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September 02, 2014 - Image 41

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-09-02

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michigandailycom.
New Student Edition N
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
5
,f7

Devin Gardner threw an interception on a last-minute two-point conversion attempt, and the Michigan football team lost to Ohio State, 42-41.

Charmingly fun, until
the photo finish

M ARCH 30, 2014,
INDIANAPOLIS-
Moments after the
game, the sun is low in the sky
and Lucas
Oil Stadium
casts a long
shadow
across Indi-
anapolis
as, inside,
Michigan
walks off ZACH
the court HELFAND
for the last
time togeth-
er. Jordan Morgan is first,
well before anyone else. Glenn
Robinson III gives a quick wave
to the crowd and puts his head
down. Nik Stauskas is emotion-
less. Mitch McGary, who was
never getting into the game,
walks off wearing the uniform
his teammates have insisted he
wear.
Later, Morgan, held up by
his press conference, is one of
the last to enter the Michigan
locker room. Most of the room is
composed except for Zak Irvin,
who is emotional in one corner
of the room, and for Morgan. He
wipes his face with his sleeve
and cries in front of the televi-
sion cameras.
His teammates have said
the loss is all the more difficult
because it means they'll never
play another game with Mor-
gan. The senior doesn't know
how to respond.
He pauses to wipe his eyes.
"I didn't expect it to be my

last game," Morgan says.
"It's over. I don't know what
else to say."
to over - much later than
anyone anticipated. With-
out Trey Burke, without
Tim Hardaway Jr., without
McGary, this team didn't just
win the Big Ten. It dominated.
It improved, steadily, each
game. The pieces, especially
offensively, meshed seamlessly.
A photo comes to mind now
from the summer of 2012. The
Michigan basketball team's
incoming class is posingtogeth-
er at the basketball facilities,
maybe for the first time all
together.
Caris LeVert is wearing cargo
shorts. Spike Albrecht looks
small, even next to the wiry
LeVert. All have their arms
around each other, except Rob-
inson, who has his hands in his
pockets and smiles big. McGary
looks like akid atsummer camp.
Stauskas stands at the edge and
looks moody.
College basketball today
is brutal in this regard. Jor-
dan Morgans are rare. Play as
well as Michigan has and you
risk losing your best players. A
two-year-old photo feels like
a sepia-toned memory. Almost
certainly, some of those players
will be gone next year.

t'sunclear what Michigan
could have done differ-
ently against Kentucky.
It's unclear what Michigan
could have done better. A few
more box outs, maybe. Less foul
trouble.
But Michigan played at just
about its peak and stood with
Kentucky's size and talent and
said beat this. And Kentucky
did.
It was hard to ask much more
from this team in this game,
this season. Michigan's big men,
simply, weren't big. Kentucky
was too much to handle above
the rim. The final six minutes
on Sunday were the best bas-
ketball of this thoroughly enter-
taining tournament.
Michigan takes a timeout,
down seven, the game slipping
away. A pretty drive and kick
back by LeVert finds Robinson
open in the corner. Hisshooting
has been inconsistent for most
of the season. It's good. Four-
point game now.
Two possessions later, Mor-
gan gets a put-back and the foul.
Free throw good. one point
game - and now we're off.
Aaron Harrison three. Mor-
gan dunk. Kentucky layup. Rob-
inson layup. Kentucky layup.
The under-four-minutes televi-
sion timeout feels akin to inter-
rupting Mozart mid-symphony
to sell a few extra bratwursts.
Damn your television timeouts.
Back now. Stauskas makes
See HELFAND, Page 3E

MEN'S GYMNASTICS
Mikulak,
'M'repeat
as national
champs
By ALEX TAYLOR
Daily Sports Writer
APRIL 11, 2014 - The word
'perfect' is almost never men-
tioned in gymnastics, a sport
that adheres countless deduc-
tions to the smallest of errors, but
the Michigan men's gymnastics
team's performance Friday night
came pretty darn close.
After finishing the regular
season undefeated and then win-
ning the Big Ten championship,
the second-ranked Wolverines
wrapped up their perfect season
by winning the-National Cham-
pionship with a score of 445.050.
Competing at home in the Crisler
Center, Michigan edged out
second-place Oklahoma and
third-place Stanford to reach the
pinnacle of collegiate gymnastics
for a second straight year.
The Wolverines earned the
first repeat national champion-
ship in school history since the
trampoline program did so in
1969-1970. Friday also marked
the third championship in five
years for Michigan, and its sixth
all time.
"It just doesn't get any better
than winning it at home," said
Michigan coach Kurt Golder.
"And this is my fourth one, and
they are all great, but winning it
in front of a Michigan crowd in
Crisler Center. And then it being
a repeat, it just makes it all the
sweeter. I couldn't ask for any-
thing more."
In addition to winning back-
to-back team championships,
senior Sam Mikulak also took
home back-to-back all-around
titles, with a total score of 91.10.
Mikulak had the highest score in
three out of the six events on the
night, highlighted by his perfor-
mapnces on parallel bars and floor
exrcise.
His individual title, the sixth
individual championship of his
career, leaves him only two short
of holding the most individual
championships in NCAA history
ahead of Saturday's competition.
Though starting the competi-
tion on one of the hardest events
- pommel horse - the Wolver-
ines took the early lead and never
looked back. Mikulak paced
Michigan with a score of 15.600
in the event - good enough to tie
for first. Michigan also got a pair
of 14.950s from junior Nick Hunt-
er and senior Matt Freeman on its
wayto atotal score of 75.100.
"Pommel horse is the most
difficult event to perform on,"
Golder said. "But I have a lot of
confidence in this team. That's
actually our most consistent
event, and that's very rare. So if
you go out and start on pommel
horse and hit like we did, it takes
the pressure off."
Added Mikulak: "We have a
See GYMNASTICS, Page 8E

FOOTBALL
An early look at Doug
Nussmeier s offense

By ALEXA DETTELBACH
Daily Sports Editor
APRIL 5, 2014 - Michigan
football's biggest story this
spring, sans the offensive line,
has been the rebuilding of its
offense. The chief signing this
offseason wasn't the No. 3 over-
all prospect in defensive back
Jabrill Peppers, but it was for-
mer Alabama offensive coordi-
nator Doug Nussmeier.
So, when Michigan held its
Spring Game on Saturday, fans
and media alike came to watch
the offense, and whatever
magic Nussmeier could bring
from Tuscaloosa,Alabama.
"All I can say is (Nussmeier's)
done an excellent job in teach-
ing (the new offense)," said
Michigan coach Brady Hoke.
"Obviously, he's here because
we think he's an awfully good
football coach in all areas....
(But) room for improvement?
Oh my gosh, there's no question,
we need alot of improvement -
but the way it's being taught has

been real positive."
As Hoke has been saying
since practice began a few
weeks ago, only remedial plays
would be unveiled to the public
this spring. And the fourth-year
coach was telling the truth, as
most of what the Wolverines
showed Saturday was "vanilla,"
as quarterback Devin Gardner
called it.
The "vanilla" offense kicked
off with a less-than-inspiring
pass from Gardner, who was
looking for freshman receiver
Freddy Canteen on a fly route
but was intercepted by sopho-
more Jourdan Lewis. It was
Gardner's first pass in front of
fans since the Ohio State game
last November.
Before the scrimmage began,
though, all eyes were on the
offensive line and running back
drills. Freshman Mason Cole
practiced with the first team at
the starting left tackle position,
and redshirt junior Jack Miller
started at center, but both could
be bumped once redshirt soph-

omore Erik Magnuson and red-
shirt junior Graham Glasgow
return from injury and suspen-
sion, respectively. Cole did an
admirable job against Frank
Clark, and only a few members
of the line gave up would-be
sacks - a vast improvement
from last season.
But even during preliminary
drills, the running backs strug-
gled to break through the line.
The only time they were able to
consistently generate positive
yardage was when the defensive
line was replaced with a plastic
strip.
And once the team began
scrimmaging an hour into the
event, the defensive line con-
sistently stuffed the backs. The
longest run of the afternoon
came from sophomore Derrick
Green, and it was for just eight
yards. The backs had the most
success when they ran to the
outside, avoiding work between
the tackles - illustrating once
See NUSSMEIER, Page 2E

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