The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - September 9, 1991 - Page 3
B&a: aste fix B3aaretatter
The former 'M'
tackle talks of
life on the other side of the mike
Jim Brandstatter played offen-
ive tackle at Michigan from 1969
olo 1971. He played in Bo Schem-
bechler's first years in Ann Arbor,
and one of the highlights of his
,career was the legendary victory
ever Ohio State in 1969. Today, he
is the host of "Michigan Replay,"
'(the Sunday morning coach's show)
and is also an analyst for WWJ-
/?adio's broadcasts of Wolverine
football games. Daily sports writer
Adam Miller called Brandstatter to
*get his thouglts on the current state
of Michigan athletics.
Daily: How does broadcasting a
game compare to being in one?
Brandstatter: In broadcasting,
the difference in doing a game - es-
pecially I do an analyst's job as op-
posed to play by play - you look at
a more overall picture of what the
offense is doing and what the de-
fense is doing to stop what the of-
*;fense is doing.
So as an offensive lineman, you
are more concerned in a game of one
specific job, block this guy, keep him
away from a passer. As a broad-
caster, you look at the overall pic-
ture a little bit and what's happen-
ing in the game and what kind of a
pattern the game is taking.
D: You also work doing Lions
broadcasts. How does it compare to
doing a Michigan game on Saturday?
- B: I think at the college level
there is a great deal more emotion.
It's not a business, as much as it is in
the National Football League. It's
still the same game but motivation
to some degree for the players is
different. At the college level for
the most part out of the starting 22,
16 or 17 of them will never go on
*-and play professional football. They
,are out there for the love of the
The NFL game, without ques-
,tion, has more skilled athletes and
at every position. They're high-qual-
ity players. The guys are faster,
they're bigger. But at the college
level, I think that the beauty of it is
the joy that the kids show in playing
D: What's the thing you like
most about being a football broad-
B: I think it's the fact that I en-
joy the game and I have the opportu-
nity and I'm very, very, very lucky
to have the opportunity to get into
the games for nothing and talk
about the games on the radio.
I think every game is a separate
Sstory with a beginning, a middle and
the end. And if I can help the lis-
tener understand the story a little
more and make it a little more fun
for him to listen to the game and en-
joy the process of going from the
beginning to the middle and getting
to the end, then I think I've done a
D: What's it like doing Michi-
B: Basically it's a pretty straight
:television show. Bob Lipson and I
:pick highlights of what we think are
key plays during a drive. I try to tell
the story of a game in a seven-
minute segment of highlights.
We also try to take on some is-
sues. We are planning this year, as a
matter of fact, to talk to President
Duderstadt and talk to him about
the Council of 10 and some of the
involvement now of college presi-
dents in collegiate athletics. As op-
posed to being just a football show,
we want to be able to entertain and
'I think at the college
level there is a great
deal more emotion.
Its not a business, as
much as it is in the
D: For a while people didn't call
it Michigan Replay. They called it
the Bo Show. Now that Moeller's
there, how's the show changed?
B: It hasn't changed a bit. Our
format hasn't changed at all. The
only change was that in Bo's last 10
years as coach, he was really a very
important spokesman for collegiate
He had success, he had experience,
he was past President of the Ameri-
can Football Coaches Association,
so what he said was important and
he was not unwilling to say things
that might have been controversial.
I think that in Mo's first year,
it's just like being a rookie at any-
thing. You're a little bit less con-
troversial. You want to make sure
everything is just right. You don't
want to rock too many boats.
And now I think Gary Moeller
is the coach of Michigan and I don't
think you'll hear as much talk about
Bo this year as you did last year.
And I think Gary Moeller will ma-
ture and develop into his own per-
sonality and create his own kind of
image and I think Michigan Replay
will help that.
D: How do you handle the situa-
tion where you're both an outsider
as a member of the media now, but
you still have great ties to the Uni-
B:You know, in collegiate ath-
letics, I don't very much get on kids
as far as saying, "You should have
done this," or "Should have done
that." These are kids still; they're
students. I might be a little more
critical of a guy playing a profes-
sional game because he's being paid
to do it.
If I say something positive, peo-
ple will say "Oh he's a Michigan
guy," so there are occasions when
some things happen that I'll bite my
tongue a little bit. I don't think
that's fair to me, but I understand it
because the perception from other
people is because that I graduated,
but I try to be as objective as I pos-
D: What are your main recollec-
tions of playing Michigan football?
B: Oh, I think the friendships
that I made with the members of the
team. You become a family and I
think that Bo created that when he
came in there. As a member of a
Michigan football team, you became
a member of a family and that's a
very close, tightly knit family. You
go to practice every day. You get
beat up and all of this seems like
you talk to veterans from certain
wars, they'll tell you that, "Man, if
I want to go to war, I want to go to
war with that guy."
D: Has your relationship with
Bo (Schembechler) changed now
that you were the broadcaster with
him on Michigan Replay and you did
play under him before?
B: Oh, not really. I don't think
your relationship ever changes from
when you are a player. Once a player
for Bo, you're always a player, no
matter what it is. It's not that we're
afraid of him, but we're his friends
now and yet, and we have great re-
spect for the man and yet you al-
ways have this thing where any
minute he might tell you, "You
know, you're just too fat and you
ought to lose some weight." You
know, he just has that ability.
D: Everyone has heard the story
about the time that he kicked you in
the rear end. Is that exactly as Bo
told it or is there another side to it?
B: It's a legendary story, isn't it?
It was the Tuesday after we got beat
by Missouri in 1969. We had a punt
blocked in that game. So on Tuesday,
when we first day go in pads, we
lined up to do special teams practice
'Once a player for Bo,
you're always a
player, no matter
what it is'
and he told everybody on the defense
that they better button up the chin
straps and come hard because he was
going to solve this problem of why
we were getting punts blocked. So
we basically went live punts, and
Dierdorf had a hip pointer and I was
playing the starting strong tackle.
So I got in there and I made my
block and I ran down field and I
looked up and there was no ball.
Somebody had gotten in and blocked
Now Bo thought the guy came
over me. Now he didn't. I know he
didn't because I made sure that I got
a piece of both guys who were to my
outside, which was my assignment
and then I took off. Well he ran, oh
30, 40 yards down field, screaming
at the top of his lungs, and at the
time we were practicing in the sta-
dium and it was an empty stadium
so it was echoing throughout the
stadium. The entire practice field
stopped. And he took off, oh I'd say
two to three yards from me and
kicked me and told me I was the
worst tackle in the history of inter-
collegiate football and to get off of
Now, I was running back to the
huddle because I knew it wasn't my
fault. As a matter of fact, when I
saw that the punt got blocked, I said
to myself, "Ooh, somebody's in big
trouble." And I'm running back,
kind of curling out and running back
down the sidelines to get back into
the huddle, and he keeps changing di-
rection running right at me.
You know at that point, he was
not in the mood to talk about it. So I
headed up the tunnel. I was on my
way out. I thought "Well, that's it
for me. My college career is over,"
and Jerry Hanlon came over and got
me and said "No no, don't worry
about it. Don't worry about it."
And I said, "Well he told me to
leave." And he said, "Don't worry
about it. It wasn't your guy." And I
said, "Why don't you tell him
that." And he said, "Not right
So, it was about two days later in
practice when Bo came back up to me
and says, "You don't think that was
your fault, do you?" And I said,
"Well, as a matter of fact, I know it
wasn't, because I know who the guy
was and I know it wasn't my guy"
And he said, "Yeah, well maybe you
just jabbed out too far." And I left,
but we got over that very easily.
Today, Tripp enjoys
game from his couch
Tripp Welborne relaxed in front of the television Saturday, watching
Michigan open its season at Boston College. It's been a while since he re-
laxed on game day.
He watched Otis Williams play strong safety, the position at which
Welborne earned all-America honors, the position at which he thought
he'd be playing right now in the NFL.
While he watched, he bounced two-year-old Ryan on his scarred right
knee, feeding him saltine crackers. Ryan is Williams' son and calls
Though called "Tripp" since birth, Welborne's real name is Sullivan
Anthony Welborne III. His nickname comes from being the third
Sullivan in the family. He plans on making his own son the fourth.
"I guess I'll call him 'Q,"' he said.
He doesn't take bouncing Ryan on his knee for granted. Though there
was a time when Welborne used to make razor-sharp cuts with that knee,
there was also a time when he couldn't walk on it.
It's been 10 months since the Minnesota game. Since the punt return.
Since the injury.
On that 31-yard return, Welborne suffered a host of injuries that
would make an arthroscopic surgeon cringe: torn anterior cruciate liga-
ment, torn medial collateral ligament, torn patella tendon, broken
kneecap, and further damage that seems minor compared to the other
He remembers the play. "I got up, and I was like 'No, uh-uh, this
didn't happen"' he said. "I tried to take a step, and there was nothing
"Usually when I get banged up, they help me off the field and
(cornerback and close friend Lance) Dottin would ask, 'Are you all right,
man?' I'd always have something to say.
"This time, when they took me off the field, Lance kept asking. I had
nothing to say. He could just see it in my eyes."
Welborne felt the physical pain; it was nothing a standout safety
couldn't handle. But then there was the mental pain.
"When I woke up in the hospital bed and couldn't get up to go to the
bathroom, it hurt."
It hurt others also. Desmond Howard called Welborne's injury, ."the
worst thing since Len Bias' death."
Welborne remembers how his friends handled the tragedy. "I was
able to smile soon after that. I like smiling. But Desmond came in my,
room two or three times, we'd talk, and next thing I know I see tears in
his eyes. And I'm like, 'This is a time for me to laugh.'
"We'd been close for a very long time," Welborne said of Howard. "I
was almost like the poster boy for the team - the example that every-
one tried to follow to succeed. When I got hurt, it sort of ruined his vi-
Walking on crutches, Welborne returned to the team during its Gator
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