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Published: Wednesday, 8/29/2007

Rocket defensive backs will have their hands full

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

University of Toledo safety Tyrrell Herbert spent some of his day off from practice on Monday in the film room. It was far from his first stop there this preseason.

"We've been doing film for a long time, I don't even know how long," Herbert said.

Herbert and the Rockets' defensive backs have had no shortage of highlights to watch of the Purdue receivers.

In 2006, Dorien Bryant, Selwyn Lymon, Greg Orton and tight end Dustin Keller combined for 234 catches, 3,209 yards and 18 touchdowns. All are back for 2007, Purdue coach Joe Tiller calling the unit "the most talented we've ever had in a single year."

Containing the dynamic group on Saturday is a key to the game for UT, Herbert said.

"We've got to stop their passing game and limit the amount of yards they get when they touch the ball, yards after the catch," Herbert said. "It's a big challenge but we always look forward to it."

UT believes its greatest defensive strengths lie in the backfield, which is why it plans to use more DBs this year. The Rockets could find out early on if the tweaks will work.

"We're going to try to give them some new looks and try to disrupt their rhythm," Tom Amstutz said. "We'll do whatever we can to slow them down."

Tiller said yesterday he has studied the Rockets' use of five defensive backs extensively because their defense is unlike any in the Big Ten Conference.

"Because of the way they align their people they can bring pressure from different places," Tiller said. "Your preparation changes a little. They run well on defense and get after you. Structurally they bring some problems."

TICKETS REMAIN: About 4,000 tickets are left for the Purdue game for the general public.

WOMEN'S HOOPS: The UT women's basketball team is playing two exhibition games in Canada this weekend.

The Rockets play Queens College in Kingston, Ont., on Saturday and the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont., on Sunday. Every four years, teams are allowed to take an international trip with 10 days of practice beforehand.

UT is looking for replacements for its top three scorers from last year.

MEN'S GOLF: Some of the top collegiate squads will be in town Sept. 10-11 for the 16-team Inverness Intercollegiate Invitational at Inverness Club.

Oklahoma State, Florida, Southern Cal and UNLV were all ranked in the top 10 to end last season. Five other schools competing were ranked in the top 35.

"The talent that will be coming to Inverness this year is outstanding," UT coach Jamie Mauntler said.

Inverness is hosting the 2009 NCAA championships.

WOMEN'S SOCCER: The women's soccer team begins its season Friday in San Diego. UT, the defending MAC champion, will play San Diego State on Friday and California-Riverside on Sunday.

The Rockets lost six starters from their championship team. Freshman Angela Righeimer is the squad's new goalkeeper. Sophomore Molly Cornwell, a second-team All-MAC selection as a freshman, is the top returning scorer.

CROSS COUNTRY: UT cross country opens its season 5 p.m. Friday at the Bowling Green Dual.

Returning this year are five women and six men, highlighted by senior Nicole Camp and junior Mike Taylor. Last year the Rocket women finished fourth at the MAC championships while the men finished ninth. The squads were picked to finish in the same spots this year.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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