On today, Jim Harbaugh’s 50th birthday, a nice time for another guest post from Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis. While it’s no shock that Bo Schembechler didn’t like to put it up in the air, check out this breakdown by Sap.
Guest Post by Steve Sapardanis
Woody Hayes taught Bo Schembechler a lot of football lessons. One that resonated with Bo was the importance of running and possessing the football.
The thinking was establishing a powerful ground game would almost certainly ensure victory, because by the end of the game you would be able to impose your will on your opponent. When that happens, your opponent will have been morally and physically defeated. Besides, when you throw the football, three things can happen, and as Woody liked to say, two of them were bad. You think Bo forgot this?
I pulled the passing stats for every game during the Bo era at Michigan (1969-1989) to see if there was any statistical correlation to Bo’s disdain for throwing the football and losing. Sure enough, I found something. In the 21 years that Bo coached at Michigan, his teams only attempted more than 25 passes just 23 times. The Wolverines lost 20 of those games. And before Jim Harbaugh arrived, Bo had lost 17 straight games when attempting more than 25 passes.
In 1985 and 1986, Harbaugh was the nation’s most efficient passer. He got Bo off the passing schneid with three victories in 1986 against Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio State while attempting more than 25 passes. Data:
|10/18/1969||at||Michigan State (4-6)||L||12||23||13||35||164|
|11/21/1970||at||Ohio State (9-1)||L||9||20||12||26||118|
|12/28/1979||vs||North Carolina (8-3-1)||L||15||17||17||26||328|
|9/27/1980||vs||South Carolina (8-4)||L||14||17||17||30||206|
|11/21/1981||vs||Ohio State (9-3)||L||9||14||9||26||136|
|11/20/1982||at||Ohio State (9-3)||L||14||24||12||28||127|
|11/17/1984||at||Ohio State (9-3)||L||6||21||17||27||164|
|11/22/1986||at||Ohio State (10-3)||W||26||24||19||29||261|
|10/10/1987||at||Michigan State (9-2-1)||L||11||17||12||26||158|
|9/17/1988||vs||Miami (Florida) (11-1)||L||30||31||17||27||245|
|9/16/1989||vs||Notre Dame (12-1)||L||19||24||22||28||178|
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