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April 16, 2012 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-04-16

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

April 16, 2012 - 3B

Michiganloses'Battle at the Big House' to OSU :ESEB

By KYLE SAUKAS
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan lacrosse team
(1-11) played its first game against
rival Ohio State (6-6) Saturday,
competing on the biggest stage it
has seen this season. The inexpe-
rienced Wolverines put on a val-
iant show in Michigan Stadium
but fell to the Buckeyes, 12-9, in
front of a crowd of over 4,000.
The game was the hard hitting,
tough affair that is expected from
a Michigan-Ohio State matchup,
and the two teams struggled back
and forth throughout the contest.
Yet Michigan fell behind early in
the first quarter and couldn't seem
to pull together an effective run
to close the gap. Despite the loss,
the significance of the program's
first game against the Buckeyes
was not lost on team leaders such
as senior captain midfielder Alex
Vasileff, who won't receive a sec-
ond chance against Ohio State.
"This is an opportunity I am
really thankful to have," Vasileff
said. "I thought (the team) left it
all out there. I am really proud
of them ... but unfortunately, we
came up short.".
The Wolverines had their work
cut out for them Saturday after-
noon. The Buckeyes rank seventh
nationally in scoring defense,
allowing just 7.64 goals per game,
and 16th in forced turnovers with
8.27 per game.
QUARTERBACKS
From Page 1B
at times when Gardner entered
games last season. Though he's
entering his third season at
Michigan, Gardner has yet to
prove he can be consistent in the
pocket.
And Bellomy is even more
inexperienced, having taken a
redshirt in his first season and
never having seen the field.
"(Saturday was) really his first
kind of real snaps in Michigan
Stadium," Hoke said. "I don't
know how many people were
here, but there was TV, all that
kind of stuff. I just (wanted to)
see how he would handle him-
self, the way he handled the
huddle.
"Again, until you really look at
it and analyze it, (I thought) he
handled himself OK."
Indeed, Bellomy didn't seem
like a nervous rookie at any
point during the Spring Game.
ROUNDTREE
From Page 1B
with the hands, every receiver has
worked with a machine that flings
tennis balls after every prac-
tice this spring. Receivers like
Roundtree can't trap tennis balls.
If they want to make the catch,
they have to use their hands.
"I feel like it has really helped
all of us," Roundtree said, noting
that the balls often come in at 60
miles per hour. "It's coming. It's
really coming. So it's something
you gotta get used to, but once you
calm down and actually time it
up and actually watch the ball hit

Michigan found itself down by
two goals early, with only Vasileff
findingthe net in the first quarter
for the first of his three goals. The
second quarter saw the Wolver-
ines matching the Buckeyes with
four goals each, and they felt con-
fident coming out of the tunnel in
the second half.
"We felt like we had a pretty
good set ready to go," said Michi-
gan coach John Paul. "We came
into the (second half) pretty con-
fident about some of the things
we were doing. But we knew they
were going to come out with a lot
of intensity."
The Buckeyes tallied three
consecutive goals ' in the third
quarter, leaving the Wholverines
to fight their way back from a
five-goal deficit. The only spark
of life came from senior faceoff
man Brian Greiner's goal, and the
quarter ended with a 10-6 score
in Ohio State's favor. Michigan
outscored Ohio State 3-2 in the
fourth quarter with goals from
Vasileff, fifth-year senior Trevor
Yealy and junior midfielder Wil-
lie Steenland. Yet that final push
wasn't enough for the Wolverines
to overcome a Buckeye offense
that had control the entire game.
Ohio State attackman Logan
Schuss, who netted a hat trick, is
ranked seventh in the nation with
2.82 points per game. He led the
Buckeyes inan attack that capital-
ized on transitional opportunities

SIDNEY KRANDALL/Daily
Senior midfielder Alex Vasileff scored a hat trick in Michigan's 12-9 loss to the Buckeyes at Michigan Stadium.

against the Wolverines.
AlongwithOhio State'sempha-
sis on transitional scoring, Michi-
gan faced a disciplined offense
that used passing to make the
Wolverine defenders move. Ohio
State took advantage of Wolverine
players that were caught watching
the ball, leaving Buckeye players
open to take uncontested shots.
Even with those defensive weak-
nesses, Paul was proud of the play
of freshman goalie Emil Weiss.

The 12 saves that Weiss made
against an experienced opponent
and his improvement in other
areas of the game is what Paul is
looking for in all of his players in
major games.
"I thought he played great,"
Paul said. "He has just gotten
more comfortable as a freshman
playing Division I goalie."
Despite the loss, the Wolver-
ines will be taking more out of
Saturday's game than just another

check in the loss column. Coach-
es and players see this game as
a stepping-stone that will help
build the program to a point
where success against Ohio State
isn't hoped for, but expected.
"We take a lot out of the way we
played today," Paul said. "We've
made tremendous strides in every
area over the course of this sea-
son. Our mission all year as 'Team
One' is to lay the foundation for
what this program is goingto be."

Playing exclusively with the
second team of offensive players
- a noticeably weaker unit than
the first team, considering the
Wolverines' depth issues - the
Arlington, Texas native played
with poise all afternoon.
Bellomy didn't make many
plays downfield, but he never
seemed rattled in the pocket
and was content to settle for
open checkdowns when deeper
receivers were covered.
By doing so, he kept the
offense in rhythm and displayed
some athleticism, too - he
didn't make anyone forget about
Robinson, but he was competent
enough when executing zone
reads and escaping pressure
when it came.
Robinson saw that Bellomy-
was throwing the ball well dur-
ing warmups and went over to
offer some encouragement, tell-
ing Bellomy to just continue that
into the game. Clearly, the red-
shirt freshman took the senior's
advice.
"He's learning the offense,"'

Robinson said. "He got used to
the offense (during spring prac-
tice), and now he's actually help-
ing me sometimes. He's doing
well."
But while Bellomy played
calmly and kept his bearing,
Gardner was unsteady and
lacked composure inthe pocket.
Gardner was uneven as soon
as he stepped on the field with
the first-string offense. On his
first play from scrimmage, he
rolled to the right looking to
throw, but he ran into junior
defensive tackle Jibreel Black
and was forced to take a sack.
On Gardner's next pass play,
he checked down to his second
receiver but gave sophomore
cornerback Blake Countess
too much time to make a read.
Countess stepped in front of the
lofted pass for the easy intercep-
tion.
It didn't get much better from
there for the junior.
Gardner went on to miss his
first four pass attempts and
was often harassed by pressure,

leading to throwaways and inef-
fective scrambles. Toward the
end of the scrimmage, he finally
got the offense moving, scram-
bling down the right sideline for
a first down and then connect-
ing with redshirt junior wide
receiver Jeremy Gallon for his
first completion and a long gain
down the field.
But for most of the Spring
Game, the story for Gardner was
ineffectiveness.
Still - and despite some
rumors of looks at receiver for
the Detroit native this spring -
Hoke said Gardner is the No. 2
quarterback, and coaches said
his uneven performance on Sat-
urday wasn't indicative of his
play during spring practice in
general.
"Devin, in particular, has had
an outstanding spring," Borges
said. "He's done some very nice
things and has developed in a
position where he needs more
time in situations like this, when
there's a lot of people watching
and the pressure's on and all

that."
of course, for all the atten-
tion that Bellamy and Gard-
ner received during the Spring
Game, when the season begins,
the focus will definitively be on
Robinson and his improvement.
He, too, had a productive spring,
and Borges said he has made
significant strides in avoiding
throwing off his back foot and in
his decision-making.
But should one of the backups
need to answer the call at some
point next season, the hope is
that the experience that Bellomy
and Gardner have gained this
spring and in the Spring Game
will make the backup quarter-
back situation less precarious
than it has been in recent years.
"We have three quarterbacks
who - I'm not sure when their
major contributions are going
to come, two of them, anyway -
but I think there'll be a point in
time when they'll make a major
contribution," Borges said. "But
I've been happy with the posi-
tion."

seen out of Black, but the junior
will need to gain more weight
this summer and really hone his
technique to tussle with Big Ten
guards and tackles. Campbell, list-
ed at 322 pounds, has all the size
he needs and is looking to estab-
lish consistency.
"We need (Campbell) to not just
knock people around, but tackle
the football," Mattison said. "Will
and I have talked a lot and hard
about that, that the ball is the
issue, not how many lumps you
can put on that guard or that cen-
ter. Will's getting it, and Will's a
key. Will is abig key.
"You've heard me say it before -
you're only as strong as you are
down the middle. That's going
to be our whole deal this year
because we'll be fine outside."
Campbell actually made his spring
debut in lighter fashion than
usual, as he and some of his defen-
sive cohorts were recently tasked
with losing weight leading up to
Saturday.
"I felt ... a lot
lighter."
Some players showed off their new
look by sporting cutoff tees expos-
ing their fit and trim bellies.
"I felt good today, actually - aslot
lighter than I usually am," Camp-
bell said. "I feel comfortable with
the D-line we have right now. We
got some more nooks and knots to
pull out, but I feel pretty good with
it right now."
Moving back from the line, Mat-
tison noted that his middle line-
backers also have a their work cut
out for them this summer.
Fifth-year senior Kenny Demens
is currently the leader of the unit,
but there will be competition up
until the start of the season.
Senior Brandin Hawthorne also
moved to the middle from his typi-
cal strongside position for some
plays on Saturday. He made a
couple of solid defensive stops and
reeled in a one-handed intercep-
tion in coverage toward the end of
the game.
"(Hawthorne) has been doing a
greatjob," Demens said.
"He has the heart of a champion.
He might be a little undersized,
but I wouldn't put it past him to go
out there and hit the biggest guy
and put him on his butt."
But sometimes, a defense needs
more than heart to succeed. Matti-
son is looking forward to working
on the little things this summer.
"A lot of it is technique," Mattison
said.
"One of the biggestthings we have
to improve on is using our hands
and not using our high-school
forearms. That's what some young
freshmen linebackers are doing
right now.
"The beautiful thing is they've got
sleds to work on all summer."
NOTES: Sophomore outside
linebacker Desmond Morgan
appearedto hurt his left knee after
being stopped on a blitz early in
Saturday's game. Redshirt sopho-
more wide receiver Jerald Robin-
son tweaked his ankle as well. The
extent of the injuries are unknown
at this point.

your hands, it really slows every-
thing down."
With the graduation of Junior
Hemmingway -lastyear's leader
in nearly all statistical catego-
ries among receivers - and Dar-
ryl Stonum's explusion from the
team, Roundtree must develop
into a threat for senior quarter-
back Denard Robinson to have
success through the air. Rob-
inson said he already benefits
from Roundtree's versatility. He
is equally effective as the slot
receiver and split out wide.
Robinson also said that
Roundtree's attitude makes him a
leader on the team.
"He's one of those guys that

keeps t
inson s
going b
tho
kee
t
one, 'Lo
best pla
Even if

he team together," Rob- he was like, 'The next play is the
aid. "When everything's best play.'
ad, he's going to tell every- "And even last year, when he
didn't have as much catches as he
had the year before, he talked to
lie's one of me (and) told me, 'As long as we're
winning, that's the only thing
guys that that counts to me."'
se gBut this year, winning will
cps the tean horequire more out of Roundtree,
whose production plummeted
together." last season. In 2010, Roundtree
was the team's leading receiver,
hauling in 72 receptions for 935
yards and seven touchdowns.
Last year? Just 355 yards on 19
ok, your next play is your catches.
y.' He always tells me that. That's why what little the
I have a bad throw to him, fans got to see of the Robinson-

Roundtree battery on Satur-
day was encouraging. Robinson
threw just three passes before
getting yanked, but on one, he
connected with Roundtree for a
10-yard gain.
On that play, just the second of
the game, Robinson rolled out to
his right, waiting for Roundtree to
make his break.
At the first-down marker,
Roundtree did, working back to
Robinson and the sideline. The
pass was ontarget, and Roundtree
hauled in what Michigan hopes
will become a routine pass in
Borges' offense.
And, of course, he did it with
his hands. Picture perfect.

RAWLS
From Page 1B
How is that different from
last season?
"He's not as spazzy as he
was before," Roh said, laugh-
ing. "He'd get the ball and fall
over, basically. I think now he's
starting to get his stride a little
bit, where he's making cuts and
making good decisions."
With a year of experience
under his belt - and his first
spring camp out of the way -
Rawls will be a serious contend-
er for the No. 2 running back
position in the fall.
"He's not the tallest guy,"

Kovacs said. "He's short and
stocky, but he runs hard (and) he
lowers his pads.
"Sometimes, he doesn't real-
ly see where he's going, but he
makes his own way and just puts
his head down and runs hard. As
a defense, you respect that."
NOTE: The football program
did not sell tickets to the Mott
Spring Game on Saturday, but it
did accept donations at the sta-
dium and through a text-mes-
saging system.
According to Athletic Depart-
ment officials, the event raised
over $161,000 for the C.S. Mott
Children's Hospital, not includ-
ing the text-message donations.
That number will reportedly be
matched by a University alum.

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