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January 07, 1998 - Image 18

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-07

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8B - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 7, 1998


Savor the Wolverines' first national
championship since 1948 for years
to come with a glossy, full-color
poster of The Michigan Daily's front
page. The poster sells for $5 and
will be available next week at
The Michigan Daily's offices in
the Student Publications
Building at 420 Maynard St.
and at select retail outlets in
the Ann Arbor area. Add a
poster of Michigan's Rose
Bowl-clinching win over Ohio
State for an additionalt
$2.50. Read the Daily to
find out when the posters
will be available forr

C ° if S .

Continued from Page1B
accepting the MVP award.
On a day that could only be
described as magical, Griese - last
season's pooch punter - nabbing
the award was the perfect example
of Michigan's Cinderella season.
Who would have thought in
September that this group of
Wolverines would end the season
with the Heisman Trophy winner,
the coach of the year, a perfect
record, a No. 1 ranking, a victory in
the Rose Bowl and its first national
championship since 1948?
Not the voters, who ranked
Michigan 14th at the start of the
Not the fans, who anticipated a
fifth straight four-loss season.
Not the critics, who said
Michigan's glory days were over.
No one thought it was possible.
No one, that is, except the
They all said this team was dif-
ferent than previous ones, and they
were right. Not more talented - no,
the 1994 team probably grabs that
honor. More focused? More com-
mitted? Yes, on both counts. For the
first time in a very long time,
Michigan played asa team, as one,
from beginning to end. And that
was the difference this season.
"I think our team believed in our-
selves," linebacker Dhani Jones
said. "We played as one, as one
great being. We were just one team
at one time."
This 1997 Michigan football team
was about heart and soul, unity and

focus. Coach Lloyd Carr used spe-
cial motivating tools to get his team
ready each week, to keep their
minds on one game at a time and on
the goals at hand. And lie brought a
team together, filled with superstars
and walk-ons, dreamers and believ-
ers, to build history in just his third
season as a head coach beyond the
high school level.
There was Griese, a former walk-
on, leading his team to victory with
three touchdown passes. In the most
important game of his life, Griese
stepped in and stole center stage
from Leaf, a Heisman Trophy final-
ist who just might be the NFiL's
quarterback of the future.
There was Charles Woodson, the
team's magnificent superstar, spot-
light-grabber and Heisman-winner,
making one last dazzling intercep-
tion in the Rose Bowl game to keep
the Cougars from going up 13-0
early on.
There was linebacker Eric Mayes,
the walk-on turned captain and
starter. He was injured, but he
dressed for this game and never
relinquished his duty as co-captain,
never gave up hope.
There was Jason Vinson, the
walk-on punter who fought for three
years to grab and retain a spot on
the squad. He, too, believed and
became a starter.
There was fullback Chris Floyd,
a senior, who volunteered to play on
special teams. Carr has said for
some time that he was amazed a
senior would volunteer to play on
kickoff teams, a job typically
reserved for unproven, younger
players. Carr said that kind of spirit

Free safety Tommy Hendricks is reduced to tears as he hugs tight end Mark
Campbell after the Wolverines' emotional Rose Bowl victory.

and selflessness was the defining
mark on this team.
And boy, was he right.
There are other stories, tales of
walking on, tales of being named
All-Americans, tales of getting hurt
and coming back. The Wolverines
put individual achievement aside,
played together as one and now have
Rose Bowl rings to prove it worked.
It all comes down to what Jones
said - "one great being." The
Wolverines came together in spring
drills and outlined their goals for the
This time though, they put in the
work, dedicated the time and pre-
pared almost methodically to turn
the goals into more than mere
And they were rewarded on Jan. 1
as they found their way into the his-
tory books.
The San Gabriel mountains

formed the beautiful backdrop
around the Rose Bowl in Pasadena,
Calif. The palm trees circled the sta-
dium and seemed to reach high into
the sky, as the warm temperature
basked on the bowl game of all bowl
games. Beautiful ? That's an under-
The past wasn't always as beauti-
ful, as the Rose Bowl proved to be
Michigan's personal hell - nine
losses in the school's 12 prior
But not this year. Nothing could
quell the beauty of this game, of this
season, of the unity on this team.
"A lot of people counted us out
every game," Floyd said. "A lot of
people at the beginning were callirO
us mediocre. We set our sights and
we set our goals and we never
looked back."
- Danielle Rumore can be reached
via e-mail at drumore@umich.edu.


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