The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - November 19, 1990 - Page 3
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Detroit Lion Andre Ware has
been part of the uncertainty Lions
coach Wayne Fontes has made with
the quarterback position this
season. Ware has been shuffled
with Rodney Peete and Bob
Gagliano as the signal caller for the
Silver Stretch. This is afar cry from
last season, when Ware won the
Heisman Trophy at the University
of Houston. On Nov. 9, Ware and
his agent, Leigh Steinberg, spoke at
the Law School. Daily Sports
Writer Andy DeKorte caught up
1 with the high-paid Lion rookie to
discuss Ware's departure from the
college ranks to the pros, his role
with the Lions and his goals for the
Daily: What factors influenced
your early flight from college?
Ware: It really wasn't one thing.
One big factor that influenced me to
leave was the combination of a lot
jof things. The timing was right for
myself to leave. I had to do what
was best for myself and my family
at the time and I felt like it was time
for me to move on.
D: What were your concerns in
moving up to the professional level?
Did you feel that you could step
right in and contribute?
W: Yes, I felt like I could, espe-
cially because I was drafted by the
Detroit Lions. Being familiar with
the system that they're running
there, I naturally felt like I could
step in and contribute right away.
My main concern was picking up
the speed of the game. I think at this
day (11/9) and time right now, I feel
D: On a more personal level,
what effect did leaving college early
have on your education?
W: Well you know naturally,
like I was telling Lee (his agent,
Steinberg) coming in, you kind of
miss it (the atmosphere), whether
you graduated or not. I'm eighteen
hours away from my degree, I'm
going back in January to finish
school. That played a part (in
leaving early), knowing that it
would only take a semester to go
' back and finish...'
D: When you were selected by
the Lions you knew you would be
going to a team that has been less
successful than most of your other
teams. How did you feel about that?
W: It makes you feel good when
you take something that's been bro-
ken for so long and you take a part
in fixing it. We were at the bottom
of the Southwest Conference when I
got to the University of Houston.
To see that program go from being
on rock bottom to where it is today
and knowing that you played a big
" part in getting there, is a feeling in
itself. I feel the same way about our
situation in Detroit. We've got good
players, it's just a matter of us
putting it together and playing well.
We can win, we showed last week
we almost beat a very good Wash-
ington team. We're still young,
we're still learning how to win.
D: During the draft last spring, a
lot of discussion centered on you be-
ing the perfect run-n-shoot quarter-
back. Obviously you do not have a
rookie quarterback discusses life
eaving college early for the pros
wealth of NFL experience, but what
do think are the differences in the
run-n-shoot of college and of the
W: There's really not any differ-
ence, the speed of the game is really
what makes it different in the college
and the pro's. The speed is probably
two times greater than in college.
But I still feel like I am what I was
predicted to be coming out of col-
lege. It's just a matter of getting an
opportunity. I have it this week and
I have to make the most of it.
D: Another difference in the two
levels is signing. Did you expect to
have to hold out to get an amicable
W: I really didn't. I thought that
is now for me and I have to make
the most of it.
D: Have you felt that you were
prepared to start before this week's
game (against Minnesota)?
W: I felt prepared enough to start
a couple of weeks ago. I actually
thought I would go into the game
against New Orleans two weeks ago
and I didn't. I had a good feeling this
past week against Washington. If I
had suited for the game, I probably
would have played. I had that feeling
all week long. I felt like I was ready
D: What factors kept you from
playing more or starting before this
week against Washington?
W: I really don't know. That's
had thrown them into contention for
a national championship?
W: No, I'm not surprised. Coach
Jenkins has surrounded (quarterback)
David Klingler with a fine group of
receivers, ones that I wish I had last
year when I was there. We finished
the season pretty much with moving
S-backs to slot receivers and walk-
ons. But David is surrounded with
talent, and both he and the talent
around him are playing well. The
defense has played well at times.
They deserve to be where they are.
D: Do you think a team can win
the national championship without
being allowed to play in the post-
W: Well, I think a lot's made out
of that, more than has been neces-
sary. Last year, a lot of people said I
wouldn't win the Heisman (Trophy)
because we were on probation. It's
just another dark cloud people are
trying to put over the University. A
lot of things happen and it's
(winning the championship) possi-
D: Did you feel that Houston
could contend for the national cham-
pionship before the season started? If
so, what effect did that have on your
decision to leave early?
W: Well, I didn't really know.
Before I left I told coach Jenkins that
I never would leave him if I didn't
think David was capable of doing the
job. And David was capable of doing
the job. We sat down and we talked
about that. I felt they'd be a good
football team. But I can honestly tell
you I didn't really envision them be-
ing in the position to win a national
championship. I knew the talent was
there, but you just kinda wonder,
you never really think about things
D: What are your goals in foot-
ball, and outside of football during
W: I really don't set individual
goals for myself, just for our foot-
ball team to be the best we can be.
I'd like to help turn the organization,
that's been down for so long, around
to where it's respected. The only
thing I want out of football is for
people to say that he gave his all on
the field as well as he did off the
field; to help out in the community
as much as possible. Kids look up
to myself and athletes are magnified
to a degree that's unbelievable. I
don't ever want anyone to disrespect
me, and I won't disrespect them by
going out and doing something
D: Lastly, what are your predic-
tions for Lions reaching post-season
play this year?
W: We just got to learn how to
win the big one. Last week we had
Washington on the hook and we let
them off. Its going to be a matter of
us putting things together. We're
getting closer and closer and closer
as the day goes on. We're close to
being a really good football team.
People are saying we should junk
our offense for something else. It's
unbelievable how many critics we
have, and we're close to being a
good football team.
Voice of Meechigan:
Ufer legend lives on
The sky is ominously dark, the temperature Novemberesque. The trees
are barren, and what graced their limbs now lay scattered, covering the
grass and the swirly roads. Football season is winding down. Forest Hills
Cemetery, on Observatory and Geddes, sports some recognizable names,
others merely monuments with letters and dates.
But walk a little further. Farther past the sprawling, cemetery gates.
And soon you can hear it. Soon the body will fill with emotion. There'is
a silver-stoned tombstone with a large block M' that reads:
Robert P. Ufer
April 1, 1920
October 26, 1981
And somewhere in the wind, you can here a magnificent sound.
Okay. Under center is Wrangler, at the 45. He goes back looking for a
receiver. He Throws Downfield To Carter. Carter Has It!! Carter Is
AAAAAAAHAHHHHHHHHH (Ufer horn honks in background) CAk-
TER'S SCORED. BY GOD, CARTER'S SCORED.... (inaudible)... LOOK
AT THOSE WOLVERINES. NINETY-FIVE WOLVERINES ARE GOING
INTO THE ENDZONE.... UFER IS GOING OUT OF HIS MIND. I HAVE
NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS IN ALL MY 40 YEARS OF
COVERING MICHIGAN FOOTBALL. ANTHONY CARTER, THE HtJ-
MAN TORPEDO, CAUGHT THE PASS. BO SCHEMBECHLER IS
LOOKING UP, HE'S LOOKING UP TO FIELDING H. YOST IN FOOT-
BALL'S VALHALLA AND BO SCHEMBECHLER SAYS, "THANK
YOU FIELDING YOST, THANK YOU FIELDING YOST FOR THAT
ONE." LOOK AT THE CROWD. YOU CANNOT BELIEVE IT! Meee-
CHIGAN THROWS A 45 YARD TOUCHDOWN PASS.
JOHNNY WRANGLER TO ANTHONY CARTER WILL BE HEARD
UNTIL ANOTHER 100 YEARS OF MICHIGAN FOOTBALL IS
And so will Bob Ufer.
The man has not been with us for nine years now, yet walk to Michi-
gan Stadium on a Saturday, and his voice is bound to come booming
from somewhere. A plaque with his picture is attached at the west en-
trancenof the stadium he sn much loveA Bt it is his voice that lives n
Detroit Lions quarterback Andre Ware listens as his agent Leigh
Steinberg speaks to 'M' law students a week ago Friday. Ware made his
first NFL start that weekend against Minnesota, only to be pulled in
favor of Bob Gagliano in the second half.
things would be taken care of quicker
than they did. We proposed a con-
tract to Detroit way back in May and
they didn't respond until six weeks
later. We did everything on our part
to get their early and it was just kind
D: What affect do you think your
prolonged holdout has had on your
readiness to play?
W: Well, as time goes on, you
learn not to really ask any questions.
In the back of your mind you wonder
if things had gotten handled quicker
what kind of position I'd be in. I feel
comfortable right now with the situ-
ation and the way things have turned
out. I wouldn't have done it any dif-
ferently. If I had it to do over, I'd it
the exact same way. The opportunity
really out of my hands. Coach
(Wayne) Fontes really makes those
decisions. He's told me that when he
felt like I was ready, he would put
me in the game. I guess he feels that
way now and now's the time I'll
D: How is interacting with the
other quarterbacks - Bob Gagliano
and Rodney Peete?
W: It's been a little testy since
the major announcement (to start
Andre) a couple of days ago. All I've
asked is that those guys support me
as I've supported them. We talk and
we joke around. Nothing's really
D: Are you surprised by the out-
standing play of your alma mater
(University of Houston, 9-1) that
Harry Carey may be a homer, but no one came close to the energy dis-
played by a Michigan man who couldn't help spout his own Maize and
Blue philosophies to thousands on the radio each football Saturday.
In 1945, Ufer began broadcasting Michigan football on WPAG, before
moving to WJR in the mid-1970's. For 37 years, Ufer called every
Michigan game. In 1981, cancer caught hold of the Ufer body, but not the
spirit. Fans all around knew the stranglehold it placed on Ufer. He could
only do the pregame shows, his body would not let him pound out the en-
thusiasm needed for an entire game.
As he sat at halftime in the radio booth against Iowa on October Iq,
1981 watching the Michigan Marching Band, a warm hand of gratitude
reached out to Ufer.
His son, Tom, who spotted for WJR in Ufer's final years, remembels
his dad turning to him in disbelief. The band was spelling out their name.
Ufer went to the public address announcer's booth and spoke to the capac-
I want you to know that what I've done through the years has been a
labor of love and right now, I would like to God Bless each and every
one of you cotton-pickin Maize and Blue Meeechigan fans. You're*,a
great Michigan family and I want to ask you two questions. Number one,
down deep in your heart, what school has the finest football traditionin
the country today?"
"Meeechigan," the crowd answered.
And the second question - whose the number one football coach in
the country today?
"BO!" the crowd replied.
Right you are, 100 percent.... Alright. And now that I have you an
your feet I want every cotton-pickin one of you to join in and let's sing
one chorus of the greatest college fight song ever written. The Meechi-
He then led 105,000 in the tune.
Ten days later, Bob Ufer was dead.
"We were choked up," Tom Ufer said of the halftime salute. Tom sells
insurance at Ufer and Sons in town. "He was not in good health then, fiut
courage is an amazing thing. When he was on the PA, we have a wine
angle shot from the booth, shooting down from the crowd. If you lookat
that picture, 99.5 percent of all the people are turned up to see dad." -
Tapes of Ufer and his famous Uferisms are still available in Ann Ar-
bor, and are sold at most souvenir shops. The sales of the tapes are still
strong - 35,000 have been sold since his death.
Proceeds from the tapes are placed in a scholarship fund. Each year,
four one-year scholarships worth $2,500 each are handed out. Two are
given to incoming Michigan students graduating from Ann Arbor Pioneer
and Huron High School. Two more are bestowed upon Michigan undr-
graduates who go on to graduate school at Michigan.
On the tapes, Ufer still comes across loud and clear. Throughout a
game, Ufer became a show himself, honking a horn from General Geoi-e
Patton's Jeep - three times for a Michigan touchdown, two for a field
goal, one for an extra point. In describing plays like none other, Ufer
could always place things in a proper perspective. In 1978, MSU coach
Darryl Rogers called Michigan "arrogant asses." After the Wolverings
defeated the Spartans the following year, Ufer coined this gem.
You know it wasn't only the loss (to MSU) that upset the Michigan
football family in 1978. It was a statement made by the head Spartan him-
self, the head honcho, when in December he entered the now famous
phrase, "They truly are arrogant asses in Ann Arbor, Michigan." 'o
with that statement still ringing in our ears, old Robert Frost Ufer could
only think of one fitting thing to say right now. That today, October 6of
1979, is the day that 22 Michigan arrogant asses put on the gloves of
green and as Richter played the Victors, they picked Darryl Rogers
.h ' 'r;., .. ;" x rev, f.