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October 06, 2011 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-10-06

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8A - Thursday, Octobr 6, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

8A Turda, Ofo .6,201.Te iciga.Dil -micignd ..co

This offseason, North-
western created a web-
site, PersaStrong.com, to
support its quarterback
Dan Persa's Heisman
campaign in 2011. But
what if Persa isn't strong
enough to last the sea-
son?
Since rupturing his Achilles'
tendon against Iowa last season,
Persa missed the Wildcats' last
three games and the team went
0-3. He's still recovering from the
injury and missed the 'first three
games of the 2011 season due to
the same injury.
But before he got injured, Persa
set a Big Ten record completing
73.5 percent of his passes last sea-
son. Simply put, the dual-threat
Persa is Northwestern's offense.
At Big Ten Media Day in
August, Persa sat down with the
Daily to talk about the upcoming
season:
The Michigan Daily: Whenev-
er someone mentions the North-
western offense, it starts with you.
What does that mean to you that
you're the catalyst?

Dan Persa: I think anytime
you're the quarterback, you're
going to be the focal point of the
offense, especially in the spread.
You're always counted on to make
the bestplays and put yourteam in
the best positions.
TMD: You've had injuries in
the past. How have they shaped
you?
Persa: Lookipg back on last
year, I think I ran too much. I
kind of look at the injuries as a
blessing in disguise, to improve
on some of the things I want to
improve on in the pocket. It all
depends on how you look at it. I'm
probably not going to be so ready
to run as I was last year. Because
I think last year, my safety net
was, ifa play broke down or if I
wasn't sure of what was going on,
I would just run. And sometimes
it'd be fine because I was athlet-
ic. I think now, I'm going to rely
on making the right decisions,
making the right plays and going
from there.
TMD: You're not going to be
scared to run, are you?
Persa: No, yeah, exactly. Not
scared to run, just being smarter
with the ball and my body.
TMD: When healthy, are you

faster than some of your skill posi-
tion guys?
Persa: Not anymore. Caught up
with me last year.
TMD: Because of the injuries?
Persa: No, just because the
guys are faster. We've got some
fast guys.
TMD: What were you working
on this offseason to get better?
Persa: I think just making
throws from the pocket. That's
really what I've been working on.
And really just focusing on mak-
ing the reads downfield and exe-
cuting the play.
TMD: With Jeremy Ebert and
Co., it seems you have a lotof qual-
ity receivers to throw to. What's it
like throwing to a deep group of
wideouts?
Persa: I think we've got a lot of
guys who make a lot of plays and
that's why I'm excited to get the
ball to them instead of running.
TMD: How's your spread
offense set up? Can you just pick
and choose as the quarterback?
Persa: For the most part. I
mean, we have direction and we
have concepts that we direct our
eyes to and you always have safety
nets. But I think last year, instead
of goingto the safety nets, I would

SETH PERLMAN/AP
Senior quarterback Dan Persa completed 73.5 percent of his passes last season when he was healthy.

just run instead of throwing a five-
yard out. That's where I need to
improve.
TMD: What did you learn about
yourself as a quarterback last sea-
son, during your breakout year?
Persa: I learned that I can play
with the best. And at the same

time, I learned I have a lot to
improve on. Taking better care of
the ball and doing the little things
to be successful.
TMD: How do you and coach
Pat Fitzgerald plan on getting
Northwestern back on the map?
Persa: I think just winning

games, at the end of the day.
That's all we can do. That's all
we can control. Can't control
what the media thinks about us
or how they portray us. I think,
just working as hard as we can to
prepare ourselves to win as many
games as we can.

MEN'S SOCCER
Michigan lacks urgency, disappoints in loss to WMU

ALEX BONDY against Western Michigan.
Daily Sports Writer The Wolverines dropped the
match 2-1 due to a slow start, as
One word keeps coming up the Broncos dominated the first
when describing the Michigan half offensively but did not man-
men's soc- age to score.
cer team: WMU 2 Redshirt junior goalkeeper
unlucky. MICHIGAN 1 Tim Bergsma made his first
After losing start of the season, stopping
three of its last four matches in three shots in the first half, but
overtime, the Wolverines suf- the Wolverines did not make it
fered another disappointing loss easy for him.

"We definitely struggled in
the first half - we tried to gain
some momentum in the second
half, and we did," said senior
defender Eric Leifland. "I think
we outplayed them in the sec-
ond half. We tried to go at them
at the flanks and go around
them. We were just unlucky in
the box."
The second half saw a dif-
ferent Michigan team, one that

matched the aggressive pace
Western Michigan set in the
first half.
Despite the increased level
of play, Bronco junior forward
Yllson Asani headed a free kick
into the right corner of the goal
just two minutes into the second
half.
Michigan responded 10 min-
utes later when junior midfield-
er David Yang scored his first
career goal with an assist from
sophomore forward Ezekiel
Harris to tie the match at 1-1.
"Great for David Yang," said
Michigan coach Steve Burns
said.
"He worked his socks off
today and continued to try and
get in behind their defense and
he struck a real nice shot."
The Wolverines and Broncos
battled it out for more than 20
scoreless minutes.
teifland led the Michiann

defense, keeping Western Mich-
igan to only two shots in the
second half. With less than 10
minutes remaining when fresh-
man defender Kyle Farris scored
his first-career goal to put West-
ern Michigan ahead, 2-1.
In the last 10 minutes of the
match, the Wolverines struggled
aggressively, collecting two yel-
low cards after failed attempts
to gain control.
Despite the second-half
surge, Michigan simply couldn't
change its luck.
"Sometimes you need luck to
win games and so far luck has
not been on our side," Harris
said.
According to Harris, 80 per-
cent of this young team is play-
ing together for the first time
and still searching for their
luck. Michigan is 1-1 in the Big
Ten, but it still has time to make
a cenference run.

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