Page 12-B-Friday, September 7, 1979-The Michigan Daily
Behind the scene:
Wolverine football assistants
They're there, alright.
Their names are not splashed across
the headlines of the sports pages, their
faces are not instantly recognized by
the average football fan, and their work
goes largely unheralded. But the im-
portance of their roles and the expertise
with which they perform their trade
are reflected in Michigan's successful
THEY'RE THE assistant coaches.
Each works with one group of players,
divided up by positions. And the hope
here is that if every gridder receives
individual attention in learning the in-
tracacies of his position, the whole lot
will be able to form a coordinated,
smooth-running platoon when game
The offensive line comes under the
guidance of Wolverine veteran Jerry
:Hanlon. He began his Michigan career
in 1966, and has handled the offensive
l nemen since 1969.
Hanlon is a graduate of Miami of
.Ohio, where he was a halfback on two
iid-America conference champion
thams. He coached secondary school
and was on the staff at Dayton before
joining the Wolverines.
DURING THE games, Hanlon and
several of his colleagues keep an eye on
the action from the press box. From
there they analyze plays, trying to
figure out what went wrong and how to
"You have a game plan and you want
to implement that plan," Hanlon said.
"But if there is anything that gave you
problems, like if their defense doesn't
do what you anticipated, then you want
to be able to counter with something
that will work."
Two other graduates of Miami of
Ohio, Bo Schembechler's alma mater,
form the rest of the offensive coaching
Tirrel Burton starred in football and
track at Miami, setting records in yar-
ds per carry and points scored in his
senior year at halfback. After playing a
year with the Ottawa Rough Riders, he
joined the coaching ranks at the high
school and college levels before coming
to Michigan in 1970. He now handles the
Rounding out the offensive coaches is
Don Nehlen, whose job as offensive
backfield coach is especially weighty
this season in light of the departure of
quarterback Rick Leach. With his
position having been up for grabs
among a number of signal callers,
Nehlen has taken on the responsibility
of coaching the quarterbacks only.
which confronts the defensive coaches.
The man coordinating this effort is Bill
After lettering three seasons as a
linebacker at Missouri, McCartney
made his mark in the high school cir-
cuit by coaching Dearborn Divine
Child. Both his football and basketball
teams won Catholic League and state
titles. He became defensive end coach
here in 1974, and took over as defensive
coordinator (as well as inside
linebacker coach) in 1977.
IN DEVELOPING a young
linebacker, McCartney says that he ad-
ds the finer points of the Blue defensive
tactics to the athletes'(natural abilities.
"Each guy has his own set of skills,"
he said. "But Michigan's defense is
structured so that linebackers have to
be able to range widely between the
McCartney's main concern for this
season is depth.
"WE'RE LOOKING for guys to come
in and challenge the returning star-
ters," he said.
Outside linebackers fall under the eye
of Dennis Brown. As a student player at
Michigan, he led the 1968 squad to a
second place finish while leading the
Big Ten in total offense. He served as a
graduate assistant to Schembechler in
1970 and spent one year at Dartmouth,
before re-joining the Michigan ranks.
Jack Harbaugh, overseer of the
defensive backs, had a varied coaching
history before joining the Wolverines in
blend winning recipe
Morehead State, and coached the Chief. He joined the Michigan staff in
Falcons three seasons before becoming 1975.
an assistant at Iowa. Given the amount of input the
Watching over the defensive line is coaches contribute to Michigan's suc-
Milan Vooletich. A 1964 graduate of cess, compared with the recognition
Geneva College, he came to Michigan received, an assistant coach may have
in 1978 from Colorado and also has the epitome of a thankless job.
three years of assistant coaching at Nonetheless, there truly is an im-
Miami of Ohio under his belt. pressive amount of football knowledge
Ex-Blue fullback Bob Thornbladh that makes up Bo's squad of right-hand
now fills a coaching slot as special men. There has to be, in order for the
assistant. He lettered under Schembec- Wolverines to compete on the level
hler from 1971-1973 and also gave the they've been able to for the past
pro ranks a shot as a Kansas City Schembechler decade.
Trying to formulate a defense that AFTER RECEIVING his master's
an match up to last year, in which degree from Bowling Green, Harbaugh
ichigan finished second in the nation was mentor at several high schools in
points scored against, is the task Ohio. He returned to BG after a year at
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ANOTHER FOOTBALL year is at hand for Bo Schembechler and his Wolverine
squad, which opens at home tomorrow against Northwestern, last year's Big Ten
doormat. In 10 years at the Michigan helm, Schembechler has compiled a 96-19-3
record, including an Orange Bowl and five Rose Bowl appearances. It will be Bo's
goal this year to reverse the Wolverine's Bowl fortunes, his team never having won
the final game of the season.
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