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September 06, 1995 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

A . ±l:k * . F

In Daily Sports Tomorrow
Everyone knows that this is Uoyd Carr's first season at
the helm of the Wolverines. Tomorrow we'll profile the
other first year coach in this weekend's Michigan,
Memphis rnatchup: the Tigers' Rip Schere.

Page 18
Wednesday,
September 6, 1995

y Ryan White
aily Sports Editor
The Michigan football team is try-
ng not to get ahead of itself.
Sure the Wolverines are 2-0, ranked
o. I1 in the country and coming off
pasting of their first Big Ten oppo-
ent.
But each and every one ofthem saw
hat Northwestern beat Notre Dame
aturday, and are wary of a letdown
gainst Memphisthis weekend.
Still, Carr doesn't think that will
appen.
"I'm very confident that we're go-
ng to come out and play hard," he
aid yesterday at his weekly press
onference.
"If we don't, we didn't learn from
ome of the things that happened this
eekend where some teams lost some
ames to some teams they were prob-
bly better than."
The Wolverines have been forced
nto the position of worrying about a
etdown because of the way they
andled Illinois Saturday.
After hearing talk early in August
f how the Fighting Illini wanted to

cautious of a

uis
aga t Memphis

play Michigan twice this year, Illi-
nois did anything but fight as the
Wolverines totally dismantled them,
38-14.
Carr was especially happy with the
way that the defense played, holding
the Illini to just 66 yards rushing and
not allowing them in the end zone

until there was
only 11:51 left in
the game.
"The biggest
thing about our
defense is that
when someone
misses a tackle,
there is someone
else there to
make the play,"
Carr said.
"If there is one

Memphis
Sept. 9
Ann Arbor
1994: 6-5 overall

mance against the Illini.
Biakabutuka, who bruised a shoul-
der early against Virginia Aug. 26,
was not expected to play at all against
Illinois.
Rather than sitting the game out,
though, he ran the ball 10 times for 97
yards. He also scored the Wolver-
ines' first three touchdowns of the
second half in less than five minutes.
Biakabutuka had gotten the OK to
go from the trainers before Saturday's
game, but not the coaches.
"On Tuesday or Wednesday I
tapped (Biakabutuka) on the shoulder
and he flinched," Carr said. "I told
(offensive coordinator) Fred Jackson
that there was no way we were going
to play him because he'd turn the ball
over.
"Fortunately for him, he didn't."
Carr continues to be pleased with
the performance of the three true fresh-
men who have seen extended playing
time.
Outside linebacker David Bowens,
cornerback Charles Woodson and run-
See FOOTBALL, Page 38

thing that I think has been impressive
about our defense thus far it is that
type of pursuit.
"But they haven't been tested by a
real good offense yet."
The defense has been a surprise so
far, but not one nearly as big as
Tshimanga Biakabutuka's perfor-

cutline for dis photo

Wild Card Wolverines
''alumni Ml4 vatheny, Ignasiak help brew success

By Nicholas J. Cotsonika
Daily Sports Writer
MILWAUKEE - Mike Matheny's
job is to'disappear. He runs the show
behind the plate for the Milwaukee
Brewers these days and, ironically, his
anonymity may win him more acclaim
than anything else.
Stellar defensive play has allowed
the former Michigan catcher to blend in
well. Every inning the masked man
goes unnoticed makes him more of a
factor in the American League wild
card race.
"Catching is much like managing,"
said Kansas City Royals manager Bob
Boone, after watching Matheny and his
teammates beatthe Royals, 3-1, on Aug.
21. "Managers don't really win games,
but they can lose plenty of them. The
same way with catching. If you're do-
ing a quality job, you should be almost
anonymous."
After Brewer backstop Joe Oliver
went down with an injury earlier this
season, Matheny broke into the lineup.
He has remained a contributor by
thowing out over 20 percent of would-
be basestealers and racking up key hits
from the bottom half ofthe order. "Mike
is a dependable guy, but you don't no-
tice him until you need him," says Mil-
waukee manager Phil Garner.
Take, for instance, last month's
game against the Blue Jays. Toronto's
Roberto Alomar careened toward the
plate and didn't notice Matheny -
until it was too late. Sports Illustrated
printed a large photo of the collision
-in which Alomar was out- giving

Matheny rare publicity.
"I don't need the spotlight," Matheny
says. "There's enough motivation to
come out to the park when you've got a
shot atthe playoffs ... andwe do. You've
got to believe there's a chance."
The Brewers are two games out of
the wild card spot, giving Matheny and
teammate Mike Ignasiak - another a
Michigan alumnus -a chance to fulfill
dreams cultivated in Ann Arbor. No
one thought Milwaukee would be in the

he gunned down his first runner in Fisher
Stadium. "We needed someone who
could come in and catch right away like
him, and Ohio State did too," Middaugh
says. There was another highly regarded
catcher in Matheny's hometown of
Columbus in which both Michigan and
Ohio State had interest, but Middaugh
liked Matheny best.
So naturally, Middaugh offered the
other player a scholarship.
"Ohio State went after that kid hard

... you don't notice (Matheny)
until you need him."
- Phil Garner
Milwaukee Brewers manager

stamp of approval by Bill Freehan, it
helps that much more," Matheny says.
Matheny spent three years on the
farm after co-captaining the Wolver-
ines and graduating in 1991. He didn't
exactly go on a tear at the plate -
"my numbers don't really show that
I've made the major leagues," he says
- but the defense he learned from
Freehan earned him a promotion each
year.
In 1992, he threw out baserunners at
a 47 percent success rate in Class A.
The next year in Double A, he upped
that to 51 percent, while leading the
league's catchers with 100 assists and
18 double plays. In 1994, he joined the
Brewers and, despite two stints in Triple
A.
Freehan has been in touch with
Matheny periodically throughout his
career and even took a trip to Milwau-
kee to give him some pointers this sum-
mer. Matheny only hopes Freehan's
replacement will be just as helpful.
"I have a lot of pride in Michigan;
I'm definitely true blue," he says.
"Michigan had a lot to do with my
development. I took the humble ap-
proach that (my making the major
leagues) probably would never happen
- that I'd have to do something ex-
traordinary. But the coaches believed
in me."
You've got to believe there's a
chance.
Although Ignasiak says he always
knew the ability was inside him, he has
See WILD CARD, Page 6B

race this year, but then, few expected
Matheny and Ignasiak to make it either.
You'vegotto believe there's a chance.
"Both are excellent players, but some
people didn't think they would go as far
as they have," says former Michigan
coach Bud Middaugh, who recruited
them to play for the Wolverines. "But
(Ignasiak) is such a competitior that his
(small) size doesn't matter much. And
Matheny, he just works so hard."
Matheny and Ignasiak credit
Middaugh and former Michigan coach
Bill Freehan for starting their careers
off well. They say discipline was a
premium in the baseball program under
the two coaches.
However, Middaugh says he saw a
lot of maturity in Matheny even before

after that," Middaugh says. "They got
him. Then, I just went and signed
Matheny."
But Middaugh would only work with
him for one year. The coach was fired
afterNCAA violations resulted in sanc-
tions against his program. Matheny
credits Middaugh with stressing hard
work and discipline that lone season,
but it was Michigan's next coach who
left the biggest impression.
As hard as losing Middaugh was,
when the Wolverines picked eight-time
Gold Glove-winner Bill Freehan to re-
place him, Matheny was ecstatic. He
says the tutelage of the distinguished
receiver couldn't have done more for
his career. "Any time a catcher goes
through the minor leagues having the

First-line forward's
By Barry Sollenberger
Daily Sports Editor
It was almost a defection-free sum-
mer for the Michigan hockey team.
Almost.
The Wolverines didn't lose any un-
derclassmen directly to the pros, but
they did lose one to junior hockey.
Sophomore center Robb Gordon has
left Michigan to play juniors, forgo-
ing his final three years of eligibility.
"We never like to see kids leave
early," Michigan assistant coach Mel
Pearson said. "You're disappointed
because (the players) want to be here
and then they're faced with this diffi-
cult decision."
Gordon played in 39 games as a
true freshman a year ago and was a
member ofthe CCHA all-rookie team,
scoring 15 goals and registering 26
assists.
He was a second round pick (39th
overall ofVancouver in the 1994 NHL

must go on without Gordon
departure most significant summer change for Wolverines

get him in their system," Pearson said.
"It was a difficult decision and I'm
not sure whether he knows if it was a
good decision or not yet."
The Surrey, British Columbia na-
tive will attend a Vancouver training
camp Sunday but is not expected to
sign a contract.
"Quite frankly, it would be hard to
make our team because we have a pretty
full roster," said the Vancouver Man-
ager of Hockey Information, Devin
Smith. "If he has a good or bad camp,
he'll probably go back to juniors."
Gordon played left wing on the Wol-
verines' top line a year ago with All-
Americas Brendan Morrison and Mike
Knuble.
His vacancy is likely to be filled by
one of four returning juniors or a
member of Michigan's recruiting
class. The Wolverines signed six high
school seniors last spring, including
five forwards.

not expecting them to lead because
we've got those experienced classes
returning, but they'll add skill and
depth."
Michigan returns 17 members from
a team that went 30-8-1 and came
within a shot of advancing to the na-
tional title game. Maine defeated the
Wolverines, 4-3,
in three overtimes,
in the national
semifinals.
The Wolverines
recently lost an-
other member of
their program, al-
beit a person of
considerably less
importance .than
Gordon.
Ken Kal, the
long-time voice of
the Michigan hockey team, has left to
take a similar position with the De-

Sept. 23, the day the station airs a
hockey preview.
"We've got it narrowed down to
about six or seven (candidates) and
hope to have something soon," WTKA
Sports Director Doug Karsch said.
"We also have some people with local
identity."
Karsch would not name the finalists.
The Wolverines had something else
unexpected befall them.
The scheduled renovation of Yost
Ice Arena did not materialize this sum-
mer. As is almost always the case in
this world, money played a role in the
delay.
"The original bids came in high
because of the small window of op-
portunity we gave the contractors,"
said the Director of Sports Facilities
Research Laboratory, Jack Vivian.
"We also felt we could take money
out without compromising quality."
Work on the arena's creaky interior

_

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