The Michigan Daily "- michigandaily.com
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 -7
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - 7
On strong defensive line,
Henry garners most praise
By ALEXA DETTELBACH
Though it may be hard for
Michigan fans to see past the
in South Bend, NOTEBOOK
there was some
encouraging play that came from
the Michigan football team -
most notably the defensive line.
The front seven allowed 54
yardson 3lcarries,butstruggled to
get to quarterback Everett Golson.
Notre Dame had its way with the
Michigan secondary - in what
Mattison called the best game in
Golson's career - but was unable
to get the ground game going.
Overall, the Wolverines (1-1)
were able to hold their own in the
trenches despite being on the field
for extended periods of time
Leadingthe way on the line was
redshirt sophomore defensive
tackle Willie Henry, whom
Michigan coach Brady Hoke
and defensive : coordinator Greg
Mattison had plenty of praise for
"The front seven, I thought,
did a pretty good job," Hoke said.
"From that standpoint, guys that
we rotated throughout in the
middle of the defense, I think
they were aggressive, I think they
were gap sound. I think Willie
had the most production of out all
"Willie might be the strongest
guy on the football team."
Even senior defensive end
Frank Clark, a former high school
teammate of Henry's, - joined
the lauding as he pointed to the
defensive tackle's development
and maturity as a player.
"Willie Henry is like a lot of
Michigan players that we've all
been fortunate enough to watch
over the years," Mattison said.
BUTT'S BACK: Lost in
Saturday's game was the return
of sophomore tight end Jake Butt.
After tearing his anterior cruciate
ligament during winter workouts
in February, Butt wasn't expected
back until Big Ten season.
"Jake's been working real hard
cin~ wP'vP h-n rainnsr" ca i
junior receiver Dennis Norfleet.
"Just to see him back, just to see
him happy again, you know, part
of the family. It really is a great
thing to have our brother back on
While he didn't play a big role
against Notre Dame - he mostly
served as a blocker - he'll resume
his role as the team's number one
tight end against Miami (Ohio)
"We think he's a very good
football player," Hoke said. "He
ended last year very well. He's
learned a lot, and he's one of the
guys who are on that leadership
council that isn't afraid, even
though he's a young guy, to
speak his mind and give his true
reactions and feelings."
Last season, Butt recorded 20
receptions for 235 yards and two
touchdowns - landing on ESPN's
All-Big Ten Freshman Team.
WORKING ON OFFENSE:
Fans were frustrated following
Michigan's first shutout in 365
games and,unsurprisingly, most of
the blame is falling on the offense.
"When you don't score and
you're the offensive coordinator
it's not good," said Michigan
offensive coordinator Doug
Nussmeier. "It's been a lot
of reflection ... and I take big
Quarterback Devin Gardner
struggled behind a porous
offensive line, but the issues
seemed to extend beyond that.
Banging his hand on the podium,
Hoke emphatically said the
team couldn't finish drives. And
his words ring true. Despite
outgaining the Fighting Irish and
winning the time of possession
by seven minutes, the Wolverines
never made it into the red zone.
But after moving the ball well
on the first two drives, through
a diverse array of play calling, .
Nussmeier's offense looked like
what it was - a newsystemstillin
its infancy stages."
with a fifth-year senior at the
helm, but finding success against
big time opponents won't come
until Gardner and Nussmeier feel
Frank Clark and the defense may be the strong suit of the Wolverines, but they've yet to record a turnover thus far.
Wanted: .turni~iov ers
By GREG GARNO
Managing Sports Editor
The Michigan football team's
offense was shut out for the first
time since 1984 on Saturday
against Notre Dame. It never even
reached the red zone. It crossed
midfield fewer than five times.
And for all its struggles, the
offense might not be to blame for
the shortcomings. The defense
could be at fault.
After two games, Michigan
has yet to record a turnover, and
in South Bend, it ended up giving
that extra chance for Fighting
Irish quarterback Everett
Golson to pass with ease or run
"The biggest thing for us
defensively is that we haven't
created any opportunities for
our offense," said Michigan
coach Brady Hoke. "We haven't
created field position, we haven't
created anyturnovers, and that's
as much as anything.
"So what's that mean? We're
not hitting the quarterback
enough? Yeah some of it's that.
We're not forcing bad throws,
we're not playing tight enough
on those bad throws."
Turnovers, if anything,
help Michigan's defense spend
less than 33 minutes on the
field like it did against Notre
Dame. As the game wore on,
the Wolverines were bruised
and tired having to chase after
Golson or a wide receiver.
Time after time, Golson went
through his three-step drop and
fired the ball to a wide receiver,
who had plenty of space to
operate. And when Michigan
was playing tighter coverage, it
couldn't find a way to come away
with a pick.
"It's just something we
gotta work on, getting to the
quarterback and creating havoc
for that quarterback," said fifth-
year senior linebacker Jake Ryan.
"That run game we played pretty
well, but we also need to focus
on that passing game, getting
more blitzes in and getting more
guys to that quarterback is really
gonna create a new atmosphere
It's no secret the more
turnovers Michigan creates,
the more likely it is to score,
but that starts with how the
defense attacks the ball more
"You gotta get to the ball and
have a knack for the ball where
it's at, what's going to happen
with it," Ryan explained. "We
gotta improve on that and take a
necessary step forward in order
to create turnovers."
The defense could help itself
get off the field aside from
turnovers. The Wolverines
managed to play well against the
run, limiting Notre Dame to 54
yards on 31 yards rushing. But it
couldn't escape when they were
forced to go to the air.
"They hit some really crucial
third downs in the first half,"
said defensive coordinator Greg
Mattison. "You have to stop
them on third downs to be a
On third down from the one-
yard line, Michigan faced an
opportunity to get off the field
having surrendered only a field
goal. But then Golson found
wide receiver Amir Carlisle..
The Wolverines couldn't
escape third down on the
following defensive series,
either, allowing a 24-yard
"We've got to play better red
zone defense," Mattison said.
when you get down to the red
zone is one bad play, and-that's
And it will be another week
before Michigan plays a potent
offense when it "faces Utah,
but it's going to take all three
- turnovers, red zone defense
and escaping third downs - if
it hopes to avoid a repeat of
Dennis Norfieet was one of the few bright spots on Michigan's offense Saturday.
Mixed results for
recruits this weexk
Ferlic adjusting to new role
By JASON RUBINSTEIN
Daily Sport Writer
The 2015 Michigan football
recruiting class is currently
ranked 20th in the nation by
ESPN, something that may put
smiles on Michigan fans' faces
after Saturday's disaster.
Here's a rundown of how the
11 current Wolverine commits
fared this past weekend in their
high school games:
Chris Clark, tight end: Avon
Old Farms (Conn.) Ranking:
ESPN (109) Scout (26)
Avon Old Farms has yet to
start its football season.
Brian Cole, athlete: Saginaw
Heritage (Mich.)vs. Flint Powers
Catholic (Mich.) Ranking: ESPN
(139) Scout (40)
Saginaw Heritage struggled
offensively all game, losing 32-2.
Despite the lopsided score, Flint
Powers coach Bob Buckel told
ESPN 100.9 thatCole "scaresyou
Darian Roseboro, defensive
Lincolnton (N.C.) vs. North
Gaston (N.C.) Ranking: ESPN
(165) Scout (151)
Roseboro was a force on
defense, leading his team to a
48-9 win. Roseboro also rushed
for a touchdown.
Michael Weber, running
back: Cass Tech . (Mich.) vs.
Southfield Lathrup (Mich.)
Ranking: ESPN (169) Scout (104)
Weber continued his strong
senior campaign, rushing for 72
yards on three carries, including
a 53-yard touchdown. Cass Tech
pounded Southfield Lathrup,
(Ohio) vs. Grand Blanc (Ohio)
Ranking: ESPN (192) Scout (152)
Kinnel's team was crushed
56-14 and he remained quiet in
Grant Newsome, offensive
tackle: The Lawrenceville
School (N.J.) vs. Wyoming
Seminary College Prep (Pa.)
Ranking: ESPN (242) Scout (215)
Newsome held his own on the
line of scrimmage, as his team
Darrin Kirkland Jr.,
linebacker: Lawrence Central
(Ind.) vs. Lawrence North (Ind.)
Ranking: ESPN (266) Scout (114)
Kirkland looked solid in the
famed Lawrence Central vs.
Lawrence North rivalry game,
bringing his average tackles per
game to 16 over Central's first
Alex Malzone, quarterback:
Brother Rice (Mich.) vs. Toledo
St. Johns (Mich.) Ranking:
ESPN (NR) Scout (184)
Though the game ended
before halftime due to inclement
weather, Brother Rice was up
31-7 and Malzone threw two
Jon Runyan Jr., offensive
lineman: St. Joseph's Prep
(Pa.) vs. Don Bosco Prep (N.J.)
Runyan held his own against
the first-ranked Ironmen, but his
team couldn't, losing 35-7.
Andrew David, kicker:
Washington (Ohio) at GlenOak
(Ohio) Ranking: (NR)
David was 2-for-2 on field goal
attempts and helped lead his
team to a 17-14 win.
By JAKE LOURIM
Daily Sports Editor
Mason Ferlic had it all, or so it
He came to Michigan out
of Mounds Park Academy in
St. Paul, Minnesota as a state
champion in cross country, the
1,600-meter and the 3,200-meter
races. With an academic record
to match it, he was an Academic
All-State member, now majoring
in aerospace engineering.
Of course, when he got to Ann
Arbor, success wasn't as easy.
It wasn't until he found
his niche - the 3,000-meter
steeplechase - those familiar
When Ferlic started at
Michigan in 2012, he had never
tried the steeplechase. When
he began his redshirt freshman
season in 2013, he still hadn't
That season, he finished
13th in the event at the NCAA
Championships, earning second-
team All-American honors.
From there, everything 'took
"It certainly seems like
it's going fast," Ferlic said.
"Just starting the event and
then reaching national-level
ability, but I think it's a work in
progress. Reaching those goals
and milestones, it's like, wow,
what else can I do? Two more
years here, we're looking at 2016
Rio Olympics. Where do things
After the last two seasons, who
knows? Entering the 2013 season,
his Michigan resume was an
Athletic Academic Achievement
award and a fourth-place finish
in the 1,500-meter run as an
Ferlic burst onto the scene by
winning his steeplechase debut in
early May his redshirt freshman
year. The following weekend -
his second career steeplechase
race - he finished fourth in
8:54.04. Then it was fourth again
at the NCAA East Preliminary
Rounds in 8:41.83, qualifying him
for the NCAA Championships.
And then, somehow, Mason
Ferlic was on the biggest stage in
college track - but in hindsight,
he wasn't quite ready for it yet.
In just his fourth career
steeplechase, Ferlic lost more
than five seconds from his
preliminary time, narrowly
missing the finals and settling
for second-team All-American
honors. He came back in 2014 an
entirely different runner.
"The steeple is an interesting
eventonthe track-it's kind oflike
the odd child," Ferlic said. "You're
running over some barriers that
don't move, and you have to jump
over a water pit. I tell some people
I do the steeplechase, and they're
like, 'What is that?"'
With that new mindset, he
was fully accustomed to his new
race. Ferlic won his only regular-
season steeplechase, but then
finished third at the Big Ten
Championships in 8:50.15, his
worst recorded time in a year.
But Ferlic* had been to the
NCAA Championships before. He
knew he was ready to take on the
challenge of a full championship
season, and a personal record in
the preliminary rounds clinched
a berth to his second NCAA
Ferlic said in June that his
outlook changed before his second,
year in the race: from middling
to elite, hunter to hunted. With
a new mentality, he qualified for
the finals and finished fourth in
the country, earning first-team
Afterward, a reporter asked
him what it was like to be the top
American collegiate finisher.
And that's when it sunk in:
Ferlic was one of the top distance
Mason Ferlic used a strong track season to transition to cross country season.
runners in the country.
"It was something thatI always
thought about, but never really
considered seriously," Ferlic said.
"I was still trying to achieve Big
Ten goals and national goals and
college. Professional distance
runner is still kind of a small
subset. You don'thear often about
how people make that jump."
Ferlic is prepared to do just
that. He has also become one
of the top runners on the men's
cross country team, finishing first
among all Michigan runners at
the Aug. 29 Michigan Open.
He stayed in Ann Arbor totrain
and work with a doctoral student
on research on North Campus.
The aerospace engineering major,
a self-described "kid who was
always building and blowing up
things in the backyard," worked
from design to manufacturing
on engineering auxiliary power
systems. Last season he earned
his second straight Academic All-
On the track, he finished ninth
in the steeplechase at the USA
Track and Field Championships
in late June. He also ran for Team
USA at the North American,
Central America and Caribbean
U-23 Championships. After what
was by far the longest competitive
season of his running career, a
career beyond college doesn't
seem far off.
Ferlic is willing but hesitant
to acknowledge this success. He
talked about staying humble,
because anything can happen, but
he knows his confidence is what
has gotten him this far.
He knows he's one of the top
collegiate athletes in the country,
and he doesn't plan on slowing
down: It's all coming together for