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November 17, 2011 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-11-17

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8A - Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Van Bergen's smarts lead steady defensive line


By TIM ROHAN the inside trio of offensive line-
Daily Sports Editor men watched helplessly as Mar-
tin and Van Bergen crushed the
Mike Martin had no time to quarterback.
second-guess what Ryan Van "I've always done this when
Bergen was calling on the field. you have guys that have earned
Any hesitation would've foiled the respect and earned the
the new plan. Van Bergen had trust," Mattison said. "Trust to
gone rogue, calling an audible a know that they're not going to
second or two before the ball was put themselves ahead of the team
snapped. and that they're very, very intel-
The fifth-year defensive end ligent."
knew what Illinois was going to Michigan coach Brady Hoke
do, so he wanted to run a stunt said Van Bergen is one of the bet-
pass-rush move with Martin, ter players he has coached when
confident in his preparation. it comes to preparation and
Before the game, they had watching film.
agreed that if the senior defen- But Michigan defensive line
sive tackle Martin had a one- coach Jerry Montgomery wasn't
on-one, he'd win it - and if Van surprised by the success of the
Bergen had a one-on-one, he'd stunts. He knows Van Bergen
win it too. watches two hours of film with
Martin didn't hesitate. the coaches duringthe week, and
"It's something where there another 45 minutes or so after
has to be absolutely no doubt," practice with Martin and fifth-
Martin said. "You can't (go), 'Oh, year senior defensive tackle Will
(should I?)' No, you've got to go - Heininger - he knows Van Ber-
and it worked." gen has all the tools to make that
When they gotto the sidelines, decision routinely.
Michigan defensive coordina- The secrets sat in a 100-page
tor Greg Mattison wasn't angry, scouting report on Montgom-
he just listened. It kept working, ery's desk. Each week, the defen-
so he said, "You know what, just sive coaches work from 6 a.m.
call them when you feel like call- until 11 p.m. on Sundays and all
ing them." day Monday putting together the
Facing an obvious passing report for each team. Everything
down on 3rd-and-10, with Michi- you could ever want or need to
gan up 17 points and less than know is in there: tendencies, film
six minutes left in the fourth study, what plays teams run in
quarter, Van Bergen dialed up certain down-and-distances and
another stunt. On the outside, what pass protections they use.
defensive ends Craig Roh and This week, Montgomery
Frank Clark sprinted upfield. drew every single running play
Lined up inside with Van Bergen, Nebraska has run this season. He
Martin crashed toward the cen- knows how Nebraska will block
ter. Van Bergen whipped around his defensive line, depending on
him, shooting through the hole Michigan's formation.
Martin created. Montgomery's guys are ready
The Fighting Illini tackles to punch and counter-punch.
were quickly on the ground, and Every Tuesday, the coaches



Fifth-year senior defensive end Ryan Van Bergen has exploded with 13 tackles, five tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks in Michigan's past three games.

hand out the scouting reports.
Van Bergen usually finds the ten-
dencies and play consistencies
watching film on his own. Some-
times he's right, and sometimes
Montgomery has to straighten
him out. The answers are always
in the binder. In practice, the
scout team gives the defense
simulations of what they'll see in
the game.
"It goes from there to the
game," Montgomery said. "'Hey
Coach, this holds up. Every time
they do this, it's accurate.' Then
they start to believe."
One of Montgomery's first

disciples was Van Bergen. He
bought in early on, took the time
to study and took it upon himself
to know where everyone else was
on the field and what his role was
in the grand scheme. Montgom-
ery calls it knowing where he
"fits" in the defense.
Van Bergen knew Iowa was
going to sneak its quarterback
when it hurried up to the line on
a fourth-and-1 two weeks ago -
he and Martin snuffed it out.
The past three weeks in par-
ticular, Montgomery said, Van
Bergen has been well versed in
the opponent's "meat and pota-

toes" (Hoke's term for tenden-
cies and key plays). No wonder
they've been his best three
weeks of the season - 13 tackles,
five tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
Van Bergen didn't know if the
free-wheeling audibles would
continue, but it wouldn't be sur-
prising, considering how com-
fortable everyone is with the
defense now. As Martin put it,
"It's something that, it'll come
with time. And the time has
It took time to get here. The
technique drilled during fall
camp is used to beat opponent's

specific strategies. Film study
was emphasized, and Van Ber-
gen's now yelling out opposing
team's plays. The engine is hum-
"Sometimes, you've got teams
and they've got to be thinking,
'Man, how do they know what
we're going to do before we even
do it,' " Martin said. "And I can't
imagine as an offense how that
would even feel. If the defense
knows what you're doing and
they're able to execute it, that's
got to be disheartening.
"We can do that because we
put in the time."

Second line provides offensive spark behind pair of Clydesdales

Daily Sports Editor
The Michigan hockey team's
top-scoring line pairs freshman
forward Phil Di Giuseppe with
two Clydesdales.
Bear with Michigan coach Red
Berenson as he gets a little meta-
"They had these Clydesdale
horses, and they said they could
each pull 10,000 pounds," Beren-
son said. "But together they
could pull 30,000 pounds. Now
how could that be? But it's true,
it's a fact. It's a little bit like hock-
ey players. If you get two players
really playing well together, they
could be much better than they
were as individuals."
The identity of the unnamed
"they" - the ones conduct-
ing these horse experiments
- remains unclear. But the two
Clydesdales on the hockey team?
That's easy: junior forwards
Chris Brown and A.J. Treais.
So what's Di Giuseppe? Well,
he's a little harder to peg.
"Phil's in his own world,"
Treais teased.
Added Brown: "Phil's Phil.
He's kind of doing whatever he
needs to do to get by right now."
Whatever he's doing is work-
ing. Berenson said that his sec-
ond line - consisting of Treais,
Brown and Di Giuseppe - has
become the "offensive spark" for
the team.
They rank second, third and
fourth, respectively, on the

man back there," Di Giuseppe said.
Like the Clydesdales, the line
has pulled more than its own
weight because of chemistry.
Treais and Di Giuseppe say that
they know where the other will
be on the ice at all times. They've
become familiar with each oth-
er's routes, to the point where if
they just call the other's name,
they can expect a puck on the
The level of chemistry is a bit
surprising - for one, the three
don't exactly come from typi-
cal hockey backgrounds. Treais
is Filipino, Brown is a Texan
and the pair will tell you that Di
Giuseppe is Italian, though he's
actually from Canada.
And Di Giuseppe doesn't seem
like he'd jell with the pair of
jovial roommates he plays along-
Brown and Treais speak well
and are prone to joking when
they're together. Di Giuseppe
isn't comfortable in interviews.
He says all the right things -
about trying to improve and
becoming a two-way hockey
player - but his mind often
seems to be elsewhere.
Once, Di Giuseppe started
chuckling in the middle of a ques-
tion, for reasons unknown even
to him.
"It's easy," Di Giuseppe began
one answer. "What was I going
to say? I don't know what I was
going to say."
Not so easy, eh?
"Speak, man!" Brown inter-

"I forgot what I was going to
say," Di Giuseppe said.
Berenson hesitates to crown
the line as the go-to unit when
the team needs to score - he said
that once he does that, the line
will probably hita dry spell.
Though the trio does score
frequently, the goals often come
from deflections, rebounds and
just putting the puck onnet - not
what you'd expect out of a talent-
ed scoring line.
"The goals they've scored are
kind of lucky goals," Berenson
said. "It's not like they're flashy
goals or real skilled goals, even
though that line is pretty skilled."
But maybe that's not a bad
thing. Di Giuseppe said the line
tries to do the simple things,
and that often leads to positive
At Miami (Ohio) on Saturday,
a Treais check created a turnover
and allowed Di Giuseppe to get
off a shot. He didn't score, but
Brown converted onthe rebound.
"(It) wasn't the prettiest goal,"
Di Giuseppe said. "Most of our
goals aren't highlight-reel goals.
All of our goals, I think, have
been hard work down in the cor-
ners, working it out."
True, it wasn't the prettiest
goal, and the three don't make 0
the typical trio.
But together, they've become
Michigan's main source of
offense, greater than the sum of
its parts - just like those Clydes-

Freshman forward Phil Di Giuseppe is the Wolverines' third-leading scsrer, with 11 psints in his firs season.

team's points list. goals the moment he stepped
Berenson describes the ideal on campus, and he's scored con-
line as one with a creator, a scorer sistently ever since. That makes
and a physical two-way player. things easier on his linemates.
And with this line, he has his "Give the puck to Phil," Brown
prototype. Treais handles the said. "Just give him the puck, and
puck often and can create oppor- let him shoot. Because every time
tunities through fancy skating or he shoots, he shoots to score."
puck handling. And if they don't score? No
Di Giuseppe started tallying problem. Berenson often speaks

of Brown as a physical force on
the ice. If Treais gets too fancy
and loses the puck, or if Di
Giuseppe misses the cage, Brown
can handle any transition oppor-
tunities that may result for the
opposition. Brown calls it being
"the caboose."
"IfI screw up, I know Brownie
will be there to correct it or be a

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