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April 20, 2010 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-04-20

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8A - Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Alumni weigh inon this year's team

ESPN analyst Howard
and Super Bowl
winner Woodley see
good things for 'M'
By TIM ROHAN
Daily Sports Writer
Fielding Yost's pride still drips
off of the Michigan football pro-
gram as if he was coaching the
team.
It's that confidence that made
Yost so legendary and the play-
ers who step foot in the Big House
each and every year, especially the
former ones, carry a least a little
bit of the swagger that Yost had.
It's no differentnow, despite the
Wolverines' 8-16 record through
coach Rich Rodriguez's first two
years.
Former Michigan All-American
defensive end LaMarr Woodley,
who was in town for the spring
game festivities, certainly has a
little bit of Yost's fire in his veins.
"Not to lose at all," Woodley
said of his expectations for next
year. "That's reasonable for me,
not to lose at all. I hate to say,
'Oh, yeah we're going to lose, it's
going to be 11-1.' No, go all the
way. That's always my thing, take
one game at a time and you can do
that."
When Woodley was pursuing
quarterbacks in the Big House
from 2003-2006, Michigan was
37-13 in his four years.
Other former Michigan play-
ers have voiced their displeasure
with Rodriguez recently, Dhani
Jones spoke out and so did Amani
Toomer.
To Woodley, the slow start
was almost expected. But now, in
Rodriguez's third year, he's leav-
ing less room for excuses.
"I tell everybody, the year Jake
Long left, we lost everybody on
offense," Woodley said. "I mean
all the weapons, all the top guys,

*I

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez speaks with members of the media, alumni (including former Wolverine Desmond Howard) and various others before Saturday's spring game.

we lost everybody. So when he
came in with his new offense, he
didn't really have anything. Now
he has the opportunity to turn
that around and he's getting the
guys he needs in the right spots
and things will change up."
The offense was a strong suit
for the Wolverines last season,
and Michigan would be forced
into shootouts, trying to score as
much as possible to stay in game.
"They know they have to get
improved," Desmond Howard, a
former Heisman Trophy winner
at Michigan and current ESPN
college football analyst, said of the
defense.
And from his point of view, as

an am
all abi
spring.
"1
gul
an
c
"Eve
quarte
be (lik

alyst, Howard knows it's petition makes all three better.
out the quarterbacks this Tate Forcier obviously had a good
first half of the season, struggled
in the second half of the season.
Hopefully he learned from his
mistakes last year, but he's going
He's getting to have another spring under his
belt. Denard Robinson didn't have
ys he needs ... a spring under his belt, he came in
fresh in the fall and tried to par-
d things will ticipate when he could. And then
you got Devin (Gardner), who's
:hange up. talented, and everyone's aware of
his talent, and to see how he's able
to run the system too.
"So we'll see if these three will
rryone wants to what the push each other and get each
rback situation is going to other better. I think competition
e)," Howard said. "The com- is good."

In the spring game, Robin-
son played primarily with what
could be considered the first-team
offense against the second-team
defense, while Forcier played with
the second-team offense against
the first-team defense. Robinson
was the quarterback receiving the
hype this spring, despite the fact
that Forcier started every game in
2009.
Howard said he wasn't one to
make predictions on Michigan's
2010 season in April - there are
more than four months until
Michigan's first game against
Connecticut.
Though wins and losses aren't
official until the fall, Rodriguez

can build towards success by
building on experience, like Sat-
urday's spring game.
The Wolverines are certainly
working to improve all over the
field, not just at the quarterback
position. And Howard knows
Rodriguez isn't the only coach
feeling the pressure to win this
fall.
"Nick Saban's trying to make
progress, and he just won a
national championship," Howard
said. "That's just the nature of the
sport, and I think that's the honest
answer. You can't rest when you
won, and you can't rest when you
haven't won big yet. ... Each coach
wants to get better."

The Michigan Daily would like to thank and congratulate those
graduating seniors that made the paper everyone loves possible.
Some devoted 4 years, some 3, and others only a year, but they all
combined to make the Michigan Daily a success.
Thank you!
Dan Newman
Vivian Lee
Ryan Businski
Kayla LaFata
Molly Twigg
Michael Schrotenboer
Brittany Morales
Allie Santacreu
Courtney Byrd
Jennifer Lo
Carol Im
Yuning Zhang
Siwei Wang
Eric Radist
Yvonne Louis-Prescott
Kate Muelle

0I

ARIEL eOND/Daily
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins thinks that the college softball mercy rule is not ideal for coaches or teams A
'M' makes full use of
softball's mercy rule

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By ALEX HERMANN
Daily Sports Writer
Going into the fourth inning
of Saturday's game, the Michigan
softball team held an 8-0 lead over
Northwestern.
For college softball teams around
the country, eight is the magic
number - it's the amount of runs
needed to end a game after the fifth
inning as part of softball's eight-run
mercy rule.
But then, something rare
occurred. The Wildcats clawed
back into the game to force a full
seven inning - just the third time
for the Wolverines since the begin-
ning of Big Ten play more than
three weeks ago.
But after holding off Northwest-
ern's comeback attempt, Michi-
gan trotted out again the next day,
whipping the Wildcats into submis-
sion with a 15-0 victory that was
finalized in the top of the fifth.
It's something Michigan has done
time and time again this season.
For most, including the players,
the eight-run rule has been a blessing.
"That's not frustrating at all - we
want to be done," senior third base-
man Maggie Viefhaus said on April
11th after the team's weekend series
against Minnesota, in which both
games ended in early Wolverine vic-

tories. "We are never going to give
up, we are going to keep hitting and
keep scoring runs until that game is
over. And if it's overearly, good."
During Michigan's current
12-game winning streak, the Wol-
verines have ended games in the
fifth inning a total of eight times.
The potent combination of domi-
nant pitching and timely hitting has
allowed the team to finish games
early in six of its nine conference
games.
In Michigan's matchup against
Central Michigan last Wednesday,
the Wolverines went into the fifth
up just 2-0 and six shy of reaching
the magic eight run lead. Follow-
ing a quick scoring barrage, senior
Molly Bausher smacked a hit into
center field, driving two runs across
and effectively sealingthe game.
"I looked at the scoreboard and
was like, 'It's the fifth inning. If we
score six runs here, the game will
be over, and that would be sweet,'
" Bausher said after the game. "We
did, and I didn't even expect that to
happen but it happened."
Bausher conceded that the team
was at least in partmotivatedto end
games early because it leaves play-
ers more time for other things.
"You got school, finals," she joked.
Though a number of the advan-
tages are obvious, the rule certainly

has its detractors - and one needs
to look no further than Michigan
coach Carol Hutchins.
"Sm one of the advocates to
have it removed or changed to a
15-run limit," Hutchins said. "In
what other sport do you stop play-
ing because you're ahead? Eight
runs isn't out of reach. You lose the
opportunity to give some younger
kids playing time. I don't think it's
good for softball, and I don't think
it's good for the season-ticket hold-
ers that have to rush out to the field
before the game is stopped."
In the 15-run win against North-
western on Sunday, Hutchins was
able to switch up the defensive
rotation a bit and allow those who
don't normally play to get some
experience. Freshman Ashley Lane
also saw a rare plate appearance in
the fourth inning, and though she
struck out swinging, on a team with
six seniors as everyday starters, any
time in the spotlight can be valu-
able. And without a mercy rule, that
time would grow.
"It's a rule that was put in place
in the 1970s when I played, when
the average pitcher had a 0.2 ERA
and games were being won 1-0,"
Hutchins said. "Back then if a team
got up by eight runs then there was
no way there would be a comeback.
That's not the case anymore."

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