Friday, November 2, 1984 THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
The Mandel twins
from Ann Arbor are trying
to make it on their favorite
hometown football team.
our hours a day, five days a
week, Scott and David Mandel of Ann
Arbor sacrifice their relatively small,
6'3" 200-pound bodies to the burlier
behemoths who play football at the
University of Michigan.
The 17-year-old identical twins
are freshmen non-scholarship players,
or walk-ons, trying out for the Wol-
verines based on hopes, dreams and a
shot at glory at one of the most com-
petitive and physically-demanding
college football programs in the coun-
Why do they do it?
For the greater glory of Michigan
football," laughs Scott, whose right
shoulder is wrapped in a brace follow-
ing a separation. A tight end who
wears number 88, Scott didn't hurt his
shoulder trying to outmuscle a vicious
linebacker. He says he "fell kind of
funny" on Michigan's artificial turf
during a blocking drill. He expects to
be back in uniform soon.
David, who also plays tight end
(number 97), now stands on the
sidelines during Michigan home
games without his brother, the first
time the pair have been separated. on
the gridiron since they began playing
football as fourth graders in Ann
Arbor Little League.
First Sunday School and then Fri-
day evening services, both at Temple
Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor, had to wait
until November when the Mandels
finished football season.
We played side by side through-
out our career," says David, an all-
conference and all-regional offensive
tackle at Ann Arbor Huron High
School his senior year last year. Scott
played offensive guard primarily, but
missed out on post-season honors be-
cause he was constantly switched to
other positions to replace injured
When the brothers' high school
grid careers ended last fall, they were
beseiged with scholarship offers from
the Ivy League and smaller schools.
Both were outstanding students,
David with a 3.7 grade point average
and Scott with a 3.3. They had planned
to enter Michigan and that decision
was affirmed for David when he was
accepted into U-M's honors college.
We planned to go to Michigan
The Mandel twins are shown in an early-season
photograph when Scott had a separated shoulder.
BY STEVE RAPHAEL
Special to The Jewish News
anyway, so we figured we might as
well try out for football. We had noth-
ing to lose,-" says Scott, who will major
in history or political science. David is
A family friend set up an inter-
view between the Mandels and Fritz
Seyferth, the academic/recruiting
coordinator for Michigan's head foot-
ball coach, Bo Schembechler.
"We set three criteria for all
walk-ons," Seyferth says. The stu-
dent must already be accepted into the
university. We must get a favorable
assessment of him from his high school
coach. And we talk to each walk-on in
a personal interview."
Seyferth liked the Mandels' atti-
tude, their love of football and their
determination to succeed. He also
liked the fact that there was lots of
room for beef on the brothers' thin (by
football standards), but large frames.
"Fritz told us that we have to love
football a lot in order to walk-on,"
David says. He says Michigan runs
an extremely competitive program
and it wouldn't be easy for us."
The Mandels are two of 17 walk-
ons this year, a larger number than
usual, Seyferth says. Normally,
Michigan attracts eight walk-ons a
year, 75 percent of whom stick it out
for four years.
The Mandels aren't the only twins
on the • Michigan football team. Bob
and Rick Stites are freshmen walk-
ons, also from Ann Arbor. Tim and
Todd Schulte are identical twins from
Ft. Thomas, Ky., but are on schol-
Walk-ons face many barriers. One
is money. They get no scholarship aid
and 20 hours a week of practice pre-
cludes any chance of holding a part-
time job. Alan and Carla Mandel are
footing the bills for their sons, their
only children. If the brothers make the
varsity, they could receive a full or
Another barrier is a National Col-
legiate Athlete Association (NCAA)
rule that prohibits non-scholarship
players from eating dinner with the
team following daily practice. Thus,
the Mandels are denied the nightly
high cholesterol orgy of beef, potatoes,
vegetables, cakes, ice cream and milk
needed to help weight-lifting pro-
grams put on the precious pounds they
will need to be competitive.
Instead, when practice ends for
the pair, they drag their weary bodies
back to their dorms where food more
conducive to dieting awaits them.
Otherwise, the two receive the
same benefits and treatment as the •
scholarship players. Scott received
top-rate medical care for his shoulder
injury, there is the possibility of sum-
mer jobs for both, and both pump iron
under the watchful. eye of Michigan's
weight and conditioning coach.
"We're all treated alike," Scott
says. "The coaches are friendly and our
teammates are helpful, especially the
older guys who play tight end."
Schembechler, who hardly knows
the brothers, is fair to them, too, in his
own interesting way. He hasn't spared
them his special brand of coaching
style that he modestly labels "aggres-
sive" just because the Mandels are
"After I missed a block in practice
Bo called me the dumbest tight end he
has ever seen," laughs Dave, who
wears the criticism like a compliment.
"Bo is real tough and demanding. He
doesn't tolerate mistakes by anyone."
That includes Chuck Adams, Eric
Kattus, Mike Kovac, Sim Nelson, Paul
Schmerge and Jack Walker. These are
the six tight ends ahead of the Mandels
on the U-M depth chart. All are schol-
Nelson will probably be all-Big 10
this season and backup Eric Kattus is
considered his equal. Kovac was one of
the top 25 high school football players
in the nation last year, while Adams
made the top 100 list. The average
height of these six is 6'4" and the aver-
age weight is 227 pounds. All are fast.
Doesn't this competition scare the
"Not at all," David says. We don't
worry about the other guys. We just go
out to practice every day, do the best
we can and see what happens."
We knew it would be a while be-
fore we played," Scott adds. "We're just
trying to make it through the first
couple of years." -
Other walk-ons at Michigan have
succeeded and won scholarships, most
notably Seyferth. He walked on to the
team as a freshman in 1968 and made
all-Big 10 as a fullback in 1971. He
then played pro football. Current Wol-
verine starting linebacker Tim Ander-
son also was a walk-on before winning
`5The coaches keep our spirits up
by telling us about these guys who
made it against the odds," Scott says.
"It's one more reason for Dave and I to
be out on the field." ,
On the field, walk-ons serve as
cannon fodder for the 'varsity during
practice. They run the plays of the op-
position and are on the receiving end of
the anger and frustration of the var-
We aren't complaining," David
says. "We're just glad to be part of the
team. We dress for the home games,
and if Michigan goes to a bowl game,
there is a good chance we can go with
the team as full-fledged members."