Monday, March 2, 2015

Bo Schembechler's Secrets -Part 2

The Following are the secrets:

1. Bo, from Ohio, brought his fellow Ohioans to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Approximately 80% of his coaches [i.e., Jerry Hanlon] were from Ohio, and many of the recruits/players were from Ohio as well. Ohio has a history of producing terrific football players as well as coaches, and that was not lost on Bo. These coaches also had high school coaching experience, which contributed to their ability to communicate with the young players. All [coaches and players] originally from Ohio developed Wolverine DNA. Their blood, in essence, turned to maize and blue.

2. Bo inherited outstanding players, recruited by Michigan’s former head coach Bump Elliott. These recruits excelled at more than football. They excelled, for example, at basketball, which meant they were terrific athletes, quick, had good hands, were agile and were intelligent.

3. During Bo’s first spring practice in 1969, these players didn’t initially like Bo. And not many were ready for what Bo brought to the table [his seemingly unorthodox training and conditioning methods]. Bo beat them down both verbally and physically and then built them up so that they could and did reframe and change their thinking. He wanted to take them to higher levels that they had never experienced before. Their beliefs changed about their and the team’s ability.

4. The 1969 team had great senior leadership, starting with team Captain Jim Mandich. The seniors were humiliated [especially the ones from Ohio] by the 1968 thrashing [50-14] from Ohio State. They wanted another opportunity to play the Buckeyes. Revenge and getting even played a significant part of their psychological makeup. No one senior had to verbalize out loud a desire to beat Ohio State. Nor did anyone have to tell them about the importance of winning that game. And all this happened even before Bo came to town.

5. The Mellow Men [freshman in 1968] made a group vow that November to never let a thrashing [from Ohio State] like that happen again. These talented, athletic, black mellow men [Thom Darden, Billy Taylor, Mike Taylor, Reggie McKenzie, Butch Carpenter, Mike Oldham, and Glenn Doughty] played an important part in the 1969 season.

6. The transition [discipline, brutal practices, abusive language, etc.] from the easy-going gentlemen like Bump Elliott to the gruff Bo Schembechler was not easy. Bo told his coaches not to disrespect in any way Bump and his staff. The coaching staff was supportive and fun on the practice and playing field, not at all like Bo.

More to follow.

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