The Wolverine

2018 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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24 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2018 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY JOHN BORTON M ichigan football players on their way to prepare for battle can't avoid him. They pass by his statue every single day entering Schembechler Hall, and if they pause for a moment to look up, they still sense the challenge. Those Who Stay Will Be Champions. Bo Schembechler brought many other messages to Michigan football upon his ar- rival, 50 years ago. Do something every day — every day! — to beat Ohio State. If you cheat, you've already lost. No man is more important than the team. No coach is more important than the team. The Team! The Team! The Team! The fiery, larger-than-life architect of 13 Big Ten championships and 17 national top-10 finishes changed the course of modern Michigan football. Prior to his arrival, the Wolverines — despite some strong squads — captured one conference title over the previous 18 seasons. "I don't think anyone can argue that because of that win over Ohio State, because of the arrival of Bo Schembechler, that season and that game kick-started the modern era of Michigan football." ALL-AMERICAN OFFENSIVE LINEMAN DAN DIERDORF He stormed into Ann Arbor, bolstered by a cadre of eager assistant coaches, his volcanic in- tensity met by a headline wondering who he was. Everyone soon found out. Schembechler played and coached under the legendary Woody Hayes, forging a lifelong friend- ship while piling up canister shells for the fire- works to come. The new Michigan coach went 40- 17-3 at his alma mater, Miami of Ohio, preaching the same toughness, fearsome rushing attack and precise execution as his mentor. Schembechler knew, though, his new job wouldn't be easy. Hayes wasn't going anywhere. He'd brutalized Bump Elliott's Wolverines in 1968, 50-14, down in Columbus, going for two after the final touchdown to reach half a hundred. Newspaper reports at the time insisted reporters asked Hayes why he went for two at the end. "'Cause I couldn't go for three," Hayes retorted. All of that made 1969 a critical year for Michi- gan football. Athletics director Don Canham knew he was bringing an excellent football coach to Ann Arbor. He also knew someone who carried no weighty national reputation could quickly become a target by a skeptical press. Schembechler didn't care. He packed a plan, and a host of very talent football players got on board. What played out over the next 12 months set the stage for the next four decades, and still affects the man running the show today. Finding Out Who Dan Dierdorf, who became a consensus All- American offensive lineman and later a College and Pro Football Hall of Famer, required no introduction to Schembechler. He knew exactly what he and his teammates were getting. Dierdorf had already said no thanks once. The Canton, Ohio, prep hadn't been heavily re- cruited, not receiving an offer from Ohio State or The Year It All Changed After He Was Hired 50 Years Ago, Bo Schembechler Laid The Foundation For A Memorable Debut And More

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