BACK TO THE BULLETS
After the NBA voided Juwan Howard's con-
tract with the Miami Heat, the former
Michigan standout signed a seven-year
$100 million deal with the Washington
Bullets, his orginal team.
August 14, 1996,
Defense expected to'.
play lead role in '96
* Irons spearheads
By Will Mccahill
Daily Spsrts Editor
"We just don't want to lose another
championship, plain and simple."
With those words, senior center Rod
Payne kicked off another season of
The team convened last Friday at
Schembechler Hall to meet the media
and pose for pictures before heading to
Michigan Stadium to introduce them-
selves to fans.
As the Wolverines head into the
117th season of Michigan football,
head coach Lloyd Carr handed the lead-
ership of the team over to the defense.
With nine returning starters - led by
senior inside linebacker Jarrett Irons -
Carr said the unit will be counted on to
keep the Wolverines competitive in
games until the offense comes together.
"Our defense is going to have to lead
this team early in the season," Carr said.
Senior nose tackle Will Carr and
sophomore defensive end Juaquin
Feazell are expected to anchor the line.
Junior Ben Huff's chances to play are
questionable with a back injury.
Behind the line is another bastion of
strength and experience in the lineback-
ing corps. In addition to All-American
defensive captain Irons, junior Rob
Swett and sophomores Clint
Copenhaver and Sam Sword all bring
"We have excellent depth at the line-
backer position," Carr said.
Irons downplayed the expectations
surrounding the defensive unit this sea-
"It's easy now," Irons said of the two-
a-day practice sessions. He added that-
the crush of the campaign will show the
true character of the team.
"We'll see throughout the season
what kind of team we will have," Irons
Michioan c!ninr larrptt Irnnc and the Wnlverine defense are Innkin¢ to wran nn the emmnetitinn and stnn the nnnnnents'
offenses in their tracks this season. Irons
void at offe
y Ryan White
Daily Sports Writer
With nine starters returning from one
of the top defenses in the country last
season, the 1996 Michigan football
team is looking at a solid defensive
The question is how long will it take
for the offense to come around and pull
its share of the load?
"Hopefully it won't take until the
ourth quarter of the first game," joked
quarterback Scott Dreisbach, referring
to the opening game of last season
when the Wolverines came back from a
17-point deficit in the fourth quarter to
beat Virginia on the final play of the
One gets the feeling, though, that
t Michigan coach Lloyd Carr will be
happy if the offense comes together
"Our defense is going to have to lead
-the team early in the season;' Carr said
Friday at the Wolverines' annual media
Carr must find replacements for run-
ning back Tshimanga Biakabutuka,
receivers Mercury Hayes and Aman
Toomer, and offensive linemen Joe
Marinaro and Jon Runyan.
Biakabutuka and Runyan both gave
up their final year of eligibility to turn
Sophomore Clarence Williams
appears to have the upper hand in the
race to replace Biakabutuka. As a
freshman, Williams carried the ball 60
times for 227 yards and one touch-
e'"ne Ueene ' eI'" nI i w up i""'e 'U"'"?"' L L"' M " n" ""sl"op" le ""n'"
was named a pre-season All-American at inside linebacker.
)oks for players to fill
nsive skill positions
The Michigan media guide lists
Williams at 170 pounds, but that isn't
"As I looked around the country I
saw backs that were bigger and
stronger," Williams said. "That motivat-
ed me to get in the weight room and get
It apparently worked, since Williams
says he is now up to 196 pounds, and
hasn't lost any of his quickness.
Carr said he hopes to use Williams in
an added role this season, one in which
Biakabutuka wasn't utilized much last
"He is an outstanding pass receiver,"
Carr said. "We will find ways to get
him the ball both as a receiver and as a
That said, Carr is hoping to find a
few other people to replace the 92
catches and 1,681 yards of receptions
for which Hayes and Toomer combined
The top returning pass-catchers are
sophomores Todd Brooks, Tyrone
Butterfield and Tai Streets. All three
remained in Ann Arbor for the summer
and worked daily with Dreisbach.
Carr is also looking at a number of
new players such as freshman Aaron
Wright and junior Russell Shaw who
transferred to Michigan from El
Camino Community College in
Carr said he feels it is going to be
important to get both the running and
the passing games up to speed as quick-
ly as possible.
"You have to have both," he said. "In
this conference, if you don't stop the
run you're not going to win.
"If defenses are willing to commit
eight or nine guys to the line to stop
your running game, you have to have
speed and skill at wideout to counter
The key on offensive line will be the
See OFFENSE, Page 14
Wolverine tailback Chris Howard is expected to help fill the hole left by the depart-
ed Tshimanga Blakabutuka, Michigan's leading rusher last season.
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