Friday, September 16, 2016

A Bo Schembechler Story Part 5

Jim Brandstatter was from East Lansing, Michigan. It wasn’t until his junior year, that Jim realized he was actually making a significant contribution. Up to that point, he worked very hard but still had doubts about his ability. The Wolverines were playing the University of Arizona and Michigan’s starting tackle Jack Harpring was injured so, Jim took the field. The game was close, and the outcome still in doubt. In the huddle, a screen pass was called. For Jim, this meant that he had to perform and pretend to block the defensive man in front of him. Quickly, he then had to get out in front of running back Billy Taylor, the pass target. The Wildcat cornerback came up to make the play, to tackle Taylor, but Jim was in a good position and knocked that Wildcat player to the side and out-of-the-way. Taylor scored, the crowd roared and Michigan won the game. Then, Jim confessed that he realized, perhaps for the first time, that he could get the job done with the game on the line. He could play at this level. And the coaches had confidence and trust in him. He could make a significant contribution, and he belonged on this team. This play certainly built his confidence. He now knew that he can do this. As a freshman from Aurora, Ohio, Tom Curtis, doubted his ability to play quarterback at this level. The other quarterbacks on the practice field were Healy, Vidmer, and Dennis Brown among others. This 18-year-old wondered, am I good enough? Then, the three recruited quarterbacks started throwing the ball around. Tom began to evaluate them. In comparison, his self-appraisal changed from, am I good enough to I can throw, just as well as them. As a sophomore, playing on the defensive side of the ball, the night before the first season game, Curtis’ position coach told him that he was going to be the starting left safety. At first, the insecure, Tom was bothered by the good news/bad news that he was starting at left safety. Without having practiced that position, how could he be successful? He believed that he needed practice learning the nuances of a specific position in order to play well. He didn’t dare confess or tell his position coach, but kept his insecurity to himself. Despite not practicing at left safety, Tom intercepted a pass in his first outing. That performance earned him a starting position at left safety for the following game.

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