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October 12, 2011 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily- michigandaily.com

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, October12, 2011 - 7A

Lynch's back spasms
spark lineup shifts
for No. 5 Michigan

MARISSA MCCLAIN/Daily
Fifth-year senior defensive end Ryan Van Bergen thinks he bears a peculiar resemblance to mythical lumberjack Paul Bunyan. Some teammates aren't convinced.
Seniors look to redefine legacy

By STEPHEN J. NESBITT
Daily Sports Editor
For the Michigan football
team, success is measured in Big
Ten championship rings and
rivalry-game victories over Ohio
State and Michigan State.
The senior class, then, is star-
ing failure right in the face.
After three consecutive sea-
sons with losses to both the Spar-
tans and Buckeyes, the senior
Wolverines are in danger of
becoming the first class in Michi-
gan football history to record four
consecutive losses against each of
their two bitter rivals.
"Rightnow, the legacy withthe
seniors in my class is that we're
going to have to come back and
say we've lost to Michigan State
three years in a row, and none of
us have beaten Ohio State," said
senior defensive end Ryan Van
Bergenon Monday.
"That's our legacy - like it
or not - good, bad or indiffer-
ent. Luckily, we have this year to
change some of that, and that's
our focus going forward."
Michigan (2-0 Big Ten, 6-0
overall) has another chance to
right the ship on Saturday, with
the 59th edition of the battle for
the Paul Bunyan Trophy, a four-
foot high wooden statue present-
ed each year to the winner of the
Michigan-Michigan State rivalry
game.
The trophy, established in
Michigan State's first season in
the Big Ten in 1953 by then-gov-
ernor G. Mennen Williams, has

been in the Spartans' possession
since 2008.
As Michigan's seniors attempt
to revitalize their legacy, Michi-
gan coach Brady Hoke hopes to
continue laying the foundation
for his tenure in Ann Arbor -
something his predecessor, Rich
Rodriguez, failed to do.
A sterling 6-0 record for Hoke
and Co. isn't a bad way to start.
But this will be the stiffest test
yet - he's had a clock in Schem-
bechler Hall counting down to
Saturday's kickoff in East Lansing
since February.
Former Michigan coach Ben-
nie osterbaan was the last head
coach to beat the Spartans (1-0,
4-2) in his firstyear at the helm of
the Wolverines.
That was in 1948.
"(This game) means an awful
lot," Hoke said. "It means a lot
because we represent a great uni-
versity. We've gotcgreat alums out
there, and it's a Big Ten game, and
it's an important game.
"It's a tremendous rivalry in
college football. You can say on a
local, state, regional standpoint
but also a national standpoint. It's
Michigan-Michigan State."
It's a battle for so much more
than a wooden trophy. It's the
redefinition of a legacy for a class
and a coach at Michigan.
RYAN VAN BUNYAN: The Paul
Bunyan Trophy was named in
obvious reference to the mythi-
cal lumberjack Paul Bunyan. The
name represented Michigan's
history as a lumber-producing
state.

But the trophy bears a resem-
blance to a certain Michigan
defensive lineman.
"Are you talking about me?"
Van Bergen asked.
Well, yes. Throw on a cap, roll
up the sleeves and puff out your
chest, Ryan - voili.
"I've drawn comparisons to
the Paul Bunyan Trophy," Van
Bergen said, laughing. "I think I
might have to shave my beard or
something.
"And I have to stop carrying
my axe around."
Maybe it makes sense that the
Whitehall, Mich. native is the one
drawing the comparisons.
Van Bergen's hometown of
Whitehall was originally named
Mears, Mich.afterCharles Mears,
a lumber baron who developed
much of Michigan's West side.
"Oh God, don't support his
ego," said fifth-year center David
Molk when asked about the
resemblance between Van Bergen
- his roommate - and Bunyan.
COLORING INSIDE THE
(STATE) LINES: The legacy of
Michigan State's seniors has been
the antithesis of Michigan's.
The Spartans are coming off an
11-2 season and a share of the Big
Ten championship. Almost more
importantly, the seniors in East
Lansing also haven't lost to the
Wolverines. That was the plan all
along.
Michigan State quarterback
Kirk Cousins hails from Hol-
land, Mich., just 50 miles down
the Lake Michigan shore from
Van Bergen's hometown. Cousins

remembers arriving in East Lan-
sing as a freshman and. talking
about "painting the state green."
"There is no in between (in
Michigan)," Van Bergen said.
"You either like one or the other."
Spartan junior defensive tackle
Jerel Worthy is from southern
Ohio, but he's placed himself
firmly on one side of Michigan's
great state divide.
Over the summer, Worthy had
a tattoo etched onto his left bicep,
depicting a Spartan warrior
stomping on a wolverine. Though
the wolverine's helmethas a block
'M' on it instead of the traditional
winged design, Worthy certainly
meant to indicate Michigan, not
Missouri.
"The Michigan State fans
know my passion for this rivalry,
they know my passion for this
team and they know I will fight
for this team until the day I die,"
Worthy told reporters at Michi-
gan State Media day.
Emblazoned on the wall of the
Michigan football team's weight
room is a quote from Michigan
State coach Mark Dantonio that
offers all the motivation the Wol-
verines need this week.
"I'm from Ohio, that's why
beating Michigan is such a kick
for me," the bold black font states.
"We will continue to do it ... I
promise you that!"
Dantonio and Michigan State
have done their best to put a dent
in Michigan's 67-31-5 all-time
edge in the rivalry, but as the fall
colors descend on the state, green
just may be fading back to maize.

Injury forces new
forwards into
new spots in
Berenson's lineup
By LIZ VUKELICH
Daily Sports Wrifer
Junior forward Kevin
Lynch isn't sure how his injury
occurred. Neither is Michigan
coach Red Berenson.
One thing is certain - some-
time before the No. 5 Michigan
hockey team's first exhibition
game against the Ontario Insti-
tote of. Technology on Oct. 1,
Lynch tweaked his back. It could
have happened in practice, or
maybe he aggravated it in the
weight room.
Whatever the cause, Lynch
didn't recover from it as quickly,
as he or Berenson had hoped.
"(Lynch) was feeling better
after a day or so (but) he tried
it and it was no good," Beren-
son said. "He played in the game
against Ontario, and it was really
sore the next night."
Berenson said back spasms
are so excruciating that it makes
something as simple as tying
shoes painful. With a prognosis
like that; there was little chance
Lynch was going to make an
appearance when Michigan (3-0)
played Bentley last Friday.
He didn't, and since then, the
shuffling of the forward lines
has been like a game of musical
chairs. On Friday, freshman for-
ward Alex Guptill took Lynch's
place in the first line along with
senior forwards Luke Glenden-
ing and David Wohlberg.
Wohlberg moved from his reg-
ular position on the wing to cen-
ter. Although Wohlberg claimed
not to have too much difficulty
adjusting to the change, Beren-
son still wasn't pleased with the
line chemistry.
"Wohlberg's line wasn't
having that good of a game,"
Berenson said after the game on
Friday. "I'm kind of handcuffing
Wohlberg when I put him at cen-
ter. To throw him in there once
in a while istough on him."
So Berenson switched it up
before the third period. Wohl-

berg went back to his more
familiar spot on the wing, and
freshman forward Travis Lynch
took Guptill's place. Playing wing
to junior forward Jeff Rohrkem-
per's center, Travis tallied two
assists, setting up goals for Glen-
dening and senior defenseman
Greg Pateryn.
After Friday, Berenson
believed it was a "definite pos-
sibility," that Kevin Lynch would
play in the second game of the
series.
But the second game came and
went, and once again, Travis was
the only Lynch on the ice.
As far as Kevin is concerned,
Berenson expects him to play
in Thursday's game against SL.
Lawrence. Lynch been skating in
practice this week, but Berenson
won't make a decision regard-
ing Lynch's status until after
Wednesday's practice.
"If I get a good feel (about
Lynch) and he can skate hard,
then he'll play Thursday,"
Berenson said after practice on
Monday. "When you get (back
spasms), you just can't skate
hard. We need him to skate hard
if he's going to play."
But even if Kevin is primed
to play on Thursday, there's no
guarantee he'll even return to
his original line. For now, Beren-
son seems pleased with the Glen-
dening-Travis Lynch-Wohlberg
combination and may not want
to make changes after the trio
registered five points over the
weekend.
Berenson is also anxious to
give freshman forward Andrew
Sinelli playing time, especially
since Sinelli has not seen game
action since an Oct. 3 exhibition
against the US National Team
Development Program due to an
injury sustained before the sea-
son.
Kevin's return would not only
potentially rearrange the first
line but also the subsequent ones.
"If (Kevin) comes in, that
means someone comes out,"
Berenson said. "It could change
one line, and it could change two
lines.
"You're going to see changes
from week-to-week depending
on injuries, who's playing well,
and who we want to get back in
the lineup."

With Morris gone, point guard position a question mark

By DANIEL WASSERMAN
Daily Sports Writer
Former Michigan point guard
Darius Morris's surprise emer-
gence last season led the Michigan
basketball team all the way to the
second round of the 2011 NCAA
Tournament.
When his buzzer-beating float-
er clanked off the rim in March,
it not only ended the Wolverines'
season, it also
ended Morris's NOTEBOOK
short but suc-
cessful college career, leaving a
vacancy at point guard on this
year's squad.
The void has yet to be filled
and stands as the biggest ques-
tion mark facing a Michigan team
many have tabbed as a Big Ten
title contender. The answer likely
lies in experience, or lack thereof
The Wolverines can either turn
to experience - senior guard Stu
Douglass who has played signifi-
cant minutes at the point but is
better suited as a shooting guard
- or fresh talent in freshmen.
guards Trey Burke and Carlton
Brundidge.
"We catr throw a lot of different
things at teams and not let a team
be able to easily game plan for us,"
said Douglass at Michigan media
day on Tuesday. "We'll be able
to throw some different stuff at
them. We all have different thing's
that we're better at than the other,
and I think that'll be great for us
as a team."
Burke, the reigning Mr. Basket-
ballin Ohio, is considered by many
to be the front-runner to start at
point guard. And while Beilein

conceded that Burke is more of a
natural at the position than Dou-
glass or Brundidge, he remains
cautious.
"We'll have a lot of patience
here," Beilein said. "I think you
have to group Trey with Carlton
because I know so little (about
them).
"Nine hours is all I've spent
with them, and some of that is
really elementary. But Ihave liked,
from both of them, both the early
learning curve and their desire to
become players, their desire to be
coached."
Douglass and his defensive
ability provide an option that the
Wolverines used often last year
- Douglass guarding the point
guard on defense and playing
shooting guard on offense. This
strategy simplifies the defensive
responsibilities, allowing the
freshmen to focus on offense.
Wherever the veteran Douglass
is asked to play, though, he'll be
ready.
"I'm comfortable with going
back and forth, and Sm comfort-
able now with not knowing what
I'm going to play and just going
into a game being ready for wher-
ever coach puts me," Douglass
said.
AN ADVERSE OFFSEASON:
While the future of Michigan bas-
ketball is being stabilized, with
the soon-to-be-opened Player
Development Center, construction
on Crisler Arena made for a hectic
off-season.
The players were forced to work
out at the wrestling facility, prac-
tice at the Intramural Building
and use the locker rooms at Ray

Fisher Stadium, the Wolverines'
baseball field.
"It was tough," Douglass said.
"You didn't have the open gym
available like we were used to.
We had freshmen that we wanted
to show some of the offense to -
really just establish a culture, and
it was tough but we did the best we
possibly could with what we had."
Though the players were sub-
jected to less-than-ideal situa-
tions, the coaches were quick to
credit the senior leadership, senior
guard Zack Novak and Douglass,
with keepingthe team focused.
"They've had to handle adversi-
ty, even in thg offseason, soI think
that's another thing that can pre-
pare us for when the season comes
around," Michigan assistant coach
LaVall Jordan said. "We'll be in
some adverse situations, and guys
have had to communicate over the
summer, had to pull together to
get a goal accomplished. They've
worked at it and had to pull
together to make it happen. ISthink
the team building started earlier,
because of that."
MUSCLE MEN: Crisler Arena
wasn't the only thing under con-
struction in the offseason.
Several players experienced
significant weight gains, most
notably sophomore forward Evan
Smotrycz, who added 36 pounds
since last March.
"It was tough, you had to work
at it," Smotrycz said. "But my mom
- I got to give a lot of credit to her
for cooking all my favorite meals.
But ISput a lot of work in this sum-
mer, and it's been translating on
the court so far."
Sophomore forward Jon Hor-

ford added 25 pounds, making
the once-gaunt big man a legiti-
mate post presence. Along with
Smotrcyz, Horford gives Michi-
gan added depth in the frontcourt
to accompany redshirt sophomore
forward Jordan Morgan.
The front-court players weren't
the only ones to bulk up.
Junior guard Matt Vogrich -
who was generally too small to
match-up against Big Ten guards
two years ago - has steadily
added weight.
"I weigh around 200 pounds
right now, which is like 30 pounds
more than when I came in,"
Vogrich said. "So defensively, stay-
ing in front of people is easier.
"(Strength and conditioning
coach John Sanderson) gave us
all a program to do and I've got a
gym at home that I work out at.
I just stuck to his program and it
worked."

Senior point guard Stu Douglass runs drills at Crisler Arena yesterday.

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