On the eve of the Notre Dame game, here’s at a look at Schembechler Hall 2.0, as I understand it, to be dedicated next Spring:
More after the jump..
On the eve of the Notre Dame game, here’s at a look at Schembechler Hall 2.0, as I understand it, to be dedicated next Spring:
More after the jump..
Given the nice offseason bashing back and forth between Ann Arbor and College Station over the voting for the EA Sports College Football cover, a repost of our last offseason incident involving those Aggies. We won that one despite Bum Bright’s righteous wallet.
Oh, and vote for Denard here with your various Facebook accounts.
TWIMFBH starts with a discussion on the 1977 Texas A&M vs. Michigan game and ends with more significant challenge from the Aggies, namely their attempt to woo Bo Schembechler to College Station.
You can hear all of the This Week… clips here.
Don’t forget about Dr. Sap’s epic throwback EA CFB covers like this one:
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Pure gold. Check out Michigan kicker Bob Bergeron from Sports Illustrated’s 1984 college football preview:
Bergeron got the honor in large part for banging through this famous field goal to defeat Iowa, thirty years ago this fall in 1983:
These days Bergeron, 51, lives in Ft. Wayne with his wife & two kids and is a coach on the Snider High School football squad. I dialed up the U-M legend recently and chatted about that great photo, Bo, his famous kick and much more. The net of all this will appear later on, but in the short term a few interesting facts about that classic photo:
* SI tried several different photos, originally under one of the tall showers in Crisler Arena in an attempt to demonstrate Bergeron’s short stature. Yes, they also took a few regular shots of him kicking before settling on the hot tub pic—also shot in Crisler.
* The football, cleats and Ricky Leach poster were brought in as props. Interesting that the ‘Champions are made in practice’ sign was not brought in—it was a fixture in the hoops arena.
* Why the tub? At one point Bo famously claimed that Bergeron, “weighs 135 pounds soaking wet.”
* Why the pizza? After Bergeron’s epic ‘83 kick vs. Iowa reporters joked with Bo, noting that his kicker wasn’t even on scholarship. Someone suggested that Schembechler, the owner of a Domino’s franchise, at least get him a pizza. Bo obliged:
* And did Bergeron actually get to eat the pizza used in that photo? “I did,” Bergeron told me with a laugh. “I took it home and shared it with my roommates, Don Bracken [a punter] and Mike Melnyk [a kicker].”
More to come.
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We did an interview but we also did something I’ve been waiting to do for a long time—we methodically stepped through the headset audio from The Catch (recall that the athletic department released it last year in the UTL game program). I’ll post the clip of Moeller breaking that down a little later this week—I think you’ll like it. Also, you can find a portion of the interview in Saturday’s Iowa game program.
Here’s a little bit from the interview:
MVictors: Michigan fans love to collect memorabilia. Is there anything, beyond your championship rings and all that, from your days at Michigan that you have hung onto?
Moeller: Yeah, I’ve got a picture of Bo and I both pointing and hollering at the same time. It would have been in the last three of four years of when he was the coach. It looks like two older gentlemen [laughs]. When you go back to my playing days, which were in Columbus as you know and he was our coach there, and he really took me from my high school job in Bellefontaine and Miami of Ohio, and two years later I was up here with him. He gave me a lot of opportunities and a lot of great advice, and put me in a position where I could excel. He’s just a special person to me. I look at him as a friend…I just think there’s so much he’s done and what he thought of Michigan.
One of the greatest times I had after I came back was when we watched Michigan football together in the press box. One day up there I found out how much he truly loved this university. He said, “Hey Mo, come here. I wanna show you something.” The band was already out on the field and the players were coming out of the tunnel, and they’re playing The Victors and all that stuff. Bo said, “Now there—isn’t that the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your life? Look at the fans, look at band and look at this team coming out here. That’s what Michigan is all about.” It was as though he was just painting a portrait that was in his mind of something that he was so proud of.
And Bo knew how much he had to do with that. I know there were some games when we first came in 1969, like against Washington, when we only had about 50,000 people in the stands. He knows he helped..with a lot of other people, but he was a major part of filling those seats up. He was very proud of that.
MVictors: Looking at football from a distance, is there a key to building a championship team?
Moeller: The longer I’m out of football, the number one thing I look at is getting leadership on your team. There are so many teams, particularly in pro football, that don’t have great team leadership. You need a guy out there, or a couple guys that are leading that team, like a Drew Brees or like Ray Lewis with the Ravens. Some teams don’t have that and until you get that, you don’t get over that hump. And we’ve always had good leadership at Michigan. Then you get success—it just works that way.
MVictors: As a coach, is your job to build leaders or to find the right guys and put them in a position to lead?
Moeller: Well this is what we do, and this started with Bo way back when. The seniors are the leaders. You can be the worst football player on the team. If you come to all of the workouts and you do everything you are supposed to do to be a part of that team—you are always on time, you are positive or whatever—when you become a senior you are one of our leaders.
You are not going to believe this. I’m in Detroit having just taken over the Lions. The first team meeting I have, and the kids always joke with me about this, I said, “OK, here’s what we’re gonna do. I want all the seniors down here in front!” [laughs] Well they all start laughing and saying, “Seniors? This guy still thinks he’s in college!”
But I had pretty good rapport and respect from these guys so I wasn’t worried about that. So they laughed but I went on, “And the juniors sit next, and then the sophomores. And I want all you damn freshman—you rookies–in the back of the room and you don’t talk. You just stay there.” Then I asked the seniors to stand up and face the team. I told them, “These are you your leaders. We will be as good as these guys play and we were go as far as they can take us. They’re going to show us. Watch what they do, because they’re the leaders.”
So every meeting that’s where they’d sit. I didn’t want them sitting off to the side with their buddy or whatever. It kinda worked and they all appreciated it—and they liked the idea of being seniors and all that and they had fun with it. It was no different then what we’d done in the early 70s at Michigan.
More later this week.
Looks like it made page 10 back in the day. It makes page 1 in my book.
Update: I’ve been asked a few times if the old style, fitted Bo New Era M hats are still available. Naturally Underground Printing in Ann Arbor has them (and I’m guessing Moe’s). I was in there today:
Glenn “Bo” Schembechler wasn’t the only major change to hit Ann Arbor in 1969. New athletic director Don Canham decided introduce artificial turf inside the Big House. Here’s a great photo of Dan Dierdorf and Bo inspecting a sample of the righteous carpet up on eBay now:
Apparently Dierdorf was skeptical of the safety of natural grass, having suffered a knee injury in 1968 (from the notes on the wire photo):
I’m not sure what they hoped to accomplish with their little empty shoe test, but oh well.
It’s pretty clear that Canham was not only dead set on the innovation, he was pretty proud of it. The new coach would seemingly be the obvious choice to don the cover the of the game program, but Bo was present. In fact, no person is present on the front of the program for Bo’s first game at the helm—here’s a look at the Vanderbilt game program (also on eBay now), showing off Canham’s carpet:
I just finished John U. Bacon’s Three and Out and I need to talk to somebody. For a while. Same thing will happen to you.
If you landed on this page, I don’t need to suggest you buy this book—you probably already bought it or certainly plan to. You really don’t have a choice now, do you? (It drops October 25 – get it now on Amazon).
This isn’t a full review. I was lucky enough to receive a beta version of the book and its content is subject to be tweaked, added or removed. But I can offer a few thoughts. For starters, I’ll note that it’s painful enough to relive the past three seasons just from memory. Now try it in 3D and HD, complete with unreleased scenes, quotes and outtakes. And did I mention cockroaches?
I give credit to Bacon for writing this—no one held a gun to his head to do it—and he surely knew he’d be ruffling a feather or
two twenty by putting this out there. As Brian mentioned, everyone seems to be upset about the book. Most people will be talking about Lloyd Carr, who is charged with conduct unbecoming a Michigan Man yet, it is strongly noted, didn’t speak to Bacon for this book so in several cases we rely on the perspective of RichRod and/or his staff.
As you’d expect, Bacon deftly tees up the history of football at U-M, and more importantly, its place as a driving force that shaped the CFB landscape. His insights into how Rodriguez developed his offense are fascinating. I laughed out loud at some of the lighter moments and cringed as JUB described the some of the postgame speeches after yet another brutal loss. Two chest pounds from me to Moundros. I’ll get into more at a later date when the real deal arrives.
Like most matters concerning Michigan football, I’m guessing your feeling about Bacon’s book will be driven by the type of fan you are, or said another way, your clan. So I thought, why not revive The Clans and attempt to run down how each group might feel after reading 3&O? [If these groups don’t look familiar, give this post a read as a primer (includes chart!).]
Here you go:
|Clan||Who Are They?||Comment on ‘Three and Out’|
|Former Bo players and those associated or feel very closely tied (e.g, alums or “Bo signed my hat when I was 9” folks) to that era.
Defense wins championships, people.
Since Hoke Hire: Happy. They are satisfied that Hoke will uphold Bo’s legacy.
|Naturally, they are pleased that Bacon provided proper deference and respect to Bo and how his transition in ‘69 was handled. They understand, as Bacon deftly described in 3&O, how Bo’s departure from U-M (and when he died) impacted the athletic department and this program.
These guys know that this type of book never would have surfaced in Bo’s day—he would have squashed Bacon’s MacBook like a bug with one swipe of his famous ruler. But then again, none of this mess would have happened if Bo were around either. It’s Chicken and Egg (with Bacon).
Much of the tension of the past 3 seasons has been alleviated by Hoke’s arrival, his rhetoric & his actions on and off the field. While some are not happy that Carr didn’t vocally support RichRod (as discussed in 3&O), Hoke has gone a long way in a short time to heal old wounds.
|Bloggers, message-board hounds, recruitniks. Statistical analysis shows, nay, proves that an innovative offense (RR/Chip Kelly) is what is required in Ann Arbor. And you never punt, man. Carr’s tendencies became maddening in the final few years, and rumors of Carr steering recruits away from U-M make them slam down their X-box controllers in rage.
Since Hoke Hire: Mix in Greg Mattison and a top 5 recruiting class and they’ve cooled down.
|“You removed the chart Dooley, so gloves are off!”
This book is right in their wheelhouse. Bacon points out in painful detail all the obstacles that RichRod faced (and yes, a few he created) along the way. They cheered each time Bacs mentioned “The Horror” or their homebase, mgoblog. Would have liked to seen more detail on the internal politics of RR’s handling of (or lack thereof) the defensive coordinators.
This is a bit of revenge on those responsible for setting the course for the Michigan offense to head back to the Stone Ages and.. [oh, wait a second..they stopped reading this --Bri’Onte Dunn just updated his Facebook page.]
|Affiliated with the University/Ann Arbor elite who feel we devote too much money to athletics, and feel the stadium expansion is wrong on many levels. They chuckle outwardly at people who spend their Saturday afternoons sandwiched between overweight men in a football
stadium or in front of their televisions shoveling ‘Funyuns’ into their faces.
Since Hoke Hire: Less drama = less to poke fun at, but these guys don’t really care. Glad they don’t have to hear “ain’t” anymore; not crazy about Hoke’s affection for “daggone”.
|Would like to suggest to Bacon that “The Hill” [the administrators/brass at the school] is worthy of a little more respect than being portrayed as an annoying group of bureaucrats who directly or indirectly mess with athletic department business.
All that said, they’ll read this (it’s a book afterall) so they are prepared for the cocktail parties and tailgate chatter. Yes, they chuckled aloud at the stories of overweight adult autograph-hounds (“It’s for my kid. Really.”) that appear now & again in the book.
|Die-hard Rich Rod-backers with close ties to The Rebellion. RR should have been retained. Their support was hardened by the negative media coverage coupled with the idiotic ad hominem attacks by sports radio callers and national drive-by columnists/hosts. He never was given a chance.
Since Hoke Hire: Still pissed, but their numbers are diminishing.
|Know one of these guys? Expect a signed copy of 3&O for Christmas. They’ll also pick up a copies for their favorite haterz.
RichRod was never given a chance in this town and everyone will now see the truth how he was chewed up by all these distractions. You and yours should write RR and his staff an obsequious note, begging for forgiveness.
While you won’t hear them (there’s maybe a Baker’s dozen of these people remaining), they will sprinkle Boos on Carr when he’s honored before the Nebraska game this season.
|Former Carr players and those (alums) who feel deep ties to that era. Feel Carr’s Legacy is unfairly represented by many, including the Rebellion and In Rod Clans.
Since Hoke Hire: They won, Hoke is excelling and they’ll remind you that one of Carr’s assistants should have been hired the first go round.
|There are no mixed feelings here. This book is unfair and one-sided. John U. Bacon is clearly suffering from a form of Stockholm syndrome from being embedded with Rodriguez and his staff for the past three years.
They feel Carr did the right thing by not talking to Bacon about this book, because, as happened to RichRod again and again, his words would surely backfire and/or be misconstrued. Besides, Carr’s record with his players and with U-M stand on their own. And what would he possibly have to gain from engaging in he-said, she-said at this point?
They will be quick to point out a story or two in the book where they feel Carr was misrepresented & will use that to fuel a Clintonesque attack to discredit how Carr was represented in the entire tome.
|The vast majority of "regular" M fans. Beyond sanctions and horrible & embarrassing results, they bleed Maize ‘n Blue. But the OSU, MSU and bowl poundings put them over the edge with ol’ Rich Rod.
Since Hoke Hire: Thrilled with Hoke. Most of these fans will have selective memory about their support for RichRod. (“I knew that guy was wrong for this job..I knew it!”) No they didn’t.
|Disappointed in so many Michigan people involved in the book and really hate seeing the dirty laundry out there.
But they are fully behind Hoke now and RichRod is now just a character in a few of their knee-slapping jokes at tailgates.
|Group that was good with Rodriguez & think he deserved one more year. That said, they understand that DB had to fire Rodriguez as much for the "sense" of Rodriguez in the media and among the alumni and fans, as for the 15-22 record. The man had become a toxic asset.
Since Hoke Hire: Real happy with Hoke’s success, cautiously optimistic about the future.
|Oh man. First off, a stiff Bourbon. Second off, they eat up this kind of thing.
As deep thinkers, they are clamoring to form
These fierce pragmatists know there are two sides to every tale and it hurts them, almost literally, that Bacon couldn’t get Carr to offer his perspective on the past three years.
|Much like the Second Estate of Pre-Revolutionary France, they make up a tiny portion of Michigan fans, but they control a disproportionate amount of influence. They are Champions Lot parkers. They’re guys that Brandon sees and immediately knows he needs to go chat up. (Note that Brandon, himself, would be of the Second Estate). DB is loyal to them, but he is also well aware that he needs them. They are Cotton Pickin’ Blues generally, they want wins the right way–no scandals, no embarrassment, no negative press.
Since Hoke Hire: Couldn’t have gone better. Got their man, didn’t have to pay a fortune, Ohio State is sinking and Hoke stays on message.
|They feel Bacon’s story is a mere interpretation of the past three years, but it is incomplete, one-sided and worst of all, detrimental to the Michigan brand. Privately, many of them will tell you they enjoyed seeing Bill Martin worked over. Also privately they will tell you that they respect Bacon’s work.
All that said, they will work with Brandon to quiet the buzz about the book. Where possible, they will refute and discredit some of the facts/stories in the book through influential back channels. Watch out.
|The fanatical faction of Michigan fandom, named for Capt. Stephen Decatur of the U.S. Navy who famously said, "Our Country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but right or wrong, our country!" Basically "I love the guy in charge, no matter who it is today. Go Blue!".
Since Hoke Hire: Go Blue!
|What book? Like some former coach used to say, “It’s in the past!”
Go Hoke, Go Blue, Beat [insert nickname of next team we’re scheduled to play]!
Good for Moe’s and UGP for scoring an exclusive partnership with the Bo people. A portion of the proceeds from each sale of Bo Schembechler apparel will be donated to the Heart of a Champion Research Fund and they’re nice:
Rumor has so additional designs are in the works so stay tuned.