The Michigan Daily-Thursday, January 8, 1981-Page 11
Six-time All-Pro Die rdorf has
banner season following injury
By RON POLLACK
Offensive tackle Dan Dierdorf of the
Louis Cardinals entered the 1979
seasoin in the National Football league
with five consecutive Pro Bowl ap-*
pearajces under his belt. He would not
get the opportunity to play in the All-
Star game for a sixth consecutive time
though, due to a knee injury that forced
him to miss most of the season.
The injury occured when he was
blocking on an extra point attempt. Two
'yers fell on him from the'side, thus
locating his left knee.
THE KNEE REQUIRED surgery,
but the lingering scar would be more
than physical. "I wasn't sure how it
would be until I got to training camp,"
said Dierdorf yesterday from his
business office in Missouri. "I think
there are a lot of subconscious barriers
you have to overcome. I walk off the
field after a game and think that I'm
not doing anything differently, and then
I'll see the films and see that I am."
9By lifting weights, performing exer-
ses designed by the Cardinal coaching
staff, and allowing his knee time to
heal, Dierdorf has regained sufficient
use o his knee so as to play well enough
to regain his Pro Bowl status.'
Dierdorf has conquered the mental
aspects of recovering from a knee in-
jury. "You have to learn to deal with it.
You can never put it 100 percent behind
you. I now play with a steel brace on
th knees. I think I've pretty well got
y knees protected."
ALTHOUGH HE has made a
remarkable recovery from his injury,
Dierdorf's play has nonetheless been
affected. "I played better at the end of
the season, and that's a good sign.
Early in the season, I was working my
right leg too much. I was over-
compensating for the one that was in-
jured," said Dierdorf.
When Dierdorf was chosen by the St.
Louis Cardinals in the second round of
the 1971 college draft, he felt his one
weakness was his "inexperience in pass
blocking." An All-American tackle at
Michigan in 1970, Dierdorf's collegiate
football days were spent primarily
opening holes for Wolverine running
'You're never completely satisfied with how uwell
you play, but I think I've reached a standard of
play by which others are judged.'
backs. Thus, a big adjustment for pro
ball was in order. "At Michigan, when I
was there, our passing was mostly play
action passes," he explained. "It took
me a couple of years to learn the tricks
of the trade in pass blocking."
Leading the run was a different story
however. "My biggest asset (upon en-
tering the NFL) was my ability to run
block, which is attributed to offensive
line coach Jerry Hanlon, who is still
with the team. I don't think there's a
finer teacher. He's a stickler for
details. I don't think there's anyone in
the country better qualified and with a
better track record," said Dierdorf.
THE MICHIGAN alumnus, who was
named to Street and Smith magazine's
NFC Team of the Decade along with
College & Pro Football Newsweekly's
NFL Team of the Decade, speaks
proudly of his achievements. "You're
never completely satisfied with how
well you play, but I think I've reached a
standard of play by which others are
What makes Dierdorf's rapid return
to the Pro Bowl particularly impressive
is the fact that he had to overcome a
long layoff while that lame knee
recuperated from surgery. "It was a
lengthy ordeal. It was six months
before I could do anything of con-
sequence, like play racquetball."
Althoqgh he is many years removed
from his playing days in Ann Arbor,
Dierdorf continues to share in the hap-
piness of success that often accom-
panries the Wolverine football team.,
Such was the case with this year's Rose
Bowl victory over Washington, as is
evident by Dierdorf's comments direc-
ted towards his former head coach.
"I'm so happy for Bo. Iknow it's been
hanging over him like a cloud. He must
be sleeping well these days."
DIERDORF'S memories of Michigan
should be rekindled at the Pro Bowl,
when he joins other Michigan alumni
(offensive tackle) Mike Kenn of the
Atlanta Falcons and (defensive back)
Randy Logan of the Philadelphia
Eagles on the National Conference
The Cardinal tackle gives opposing
defensive ends reason for worry when,
following a season in which he is voted
to the Pro Bowl, he says, "I think I'll
play better next year."
About the only reason that Dierdorf's
opposition will have reason for op-
timism is the fact that he says that the
1981 season will be his last in
North Carolina 75, Maryland 66
Georgia 90, Florida 74
Ball St. 85, Eastern Michigan 72
Clemson 65, Georgia Tech54
Toledo 76, Kent St. 64
Wake Forest 63, Appalachian St. 42
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