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November 08, 1995 - Image 11

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-08

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Did you know...
The last time the Michigan football lost at least three games in three
consecutive years was from 1981-84. The last time Michigan dropped
four games in three straight years was from 1965-67. This year's squad
has a 7-2 mark with three regular season contests remaining. The
Wolverines have finished 8-4 each of the last two seasons.

Page 11
Wednesday,
November 8, 1995

Hockey rebounds after upset loss
Improved Wolverine defense key to success, according to Berenson

By Alan Goldenbach
Daily Sports Writer
It happens usually at least once. A top
team will get knocked off by a less
talented one on a night when it didn't
come to play or just isn't all there.
But in hindsight, the loss usually serves
as a reality check for the better team.

Granted, the
Michigan hockey
team doesn't have
a great deal a sea-
sontolookbackon.
But since the Wol-
verines were em-
barrassedby West-
ern Michigan, 7-2,
three weeks ago on
their home ice,
Michigan's de-

Nocey
Notebook

be like on a game-to-game basis. We're
not going to be able to keep the goals-
against under two every night, but if we
can we're going to be a real good team."
A good goals-against average has
become a tradition in the Berenson era.
"That's been one of our strengths in
the past," Berenson said. "If you look at
our team the last three years, we've
probably had one of the lowest goals-
against in the league."
Berenson gives a big chunk of the
credit for his team's low goals-against
mark to his defensemen.
"I like our defense," Berenson said.
"We expected Steven Halko to come in
and play because he's a captain and a
senior. But I'm really pleased with the
continued improvement of Harold
Schock and Blake Sloan.
"And I like what Peter Bourke has
given to the team. He has played more
consistently and seems like he's ready
to take a regular role on our defense."
Berenson noted the improvement that
freshman Bubba Berenzweig has made
while playing with Halko.
"He's played at a pretty good level
and he should continue to learn about
what it takes to be a good two-way
defenseman in this league," Berenson

said. "He's a rushing defenseman who
we're teaching how to play defense.
"He's learning from a veteran player
in Halko who can cover up for him in a
lot of situations and talk to him. That's
how Halko learned. He played with
(former Wolverine) David Harlock and
I think that sets a good example for a
young defenseman."
The sixth defenseman has been sort
of a game of musical chairs played by
Chris Fox, Chris Frescoln and Mark
Sakala. Berenson isn't sure if he's go-
ing to name someone who will take that
position on a regular basis.
That doesn't bother him because he's
happy with what he's seen from the trio.
"(Frescoln and Fox) have both given
the team something when they played,"
Berenson said. "And even though Mark
Sakala has gotten off to a slow start, we
know he can play.
"1 think our defense is going to be as
good as anyone."
Recent, as well as future, opponents
won't doubt it.
LINEUP CHANGES: With Brendan
Morrison making his season debut this
weekend against Miami (Ohio),
Berenson shook up his lines somewhat
See ICERS, Page 13

fense has stiffened considerably.
The Wolverines have yielded only
eight goals since then. More impor-'
tantly, the tight defense has led to four
Michigan victories.
"I think the first game wasn't a good
indication ofour team, our defense, or our
goalie," Michigan coach Red Berenson
said. "It was a bad game for all three.
"I think what you've seen since is a
betterindication ofwhat ourteam should

has seen the Wolverines rebound from a season-opening 7-2 loss to post an outstanding goals against average.

vvBc itli 1Nfi1CI~~' to serveC as :.-4
homecomn for 2 Boilennaersa .
Wheatley's decision to stay for a senior season sent Pontiac's Watson to Purdue

By Mike Ermitage
The Purdue Exponent
The potential of sophomore tailback
Edwin Watson has followed him around
the Purdue campus closer than his shadow.
Watson, a native of Pontiac, came to
,Prdue as one of the top 35 high school
tallbacks in the nation. As a senior,
Watson scored 22 touchdowns and
'rished for 1,053 yards for Northern
High School. His per-carry average of
8.36 earned him all-state honors. He
has 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash and
ran the 100 meters in 10.6 seconds.
Watson was overwhelmed with let-
ters from interested colleges his senior
year but choose Purdue over Michigan
and Notre Dame. Despite the accolades
Watson has earned, he has only carried
theball 63 times forPurdue in 12 games.
Running backs coach Leroy Keyes be-
lieves Watson is ready to live up to his
potential.
"I think Edwin has just kind of taken
the top off the fine bottle of wine, he's
just teasing us right now," Keyes said.
Oak Park's Alford tries to
By Matt Brann
The Purdue Exponent
Earlier in the season, a Purdue wide
receiver was concerned about some
passes he had dropped. But now oppos-
ing defenses are concerned with him.
Sophomore Brian Alford let sev-
eral passes slip out of his hands ear-
lier this year, but the sophomore has
improved, and with that improvement
has come the respect of his peers. The
Oak Park native said he owes much of
his success to his improved mental
toughness.
"Each game I feel as though I'm
$tarteg to concentrate a little bit bet-
te, Alford said. "In the Big Ten, it's
sib a fast pace that you have to con-
cenrate on every play because you never
kn')w which play will be the big play to
wirrthe game."
Junior quarterback Rick Trefzger said
the one thing keeping Alford from be-
coming an elite wide out in the confer-
ence is his mindset.
"That's one of the things that will
bridge the gap between him being a
gqo'deceiver in the Big Ten and being
a &teceiver in the Big Ten," he said.
"WWill come in time."
That time appears to be now. Oct. 7
aginst Minnesota, Alford caught six
passes for 172 yards and one touch-
down. The touchdown, a 78-yard play

"I believe this kid has a lot of innate
ability and god-given talent.
"I know that inside Edwin is a lot of
football we haven't yet seen and we
will see it if he continues to go on the
course he's on
now."
Lost in the Y
shadow of seniors
Corey Rogers and
Mike Alstott,
Watson has been
asked to spend the
majority of his
playing time
blocking. Watson
"With Mike
(Alstott) being the feature back, we
need a tailback that can go in there and
do the dirty work, the Pete Rose-type
work," Keyes said. "Edwin has showed
he's ready to do that. He had some
sensational blocks in the West Virginia
game."
Watson understands his role on the
Boilermakers and his confidence grows

as every week passes.
"My confidence is way up from last
year," Watson said. "Last year I went
into the game thinking, 'I hope I don't
do anything wrong, I hope I can get
everything together.' But this year I
went into the game knowing all my
assignments."
Last season, Watson showed glimpses
of his high school talent. He finished
the season with three touchdowns and
272 yards, averaging 4.6 yard per carry.
Watson's best game came on Parents
Day against Ball State, when he ran for
89 yards on 13 carries and scored his
first collegiate touchdown.
His first start for the Boilermakers
came on Nov. 5, 1994, against Michi-
gan. The symbolism of him playing in
that game was overwhelming.
Watson chose Purdue over his home-
state school because Wolverine tailback
Tyrone Wheatleydecidedto stay in school
rather than turn pro. Watson signed his
letter of intent the same day Wheatley
See WATSON, Page 13

make a name for himself as a receiver in the Big Ten

from Trefzger to Alford, allowed him
to display his speed.
"Against Minnesota, when I caught
the pass coming back to Rick Trefzger,
I looked to the side and saw that the
guys were beside me," Alford said. "I
just tried to run as
fast as I could to
gettotheendzone.
I don't look at g
myselfas a speed-
ster or somebody '
that is exception-
ally fast."
Alford's rise in
Big Ten statistical
categories is also
fast. He is now Alford
fifth in the league
in receiving yards per game (72.1). He
is Purdue's top receiver this season
with 28 catches for 577 yards.
The statistics rank him among some
of elite receivers in the league, such as
Ohio State junior Tony Glenn, Penn
State senior Bobby Engram and Michi-
gan senior Mercury Hayes.
"Just to be ranked with those guys is
a big honor with this being really my
first season," said Alford, who missed
most of his freshman year with a broken
clavicle.
Purdue wide receivers coach Randy
Fichtner said the turning point for

Alford may have been against Michi-
gan State on Sept. 23. Alford had four
catches for 113 yards and two touch-
downs, but he also dropped several
passes.
"If he doesn't drop those passes, all
of a sudden he could have been in the
great category, but that's not what hap-
pened," Fichtner said. "I think now
he's got a feeling that 'If I buckle down
and work hard and learn and continue
to develop as an athlete and as a player,
I've got a good future."'
Alford realizes that if he wants to
achieve recognition as one of the
nation's best receivers it will entail
hard work.
"It would be nice to be considered
one of the top receivers in the Big Ten
and to be recognized nationally, but it is
not going to come easy," Alford said. "I
know that I've just got to keep working
hard to achieve those goals. "
And while Fichtner is doing his part
to make Alford a great receiver, he said
sometimes he must back off.
"Sometimes I have to kick myself in
the butt and look back and see that he's
just a junior by class but a sophomore
by play," Fichtner said. "He's gaining
valuable experience every week. I ex-
pect him to be a great player and we're
going to continue to bust his hump to
make him a great player."

PROUE WORT SrIOMION
After Michigan's Tyrone Wheatley decided in .Jan1994 to hang around for another season, Edwin Watson decided to go to Purdue.

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