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September 12, 1997 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-12

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14 -The Michigan Daily -- Friday, September 12, 1997

Griese gets the call while father gives it for ABC

By Nicholas J. Cotsonika
Daily Sports Editor
Exhausted and euphoric, Brian Griese fell
into his couch last November to watch the tape.
He had played the game of his life the day
before, quarterbacking Michigan to an upset vic-
tory over a second-ranked Ohio State team for
the second straight season.
He hit fast forward, and there was the big play:
Behind, 9-0, early in the second half, Griese fired
a quick pass to receiver Tai Streets, and Streets
skipped away 69 yards for a touchdown. Ohio
State was stunned. The Wolverines would score
six more points to win, 13-9, so Griese turned up
the volume to hear ABC Sports' analyst.
His father, Bob.
"He was talking about the defense and the
defender and all that stuff, just trying to stay
away from who threw the ball and what the sit-
uation was," Griese said. "I was like, 'Geez,
Dad. I just made a great play. A little excitement
wouldn't hurt anyone."'
But the conflict of interest has created a pleas-
ant problem for the Grieses, and it will intensify
Saturday, when No. 14 Michigan hosts No. 8
Colorado at noon before a national audience on
ABC. Bob Griese will be in the booth along with
Keith Jackson, a family friend, and the kid who

Bob tries to contain emotion while announcing Brian's start

used to fetch hot dogs for them during games a
few years ago will be all grown up, a fifth-year
senior - and starting. Not favoring him will be
"I have a special kinship with quarterbacks,
and I like to call them by their first names," said
Bob Griese, a Hall of Fame quarterback who
played for Purdue and the Miami Dolphins. "But
I'll be very careful not to call Brian by his first
name. It wouldn't seem fair.
"But, you know, it's kind of funny. There he
was against Ohio State last year, the greatest
moment of his career, and his own dad's calling
him 'Griese.'"'
Bob Griese has never worked a game in
which he knew beforehand that his son would
be playing quarterback. Last year, he did
Michigan games in Boulder, Colo., and
Colombus, Ohio, but his son didn't play quar-
terback against the Buffaloes and came off the
bench against the Buckeyes. And ABC had been
hesitant about allowing even that.
When Brian Griese started the Wolverines'
final nine games in 1995, ABC did not assign
his father to cover any of them, worried that fans


Bob and Brian Griese, both as Big Ten quar-
terbacks. But which one's which?
not rooting for Michigan would feel the broad-
cast was biased. But that kept ABC's top team
from working some of the nation's top games,
and with Scott Dreisbach starting for Michigan
in 1996 and Brian Griese just pooch punting, the
policy changed.
"We decided that the relationship shouldn't
preclude our best broadcasters from doing the
best games," said Tony Tortorici, coordinating
producer of ABC Sports' college football cov-
erage. "In a way, he can give more to the situa-
tion. We trust him to be journalistic about it, and

to be honest, it adds interest."
ABC's new stance was solidified during the
Ohio State game, in which Brian Griese made a
surprise appearance to replace an injured
Dreisbach. Afterward, he said his father was
"harder on him than anyone," and ABC officials
began to compare the situation to CBS's
NASCAR coverage, in which driver Dale
Jarrett's father, Ned, is an announcer.
Bob Griese said there is "no reason 1 can't
handle it" and said, in fact, that ABC Sports
President Steve Anderson has encouraged him
to show some emotion Saturday before and after
the game. "We need to make it clear that, hey,
it's his dad talking," Tortorici said.
After all, father and son are close. Bob Griese
raised his son alone in Miami after his wife,
Judith, died in 1988, and his other two sons had
gone off to college. Bright-eyed Brian used to
follow him on the road, running errands in the
press box, ordering room service at fancy hotels,
watching the best games live, hanging out with
Jackson and standing on the sidelines, looking
up at offensive lineman he said "seemed like the
biggest things alive" at the time.

They kid each othernow. Dad says his-son's
"bigger, but I was quicker." The son jokes that
Dad's "memory is going bad in his old age, and
I'm smarter, too." But last night, as they doxt ned
pizza on the couch, they kept the bond they had
years ago, alone, when neither could cook and
they ordered delivery every night. "We've bec
through a lot together," Bob Griese said.
Knowing that, Colorado defensive coordinator
A.J. Christoff probably will get a "little squirrely
eyed," Bob Griese said. when the father of the
opposing quarterback asks him about strategy in
pregame interviews. But Christoff said he's
"comfortable talking to Bob. He's professional.
And in his situation, you want your kid to do well,
but you wouldn't tell him anything. It'd be bad
for your career and your reputation."
But there is temptation. Father and son talk
two or three times per week. And though Be*
Griese said he doesn't critique his son, his son
said he always has questions, like "who's hurt,
or who's starting? I'll say, 'Dad, are you being
a father or a reporter?' I know where to draw
the line."
And so does Dad.
"When I do a game he plays, if he throws an
interception, that was his doing," Griese said.
"But if he plays well, I taught him all he knows."


Continued from Page 13
and a starter on the defensive line,
Griese and ... that's about it.
To even think about contending for
any kind of title, three things have to
Somebody in the defensive front
seven will have to step up. The sec-
ondary is stellar with Charles Woodson,
Marcus Ray and Daydrion Taylor
returning. But filling the shoes of Jarrett
Irons, William Carr, David Bowens and
Ben Huff will be difficult.
0 Griese will have to be better than
he has been in the past (remember, if
All-America cornerback Shawn Springs
hadn't slipped, Tai Streets never would
have taken a five-yard pass, 69-yards
for a touchdown, Griese would never
have started the Outback Bowl, and
very likely would have left school).
0 And somebody on this team has to
step up and be the offensive star
Michigan has been missing. Running
backs Clarence Williams and Chris
Howard have been mediocre at best. Tai
Streets is a Biletnikoff Award finalist,
but so is Woodson, and he only caught
13 passes last year.
Continued from Page 13
And perhaps that's why Michigan
coach Lloyd Carr was comfortable
enough to say last Saturday that he
wouldn't mind being ahead at the end
again, on defense, with the Buffaloes
trying desperately to complete one last
long-range pass. His chances would

And even if Streets is the real deal,
Griese has to get him the ball. Jerame
Tuman might be Michigan's best offen-
sive player, but when was the last time
a tight end led a team to the Big Ten
If the quarterback isn't the star, its got
to be the backs behind him. Nobody can
say for sure if Howard or Williams, can
assume that role, but the chances are, if
anyone can do it, it'll be true freshma
Anthony Thomas, a 6-foot-I 225-poun,
high school All-American from
It's impossible to say whether
Thomas will blossom into a star this
year, but he has the best chance to. I
have reservations about whether the
Michigan coaches would let him
assume that role. But Sedrick Irvin and
Ron Dayne did it last year. And Thomas
is supposed to be even better.
That's a lot of pressure to put on an
18-year-old kid. I have no idea if he can
do it or not. Carr says Thomas will be a
"phenomenal running back someday."
If the Wolverines are to improve over
the last four seasons, that day might
have to be sooner than later.
- John Leroi can be reached via e-
mail at jr/eroi@umich.edu.
probably be pretty good.
But the Buffaloes feel the same waO
Defensive coordinator A.J. Christoff
said this week that another Rocket Jet
Right play would suit him just fine -
as long as Michigan runs it.
"It'd be nice if it happened again,"
Christoff said. "But it would onlyr if
we won, 7-0. Hey, I'm a defensive

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