8 - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 Sp
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Get used to seeing utt Wile still struggling
By EVERETT COOK
Daily Sports Editor
The man tied for third on the
No. 15 Michigan football team
in receptions didn't have the
preseason expectations that
redshirt freshman wide receiv-
er Jehu Chesson did. He also
doesn't have the experience that
fifth-year senior Joe Reynolds
or senior Jeremy Jackson do.
He's tied for third in catches
with fifth-year senior Drew
Dileo, an offensive mainstay,
and with sophomore Dennis
Norfleet, one of the fastest and
most exciting position players
on the roster.
The player, freshman tight
end Jake Butt, is perhaps the
biggest offensive surprise of the
season. He was so skinny going
into spring camp that fifth-year
senior offensive tackle Michael
Schofield thought he looked
more like a wide receiver than a
Now, more than seven
months after spring camp, Butt
is growing both into his body
and a bigger role in the Wolver-
"I thought Jake Butt was
probably our nicest surprise
after spring football," said
offensive coordinator Al Borges
last week. "He came in kind of
light, so we assumed it would
probably take a year and we
would redshirt him. But he
came back bigger and stronger.
Jake's always had good football
awareness, even from the first
day he got here. So he's made a
contribution much faster than
we had anticipated after spring
In high school, Butt caught
almost 100 passes and was a
considered a top-five tight end
recruit by every major scouting
service in the country. He was
Freshman tight end Jake Butt has five catches on the year and is emerging assa red-zone target for the offense.
By MATT SL
The longer junio
struggles with the It
ball team's punting d
ger the look coach Bra
redshirt freshman Ke
That's not to say tl
have a controversy;
position on their '
hands just yet.
But if Wile con-
tinues to be ineffecti'
urday's game at Con
might be receiving
workload. In a nail
Akron last weekend,I
an average of just 33
duties over to
but changed his
mind because "it
been the right thing
Wile punted the
bounds just 22 yar
with about nine mint
in the fourth quarter
clingingto a21-17 lea
pinning Akron backi
ritory, the shank allc
to start at their own
and they strungtoge
touchdown drive that
gan to respond.
Hoke said he w
excuse for Wile beca
is handling kickoff d
tion to punting -
doing both for far to
to be a reason for his
"My only analogy
golf," Hoke said. "His
drop have to be cons
managed to get a p
OVIN Wile's boots Saturday, and Hoke
ditor said it should have been blocked.
Poor protection, not anything in
r Matt Wile Wile's technique, was to blame for
dichigan foot- that mishap, according to Hoke.
uties, the lon- "I have a lot of faith in Matt,"
ady Hoke gives Hoke said. "I kind of coach the
rnny Allen. punters because ... I know what to
he Wolverines look for. He'll be fine."
at the punter RYAN REPORT: Hoke said that
redshirt junior linebacker Jake
NOTEBOOK Ryan is "feeling pretty good," add-
ing that "every day, he gets closer."
ve in next Sat-' Ryan has been out since tearing
necticut, Allen his anterior cruciate ligament on
an increased March 19 - the first day of spring
-biter against camp. With the defense struggling
Wile managed to get consistentcpressure on oppos-
yards on four ing quarterbacks through the first
three weeks, his return can't come
When he does
come back, Ryan
"...It's a lot like will be eased
1 into team activi-
"I'm the one
who's scared to
for (Wile) and said. "I don't wantto bringhimback
too fast. I think he has got a good
ball out of gauge on how he feels."
ds downfield BACK TO THE DRAWING
ates remaining BOARD: At approximately 4:07 p.m.
and Michigan Saturday, just after a goal-line stand
d. Rather than sealed the win over Akron, the
in its own ter- coaching staff decided that Sunday
owed the Zips would be a full-pads practice.
33-yard line, "They were very receptive,"
ther an 11-play Hoke said of the team's reaction to
forced Michi- the additional day of work. "Very
-I wouldn't say excited-- but they
on't make an were glad to get back on the field."
use the junior Note: Hoke said that both
duties in addi- sophomore tight end A.J. Wil-
Wile has been liams (ankle), who missed the
o long for that Akron game, and senior corner-
struggles. back Courtney Avery (knee) are
is it's a lot like much improved. ... Sophomore
swing and his tight end Devin Funchess' injury
tant and more scare was just a cramp, according to
Hoke. "He's one of those guys who
teams nearly cramps. ... He's been that way since
iece of one of high school."
expected to contribute, just not
After - choosing to enroll
early, Butt arrived on campus
in January, which likely made
all the difference for the type
of work he put in. Starting five
months before the rest of the
class allowed Butt to acceler-
ate his physical development, so
without that extra time in Ann
Arbor, there's a good chance he
would still be on the sidelines.
"When he first came in, he
was a little smaller and a little
skinnier and everything," Scho-
field said. "He kind of looked
like a receiver. Now, he's defi-
nitely built up. I've seen a lot
more improvement in his run-
blocking skills. That strength
he's added has definitely helped
him to become a better run-
blocking tight end."
Against Notre Dame, Butt
saw significant minutes and was
targeted in the red zone several
times. He finished with two
catches, but that game signified
his emergence in the lineup.
Last week against Akron,
with No. 2 tight end A.J. Wil-
liams sidelined because of an
ankle injury suffered against
the Fighting Irish, Butt stepped
into the starting role and caught
two passes for 27yards. His only
big mistake was a holding call
in the second quarter, but even
then, Hoke thought his young
tight end was doing solid work.
"Jake did a pretty good job,"
Hoke said Monday. "They called
him for a hold that I would
really like somebody to find.
The (referee) must have seen
it differently. I thought he just
dominated the block to be hon-
est with you. Maybe you aren't
allowed to do that, I don't know.
But overall, for a young kid, I
think he did a pretty good job."
The fact that Butt is ahead
of guys like Chesson, Reynolds
and Jackson in catches might
say more about their early per-
formances than it does about
his. After fifth-year senior Jer-
emy Gallon, Michigan needs
more production out of their
wide receiver corps, regardless
of how the tight ends are play-
But if the progression holds,
Michigan fans will see a lot of
Butt much sooner than expect-
ed, and beyond.
"When Jake got here in Janu-
ary, we recruited him obviously
so we thought he had ability,
but I think how he's progressed
through the program has been
really positive, from the weights
to the academics to all that
stuff," Hoke said last week. "I
know we're very comfortable
with Jake. I think he's got a
In 15th season, Rosen looks for next step
By LEV FACHER
Daily Sports Writer
Mark Rosen has been the head
coach of the Michigan volleyball
team since 1999. He's amassed
an all-time record of 295-178 and
earned 12 NCAA Tournament
bids, five of which have led to
Sweet 16 appearances.
Despite his experience, Rosen
is in unfamiliar territory in 2013.
Fresh off the program's first-ever
Final Four berth in 2012, the
10th-ranked Wolverines are deal-
ing with sky-high expectations,
both from within the program
and the rankings.
"Our goal is a national champi-
onship," Rosen said. "No doubt."
Rosen has already coached one
team to a national championship,
but not at this level - he won it all
in his first year as the head coach
of Division II Northern Michigan
in 1994. Getting that far in the Big
Ten, though, is an entirely differ-
The American Volleyball
Coaches Association ranked
Michigan (7-1) seventh in its pre-
season poll, the highest preseason
ranking the program has ever
received in its 41-year history.
But Rosen is taking nothing for
"We never discuss rankings,"
Rosen said. "It doesn't come up.
Those rankings don't win us
any games, and aside from that,
there's always a debate about
But not all the hype can be so
easily dismissed. The Wolverines
were also recognized on the field
at Michigan Stadium on Sept. 7
during the football team's night-
time tilt with Notre Dame, where
an NCAA-record crowd of 115,109
greeted them with a standing
"They reserve that opportu-
nity for really special things,"
Rosen said, recalling that he had
to explain to the freshmen and
sophomores on the team that
being honored on the field at the
Big House is not, in fact, normal.
Being recognized on the field
during a football game has been.
a longtime goal of Rosen's, and
finally getting the chance after 14
years at Michigan was validation
difficult to beas present as he and
Leisa would like.
"We try a lot during the off-
season to make sure one of us is
here all the time," Rosen said.
"That allows us to be a little more
normal during the other eight
months of the year."
Normal or not, they are at the
helm of a team that, for the first
time in their careers at Michigan,
is a preseason national champion-
ship contender. The goal in 2013 is
to take the proverbial "next step"
- the leap from being a program
that finds itself in the Final Four
unexpectedly to being a program
., ? that expects to be there every
Despite their consistent suc-
cess throughout Rosen's tenure,
the Wolverines have never won a
FILE PHOTO/Daily Big Ten championship. The big-
gest reason for the drought is the
Nittany Lions are ranked first
nationally, and have started off
their season 6-1 with their lone
loss coming to No. 6 Texas.
"I think it's great, because we
see (Penn State)," Rosen said. "If
we're going to put ourselves in a
position to win a national cham-
pionship, we're probably going to
have to go through them at some
For the first time in his career,
Rosen seems ideally positioned
to win that conference title and
make noise on the national stage
for the second year in a row.
Michigan lost only one senior fol-
lowing last year's Final Four run
- right side hitter Claire McEl-
heny - giving it one of the most
experienced rosters in the confer-
The Wolverines have age, tal-
ent and the experience of making
it to the Final Four on their side,
meaning that 2013 could be the
year Michigan takes that "next
step" Rosentalks about so often.
Michigan coach Mark Rosen celebrated his 500th win as a head coach on Aug. 31 against Xavier.
for all the work that has gone into
building up the program to its
"A lot of people came here
before this team and didn't get
that opportunity, because they
didn't earn it," Rosen said.
If there's anybody who has
earned it, though, it's Rosen.
He earned his 500th win as a
head coach on Aug. 31 in a three-
set decision at Xavier. Rosen
acknowledged the achievement's
significance, but deflected credit
to his team and the rest of his
"It sounds cliche," Rosen said,
"but I don't really watch those
milestones very much."
Rosen's path to Michigan
would have been difficult to
predict early in his life. Grow-
ing up in Anchorage, Alaska,
Rosen took a circuitous route to
becoming Michigan's sixth head
coach. After earning his degree
in physical education from Cal
State Northridge, Rosen made
coaching appearances at North-
ern Michigan, Boise State and Cal
State Bakersfield before landing
in Ann Arbor.
As unlikely as Rosen's journey
from Anchorage to Ann Arbor
may have been, he hasn't had to
do it alone - Rosen's wife, Leisa,
is Michigan's associate head
coach. A fellow Alaskan and for-
mer volleyball standout at Ohio
State, Leisa had known Mark
casually since her high-school
years. The couple began dating
after a chance encounter in Los
Angeles at the Final Four, which
Mark attended as a coach and
Leisa asa player for Ohio State.
Her alma mater, though, is an
afterthought at this point - she's
also been coaching at Michigan
for 15 years, and her comparative-
ly brief career as a Buckeye is far
in the past.
"Leisa's a great coach," Rosen
said. "Had she not been married
to me and had we not been doing
this together, she would have very
much gone on somewhere else to
be a head coach."
The uncommon husband-wife
coaching combination doesn't
strike Rosen as odd - he grew
up in a similar family structure.
Rosen's father made a living as
an accountant, and Rosen's moth-
er ran the business' computer
Rosen thoroughly believes that
the family atmosphere is a posi-
tive for the program in terms of
recruiting and the way it operates
"We care greatly about our
players, not just as athletes but as
student-athletes and as people,"
Rosen said. "That's a lot easier
since we have that husband-wife,
family atmosphere here."
Even though the two have been
coaching together since 1998, it
hasn't always been so easy. When
Mark was the head coach at Cal
State Bakersfield in the early
1990s, Leisa was denied a posi-
tion as an assistant coach because
the school's athletic department
wasn't comfortable with the duo
coaching together, according to
Boise State thought otherwise,
though, and hired Mark and Leisa
as the head coach and recruiting
coordinator, respectively, in 1998.
After posting an 18-9 record, the
couple jumped at a pair of offers
from Michigan, where they've
been ever since.
The Rosens have loved their
time in Ann Arbor, but having
their family so thoroughly inter-
twined with the Michigan vol-
leyball program presents its fair
share of challenges in addition
to the perks that come with it -
especially for the Rosens' two
sons, Brady and Cameron.
"There are benefits, of course,
like when they get to be around
the football atmosphere (against
Notre Dame), the volleyball atmo-
sphere," Rosen said.
But the 15-year veteran also
acknowledged that the regular
season can be hectic from a par-
enting perspective. The constant
weekend road trips, weeknight
games and the grind of year-
round recruiting make it more
presence of perennial national
title contender Penn State, owner
of 10 conference crowns in the
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4:00 - 5:30 Pm
University of Michigan Law School
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