The Michigan Daily - Monday, August 11, 2003 - 11
FieldTurf receives praise from Carr CEHMEN
By Michael Nisson
Daily Sports Editor
Fans who visited Michigan Stadium this
weekend for Photo Day noticed something that
has been absent from the Big House for a long
time - a green football field.
Along with the unveiling of this year's
squad came the first public showing of the
newly installed FieldTurf,
the artificial surface that
Michigan will play on this
season. Made up of
crushed tires and sand and
covered with synthetic
grass, FieldTurf is quickly
becoming one of the newest fads to hit football
stadiums across the country. Michigan coach
Lloyd Carr gave it his stamp of approval in his
address to the media on Saturday.
"We did have an opportunity to practice on
the field, (and) I think it's going to be a great
surface," Carr said. "I think it's going to be
tremendous for guys who play in the stadium."
After Michigan's 27-24 overtime win
against Penn State last season, in which the
grass was coming up in large clumps, Carr
commented that he thought it was time for a
switch in playing surface. At the end of the
season it was determined that the natural
grass surface that had been in Michigan Stadi-
um for over 10 years was less than satisfacto-
ry for game situations. The Wolverines
decided on the FieldTurf surface because the
team has already had experience playing on it
in Oosterbaan Field House, Michigan's indoor
"We're used to it from the standpoint that
we have an indoor building," Carr said. "The
one noticeable difference is the heat that's
probably 10 to 15 degrees hotter out there than
Continued from Page 10
best players on the field," Carr said.
"It gets Marlin in a position, as a
free safety or a safety who's in the
middle of the field, where he's the
kind of guy who's capable of making
a lot of plays."
Jackson was selected as a leading
candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award,
presented annually to the nation's top
defensive hack. At Big Ten meetings
in Chicago, the media named the 20-
year-old preseason Conference
Defensive Player of the Year. In
2002, Jackson earned Associated
Press second team All-America hon-
ors and set a Michigan record in pass
breakups with 18.
it would be if it were grass."
FIGHTING FOR POSION: Although many play-
ers seem to be locks to start at their respective
positions, Carr remained adamant that nothing
is for sure.
"This is my take on competition - earn it,"
Carr said. "When you earn something, that
doesn't mean the competition is over, because
somebody else wants that job. So I think that if
you can develop that mentality, as a coach, as
a player, in anything you do, you have to fight
that sense of entitlement that, 'Once I earn it, I
own it'. That's not true."
The competition will be heated at several
positions this year as Michigan has some holes
to patch. Among those positions is the Wolver-
ines' placekicking unit, which struggled for
much of last year before junior Adam Finley
stepped in and made seven of 10 field goals
during the latter part of the season.
Finley's hold on the job is by no means a
strong one. Incoming freshman Garret Rivas, a
Tampa, Fla. native, was ranked by many
recruiting services as one of the top kickers in
the nation last year.
"Rivas has created quite a stir in our training
camp the first four days because he's one of
those kids who has a great leg," Carr said.
"When the ball comes off his foot, the ball
The departure of seniors Bennie Joppru (at
tight end) and B.J. Askew (at fullback) -
who were drafted by the Houston Texans and
the New York Jets respectively in the NFL
Draft - creates two big pairs of shoes to fill.
Besides being two of John Navarre's main
targets, both players displayed stellar block-
The competition seems to be a two-man
race between fifth-year senior Andy Mignery
and sophomore Tim Massaquoi at tight end. In
addition, sophomores Tyler Ecker and Kevin
Murphy could also vye for time as backups.
"Our tight end position, we don't have much
experience there, but we do have very good
talent there," Carr said.
At fullback, Michigan was hoping to have
Sean Sanderson assume the role, but Carr
suspended Sanderson for off-the-field prob-
lems. That leaves a tight battle between Kevin
Dudley, Brian Thompson and incoming
freshman Jim Presley, who has been having
"(Presley) is behind a little bit," Carr said.
"He's been able to practice. The knee doesn't
seem to bother him, and I think he's going to
get better every single day. Kevin Dudley's an
underrated football player. He's a blue-collar
football player, a guy who is willing to go in
there and do the tough dirty jobs. Brian
Thompson I think has tremendous upside.
He's 230 pounds now, he can run, he's very
athletic - an outstanding pass catcher."
INJURY UPDATE: A few key players still
remain beat up from last season, especially at
linebacker. Senior Zach Kaufman is coming
off a lingering knee injury suffered last season,
and the healing process has been slow.
"Zach Kaufman has struggled - they held
him out this morning," Carr said. "His knee
is swollen and we'll back off of him a couple
In addition, fellow senior Carl Diggs, and
juniors Lawerence Reid and Roy Manning
have all been hampered by injury. Despite
these setbacks, Diggs said that he has high
expectations for the linebacking corps.
"I think we have been coming together real-
ly well as a group," Diggs said. "Zach and I
went down at the beginning of the (2002) sea-
son, the young guys got a chance to get in
there in the spring and learn a lot."
think there's a lot of coaches that feel that way. It really puts a
lot more pressure on (the freshmen).
"What we've tried to do instead of our situational drills is
we've tried to have some plays designed for them. In other
drills we've added a five-minute period at the end of a period
where all the plays that were called in that segment are
designed for them."
Not only does Carr ready freshmen for game situations, but
he prepares the fresh faces for postgame scenarios as well.
"There are some basic fundamentals,just as there are in the
game, that you use to deal with the media," Carr said. "I try to
tell them the people that they are going to come in contact
(with) have a job to do. They're not necessarily your friends.
They have a responsibility. Don't say anything that you don't
want to see in print.
"All of the sudden, when you've got four or five people
standing around you with a camera, with a notepad, with a
tape recorder, those are all things that you have to gain con-
Henne orally commits to 'M'
Chad Henne, one of the top quarterback prospects in the
nation, issued a verbal commitment to play for Michigan
next fall. Henne, who grew up in West Lawn, Pa., is ranked
as the No. 3 quarterback according to Rivals.com.
Henne indicated that his main reason for choosing Michi-
gan over several other schools was the number of Wolverine
quarterbacks who have gone on to play in the NFL.
Henne passed for 5,342 yards and 55 touchdowns through
three seasons at Wilson High School. Last season, Henne's
team lost in the first round of the state playoffs.
Aztecs added to '04 schedule
San Diego State filled the final nonconference spot in the
2004 football schedule, aggreeing to play the Wolverines on
Sept. 18 at Michigan Stadium. This will be the first meeting
between the Aztecs and Wolverines.
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