aware that he can't be complacent.
"Tate knows he can't be average
and expect to be the starting quar-
terback," Rodriguez said on Tues-
day's Big Ten teleconference. "He
has to get better. Some of that is
maturity on the field, and some of it
is off the field, as well. I think Tate
is starting to get that. Competition
is helping him in that regard, both
with Denard Robinson and Devin
Maturity seems to be a buzz-
word around the Michigan football
program this spring, and not just
with Forcier. Rodriguez has spo-
ken at length about the develop-
ment of his freshmen and redshirt
freshmen heading into the upcom-
"That's a natural process for our
younger guys," Rodriguez told the
media Tuesday afternoon. "We
expect them to grow not only ath-
letically, but certainly academical-
ly and socially as well during their
time here. It takes some guys lon-
ger to do that than others."
The coaching staff has met with
Michigan sophomore Tate Forcier is competing for the starting position at quarter-
back with sophomore Denard Rohinson during spring practice.
Duo of runners from New
Zealand the future for Blue
and what they expect to see out of
him in his sophomore season.
"We've had a lot of talks with
Tate about the expectations of
what we have for him - the same
that his family has for him, and I'm
sure he has for himself," Rodriguez
said. "It's sometimes a painful pro-
cess for young people to go through
and a painful process for coaches,
because you want it all right now,
the same as a parent would. You
get disappointed as parents do
when your children don't do all the
things that you want them to do."
On the field, Forcier knows
exactly what's expected of him: to
run the offense, and run it smooth-
ly. With 12 starts and nearly two
full spring seasons under his belt,'
Forcier has a great deal more
game experience than Robinson
and Gardner combined. But that
doesn't mean the two aren't capa-
ble of jaw-dropping plays in prac-
tice or in scrimmage - plays that
might make Forcier sweat a little
Rodriguez has said that Gardner
has "a great future" at Michigan,
and that he has a chance to play
this fall. Robinson, known mostly
for his foot speed last season, has
been impressing Rodriguez, too,
with his increased knowledge of
the passing game.
"I think last year he was kind of
just learning what we were doing
and just hoping to get that play
right," Rodriguez said. "Now, he's
getting to the point where he's
understanding why we're running
a certain play and how people are
going to defend it. He's still a ways
away from being really, really com-
fortable with everything we're
doing, but that's to be expected."
When asked Tuesday about how
many quarterbacks he feels he can
win football games with this fall,
Rodriguez said he was confident in
two - Forcier and Robinson.
"We have two for sure," Rodri-
guez said. "Devin is showing more
and more each time he practices.
Last Saturday (in the team scrim-
mage) was the best all three col-
lectively looked as a group, and the
best Devin has had. He's slowly
Rodriguez said he won't have
a definitive order for his quar-
terbacks until the end of camp,
and maybe not even then. But for
Forcier to retain the starting job,
it seems it's all about showing his
maturity, on and off the field.
By TOM CLOS
For the Daily
Seven thousand, eight hun-
dred and ten miles. That's 62,844
indoor tracks straightened out and
stacked next to each other. And
that's how far two of Michigan's
newest track and field stars have
traveled to compete for the Wol-
Freshman distance runners
Brendon Blacklaws and Dallas
Bowden have come all the way
from New Zealand to give the
Michigan men's track and field
team some thunder from down
Blacklaws hails from Welling-
ton, the world's southernmost
capital city, located on the south-
ern tip of the North Island of New
Zealand. He graduated from Wel-
lington College (a New Zealand
secondary school) in 2007 and
captured New Zealand U-19 titles
in the 1,500m and 3,OOOm last year
while being recruited by Michigan.
Bowden, meanwhile, comes
from the small urban settlement
of Hastings, in the Hawke's Bay
Region of the North Island of New
Zealand. Bowden graduated from
Nelson College (also a secondary
school) in 2007 where he was the
New Zealand U-16 cross country
champion in 2006. He also holds
several U-16 records in the 800m
So what made these two runners
from the Southern Hemisphere
migrate north to Ann Arbor?
Bowden said former Wolverine
runner and fellow New Zealander
Nick Willis was a big influence on
his decision to come to Ann Arbor.
For Blacklaws, having a fellow
New Zealander recruit helped.
"With Dallas coming here as
well, it made things a lot easier,"
Blacklaws said. "-
He also credited Michigan asso-
ciate coach Ron Warhurst.
"I really like the way Ron oper-
ates - he's had success in the past
and it really helped out," Blacklaws
Since arriving in the U.S., both
runners have faced challenges they
never had to face in New Zealand.
"The competition here, the
depth, is a lot bigger," Blacklaws
said. "You get into a race and
there's 20 guys running your pace
rather than two."
"First of all, we don't have
indoor competitions, that's com-
pletely new," Bowden said. "We
don't have a single indoor track in
When it comes to competing
indoors, he's still learning the
"The racing is a lot harder, this
year has been a real learning curve
for me," Bowden said.
The changes to which these
runners have had to adjust to aren't
limited just to competitions, as
moving halfway around the globe
is bound to make a person home-
Neither runner's family has
seen them compete since they've
been at Michigan, but both say that
should change in the next year and
On the bright side, the transition
from living in New Zealand to liv-
ing in Ann Arbor has gone a little
smoother every day.
"I'm getting there, it's not a huge
culture shock or anything like
that," Bowden said. "It's just the
little things I've got to get used to."
Both runners do have a few
Blacklaws said he misses all of
the fresh foods that were available
at home. 1owden isn't a fan of the
weather in Michigan.
"It doesn't snow where I'm
from, even in winter it's still pretty
warm," Bowden said. "I miss the
weather the most."
The ultimate goal remains the
same for both - competing in the
Olympics. Bowden knows he is
in the right place to accomplish
his goal as Warhurst has coached
twelve Olympians including
bronze medalists Willis and Brian
"Ron's had a lot of success with
runners in the past here, just keep
training and we'll see how it goes,"
* 'M' ultimate team competing in
Sectionals this upcoming week
By JIMMY SHEN overall at college nationals - a tes-
For the Daily tament to the team's athleticism.
"In the fall, we have open try-
Their practice destination is outs for the first couple weeks of
sometimes unknown, and their classes on Mitchell Field," Tom
workout times are at odd hours of Haynes, a graduate student and
the night, but for members of Mag- one of the team's captains said.
nUM - the Michigan men's ulti- "We try to recruit athletes that
mate frisbee team - it is a part of have played a different sport in
their everyday lives. high school. Often we get soccer
"I come back from school often players or hockey players who were
and take a nap," said sophomore really competitive in high school,
Zubin Shetty. "Then I'll plan my but aren't going to make the varsity
work around what else I have to do. soccer or hockey team but they still
Normally I'll finish my work before want to be competitive.
practice, go to practice, come back, "Ultimate is easy to learn, but
shower, go to bed and repeat the being competitive and being ath-
next couple days." letic isn't."
For those who are unaware, A week ago, the team returned
the game of Ultimate Frisbee is from St. Louis after competing in
played seven-on-seven, with each the Huck Finn Tournament - it's
team vying to move the frisbee up last tournament of their regular
the field through either a series of season. MagnUM went up against
short or long passes. Once someone some of the top teams from the
catches the frisbee in the end zone, region, defeating Illinois, Wiscon-
then the team is awarded a point. sin and Indiana, before losing to
"I love the spirit of the game, Northwestern. But the team isn't
how it's self officiated and it's com- too worried about the loss.
petitive nature," junior Mike DeR- "We're just doing what we nor-
ubeis said. rally do," Shetty said. "Practicing
It's a sport that has a simple con- hard and keeping healthy. We're a
cept, but is very difficult to execute. great team and we know that."
Luckily for MagnUM, it is one of After honing their skills all year,
the campus's most popular club MagnUM team is finally ready to
sports, and the team has a talented put its skills to the real test as the
pool of athletes to choose from. team enters the postseason. This
Last year, the team finished fifth weekend, MagnUM will partici-
pate in the Michigan Sectionals,
which may allow it to qualify for
regionals, and then eventually
"We've just been increasing our
amount of practices and really
focusing in on postseason so we
make sure that we don't have any
mental lapses, and make sure that
we are in top physical condition,"
Practices are usually separated
into track workouts and on-field
workouts. The track workouts are
more focused on conditioning and
targeting specific muscle groups
that the players utilize, whereas
the on-field workouts consist of
scrimmages and drills for in-game
For the team, these extra prac-
tices will be necessary, as they are
currently in what they consider to
be a rebuilding year. Although the
program has around 50 people, just
about half of them are considered
active starters on the roster. Those
starters are much younger than
in previous years, but it definitely
doesn't mean they are lacking in
"This year, we are a younger
bunch," DeRubeis said. "We got a
lot of fire. We're really going to go
and give it our hardest, we're going
to give it our all, and it should be a
good postseason for us."