The Michigan Daily- Sports Monday - October 21, 1991 - Page 3
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The Blue signal-caller from the
of Anthony Carter, Bo, and Roses
John Wangler was the starting
quarterback at Michigan in 1979
and 1980. Many remember him as
the one who threw "the pass" to
Anthony Carter to win the 1979
homecoming game against Indiana.
Wangler was knocked out of the
1979 Gator Bowl by Lawrence
Taylor, but recovered to lead the
Wolverines to a Rose Bowl win over
Washington in 1981. Wangler is now
a sales manager for Nutmeg Mills,
and resides with his wife in Royal
Oak. Daily Sports Writer Adam
Miller interviewed Wangler previ-
ous to last Monday's Midnight
Madness, when Wangler played in
the Legend's Game.
Daily: How did a former foot-
ball player like yourself get in-
volved with a Midnight Madness
Wangler: (Michigan Associate
Athletic Director) Bob DeCarolis
contacted me from the University
and asked if I would be interested in
playing. So I said, "Yeah, that
would be fine."
and he's as close to
the type of skills that
Anthony had as I've
D: So you've stayed in good con-
tact with the University. Do you
still feel ties to it?
W: Yeah, quite a bit. I get up
there quite a bit and do different
things, different functions, and. I
also call on the University for busi-
ness. You know, we (Nutmeg
Mills) sell a lot of shirts to the
University, and so I'm up there
quite a bit.
D: Do you have any specific rec-
ollections of being a player under
Bo Schembechler, anything particu-
W: Well, I remember almost ev-
D: OK, then what's your greatest
memory of being a Michigan
W: Well, I think probably being
on the team that won the first Rose
Bowl for Bo. I think that would
probably be the greatest, if you've
got to talk about a single event that
was real special. I mean, there's a lot
of great times in five years, but I
think the single most special time
was being part of that team that fi-
nally won a Rose Bowl for Bo.
D: A lot of people remember
you as the man who threw the ball
to Carter against Indiana. Do you
have any specific recollections about
playing with AC?
W: Well, I tell you, I was very
fortunate. I think there's never been
a greater receiver ever than An-
thony. I mean, I think he's the best,
See if you can beat this week's
winner Joseph R. McCarthy, who
correctly predicted 17 results and
won the tiebreaker. Bring your picks
to 420 Maynard by 5 p.m. Friday so
you can win a $10 gift certificate at
O'Sullivan's Eatery and Pub.
1. Michigan at Minnesota
2., Mich. St. at Ohio St.
3. Iowa at Purdue
4. Illinois at N'western
5. Indiana at Wisconsin
6. Florida State at Louisiana St.
7. Miami at Arizona
8. Oregon at Washington
9. Southern Cal at Notre Dame
10. San Jose State at California
11. Missouri at Nebraska
12. West Virginia at Penn State
13. N. Carolina St. at Clemson
14. Kansas at Oklahoma
15. Texas Christian at Baylor
16. Kentucky at Georgia
17. Houston at Texas A&M
18. Pittsburgh at East Carolina
19. Colorado at Kansas State
20. Princeton at Harvard
and there is stuff that he did at prac-
tice and in those games that you
know will never be repeated. I know
that Desmond's a tremendous player
and he's as close to the type of skills
that Anthony had as I've ever seen,
but Anthony was something special.
There's only one Anthony Carter
and I was fortunate 'cause I got to
play with him for two years. And
besides being a great player, he was a
great person. He was fun to play
with and be around.
D: What about just generally be-
ing part of Michigan football?
What did that do for your life, both
at school and after you graduated?
Are you a different person for hav-
W: I think so. I think having
gone through that experience and
having played for Bo. He instilled a
lot of virtues in the commitment,
pride, that he made Michigan foot-
ball stand for was something that
was very special. And you felt priv-
ileged to be able to play for him and
be part of that program and con-
tribute in whatever way you could.
And I think you can't help but
come out of the program with a pos-
itive effect on your life, knowing
how to win and be successful. I
think, if anything, that's what that
program does. A lot of guys come
there at different levels of matu-
rity, but when you come out of
there, you're a man and you know
how to be successful and win. And I
think that's what it's all about.
Bo always promised you that if
you came (to Michigan) and you
went to class, you'd get a degree and
you'd get a chance to play and go to a
Rose Bowl. He didn't promise
you're going to play professional
football. He promised you that
you'd get a degree and get a chance to
play in a Rose Bowl.
And that's every class that ever
went there, you know he fulfilled
that promise to, and he built a
tremendous program (Editor's note:
only fifth-year seniors from the in-
coming class of 1972 went to the
Rose Bowl). He built it the right
way, and that's what it's all about.
You know he went through a lot
of eras where a lot of people were
taking short cuts and he never did.
He never compromised his princi-
ples and his integrity, and I think
everyone is reaping the benefits of
that foundation that he laid. And if
Mo's the same way, they'll carry on
D: Do you stay in contact with
Mo or Bo?
W: Oh, yeah. I talk to Bo quite a
bit and Mo a little bit during the
season. I know that he's busy, but
Mo was my quarterback coach my
last year when he came back (from
Illinois) and I've always remained
close to him.
He's going to do a great job.
Well, he's done a great job at
Michigan, and this year is going to
be no exception.
D: What do you think of college
athletics now, 11 years after you
W: Well, I think it's a great ex-
perience for a person to be able to
have that opportunity to come and
play college athletics, whether it's
at a smaller level or at a major
school like Michigan. I think you
get out of it what you put into it,
and the fact that if you can come to a
program like Michigan, and be
around the kind of people and form
the relationships that you do, I
think that's what's important.
When you come out of it, no one
(you played with) remembers the
touchdown passes that you made or
the runs or whatever. What they
remember, and what you take out of
it, is the relationships with your
friends and your teammates and
your coaches that you can draw
strength from. That's what endures.
You know, all the stuff ends up
'And I think you can't
help but come out of
the program with a
positive effect on
your life, knowing
how to win and be
being blurred together when you
look back anyway. I think that's the
great thing about college athletics.
You are able to have those associa-
tions and you go through hard times,
good times, and bad times with peo-
ple and you form lifelong friends.
D: How do you think today's
Michigan football program, with
Schembechler Hall, the new grass,
and a different coach compares with
the program that you played for?
W: Well, I think obviously
they've made great strides. I mean,
the building is the state of the art
and it's the best in the land. Every
year, things get better. They get bet-
ter facilities and they get better op-
portunities. But that's just the way
progress takes place.
Everybody has better facilities
and has more opportunity. I'm glad
they went back to grass. I think it's
tremendous in helping reduce in-
juries. It's easier on the players'
legs. I think that's a great advantage.
Schembechler Hall is a beautiful
facility, and that's what you need
these days to compete with the
other schools in recruiting. The in-
door football facility, they first
opened that in my last year before
the Bowl game. And that was a
great advantage, to be able to prac-
tice inside before the Rose Bowl.
You need all those things if you
want to consider yourself a big time
football program and compete on
the level that Michigan wants to
D: You called Carter the great-
est receiver. As a former quarter-
back, could you elaborate on how
you think Desmond Howard com-
W: Well, Desmond's a great,
great player in his own right. It's
hard to make a comparison. I think
it's like comparing, let's say, a
Cadillac and a Lincoln. They both
have their strengths.
I think you want to evaluate
Desmond compared to Anthony at
the end of his four years. I don't
think you want to do it now. I think
he's done a lot of the same things.
He has the same kind of effect on a
team. He's a game breaker and he can
change the course of a game with one
run or one catch, just like Anthony.
But I think greatness is judged
over time, and I think at the end of
the four years you will be able to
look, then you can go and evaluate
and say who might have been better.
It's hard to evaluate. Obviously I
would be biased. I played with An-
thony, and it's hard to imagine
someone better than him. But I've
seen Desmond play these last three
years and stuff that he has done is
I think it's an honor for him to
be talked about and compared in the
same breath as Anthony now. I
think at the end of four years, then
you can look back and compare the
records and statistics and then you
can argue about who was better.
D: Would your playing career
have been any different if you had
the college offense of today which
is wide open with more passing?
W: Who knows. You can always
"what if" and speculate. But obvi-
ously I was more suited towards the
drop back game where they threw
the ball a lot and a wide open style
But you know when I was there,
Bo threw the ball 25 times a game
and we had a real versatile attack.
We had a great offensive line and we
had great running backs. We had a
tremendous offense. I mean, yeah,
it's nice to throw the ball 35 times a
day, but I wouldn't want to change
what we did.
D: So Elvis Grbac is your kind of
W: Oh, I think Elvis has done a
real good job. Hopefully this year
he'll be able to lead 'em to the Rose
Bowl and everything, but I think
he's done a nice job. He's directed
that offense and he gets them in the
right play. He's doing an excellent
job, I think.
Florida State was a tough game
on him, and those guys are probably
as good a team as they will face. I
don't have any problem (with Gr-
bac). I think when it's all said and
done, he'll probably have all the
passing records ever in Michigan.
Jug or Desmond?
You make the call
There was this thing called the zero factor. It said any U.S. president
elected in a year that ended in a zero would die in office. And it worked, as
evidenced by JFK, FDR, Warren Harding, William McKinley, James
Garfield, Abe Lincoln, Zachary Taylor, and William Henry Harrison.
Ronald Reagan must have breathed a deep sigh of relief when he left
office and finally beat the jinx in 1989.
The Michigan football team faces a macabre streak of its own. Like the
zero factor dooms presidents, a long and irrefutable history of serious in-
jury against Minnesota plagues Michigan.
In fact, this streak is up for renewal when Michigan plays Minnesota
for the Little Brown Jug Friday night.
I say let the Gophers have the stupid jug.
The Wolverines would be crazy to even take the field at the
Metrodome, unless they enjoy watching their best player suffer a season-
Last year, it was Tripp Welborne. The all-America safety was return-
ing a punt well into Gopher territory when, upon being tackled, Welborne
tore his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments, severed his
patella tendon, and broke his kneecap.
In the 1989 game at Minnesota, tailback Tony Boles took the first snap
from scrimmage around end for 17 yards. Boles then left with a torn ante.
rior cruciate of his own.
Earlier that year in basketball, guard Kirk Taylor drove against the
Gophers' Ray Gaffney. He cut around Gaffney and felt his knee snap.
Another torn anterior cruciate, another Wolverine's season ended.
In 1988, quarterback Michael Taylor dropped back to pass against
Minnesota. He scrambled before being hit by a Gopher defender, who
broke Taylor's collarbone.
The trend is eerie, and I don't think I'm the only one who has noticed it.
"The players have joked about it, saying things like 'I don't want to
play against Minnesota,"' Welborne said. "Four years in a row - it's
been pretty evil-stricken."
Unfortunately, Michigan coach Gary Moeller doesn't grasp the grav-
ity of this situation. "I don't get worked up about those things," he said.
The problem is, neither do many of the players. They think it's their
duty to play or something. They feel they owe it to Michigan to keep that
cursed jug for another year.
"I'd rather have the Brown Jug and a torn anterior cruciate," quarter-
back Elvis Grbac said.
Now, Elvis. I'll take some ceramics classes. I'll buy a kiln. I'll make
you your own little jug - you don't have to go to Minnesota to win one.
But Elvis isn't necessarily at risk Friday. Given the trend, Desmond
Howard will be the one carried off on a stretcher with either a torn knee
ligament or two broken hands.
Moeller must not let Howard play. The Wolverines can win without
him, as he even admits.
"I think Michigan wins without Desmond Howard, Michigan wins
without Bo Schembechler, Michigan has a tradition of winning no matter
who's on the field," Howard said.
Which is precisely why Desmond must not play. But like Moeller,
Howard is not likely to heed my caveat.
I hope he has a little Reagan in him.
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