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Blair who? Kicking game could put Carr zi corner sPs
By Chris Grandstaff
Daily Sports EAitor
"Tell me where you are Hayden!"
These days the only thing scarrier
than heading out into the woods to
make a documentary could be the
Michigan kicking game.
With the departure of fifth year
seniors Jay Feely and Craig Baker to
graduation, the kicktrg duties for
this season seemed to fall squarely
onto the shoulders of sophomore
But Lloyd Carr and the rest of the
Michigan coaching staff soke up
one spring morning with a pile of
stones on their front steps when news
broke that Epstein would be unable
to play for the Wolverines in 1999.
Epstein, who coming out of high
school was listed as the No. I place-
kicker by The National Recruiting
Advisor and who as a freshman last
season wooed Michigan fans with
his booming kickoffs, will miss the
entire season due to torn ligaments in
his right knee.
The injury occurred while Epstein
was working out at his California
Junior walk-on Jeff Del Verne,
who has yet to see any game action,
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The Wolverines may ask their star-
o ;, IhQ M f g g g f ~ f 3 C ,
Drew Henson, to handle punting.
will likely replace Epstein as close, if they want to get on the
Michigan's placekicker. board this season.
Del Verne will be challenged by Michigan's punting situation does-
senior Brandon n't look too
Kornblue and much better
junior Jared -and will be
Chandler. more like a
But regardless walk in the
of who wins the woods of
job, the Burkit sville
Wolverines enter than a walk in
the season com- the park. With
pletely in dark at fifth year
the place kicker senior Jason
position and the strange sounds that Vinson gone, the Wolverines may
they hear all around them will be the ask their star-studded sophomore
snickering of opposing coaches. quarterback Drew Henson to handle
Unless Del Verne and company the punting duties.
can execute at a higher level than Henson was named to the USA
they have been able to so far in their Today All-American team as a punter
college careers, the Wolverine after his senior season in high
offense will be faced with the addi- school, but the Wolverines may
tional pressure of always scoring decide that there is too much risk in
touchdowns, or getting pretty darn putting the future star on the field as
If that's the case, expect junior
Corey Sargent, who has never punted
in a collegiate game, to assume the
The Wolverines should have
enough talent to overcome their
inexperienced kicking game, but
already the experts have identified it
as Michigan's biggest weakness.
Recently in Ann Arbor ESPN ana-
lyst Lee Corso was asked to predict
Michigan's opener against
"It depends on if the situation with
Michigan's kicking game comes
about," Corso said.
"That Epstein kid got hurt and that
really puts the pressure on them, but
I really like Michigan's chances this
In the clutch Michigan will not be
able to rely on its kicking game to
A fact that does not bode well for
the Wolverines, who face the always
horrifying Big Ten schedule.
If the outcome of a game comes
down to a kick don't be surprised if
cameras find Carr standing in the
corner, facing the wall - shudder-
Icers: Don't judge pro decision
Players see fans' perspective, but stress importance of the 'long term'
By David Den Herder
Daily Sports Editor faced with the greatest dilemma in col-
lege athletics. He has the chance, now,
The best time of your life. to pursue a lucrative career in the pros.
Preparation for a career. If he stays, he may improve his status,
What are two things that define col- and he'll have the chance to 'finish his
lege? And what if you had the option experience' - but he runs the awful
to trade part of one to enhance the risk of injury.
other? "From a fan's perspective, you hate
The situation is anything but black to see them go," said Michigan for-
and white. Many say they attend col- ward Mike Comrie. "But you can't
lege so they can make money later in hold a kid back if he's ready to go."
life. But for some, opportunity knocks. Michigan icers don't buy into the
Now. often-critical conventional wisdom of
Mike Van Ryn is the latest to be leaving college early.
"I don't think it's fair for anyone to
make judgements," said defenseman
E E PPME Instead, perhaps as contemporaries,
players seem more concerned with
each individual scenario.
"If you feel like you're ready - If
you're mature enough, mentally and
physically to play at such a high level
- then you do."
You do. Not, players say, because
the money somehow blinds you, but
because it is the rational choice - for
"He'd like to stay, and we'd sure like
him to stay," forward Mark Kosick
said. "But if the money's right, he's got
to think long term.
Long term indeed. What, after all, is
anyone here for?
"He's a good friend of mine,
Kosick said - "we all knew that he
would have to make a decision,"
Jillson said - and "if Mike decides to
leave," said Comrie, "I will support
Sanders (20), with Lions great Billy SIms
to regroup as
PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) -When the
Lions reported to training cam
Thursday at Saginaw Valley State, the
dazzling one-man highlight film was
somewhere in England.
In a statement released Wednesday
the game's most explosive runn
back said he was leaving because, "My
desire to exit the game is greater than
my desire to remain in it"
Lions general manager Chuck
Schmidt said Sanders would be wel-
come back any time.
He retired without speaking to
Detroit coach Bobby Ross or anyone
else on the team.
After 10 years with the Lions
Sanders was the NFLs second all-time
leading rusher - 1,458 yards shor4
Walter Payton's record. He also hel
the second-highest all-time single-sea
son rushing total with 2,053.
Michigan State basketball sta
Mateen Cleaves has sued forme
Michigan plyer Maurice Taylor and hr
aunt oser injuries suffered in a 1996 traf
Ceas es alleges h.' "has hen renderei
rempnrasrilv rioust deabled and
sufteect g -atubyssa;3piiand menta
itgts sa result he rolloser acit
He ir to iilstoaFrd Lxplorer driven bh
tayloIr and owAeceJl by his aunt, I~
Y1 oytd of Detroit.
Cleases was in his senior season a
Flint Nhern High when he traveled
Ann Arbhor on a recruiting toip witd
Taylor and four other Michigan player'
The Explorer crashed about 4:50 an
on Feb. 17, 1996
The lawsuit, which seeks at leat
$25,000 in damages, alleges Cleaver
injuries resulted from Taylor's negligee
operation of the Explorer and
Lloyd's negligence in allowing Taylor
drive the vehicle.
- Compiled from wire report
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