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January 28, 2014 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-01-28

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 - 7

A 'big brother' and mentor away from home

By JUSTIN STERN
Daily Sports Writer
Bryan Mone and Sione Houma
are just like any other students
on the Ann Arbor campus.
They sit in their dorms in West
Quad, watching movies like
Catching Fire or playing Call of
Duty: Ghosts.
Their humble personalities
often serve as an invisible
cloak for their athletic abilities.
Their skills on the gridiron are
often hidden by their character.
However, it's that character
that makes them so close on
and off the field. The same
chemistry that once led the
Highland Rams to a Utah state
championship is now making a
comeback in Ann Arbor.
For Mone, an incoming
football recruit, and Houma,
currently a sophomore fullback,
protecting one another has
been apparent since the first
game they wore black and
white together on the Highland
High School football field in
Salt Lake City.
Currently spending his first
semester at Michigan this win-
ter, the standout lineman Mone
was recruited by high-profile
programs such as Alabama, Flor-
ida State and Stanford. When
Houma packed his bags for Ann
Arbor and left his hometown in
the summer of 2012, he always
remembered Mone, who consis-
tently made the key block lead-
ing to touchdowns. While Mone
was protecting Houma on the
field, Houma played Mone's "big
brother" off the field.
"Sione is an older brother to
me," Mone said. "He tells me
what I need to do and keeps my
head straight, and helps me out
a lot whether it be the recruiting
process or in the classroom."
In high school, the two hung
out in the hallways between
classes, walked out together
after practices or a game and
attended church together on a
weekly basis. During Mone's
senior year, he attended a
church retreat on a spiritual
trip to Sacramento, Calif. It
was this trip that finally put
him over the edge to make a
verbal commit to Michigan.

COURTESY OF MGOBLOG TERRA MOLLENGRAFF/Daily
Sophomore fullback Sione Houma didn't get to see much action on the field, but his relationsip with incoming recruit Bryan Mone was crucial to landing the lineman's committment to Michigan.

"For some reason Michigan
was in my head when ISwas there
praying about it," Mone said. "I
felt like that was a sign. It was
a spur of the moment kind of
thing. God brought me here to
Michigan."
It was just a week later after
the retreat that Michigan
received their second prized
recruit's verbal commitment
from Salt Lake City. The two
high-school teammates got to
resurrect their bond when Mone
told Highland High School foot-
ball coach Brody Benson that he
was committing to Michigan.
"(Mone and Houma) both
carry two strong characteristics
that make them stand out - a
caring personality and a strong
work ethic," Benson said. "That
is whatgotthem to the place they
are today."
On Aug. 1, 2012, Houma
officially enrolled at the
University. The time together
on the field vanished between
Houma and Mone, but their
friendship got stronger.
Still in high school, Mone

tried to speak with Houma about family.
once a week, but due to Houma's "(Houma) told me the coach-
schedule as a student athlete ing program is one thing that
it became challenging. When Michigan has that is unlike any
they spoke, Houma always gave other school I received offers
words that made Mone more from," Mone said. "They really
comfortable with his Michigan care about their players and put
commitment. their players first. I felt that right
Recruits are often influenced away when I came here. All the
by location, boys really
their ability helped me fit
to get noticed in and every-
by NFL scouts "Sione is my one shows so
and the chanc- ' much love."
es of seeing the older brother. Family val-
field early. Yet ues go hand-
Mone chose to He tells me in-hand for
look for three Mone, and
features that what I need to he deeply
ultimately d 1'believed in
made his deci- do and keeps my what he saw
sion easier: a ,, from the Mich-
caring coach- head straight. igan coaching
ing staff, aca- staff. How-
demics and ever, Mone's
Sione Houma. family values
For those who know Mone, start with his immediate family.
it's no surprise that he believes He has been forced to take
in the importance of creating care of his disabled older brother
special bonds with the players Filimone with his mother Sela
and coaches at his new Michigan his entire life. Filimone was

born with the inability to see,
speak or perform daily tasks
like feeding himself. He wears a
diaper, which is left up to Mone
to change. The battles Mone
faces on the football field are
pale in perspective to assisting
his brother every day.
"When I wake up each day,
I give him a shower or feed
him pills, change him," he said.
"That happens two times a day,
before I go to school and when I
come home.
"Taking care of my brother
and family is a lot more
rewarding than the recognition
I have received from football. I
play for my brother. Taking care
of my brother is like taking care
of my quarterback if I'm on the
offensive line. My lives on the
field and off the field are both
similar in many ways."
Mone finished his senior sea-
son with 41 tackles and 1.5 sacks,
while also being a student who
cares about his academics -
another reason he chose Michi-
gan. In his last semester of high
school, he received all A's. Yet

Houma tells him the challenges
will only be greater in Ann Arbor.
"At Michigan, Sione tells me to
stay on top of school. The most
important thing is managing
your time wisely," Mone said.
"You will have distractions, but
the main thing is to manage your
time and stay focused."
The rise of Mone's stock both
on the field and off is a reflection
of many people . in his life.
Through his humble attitude,
he remains poised and still
shocked that he's about to begin
playing football and attend the
University. From Coach Benson
pushing him in the weight room
to the inspiration from his older
brother, to the teachers in his
classrooms, Mone has been led
in the right direction.
However, when Mone depart-
ed for Michigan in early January,
it was the farthest he has ever
been from his family and life in
Salt Lake City. As he begins his
new chapter, he will always have
a reminder of where he came
from with "big brother" Sione
Houma by his side.

Wolverines emphasize blocking
shots in anticipation of Badgers

By GREG GARNO
Daily Sports Editor
Have you ever stopped a solid
rubber object flyingover 80 miles
per hour?
The answer, for most, is likely
no. But on Monday, the Michigan
hockey team didn't stop just one
object flying that fast. It practiced
doingso multiple times.
Albeit the now 12th-ranked
Wolverines never fired shots at
full strength, usinghbright orange
plastic balls to mimic the action
without risking injury, but the
message still stood. Blocking
shots will be a priority this
weekend when No. 9 Wisconsin
comes to Yost Ice Arena.
"It's about having the proper
form when you go down," said
junior forward Zach Hyman.
"But it is repetition, getting feel
for how to get in front of the
defenseman in front of the lane."
Michigan's style is a little bit
different from the traditional
form used across several pro-
grams. Instead of lying on their
stomachs with their arms and
legs extended, the Wolverines
bend to one knee and approach
the shooter. They lower their
sticks and keep
their body -
wide in order
to close off the "It is re
most space. g t
Over and getting
over, a defen-
seman was fed how t
the puck or ball
at the blue line frontof
and simultane-
ously wound
up to shoot.

COLD HARD
FACTS
IN 1978...
THE MICHIGAN FOOTBALL TEAM LOST TO
USC IN THE ROSE BOWL, 17-10, TO END THE
1978 SEASON.
THE DALLAS COWBOYS BEAT THE DENVER
BRONCOS IN THE SUPER BOWL
ALABAMA WON THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WHILE
OKLAHOMA'S BILLY SIMS WON THE
HEISMAN TROPHY.
GAS WAS 62 CENTS PER GALLON. IT IS
CURRENTLY AN AVERAGE OF $3.26 IN THE
STATE OF MICHIGAN.
THE WASHINGTON BULLETS WON THE NBA
CHAMPIONSHIP. THEY CHANGED THEIR
NICKNAME TO THE WIZARDS 19 YEARS
LATER.
JIMMY CARTER WAS THE PRESIDENT OF
THE UNITED STATES.
THE MICHIGAN MEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM
FINISHED SEVENTH IN THE BIG TEN
CONFERENCE. IT IS CURRENTLY IN FIRST
PLACE AFTER IT BEAT THE SPARTANS ON
SATURDAY.
THE UNIVERSITY CALLED
ITS LAST SNOW DAY.

A LLISON FARRAND/Daily
Junior forward Zach Hyman sugggests that blocking a shot ina game is instinctive, but a bit tougher in practice.

to the centerline in the same
formation. According to Hyman
and sophomore Andrew Copp,
the drill isn't something that's
practiced regularly.
But against
the Badgers,
the drill will
pitition, be important
1 if Michigan
a feel for looks to avoid
a repeat of the
o get in last time the
the lane." two teams
played on Jan.
10 and 11 - a
sweep.
"At

coaches want us to progress and
get better at."
The Wolverines fired fewer
than 30 shots on net each night.
against Wisconsin, thanks in part
to its ability to block shots. Michi-
gan finished with a combined 12
blocked shots compared to the
Badgers 33 and were subsequent-
ly outscored, 8-3.
Against Michigan State last
week, the Wolverines showed
improvement in limiting the
number of open looks and shots
that found their way to the
net. Michigan finished with 38
blocked shots last weekend, when
it swept the Spartans.
Senior defenseman Mac Ben-
nett remains the team's leader in
blocked shots with 36 this season,
but it's forwards JT Compher and
Derek DeBlois who face a greater
burden. The pair ranks at the

top in blocked shots for the Wol-
verines, but have a larger area to
cover in front of the net.
Even Michigan coach Red
Berenson got involved in the
action, demonstrating to his
players from time to time. On
several occasions, Berenson sat
calmly and quiet on the bench to
watch practice, but shot blocking
is one of the few events where he
remains active.
But what aboutbeing hit by the
puck? Is it frightening to purpose-
fully put your body in harm's way?
"In the game, it's kind of just
the heat of the moment and
you just have to get in the lane,"
Hyman said. "So if you know how
to do it, it's not really a fear of
getting in front of the puck.
"In the game, you're not really
thinking about it. Practice is a
little bit different."

Meanwhile, a forward would Wisconsin, they were getting
skate up to put his body in front a lot of pucks though, and we
of the puck. weren't," Copp said. "It was very
Afterward, the forwards lined difficult to get pucks through
up on the two blue lines, and at and that's something we've been
the sound of the whistle skated concentrating on. It's something

'a

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