Last year, Michigan built a seemingly insurmountable 28-10 lead against Purdue before watching the Boilermakers mount a furious second-half comeback. Travis Dorsch”s 33-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in regulation gave Purdue a miraculous 32-31 win which ignited the Boilermakers” run to the Rose Bowl.
With that contest still fresh in everyone”s minds, the Boilermakers and Wolverines will square off this Saturday in an early statement game for Big Ten supremacy. Along with Ohio State, Michigan and Purdue are the only 2-0 teams in the Big Ten, so the winner of this game will have a clear leg up in the conference race.
Considering what happened last season, it”s easy to think that Michigan has revenge on its mind. Think again.
“I think that works on an individual basis,” defensive tackle Shawn Lazarus said at the weekly media luncheon yesterday. “Personally, I just kind of let things in the past be in the past and focus on the future.”
Lazarus wasn”t alone in trying to downplay last year”s debacle in West Lafayette. At least publicly, the Wolverines claim that they aren”t out for revenge against Purdue.
The loss “was last year,” wide receiver Ron Bellamy said. “I”m just ready for this year.”
Shazor to redshirt: Anyone who watched Michigan play last year knew that the secondary had to be a focal point in recruiting for this season. With that in mind, Michigan coach Lloyd Carr went out and signed a top-flight group of defensive backs. Cornerbacks Marlin Jackson and Markus Curry have cracked the Wolverines” secondary rotation and should be major contributors for the rest of the season. In particular, Jackson has made quite an impression and might challenge Jeremy LeSueur for the No. 2 cornerback spot.
But the man who was possibly Michigan”s best secondary recruit and, arguably, the nation”s best secondary recruit won”t play this year. Carr announced yesterday that Ernest Shazor, a 6-4, 215-pound safety from Detroit, will redshirt this season.
“We decided that early in the season,” Carr said. “But, I expect him to be a great football player here at Michigan.”
Being ready: Sophomore offensive tackle Courtney Morgan said Michigan offensive line coach Terry Malone repeats this mantra to all of his charges every week: “Prepare like you”re a starter.”
But, it”s been difficult at times for Morgan to pay heed to his coach”s advice. Last year, Morgan who has played all over the offensive line since coming to Michigan was stuck behind standouts Steve Hutchinson, Jeff Backus, Maurice Williams and David Brandt.
With all of those players now in the NFL, Morgan appeared to have a good shot at a starting spot. But, as the season opened, he was listed as the third offensive tackle, behind fellow sophomores Tony Pape and Demeterius Solomon.
On Saturday, Morgan finally got a chance to show what he can do when Solomon went down with an injury. As excited as Morgan was to be playing, it didn”t completely hit him until Sunday.
“The day after, I was still in shock, like, I just played a lot,” Morgan said with a smile. “Every week, coach tells you to prepare like you”re a starter, so I was ready, and I went in and just played some football.”