Defense attempts to grasp reasons for poor tackling

Brian Stensaas

For an explanation on how to properly tackle, Minnesota football coach Glen Mason took reporters on an imaginary trip back to the good old days of hard-nosed football Tuesday afternoon.

He recalled legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi’s definition. In short, go after the guy like he’s carrying not only the ball but everything you own. You miss him, and he and your belongings are gone forever.

“If you had all my possessions and were going to run out of the room with them, I’d do everything possible to get you down,” Mason said. “And that’s how we have to tackle from now on.”

After evaluating film, Mason estimated the Gophers allowed Toledo 129 extra yards after the tackle should have been made last Saturday.

“That’s a significant amount,” Mason said. “You can’t play good defense unless you tackle a heck of a lot better than we did.”

Despite the missed tackles, Minnesota won the game 31-21. Junior Ben West led the team with 14 tackles actually made, but he’s not innocent of letting a couple slip by.

“I’m sure we’ll be doing some extra tackling drills this week,” West said. “I missed two really bad ones. One of them, I just fell. I know I’m going to have to watch that on film. We’re coached to do the right thing, now we have to do it.”

Baugus, Isom cleared

gophers Tight end Scooter Baugus and strong safety Justin Isom – who both sustained concussions against Toledo – are cleared to play Saturday against Buffalo. Team doctors reported no lingering effects and Mason said both will likely be in uniform.

In addition, running backs Thomas Tapeh (ankle) and Marion Barber III (hamstring) are both slated to see action Saturday. Tapeh played last week, but sparingly. Barber has not played since the first half of the Sept. 7 game at Louisiana-Lafayette.

Clarett cleans up, scoped

ohio State freshman running back Maurice Clarett continued to turn heads last weekend with his rushing ability, only to wind up on the operating table.

Less than three days after tearing up Washington State’s defense for 230 yards, doctors did a little cut work of their own on the Big Ten Player of the Week. Clarett underwent arthroscopic surgery Tuesday morning on his knee.

“He nicked his knee in (last Saturday’s) game and he’s questionable right now for Cincinnati,” coach Jim Tressel said. “We had five players have this same basic scope surgery last year. Maurice has the passion to play football so I expect him to be back as well.”

Clarett’s 230 yards are the sixth-highest single game total in Ohio State history and the second highest by a freshman.

Two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin rushed for more in one game as a freshman with 239 yards in 1972.

Creamed corn

many might have thought Penn State would defeat Nebraska last Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Surely the 110,753 fans in attendance thought so.

But a 40-7 drubbing? Thirty-three points?

“We’ve got skilled people,” Lions coach Joe Paterno said. “I would think anybody that has some of the talent we have on offense would try to get the most out of them.”

Penn State’s three top guns all placed in the top-five among conference players for the weekend’s games. Larry Johnson rushed for 127 yards, Zach Mills passed for 249 and Bryant Johnson finished with 142 yards receiving.

Rodgers nears records

michigan State wide receiver Charles Rogers hauled in 166 yards receiving against California, the Spartans’ only bright spot in a dismal 46-22 loss.

With his one touchdown, Rogers moved one score closer to the NCAA record of 12 consecutive games crossing the goal line. The mark is held by former Marshall star Randy Moss. The Big Ten record (which includes bowl games) is 13 consecutive games, held by Desmond Howard.

Rogers also racked up over 100 yards receiving for the seventh straight game.