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October 17, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-10-17

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 7A

Redshirt junior quarterback Devin Gardner said, "It's all about what happens in Schembechler Hall and what happens in this building"
For first time in oke 's
tenure, wee under seige

Daily SportsEditor
He had been as patient as he
could all week, but by Wednes-
day night, Michigan coach Brady
Hoke was tired of answering
questions about his team's loss to
Penn State.
"Why are we talking about
it?" he asked Jim Brandstatter on
Hoke's weekly radio show on the
Michigan IMG Sports Network.
After the show, Hoke was done
with regularly scheduled media
sessions for the week. That's like-
ly fine with him.
For the first time in his tenure,
Hoke has found himself in the
middle of a miniature tempest
this week as his team prepares
for Indiana on Saturday. It had
been quietly brewing for weeks
now: first the near-upset against
Akron, then the close win over
Connecticut. But it was the come-
from-ahead, quadruple-overtime
loss to Penn State that - fairly or
not - set off a wave of criticism
from around Ann Arbor and in
the blogosphere.
In his press conferences on
Monday and Wednesday, Hoke
faced the most pointed questions
he has seen in his time here:
Was he concerned about the
offensive line coaching, he was
asked Monday?
"No, not at all," Hoke said

Was the play calling too con-
He was asked if he'd keep the
I-formation (he would) and the
unbalanced formation (that too).
Does the team understand what
kind of team it wants to be?
Hoke just chuckled.
This happens to all college
football coaches. All teams lose
at times. Even Bo Schembechler's
1984 team went 6-6. And most
college fan bases are not shining
examples of emotional stability,
and Michigan, even at 5-1, is no
But as the Wolverines try to
solve deep, lingering issues with
the offensive line, pass rush and
turnovers, they now must con-
tend with the distractions that
come with an ornery fan base.
In Hoke's first press conference
as the Michigan coach on Jan. 12,
2011, he became emotional when
speaking about Michigan's tradi-
tion. He said he would've walked
to Ann Arbor to become its coach.
The press conference was raw
and endearing, and he would later
enjoy a lengthy period of stability
and support.
In this climate, Schembechler
Hall again became known as
"Fort Schembechler" - nothing
in, and nothing out. That's been
an emphasis this week.
"We talk about the important

things that are said are what's in
this room," Hoke said. "No one
else really matters besides the
guys in the room."
Michigan also brought in moti-
vational speaker Eric Thomas,
whose message was "kill the
noise," according to redshirt
junior quarterback Devin Gard-
"Which is what our coaches
have been preaching to us for-
ever," Gardner said. "It has noth-
ing to do with the outside world,
what everybody else thinks. It's
all about what happens in Schem-
bechler Hall and what happens in
this building."
Outside, the siege continued all
week. After Hoke's media session
on Monday, it was offensive coor-
dinator Al Borges's turn on Tues-
day. He, too, encountered some of
the sharpest questions he's faced
during his tenure in Ann Arbor.
Why the delay of game pen-
alties, one reporter asked? (An
aberration, he said, not a recur-
ring problem.) Has he lost con-
fidence in the inside running
"No, no. We haven't lost confi-
dence in anything," Borges said.
What was his philosophy at the
end of the game?
"Well, we have the best kicker
in the league," he said. "At least,
we think."
Did he change his offensive

approach during the game?
"Because the bowergamewasn't
as good, you can't just say, 'We're
not goingto do it anymore,' "Borges
said. "You still have to sprinkle it
During the week, players were
quick to defend Borges. Senior
wide receiver Drew Dileo point-
ed out how smart Borges is, how
much experience he has.
Hoke said he doesn't need to
spend extra time with the offen-
sive line because, "I've got a great
offensive line coach. I've got a
great coordinator. I'm with them
enough because we go so much
against each other. I don't need to
do that. That's some coach trying
to think he's a hero. That's not me.
I'm not a hero."
Still, Hoke and Gardner both
allowed that it's impossible to
tell how each individual player
will react to criticism of the team,
younger players especially. The
responsibility is on the older play-
ers, Gardner said, to deflect the
"I mean, everybody's gonna
have their opinion whether you
win or lose," Gardner said. "So I
mean, we lost one game but that
doesn't determine how our sea-
son's gonna end and how we're
gonna finish. That's up to us.
Whether we finish strong or let
this loss be a cloud over your

Core of seniors
leads Michigan
For theDaily
Last year's Michigan volley-
ball team made it to the NCAA
Tournament semifinals with
one senior on the squad. This
season, five seniors are looking
to lead the team even further.
Outside hitters Molly Toon
and Lexi Erwin, middle blocker
Jennifer Cross and defensive
specialists Ally Sabol and Brit-
tany Lee - all seniors - snake
up the core of the team.
"The seniors are working
really hard to be that strong
senior group that the younger
kids can look up to, that they
can learn from, that they can
look to for a calming source
because they're the veterans
and the experienced players," PATRICKBARRON/Daily
said Michigan coach Mark Outside hitter MollyToon is one of
fiseniors to lead the team.
Eosen. "That's what they're
working hard at doing, and I the players are learning after
think they're doing a pretty every loss how to better com-
good job of it." pete against tough opponents,
The five players have evolved and they'll face plenty more the
over their four years to become rest of the season.
the senior class they are today. "What we're doing is good,
"Erwin has worked really it's just not good enough,"
hard in the weight room the Erwin said. "We talked about
last few years," Lee said. "She's how the margin of error is really
stronger and quicker, and I small. We lost by two points in
think she's playingthe bestshe's a fifth game, and that could've
ever played and is really consis- been two points our way. But
tent." I think we really need to not
According to Rosen, Toon focus on the wins and losses so
only transitioned to an outside much and more on how we're
position when she joined the playing on our side."
program and is now a "very Added Lee: "I think it's moti-
experienced, very veteran out- vation to just work harder and
side hitter." Cross came in as kind of evaluate what's working
an inexperienced but talented and what's not."
freshman but became "one of They also feel it's impor-
the elite middle blockers in the tant to look past the rank-
country." ings and continue to play their
Sabol, always a defensive game, remembering how they
asset, is "inthe peak ofhergame surprised the nation last year
now." Brittany Lee has devel- despite heading into the NCAA
oped as well becoming "a solid Tournament asa low seed.
leader for this group." "I think you have to look
The Wolverines (2-4 Big Ten, past the rankings and trust the
12-4 overall) are currently ninth system that we have because it
in the conference standings. In did work for us in the past, and
their last game, they topped there have been times this sea-
Iowa in four sets. Erwin led the son where we've seen it work
charge with 17 kills and 19.5 really well," Erwin said. "So
points, while Cross contributed when they say we're playing
with 12 kills and 15.5 points. a number five, we need to just
Before that, Michigan had trust our system is success-
lost tight 3-2 matches against ful and can break down other
No. 9 Nebraska and Illinois. teams."
"The match against Illinois This year's seasoned squad is
was a tough one because we loking to move up the stand-
played extremely well," Rosen ings in the nation's toughest
said. "You can look at our stats conference. For the first time,
and see there were so many nine of the 12 Big Ten teams
things we did right." were ranked in the Top 25.
During a difficult midseason "We want to play against the
stretch of Big Ten games, the best competition, in the best
team has also fallen to No. 13 conference, at the highest level,
Ohio State and No. 1 Penn State. and the Big Ten is without ques-
The seniors and the rest of tion that," Rosen said.
Playoff selection

Michigan shores up 'D' coverage

of its
early s
at full
the m
of the
ing to
the ice
to kno
be bet
Red B
so tha
so the

By GREG GARNO puck."
Daily Sports Writer The drill, which Berenson and
the coaching staff have done in
ey say you appreciate some- the past, represents a focus on a
or someone the most the general trend in the early season:
nt you lose it or them. disorganization on defense.
when the No. 5 Michigan The Wolverines, in their game
y team temporarily lost the against Rochester Institute of
e to play without the blades Technology on Saturday, moved
sticks, it began to cherish slowly to the puck on clearance
hing that's normally an attempts and struggled to limit
hought. But luckily for the shots. Michigan's penalty kill -
rines, they'll have their which allowed two goals against
for the weekend, as the the Tigers - was absent in front
was just part of a drill of the net when sophomore
ng on improving one of the goaltender Steve Racine let up
truggles this season. rebounds.
drill begins with five "The stick is a big part of the
s situated around the ice penalty kill, but you have to know
g the puck as if they were where to be," said junior forward
strength in a game. Mean- Zach Hyman. "It's a lot harder
four others positioned in when that stick is upside down
iddle played with the butts and you don't have that blade.
ir sticks on the ice attempt- "Just being in position is of
break up each pass. really big importance to us, and
able to clear the puck down it's really stressed a lot in prac-
or depend on apoke check tice."
'ck the puck away, the drill Some of the positioning can be
rces the concept of posi- chalked up to inexperience at the
g in the defensive zone. collegiate level, as the Wolver-
st No. 13 New Hampshire ines start freshmen defensemen
weekend, correct place- Nolan de Jong, Kevin Lohan and
on the ice will be even more Michael Downing. The trio has
tant for Michigan. experience in junior hockey, but
rt of our game that has to the gameplay speeds up at col-
tter is our defensive game lege and every mistake can be
l," said Michigan coach disastrous - especially in front
erenson. "(The drill) is for of more than 10,000 fans on the
;ive awareness and position road, as was the case in Roches-

Junior forward Zach Hyman said the upside-down stick drill helps the penalty kill.

The teams who compete in
college football's new play-
off system will be chosen by a
Rhodes Scholar, a former U.S.
Secretary of State and a former
congressperson, among others.
Beginning in the 2014 sea-
son, the group will look at win-
loss record, schedule strength,
head-to-head results and con-
ference titles to determine
which four teams will compete
for the national championship.
A committee comprising
the conference commissioners
tasked with overseeing the new
system selected the 13-person
selection committee.
Bill Hancock, executive
director of the College Football
Playoff, announced the names
Wednesday. Combined, the
committee has about 230 years
of experience in college foot-
"We wanted people of the
highest integrity for this com-
mittee, and we got them," Han-
cock said ina statement. "Every
one of them has vast football
knowledge, excellent judgment,
dedication and love for this

Term lengths will "gener-
ally" be three years, according
to the press release. The com-
mittee will meet several times
during the season, and then
again on selection weekend to
determine the participants of
the two semifinal games.
Five members of the commit-
tee currently serve as Directors
of Athletics at their respective
schools: Jeff Long at Univer-
sity of Arkansas-Fayetteville,
BarryAlvarez at Wisconsin, Pat
Haden at Southern California,
Oliver Luck at West Virginia
and Dan Radakovich at Clem-
Condoleezza Rice, currently
a professor at Stanford after her
time as U.S. Secretary of State,
is also on the committee, as is a
former U.S. Air Force Academy
Superintendent, Lieutenant
General Mike Gould.
Former NCAA Executive
Vice President Tom Jernstedt,
former all-pro NFL quarter-
back Archie Manning, former
Nebraska coach Tom Osborne,
former Big East Commissioner
Mike Tranghese, former USA
Today reporter Steve Wieberg
and former head coach Tyrone
Willingham round out the

toward the puck.
"Players, when we're in our
zone, are waiting to get the puck,"
Berenson said. "I don't want them
waiting to get the puck, I want
them to tune in.
"Hockey is always offense and
defense. You're flipping back and
forth, but some players don't flip.
They just play offense. When you
flipyour stickupside down, you're
telling me you're on defense."

The coaching staff also hopes
the drill will translate to the
team's forecheck, which is impor-
tant to spurring new offensive
opportunities, the lack of which
also concerns Berenson.
"I want them to be hard on the
puck and hard on the man, and
not be as passive or as easy to
play against as we can be," Beren-
son said. "If we're hard to play
against, we're a tough team."

at we're not doing every-
with our stick. They play
their sticks upside down
y're not worried about the

But as Berenson sees it, the
disorganization stems from the
defense being less active moving

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