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October 08, 1970 - Image 6

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-10-08

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Page Six

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Thursday, October' 8, 197U MCI

1'age Six THE MICHIGAN D/~dLY Thursday, Uctober 8, 197(3

i

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Monday-Saturday
UM UNION

Calling phony 'plays

STUDENT
RATES

By BILL ALTERMAN
In the Stadium, 100,000 or so
spectators try to guess what the
next play will be.
For a few of them, however,
only the results remain specula-
tive.
THE PRIVILEGED FEW are
those coaches who every Satur-
day sit up in the pressbox, an-
alyzing their team and the op-
position. For Michigan this se-
lect group usually includes de-
fensive line coach Frank Ma-
loney, defensive backfield coach
Dick Hunter, offensive line
coach Terry Hanlon and offen-
sive backfield coach Chuck Sto-
bart.
In addition to their vantage
point, these "spectators" a 1 s o

have t h e advantage of three
phones. The lines are admitted-
ly simple, however, and the only
place that can be called on them
is the Michigan bench.
NEVERTHELESS, the phones
are rarely free, for according
to Hanlon, "We talk to j us t
about everybody on the team in
the course of a game."
And the man t hey talk to
most, of course, is head coach
Bo Schembechler. "C a111 n g
plays," says Hanlon, "is a co-
ordinated effort between the
coaches on the field and those
in the pressbox. We give him
(Schembechler) a suggestion
and most of the time it is used."
The necessity of spotters is
obvious. Although that may be

4c to
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U

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I

Econocopy
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No. 5

I

next to where the action is, the
sidelines are definitely not the
place from which to see the
game. Unlike the masses in the
stands, the elites along the field
can only see those players near-
est them; the others are screen-
ed out.. This combined with the
slope of the field (for drainage
purposes) forces coaches to get
people high up.
"It's a better vantage point,"
Hanlon declares, "It gives you
an overall picture of what is
happening on the field. It's dif-
ficult to judge things from the
sidelines."
HANLON SAYS the first
thing he looks for "is the oppo-
sition's basic defense, to see if
they are doing what ,we antici-
pated they would do. Are they
going to stay in (their expect-
ed game plan), or are adjust-
ments going to be necessary."
Normally, however, the over-
all situation will not alter dras-
tically from what is expected.
Thus the coaches work mostly
on individual man-to-man sit-
uations.
Offensive end Billy Harris,
for one, sometime early in the
game will grab the player phone
and summarize his situation to
George Mans, the offensive end
coach who frequently works
from upstairs.
"Usually he asks the ques-
tions," says Harris. "We'll talk
back and forth until we come
up with something. He might
ask how the defensive guy is
playing you and if I think I
can beat him long and I'll say'
I don't know and he'll suggest
a look-in and I'll say maybe and
so on."
ANOTHER PLAYER on the
phone "once in a while" during
a game is quarterback Don
Moorhead. Moorhead admits,
"At the beginning it's hard for
me to pick up what the defense
is doing on certain downs. I'll
also talk over what patterns my
receivers should try."
"Spotters are a great a i d.
They know what's going on, up
th ere.. .
Hanlon sees their job as fig-
uring out "what we've d o n e,
why it went well or why not.
We try a n d anticipate situa-
FOR UNIVERSITY
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-Daily-Jim Judkis
ASSISTANT COACH DICK HUNTER mans the phone as head
coach Bo Schembechler ponders what to do.

i

I-'*

I

Black or. Brown

tions, determining what play we
might want on a given situation.
"Most of the time you have
to have your game plans al-
ready made, long before we get
up there. We try and pick the
right spots for certain plays.
"Even in the fourth quarter
we are still trying to find out
how we can take advantage of
them. It's our job (on defense)
to come up with something to
counteract them."
Just before the end of the
half, Hanlon heads down to the
locker room where he puts the
opposition's defense on t h e
board. When the weary players
come in, he explains to them
how they are being played, what
they are doing and why.
BACK IN the old, old days,
this was the only thing a spot-
ter did. Before headphones and
the like were invented spotters
simply had to bide their time
until the half, or else make the
long walk down. Spotters were
also sent out to scout the op-
position in games against other
opponents.
According to Harry Kipke,
who coached the Wolverines
from 1929 to 1937, phones were
first used sometime in the late
1920's after the current Mich-
igan Stadium had been built.
"We always had spotters in the
pressbox. They would c om e
down at the half and discuss
how it's going and tell the play-
ers to use this play or that. They
had telephones, especially
toward the end of my career,
but they weren't as prominent.
"Of course, back then we
weren't allowed to send in sig-
nals or substitutes anyway, the
quarterback had to call all the
plays. Every now and then,
though, we would use illegal
hand signals".
BENNIE OOSTERBANN, who

was an all-American under
Kipke, recalls that "headphones
were well established when Fritz
Crisler first came here in
1938) .
Today there are actually three
phones: an offensive p h o n e
connected to Schembechler, a
headset for defensive coordin-
ator Jim Young, and, the player
phone which is passed from one
player to the next,
The phones themselves a r e
the property of the athletic de-
partment. Before the season
starts Bell Telephone employes
"activate" the line connection.
Then prior to each game t h e
phones are dug out of storage
and hooked up.
Telephones, as we have all
doubtless learned by now, are
exceedingly fallible. "Once in a
while the phones break," relates
Hanlon. "Against Washington
we lost two phones and for a
while we had to hand the play-
er phone back and forth."
SPEED is of the essence to
the men upstairs. From t h e
time the ball is whistled in play
until the time it must be hiked
is a mere 25 seconds. In that
time the coaches in the p r e s s
box, in quick consultation with
"The Man" on the field, m us t
decide on a play, send in a
substitute with that play, have
the signalcaller repeat it and
get the team up to the line. The
defense has simpler signals but
conversely, they must be up to
the line ;sooner in order to be
ready for the offense.
And so it goes for 60 playing
minutes every Saturday. While
the physical wheels are churn-
ing on the field, up in the booth
a handful of determined m e n
observe the contact, analyze the
situation, suggest a course of ac-
tion ... and pray.

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