Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bo Schembechler's Secrets-Part 3

7. Schembechler’s Wolverines were 3 and 2 after five games. The sixth game was against the University of Minnesota Gophers for the Little Brown Jug and the victory. However, at half time, Bo’s Wolverines were behind. The boisterous, loud and crude Schembechler came in to the locker room. The players were expecting him to be ranting and verbally abusing them. To their surprise, Bo in a calm voice, told the team “We are better than them, and don’t waste this opportunity.” With a little guilt, Bo’s statement was loud and clear to his young men [I believe in you and I have confidence in you]. The players left the locker room, and played the second half. The Gophers did not score again and the final score was Michigan 35 and Minnesota 9.

The team cohesively came together as one, on that Saturday, October 25, 1969 in Minneapolis. In essence, in that second half, both the offense and defense began to gel. The defense by holding and controlling the Gopher offense essentially put the Michigan offense in a great position to score points. By the same token, the Michigan offense didn’t go three and out and this allowed the defense to rest on the sidelines. Both the offense and defense were in resonance and played together as a team. Make no mistake about it, Bo had his imprint on the team from this point on.

8. The following Saturday, on November 1, Michigan played Wisconsin. Final score on that Saturday was Michigan 35 and Wisconsin 7. The next Saturday in November, Michigan played the University of Illinois. Again, the Wolverines were victorious, to say the least by the score of 57-0. Playing the University of Iowa in Iowa City on the 15th of November, again, the final score was a blowout with Michigan winning 51-6. As you can see, Michigan was playing as a team, team, and team. Clearly, his young studs truly began to believe in him and themselves and functioned as one. The winning momentum and attitude was contagious.

9. The last game of the season was played, in Ann Arbor on November 22, 1969 against Ohio State. There was snow and ice on the practice field due to poor weather conditions. Super-smart Bo sent another message to his troops. He sent his coaches out in the cold with their shovels shoveling away the ice and snow, so the players could practice on a small portion of the playing field. Believe me that got the attention of all the players. It showed them that the coaches were behind and with them all the way. It was the player’s job to practice and it was the coach’s job to facilitate in every way possible. And I mean in every way. The players knew that all the coaches had their backs.

More to follow.

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