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January 17, 2012 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-01-17

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2B - January 17, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Michigan's Team 133 will be led by rising seniors

Simply telling the players
how to lead wouldn't be
enough. Darrell Funk's
duty was to inspire organic
confidence, an idea planted and
prepared to
sprout yet still
originating
within one-
self.
He passed
out bindersr
full of exam-
ples of leaders L
both good and TIM
bad. Then he ROHAN
started the
conversation,
but it would have to be the juniors
on the Michigan football team
who finished it. Funk wouldn't
call out anyone who didn't feel the
need to speak up.
Funk posed questions: Can a
leader still be a leader, even though
he may not play as much? What
happens ifa freshman doesn'twant
to get on board?
How do you handle those situ-
ations?
"Surprisingly, everybody
spoke," said redshirt junior line-
backer Kenny Demens.
Jordan Kovacs spoke. Ricky
Barnum spoke. Roy Roundtree.
J.T. Floyd. Quiet guys spoke.
Walk-ons did, too.
"Guys who you just never
thought would have that sense
of,'I can lead, or I know what it
takes,"' Demens continued. "It
was an eye-opener."
For one day a week over four
weeks last spring, Funk wasn't
teaching his guards how to pull -
lhe was molding future leaders.
Under Brady Hoke's watch,
the football program's source of
leadership shifted from the coach
to the players. He told them they
wouldn't get far if he had to lead
the team. And he wanted to lead
with his seniors. To do this, Hoke
installed leadership seminars -
one for each class, each led by a
different coach (offensive line
coach Funk led the juniors' work-

MARISSA MCCLAIN/Daily
Michigan juniors Kenny Demens and Jordan Kovacs will be tasked with leading a defense that turned itself into one of the nation's finest during the 2011 season.

One saying from the seminar
stuck with him: "Let your actions
speak so loudly that they can
hardly hear you speak."
Van Bergen said a fewbig stops
against Western Michigan in the
season opener made the freshman
into Kovacs-believers.
Speaking up isn't natural for
Demens, who was implored by
Hoke to become a better leader at
middle linebacker. It's his job to
make checks and calls.
"When we're on the field and
things aren'tgoing good, I need
to be the leader," Demens said.
"I need to be like, 'Hey guys, let's
do better, let's hitharder, let's be
technique sound."'
Hoke once told him: "It's our
job to coach, but it's your job to
take the team and roll with it."
By the end of the season it was
common to see Troy Woolfolk and
J.T. Floyd address poor corner-
back play in practice. Hey guys,
let's pick it up. Hold on, real quick,
let's huddle up.
The leaders before them said
the same things. But the losing cul-
ture quieted their voices, softened
their stance.
This season, "hearingthose
words they had to say, I could tell
they really meant it," Demens said.
"I feel like I have to fill bigshoes."
"Denard's always been a great
leader of this team," Kovacs added.
"Then you've got guys like Craig
Roh, J.T. Floyd, Roy Roundtree,
those guys really stepped up in
those meetings, and they've really
stepped up for usthis year."
Soon, Van Bergen, Martin,
Molk, Koger and Woolfolk will be
gone.
Kovacs, Demens, Floyd, Robin-
son and Roundtree will meet with
Hoke and study their own senior
handbooks.
Hoke is right: Team 133 won't
go very far if he's the one that has
to lead it.
- Rohan can be reached
at trohan@umich.edu or on
Twitter @TimRohan.

shop), to teach them how to lead
and how to follow.
Leadership proved to be a
strength of Hoke's 11-2, Sugar-
Bowl-winningteam. If Michigan
is poised to repeat that success,
it'll lie on the shoulders of a those
next in line: the Kovacs's, the
Demens's and Roundtree's.
Though the following part, as
fifth-year senior Ryan Van Bergen
will tell you, is always the most
undervalued and perhaps most
important. After Michigan beat
Illinois in November, Van Bergen
was asked about the seniors' lead-
ership. Unsolicited, he bragged
about the followers, the under-
classmen who bought in. There
are three levels, he explained:
leaders, those who are about to
lead and the followers.
When Hoke and strength and
conditioning coach Aaron Well-
man led the seniors' leadership
seminar, they asked the leaders
of Team 132 what kind of leaders
they wanted to be. This spring,

they'll ask next year's seniors the Bergen, about how a CEO reduced
same question. his salary to $1 during hard times.
"A lot of people talk about That was the gist of all the stories:
(leading), but don't necessarily the sacrifice it took to lead.
know," Van Bergen said. "People don't realize the sac-
Hoke will leave no gray area. rifice involved - it's huge," Van
"Sacrifice, dedication, com- Bergen said. "You have to take
mitment," Van Bergen said, rat- time out of your day to improve
tling off what he took away from yourself. Then you have to take
the meetings. time out of
"Things that your day to
you think go be with your
unseen are "They all have teammates.
seen by the Then you have
younger guys, their own w ay to take time
regardless of if out of your day
you think they of expressing ... to improve the
are or not. guys around
"It's just leadership." you."
makingsure What the
everyone seniors did was
knows how a full-time job
relevant they are, no matter what and is much publicized: organiz-
their position may be." ing consistent summer workouts,
Last year, each senior received taking the time to watch film
a 40 to 50 page handbook, which with younger players. Their effort
also included examples of leader- spread like a common cold. When
ship. One story stuck with Van the followers saw Van Bergen and

Martin runningto the ball, they
did too.
Lead by example or through
your words - it didn't matter to
Hoke - so long as it wasn't "some
guy that's not doing whathe
preaches himself," as Kovacs put
it. Each senior has their own style.
"(Van Bergen is) good with
words. And when Mike Martin
speaks, it's from the soul. They all
have their own way of expressing
their leadership.
"(Kevin) Koger is the Hype-
man. We rely on him to get us
hyped pre-game.... And when
(Dave) Molk speaks, you know
it's important. He doesn't speak
too often, but when he does, it's
emotional."
As the season progressed,
and each one let their presence
become known, the seniors raved
how the freshmen were no longer
freshman, but the juniors were no
longer juniors, either. Kovacs shed
his quiet personality and started
talking more.

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

Sheffer, Ryan lead comeback .
victory over Golden Gophers

WHAT DO
tHODES/MARSHALLMITCHELL
SCHOLARS
DO AFTER THEIR STUDIES
Well, this guy became
president.
What will you do?
Anything you want.
You've written your own game
plan so far in life. Why not take
it one step further and become
a Rhodes, Marshall, or Mitchell
Scholar?
William Jefferaon Clinton, President of
the Unied States of America, 1992-2000
Come to a Rhodes/Marshall/Mitchell Orientation Session:
Monday, January 23, 2012 " 5:00-6:00pm
Henderson Room, Michigan League, 3rd Floor
Thursday, January 26, 2012 . 5:00-6:00pm
Anderson Room ABC, Michigan Union, 1st Floor
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 . 5:00-6:00pm
Pierpont Commons, East Room
SPECIAL SESSION:
How to Write a Rhodes, Marshall, or Mitchell Essay
Thursday, March 1, 2012 . 5:00-6:00pm
Vandenberg Room, Michigan League, 2nd Floor
To learn more, please contact the Provost's Council on Student Honors at
734-763-8123 or visit the website at
www.provost.umich.edu/scholars/

By MATT SPELICH
Daily Sparta Writer
The Michigan women's basket-
ball game against Minnesota on
Sunday was a contest of fits and
starts.
Begin- MINNESOTA 57
ning the MICHIGAN 61
second half
with a one-point lead, the Wol-
verines quickly found themselves
down 10 to the Gophers.
Thoughts flashed back to the
Penn State loss earlier in the
week, tempers flared, and after a
handful of collaborative efforts
Michigan tied it up at 42.
On the next play, junior guard
Jenny Ryan ripped the ball away
from a Minnesota forward, took
two dribbles and threaded the
ball perfectly into the hands of
junior center Rachel Sheffer for
the and-one lay-in. From that
point forward, with Ryan and
Sheffer at the helm, the team
never looked back.
The Wolverines went on to
defeat the Gophers, 61-57.
"Our kids were resilient," said
Michigan coach Kevin Bors-
eth. "They lost to Penn State the
other night, and so when they got
behind in this one they made sure
to keep their composure and grab
key rebounds and make key shots.
They have a lot of burning desire
inside them - a lot of fight."
The high scorers of the night
were Sheffer with 20 points and
junior guard Kate Thompson,
who racked up 13 for the Wolver-
ines.
Despite a rocky start, Sheffer
came alive down the stretch of
the second half and led the Wol-
verines on an 18-2 run. Her quick,
seemingly effortless footwork
gave her moves down on the block
an almost artful nature.
She possessed both the airy
essence of a ballerina and the
sheer force of a lumberjack - a
strange and wonderful mix that
not only gave Michigan opportu-
nities around the basket, but also
gave shooters like Thompson and
Ryan open looks around the arc
when their defenders collapsed

*0

Junior center Rachel Sheffer scored a team-high 20 points in Michigan's win.

inside.
Although the Wolverines
emerged triumphant, the 10-point
deficit at the start of the second
half marked a dark time for the
team, and led to a period of major
adjustments on both sides of the
floor.
Borseth and his team were
trying different defenses, differ-
ent matchups, different play calls
and yet nothing seemed to click.
Finally Borseth called a timeout.
He gathered his players together
and asked flat out, "What do you
want to do?"
"They told me to get out of the
way and let them do what they
do," Borseth said. "I was call-
ing plays because I thought we
could manufacture points from
the bench, and it wasn't working.
The kids play together well. They
understand what each other's
strengths and weaknesses are.
"Sheffer hit seven in a row at
one point, and I think that if we
kept calling plays, that wouldn't
have happened, and we wouldn't
have won."
Michigan, the relatively vet-

eran squad who had grown up
in a purely motion-offense based *
program, managed to find solace
in their comfort zone - which is
not too dissimilar from absolute
chaos.
Ryan, the mayhem-inducing
shooting guard, not only thrived
in the chaos, she looked to create
it every time down the court. Her
efforts were clearly outlined on
the stat sheet.
Ryan had eight points, five
assists, six rebounds and six
steals - one of which she earned
while sprawled on the ground,
giving new meaning to the term
"taking it lying down."
"You can never underesti-
mate Jenny," Sheffer said. "She's
always showing you more. Even
when you think she can't do any
more she continues to give you
something. Tonight she gave us
six key steals. We really base our
energy around her."
Luckily for the Wolverines,
Ryan's energy peaked at the end
of the second half, giving them
the extra push to pull out the win
and end on a start instead of a fit.

A,

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