John Wangler, who led the Wolverines to theirlast Rose Bowl victory, will be
trying to bring his talents to the Detroit franchise.of the United States Foot-
ball League next spring.
Wangler passes time
until USFL kicks off
By JIM DWORMAN
What is the quarterback who led
Michigan to its most recent Rose Bowl
victory doing in an advertising office?
"Just getting my feet wet,"says John
Wangler of his new job at Ann Arbor's
M and K Productions. Wangler, who
guided the Wolverines to a 23-6
thrashing of the Washington Huskies in
the 1981 Rose Bowl is back in town after
a two-year absence and a pair of unsuc-
cessful tryouts in the National Football
The Royal Oak native now works
mornings at the advertising firm before
returning to familiar haunts, the
Michigan football office, in the after-
noon. There he helps the Wolverines
prepare for their upcoming opponents.
"Both teams had people there who
they were satisfied with," says the 6-3,
192-pounder who found that winning a
spot on the bench behind Eric Hipple
was no easier than claiming one behind
Ordinarily, being waived by two
professional teams without ever
playing a down would signify the end of
a career, but a new quarterbacking op-
portunity awaits Wangler: The United
States Football League.
"I THINK it's my best chance," says
Wangler of the fledgling league, which
is scheduled to begin play next sum-
In fact, the USFL's Detroit franchise,
which owns the territorial rights to all
Michigan football players, already has
contacted Wangler about his
availability. He expects to play for
them and hopes to pursue an M.B.A.
degree in the off-season.
But a USFL career may not have
been Wangler's only professional option
were it not for the knee injury he suf-
fered in the 1979 Gator Bowl game. The
injury was diagnosed as being so severe
that doctors feared Wangler's playing
days to be over. Instead, Wangler
rehabilitated the knee and went on to
enjoy his finest season as a Wolverine.
AFTER ERASING the Michigan
coaching staff's doubts about the soun-
dness of his knee by coming off the ben-
ch to throw three touchdown passes in a
29-27 loss to Notre Dame, Wangler
claimed the starting position and
remained there for the final 10 games of
Wangler completed 117 of 212 passes
attempted for 1,522 yards, earning his
name a place among the top three in the
Michigan record book in all three
But Wangler's comeback did not im-
press the NFL, which bypassed him in
its player draft.
Did doubts about the knee remain?
Wangler acknowledges the possibility,
but it is a question that will remain
The knee is now strong. By his own
estimate, Wangler runs a 4.85 second
40-yard dash, compared to a pre-injury
timing of 4.75.
For Wangler, the injury is past. It is
time to look down the road, to Detroit
and the USFL.
"BASICALLY, I've been helping
coach (Alex) Agase go through the
films," says Wangler. "I also help Tony
Jackson (a former Michigan defensive
back) help set up the defensive secon-
dary for the demonstration team."
That may seem like a small role for
the man whose passing accuracy
caused coach Bo Schembechler to
abandon option football, but it keeps
Wangler on the field and ready for his
next shot at playing professional foot-
"The (New York) Jets want to fly me
out there next week for a workout so
I'm going to do that," says Wangler.
'But that really doesn't mean
anything. They bring a lot of people in
during the season to rate and put on
THE JETS will be the third NFL
team to look at Wangler since his
graduation from Michigan. The Dallas
Cowboys signed him as a free agent
before the 1981 season but cut him
during training camp. The Detroit
Lions did the same this year.
0 M~ILL M [l us aep~.) a ruc ......x47 m