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November 11, 2014 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-11-11

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8 - Tuesday, November 11, 2014 : .

6

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

ICE HOCKEY
After poor start, Wolverines
talk individual, team growth

TERESA MATHEW/Daily
Freshman forward Austin Hatch may not get to play this season, but still
received his moment in the spotlight at the end of Monday's exhibition win.
Hatch highlights
'M' exhibition

Following a 2-5
start to season,
coaches, players
discuss future
By ERIN LENNON
Daily Sports Writer
With two weeks to reflect on
a dismal seven-game stretch,
a passage Michigan hockey
coach Red Berenson called one
of the worst he
can remember NOTEBOOK
in his 30
years, the Wolverines (2-5) sat
down individually with their
coaching staff.
In each meeting, the point
was to discuss two things:
personal performance and
individual development.
"We kind of divided the
first half of the year up into
segments - this is a seven-
game segment and the next
segment will be eight games,"
Berenson said. "So where we
are as individuals, how we
performed and the things we
have to do better."
Each sit-down was filled
with personalized, "honest
feedback" based solely on
games played. Even if for some,
such as freshmen Alex Talcott
and Cutler Martin, that sample
size includes just two starts.
Experienced players like
sophomore forward JT
Compher, who is transitioning
back into his natural center
position after skating five
games as a right-winger, were
also told there are adjustments

to be made. NO SHAVE MO-VEMBER:
"There's just a sense that Two weeks into Novemeber,
everyone can do more," the Michigan hockey team,
Compher said. "That was coaches included, boasts a
definitely the case in my little extra facial hair on the
meeting. I think that there's a ice.
lot of room for improvement The second annual Michigan
from what I'm doing right now Moustaches for Men's Health
and what I can be doing better initiative, in partnership with
to improve my play for the rest the University of Michigan
of the year." Health System and the
And whatever the experience Movember Foundation, aims
level or skill in question, each to raise awareness for prostate
player has had to develop a cancer, among other men's
plan for improvement. health issues.
"It's just been a real And though several players
poor performance overall," have had to shave their
Berenson said. "And moustaches early for job
sometimes, you've just got to interviews, others have gotten
face it and say 'OK, now what especially creative. Junior
do we do?' We're doing that as forward Justin Selman has
a team, but we're looking at his shaved to a thin pencil
every individual as well." moustache, taking a nod from
Despite individualized former alternate captain Derek
attention, the team's emphasis DeBlois.
remains on defense. "Some guys look terrible,
Michiganwillgetadefensive some guys look pretty good,"
boost with Sinelli said.
the return "So we poke
of senior some fun."
Andrew "There's just Berenson
Sinelli, who said he
missed four a sense that dislikes this
games due to year's upper-
injury. Sinelli everyone can do lip hair as
has seen time much as he did
as both a nore. lastyear, butis
defenseman in support of
and forward the cause and
this season, his players
and is expected to start as a enthusiasm nonetheless.
forward on one of the top lines The Wolverines are happy
Friday. with their head coach's
"Whether he's forward or commitment, but have a bone
'D,' he brings good speed and to pick with other members of
a physicality that we've been the coaching staff.
lacking up front," Compher "Make sure you get in there
said. that (assistant coach Brian)

Wiseman shaved his, and the
boys aren't happy about it,"
Sinelli said.
MOURNING A
MICHIGAN LEGEND:
Wally Grant, a three-time
All-American who tallied
146 points in four years at
Michigan, passed away last
Wednesday at the age of 86.
A native of Eveleth,
Minnesota, Grant came to
Ann Arbor in 1945 without a
scholarship in hopes of earning
a spot on the Michigan hockey
team. His game-winning goal
against Dartmouth in 1948
earned the Wolverines their
first national championship.
Grant is credited with
starting the "Eveleth Express,"
a pipeline of skaters from
the small town who helped
Michigan win six NCAA titles
in 10 years under coach Vic
Heyliger.
In 1994, Grant was inducted
into the U.S. Hockey Hall of
Fame. He was a Legend of
Michigan Hockey, a member
of the University of Michigan
Hall of Honor and the Dekers
Club Hall of Fame.
"Although his career was
outstanding, his relationship
with the program was even
more outstanding," Berenson
said ina statement. "He and his
wife Mickey have been solid
supporters in every regard.
They've done whatever it takes
to support this hockey team
and all of the players and the
program in general."

By JAKE LOURIM
DailySportsEditor
The shooting wasn't quite
there early in the Michigan
men's basketball team's
exhibition against Wayne State,
and neither was the smooth
offense the Wolverines used to
win the Big Ten last season.
And those issues reached
a climax with 14:31 left in the
game, when junior point guard
Derrick Walton Jr. went down
holding his left leg. Even junior
guard Caris LeVert said he was
nervous to see the Wolverines'
starting floor general wincing.
Freshman forward Kam
Chatman fed Walton off a
rebound, and Walton started the
fast break before finishing with
a layup at the other end. That
built Michigan's lead to 26, and a
crowd of 10,510 erupted - until
it noticed Walton grimacing on
the baseline under the basket.
But things actually went up
from there.
Walton hobbled off and then
went to the locker room, only
to return to the court three
minutes later and went back
in the game shortly thereafter.
By that time, the lead was a
comfortable 28, and all was
well again. The Wolverines
wouldn't need Walton much
after his return, extending their
lead to more
than 40 before
the buzzer "At the
sounded, the
final score the
reading 86-43. day
As the clock of have
wound down,
the score situa
seemed trivial
but the moment
of the night
came in the
final minute. With the game long
since decided, Michigan coach
John Beilein inserted freshman
guard Austin Hatch and told the
team to get him the ball.
They did so a couple times,
and the bench implored him to
shoot. In the final seconds, his
patience was rewarded as he
went to the line and scored his
first career point.
"I wouldn't say a sense of
relief," Hatch said. "But it was
cool, though. I'm not goingto lie.
I'm not going to say, 'No big deal.
It was just a free throw.' At the
end of the day, after all of which
has happened, I kind of have a
unique situation."
Hatch, who drew a standing
ovation with both his entrance
and his free throw, was the
highlight of a night in which
Michigan struggled to pull away
until the second half, finishing
just 7-for-22 from 3-point range.

"We didn't shoot the ball well
from three, so there's always
room for improvement there,"
LeVert said. "I'm not sure what
we shot, but it wasn't one of
our better nights. To see us still
score over 80 was encouraging
for us."
In a clear mismatch, though,
Michigan was never threatened.
Momentum swings, like
sophomore guard Zak Irvin's
fast-break dunk 2:03 into the
game and junior guard Spike
Albrecht's steal and layup,
dispelled any concern. But in an
exhibition, Beilein found plenty
of errors to clean up.
After just 89 seconds, he took
out Walton after he committed
an early foul for Albrecht. And
Albrecht promptly grabbed a
rebound and went coast-to-coast
for a finger roll. Walton later
came in and finished the first
half with eight points on five-
for-five free-throw shooting.
After just 2:44, Beilein took
out Irvin, who turned the ball
over and fouled the shooter at
the other end. He replaced him
with freshman guard Aubrey
Dawkins, and Irvin later came
back in and slammed home an
alley-oop from LeVert.
While Michigan's offense
didn't get going until the second
half, its defense kept Wayne
State out of contention the whole
game. The
Wolverines'
end of big second-
half run
kind started not
with 3-point
a unique shooting or
good ball
ltjon" " movement
but by forcing
turnovers.
Michigan
forced six
turnovers in the first seven
minutes of the second half,
including one that culminated
with Albrecht's behind-the-
back pass to LeVert for a dunk.
"I really wouldn't know what
moment to point out, but I know
Coach has just been harping
on our defense," Irvin said.
"Our defense can turn into our
offense, because we're pretty
good in transition, so that's just
something we've been working
on."
That would be just about the
end of the drama, especially
when Walton returned a few
moments later. It hadn't been a
perfect night, but the damage
was minimal.
"It's hard to believe we went
to Europe and we're not further
along, but I'm not moving as
quickly as maybe I would have
in past years," Beilein said. "I
just don't think we're there yet."

What we learned: Northwestern

By GREG GARNO
ManagingSports Editor
Thankfully, we're not being
tested on what we learned from
the Michigan football team's
10-9 victory over Northwestern.
If we were, we probably wouldn't
do so well.
That's because if this
weekend proved anything, the
Wolverines are a difficult team
to understand. And even when
we ask for answers, we'd only
hear about how players failed to
execute.
But we managed to find a few
takeaways from this weekend,
so here are the five things we
learned.
1. There's a reason the
running back spot is open for
competition
Following redshirt sophomore
Drake Johnson's performance
against Indiana last week, in
whichhe rushed for122yards and
two touchdowns, the backfield
was poised for a new leader.
But after sophomore De'Veon
Smith's 121-yard-performance
with a touchdown on Saturday,
the conversation continues.
Smith, who was fed the ball
as the game wound down,
saw 18 carries to Johnson's 10.
Johnson didn'thelp hiscase after
fumbling the ball, despite having
it recovered by redshirt junior
Joe Kerridge.
Both bring something
different to the running game
- Smith, a bigger bruising back
and Johnson, a quicker, slashing
runner - but one hasn't stood out
more than the other. With two
games remaining, expect to see
the duo splitting carries as the
offense looks to find its rhythm.
2. The offensive line is
playing some of its best
football
This is new to us too, but the
offensive line, the same one that.
has struggled to open holes up
for running backs, wasn't a a
negative on Saturday.
That's not to say it's playing
spectacular, but it's not playing
poorly enough to be noticeable.
The offensive line had only one
false start penalty, it gave fifth-

I

Sophomorerunning back De'Veon Smith saw 18 carries against Northwestern, compared to Drake Johnson's 10 carries.

year senior quarterback Devin
Gardner time to throw and
opened holes for running backs
to run through. Gardner wasn't
sacked even once and Michigan's
147 yards are one of its highest
marks on the season.
There are still issues to be
worked out, but if there were
ever a time when it needed to
play its best, this would be it.
3. The Wolverines have a
new go-to target, and it isn't
DevinFunchess
The Michigan receiving corps
is a one-man show right now,
but it's not who you have come
to expect. Redshirt sophomore
Amara Darboh has become
Gardner's best option.
After dropped two balls
against the Wildcats, junior wide
receiver Devin Funchess has
now gone three straight games
with multiple drops. Since he
got three touchdowns against
Appalachian State in the first half
on Aug. 30, Funchess has caught
only one other touchdown pass.
Darboh, meanwhile, has
been Michigan's most reliable
presence of late, catching four
passes for 41 yards in Evanston
and nine passes for 107 yards
l

against Indiana.
But Darboh can't do it all on
his own. For the Wolverines to
help Gardner, someone will have
to step up in the next two games.
Otherwiseoffensive coordinator
Doug Nussmeier's scheme is easy
to defend.
4. The secondary can make
or break how well Michigan's
defense performs
Michigan's front seven have
been the backbone to its defense
all seasonbuttheycanonly doso
much.
Despite limiting Northwestern
to minus-nine rushing yards and
six sacks, the front seven couldn't
slow down quarterback Trevor
Siemian on the final drive, as he
picked apart the Wolverines' sec-
ondary to reach the end zone.
Defensive backs senior
Raymon Taylor and redshirt
junior Blake Countess played too
far off receivers, giving room for
passes to develop and relying on
the front seven to create pressure
quickly.
Last weekend Michigan's two
interceptions came from the
front seven, not the secondary.
Sophomore cornerback Jourdan
Lewis is the only member of the

secondary to have recorded an
interception with two of the five.
Only against Indiana has
Michigan been able to slow
any passing attack - but that
game appears to be both more
of an anomaly and a reflection
on the Hoosiers' offense. And
if Michigan hopes to make a
bowl game, it's going to need
help at the back of the defense
to provide relief.
BOLD PREDICTION:
Michigan will not draw
more than 100,000 fans
against Maryland
Saturday's win was ugly,
confusing and confusingly
ugly. It was comical, but not
entertaining.
And it's why fans will struggle
to show up in two weeks when
Maryland comes to town. It's
likelythe reason the large alumni
base in Chicago failed to turn up
in Evanston.
Maryland is 6-3 overall, but
it hasn't played exciting football
by any means. With cold weather
expected combined with a
Michigan team that needed
three quarters to score, Saturday
is shaping up to make the wrong
kind of history.

@TH EBLOCKM
r

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