The Wolverine

August 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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10 THE WOLVERINE AUGUST 2018   INSIDE MICHIGAN ATHLETICS Freshman quarterback Joe Milton had a big spring after enrolling early, impressing with both his arms and his legs. He answered our questions in this early summer Q&A: The Wolverine: What was your big- gest goal after spring ball heading into the summer? Joe Milton: "At this point in time I'm still learning, I'm only 18. … I just want to pick up my game better and learn the whole system, just get used to ev- erything. Then again, I just want to be coached right and get put into the right situation. "I'm still going to compete, regard- less of [whether or not I start]. I'm go- ing to compete no matter who it is." The Wolverine: How pleased were you with your spring performance? Milton: "I feel happy with my spring. I'm just a team person. … The offen- sive line did well, it's not all about me. It's about how the team came to- gether, stuck through it and fought until the end." The Wolverine: What was the com- petition like in the quarterback room? Milton: "It's all about making each other better, no matter who does it or not. It's all about focusing on what you can do, because each quarterback had different [abilities], different skill sets. It's all about who can bring it to the table better and lead better." The Wolverine: What were your thoughts coming up to Ann Arbor midway through your senior year of high school and enrolling early? Milton: "At first I didn't want to, but my high school coach said, '[Michigan junior linebacker Devin] Bush left early.' He used to coach Bush in high school. He said, 'Joe, go early, learn the play- book and do what you've got to do.' "Before I got up here I was like, 'Oh, there's going to be a lot of competi- tion,' but I'm ready for it. On my Apple watch I have a reminder that says, 'Joe you can do it. Trust in the Lord … and always have focus, always believe.' "A second one says, 'Don't worry about the clock — do what it does, keep going. Keep going no mater what happens.' You've got to fight through adversity." The Wolverine: Word has it you can throw the ball more than three quar- ters of a football field. Is that true, and what's your longest … and did you ever consider becoming a baseball pitcher? Milton: "The farthest I threw one was 85 [yards]. On a good day, 85; regular basis 75 or 80. "Our high school baseball coach wanted me to pitch, but my football coach didn't want me to do that. The ball is too little for me anyway." — Chris Balas Coming out of high school, early enrollee Joe Milton was ranked as the No. 11 dual- threat quarterback and No. 200 overall prospect nationally by PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN Sitting Down With Freshman Quarterback Joe Milton Men's soccer coach Chaka Daley won Big Ten Coach of the Year honors after his team knocked off Maryland in double-overtime to secure the league's regular-season trophy for the first time in program history. It was an- other huge turnaround, with the team rocketing from 4-11-4 in 2016-17 to 12-6-2 this year. The Michigan men's basketball team had one of the most captivating postseason runs in recent history, beat- ing Michigan State and Purdue — both ranked in the top 10 nationally at the time — among others, to win the Big Ten Tournament before advancing all the way to the national championship game in the NCAA Tournament. Freshman guard Jordan Poole helped keep the squad alive after he drilled a game-winning three-pointer in the final seconds of the team's second-round game against Houston. For the first time since 1993, both cross country teams won the Big Ten. The men's team was powered by fifth- year senior Ben Flanagan, who became the second in program annals to win a regional title, earn All-America honors and be named the Big Ten Athlete of the Year in cross county in the same season. Women's coach Mike McGuire was named Big Ten Coach of the Year, leading a squad that featured a pair of All-Americans in fifth-year seniors Jamie Morrissey and Gina Sereno. Both teams went on to place in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships (ninth for the women and 10th for the men). After a 4-8 start to the season, the women's tennis team roared back to finish 18-10, beating Northwestern to win the conference tournament. The Wolverines trailed 3-2 entering the final two matches, but won both to claim the 4-3 victory. Junior Kate Fahey was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Year. The water polo squad finished in second place dur- ing the regular season, but then topped Princeton in the Collegiate Water Polo Association Tournament champi- onship to earn its third straight title. Senior Caroline An- derson set U-M records for assists (85) and points (131) in a season and career (280 and 466, respectively), helping the Wolverines to the NCAA quarterfinals. Big Ten Coach of the Year Mike Bottom led the wom- en's swimming and diving team to a three-peat, the program's first in 20 years. The team bounced back from a 50-point deficit after being disqualified on the first relay, but ended up winning the league by a whop- ping 312.5 points, the biggest margin of victory at Big Tens since 2011. On the strength of 11 All-America performances (eight individual and three relays), U-M placed fourth at NCAAs, its highest national finish since 1996. ❏

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