Ancient Greek and Roman history aren’t exactly easy subjects.
When it comes to learning about them, it helps to relate the people
and events of that time period to what is going on today.

Janna Hutz
Tight end Tim Massaquoi decided to play for Michigan, turning down coach Joe Paterno and Penn State in the process. (JONATHON TRIEST/Daily)

Michigan tight end Tim Massaquoi relates them to the sport he
plays and loves. Massaquoi, who says his favorite Greek
mythological character was Aries, the god of war, associates
ancient battles with modern-day battles on the gridiron.

“When it comes to war, (Aries) was always scheming,” Massaquoi
said. “He’s got strategies. You know he’s thinking about the mental
part of war rather than the physical part of it.

“You can relate that to football. It’s kind of like a chess
game.”

The junior says he wants to become a teacher in these subjects
after graduating from Michigan. But before he starts writing up his
first lesson, he still has some football to focus on.

The season has not gone exactly as planned for Massaquoi, who
says he hasn’t been performing at his best. He has been criticized
for dropping too many passes – some in critical situations that
could have made a difference.

“I wasn’t doing the little things to get open,” he said. “That’s
something I have been working really hard at in practice – getting
open and running hard routes.”

Last season, former Michigan tight end Bennie Joppru was one of
John Navarre’s favorite targets. Joppru was sure-handed and was
often the recipient on third-down situations. But for several
reasons, that role was not passed down to Massaquoi. Instead,
receiver Jason Avant has become Navarre’s main third-down
option.

Massaquoi feels he is not getting the ball as much because the
defense has taken that away from the Wolverines. But with the way
Michigan’s receivers are playing, he feels that is going to
change.

“I think it has a lot to do with what the defense gives us,” he
said. “John has done a good job of reading defenses, and he’s not
going to try and force anything. But I think as the season goes on,
the defenses are going to start taking away from our receivers with
the way they are playing.”

A graduate of Parkland High School in Allentown, Pa., Massaquoi
was regarded as one of the best receivers in the country coming out
of high school. But when he came to Ann Arbor, he was asked to take
on a different role as tight end. Still, he says he didn’t mind
being asked to do more, and that he was up to the challenge.

“That transition wasn’t that hard, as long as I was playing
offense,” he said. “It meant blocking and getting my weight up, but
it was a role I could fill and a place where I could help the
team.”

Massaquoi’s college decision came down to Michigan or Penn
State, but he says he chose Ann Arbor because it was not only a
great football school, but it was the right fit for him. Leaving
his home state was a difficult decision for him, but one he feels
was right.

Saying no to Penn State, though, meant saying no to Joe Paterno,
which Massaquoi says wasn’t an easy thing to do.

“I didn’t tell him I didn’t want to play for him,” Massaquoi
said. “I just told him that Michigan was a better place for me, and
he respected that. He’s a great man, an intelligent man, and
sitting in his office was a great experience.”

But, like Aries, Massaquoi wants to focus on developing a sense
of mental toughness to improve his game. He says it’s mental
toughness that keeps him strong when he drops a pass or makes a
mistake.

“I would be hurting,” said Massaquoi. “But my teammates picked
me up, and I just want to come back and concentrate even harder on
the next catch.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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