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September 09, 1999 - Image 31

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-09

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Thursday, September 9, 1999 - The Michigan Daily - 58

rormer QB Dreisbach finds his way with Raiders

DREISBACH
Continued from Page 1A
Nov. 16 Penn State game, Dreisbach
s replaced by Brian Griese.
Although he started the following
week against Ohio State, he was once
again replaced by Griese due to injury.
After that game, Dreisbach never
started another game at quarterback.
"I had strong support from my fam-
ily, my friends and my teammates,"
Dreisbach said. "There were a lot of
calls to my mother, and a lot of calls
from my grandfather and my uncle. It
was hard, but I had to make the dci-
don that if football was something I
wanted to do, I had to roll with the
punches and stay positive. I had to
make it through anything that came
my way."
The following year, Carr named
Griese as the team's starter, and the
Wolverines won the national champi-
onship in the Rose Bowl.
"I think at that point, Scott had
some injuries that really impacted his
rformance," Carr said.
Dreisbach watched Michigan suc-
ceed without him, spending most of
his time on the sideline. Yet, he never
mouthed off to the media or moped
aound in practice, Carr said.
"Anyone who played with Scott,
who was on the coaching staff, who
was close to the team or who followed
the team, gained tremendous respect
for the way he dealt with one of the
st difficult things a player could
al with," Carr said.
"He showed outstanding class and
leadership. Even though he wasn't the
starting quarterback, he provided
good leadership for our team."
That class trickled down to other
members of the team. They all learned
how to stay composed when things
didn't go as planned.
"I've learned an awful lot from
kott - not just football," Michigan
carterback Tom Brady said. "I've
learned ways to handle myself in
tough situations. Scott was always
doing and saying the right thing ...
I've certainly learned a lot from Scott
in that respect."
Even with the adversity he was fac-
ing, Dreisbach managed to keep a
strong sense of humor and managed to
keep his teammates and his coach
ghing, Brady said.
Scott's got a great sense of humor,"
Brady said. "He could always lighten
up situations with Coach Carr. He
knew when things were important, and
he knew when he could be himself and
laugh.
"He would always have the quarter-
backs laughing, especially when Brian
was around. He and Scott would go
back-.and forth with each other. We
d to have some fun times in that
rterback room."
Dreisbach's sense of humor went
beyond the quarterback room. It went
onto the field and onto the sideline.
"He's competitive, but at the same
time, he knows how to have fun,"
Swett said. "That is so easily lost sight
of. It becomes a job and becomes so
intense at that level that sometimes
you lose focus and forget it's a game.
When you have fun, nine out of 10
4 s you play better."
reisbach looked out for the
younger quarterbacks in the way older
quarterbacks had done for him at
Michigan, and in the way they are
doing now for him in Oakland.
"I helped them out in the ways that
a coach would, but we were friends,"
Dreisbach said. "As quarterbacks, we

were a tight-knit group. We all
respected each other. We knew only
one guy was going to be on the field,
but we supported each other fully."
Bitterness and an attitude problem
were not options for Dreisbach.
"If I wasn't going to be on the field,
I was going to support the person who
was," Dreisbach said. "I couldn't con-
trol getting hurt, and I couldn't control
a lot of circumstances. So I went to
practice with a smile. I was excited to
go to practice, but I wasn't through my
career. After I changed and decided
that I had to give football my all, it
was all uphill from there."
Losing a starting job is not easy. It
would have been easy to get angry and
to start blaming people, but that's not
the route Dreisbach took.
"He could have been a negative fac-
tor for the team, and he could have
said that it wasn't fair," Swett said.
"Instead, he would get the younger
quarterbacks into the film room, and
he would sit down with Brian to go
over the game plan.
"He was like a coach on the field
for the offense. He was able to see
things from a player's perspective, and
he could relay that to the coaches. It's
a real testament to his character, his
attitude and his love for his team-
mates."
Everyone on the team learned that
adversity does not necessarily mean a
negative demeanor.
"He taught us to make the best out
of your situation, whatever it may be,"
said Michigan senior fullback Aaron
Shea. "Not everything's going to go
your way. You've got to fight and stay
positive."
Carr saw it too.
"He was an outstanding role model
in that respect," Carr said. "If the
younger players see an older guy han-
dle adversity in a positive way, then
it's an example of how maybe they can
do the same thing at some point if
they're faced with the same issue."
In 1998, Dreisbach decided that one
way or another, he was going to be on
the playing field, helping his team in
any way possible. He started playing
special teams.
"During the national championship
season, I spent most of my time on the
bench, giving plays and calling sig-
nals" Dreisbach said. "I didn't feel as
much a part of the Rose Bowl as I
wanted to.
"In the off-season, I made up my
mind that I was going to help on the
field somehow. I wasn't given any
special treatment. I had to work just as
hard as everybody else for my spot on
special teams."
That work earned him a spot in
Michigan fans hearts, too. In the wan-
ing minutes of Dreisbach's final home
game - last year against Wisconsin
- Carr put the senior in for the last
time at quarterback.
In the waning minutes, Carr called
upon to Dreisbach to play in his final
home game. As he ran onto the field,
the fans went crazy. They hadn't for-
gotten the man who brought his team
back to beat Virginia.
Hard work and a positive attitude
have paid off. He was invited to the
NFL draft combine in February, where
prospective NFL players audition for
the upcoming draft.
"It was an incredible feeling, and
I'm still riding that wave," Dreisbach
said. "To be invited, to perform well
and to have somebody else to notice
what I knew I could do, was great. It's
just been one thing after another that
has put a big old smile on my face."

In April, Dreisbach signed as a
rookie free agent with the Raiders,
where he continued to lead come-
backs.
In his first pre-season game,
Dreisbach engineered two scoring dri-
ves in the final 7:04 of the game, and
the Raiders won.
"Scott was faced with a lot of situa-
tions that make you stronger as a per-
son," Brady said. "He went from a
younger player who had all the fame
and glamour to a player who had a lot
of setbacks. He never held his head,
and he never complained, which I'm
sure contributes to why he has been
successful in the NFL"
The Raiders liked what they saw
and brought him in to play earlier in
their next game. Once again, he engi-
neered the winning touchdown, but he
was not around to see the actual score.
While attempting to run for a touch-
down, Dreisbach suffered a cracked
fibula.
Even with the injury, Dreisbach
made the Raiders final roster. His cast
came off Aug. 31, and he has began
running. He will probably be able to
practice in two weeks. Meanwhile, he
has learned a lot from the Raiders vet-
eran quarterbacks, Rich Gannon,
Wade Wilson and Bobby Hoying, who
went to Ohio State.
"They're very positive, and they
give me constructive criticism,"
Dreisbach said. "They want me to suc-
ceed. Rich told me that I could play
for 10 years in this league. He told me
that I have the skills and what it takes
to be a NFL quarterback. He's seen a
lot of things in his career, and to hear
that from him means a lot. It's incred-
ible."
Dreisbach will be joined in Oakland
by these fellow Wolverines: Safety
Marcus Ray, linebacker Sam Sword,
cornerback Charles Woodson and run-
ning back Tyrone Wheatley. All the
maize and blue has helped ease the
transition from college to the NFL.
"It's great," Dreisbach said. "When
we beat Notre Dame, we all got
together and strutted around in our
Michigan paraphernalia."
Dreisbach's Michigan football
experience may not have been an easy
one, but it was not a bad one either.
Support from those close to him
helped him stay upbeat, but in the end,
it was his own discipline and attitude
that got him through the tough times.
"Once I decide to do something,
I'm done," Dreisbach said. "When I
make-up my mind, there's no turning
back. It goes back to football. I'm not
going to let anything stop me."
And if something tries, he can
always lead another comeback.

FILE PHOTO
Former Michigan quarterback Scott Dreisbach currently plays with four former Wolverines on the NFL's Oakland Raiders.

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