The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, November 19, 2009 -5A
The Greatest Rivalry in Sport
From the Editor: We hope you're
enjoying our look back at the Dai-
ly's game coverage from famous
Michigan-Ohio State games. The
Wolverines topped OSU in 1997 en
route to a National Championship.
By ALAN GOLDENBACH
Former Daily Sports Editor
Charles Woodson's grin
stretched longer than usual, even
for the confident All-American.
It seemed to extend from end
zone to end zone at Michigan
And in the middle of Wood-
son's mouth was a sweet symbol
of perfection - a rose.
"It just doesn't get any better
than this," said Woodson, sport-
ing a fresh, bright-white "1997
Big Ten Champions" cap.
So stately was the rose, yet so
simple was the message.
Michigan's 20-14 victory over
Ohio State on Saturday conclud-
ed the Wolverines' first perfect
season in 26 years and sent them
to the Rose Bowl for the first time
since the 1992 season.
A year of dreams culminat-
ed in a day of magic, which so
drained the Wolverines physi-
cally and emotionally that some
could hardly muster the energy
to describe it.
"I'm still emotionally out of it,"
junior safety Marcus Ray said.
"This is my dream: to go unde-
feated, beat Ohio State at home
and go to the Rose Bowl. That's
why I came here and that's why
my teammates came here."
Since first setting foot on
Michigan Stadium turf, each
Wolverine had waited for this
moment. No current Michigan
player had ever earned a Rose
Bowl berth, making all unsure
of what true euphoria felt like or
exactly how to react.
"I came back to the locker
room and we were celebrating,
and we sang 'The Victors,"' said
fifth-year senior Brian Griese,
who almost opted to skip his mIal
year. "I just wanted to go back out
on the field and be back out there
one more time, like an encore."
The fans who had lambasted
Griese during his tumultuous
career now embraced the quar-
terback with similar intensity.
"I just wanted to shake every
"fan's" hand in the stands. I
wasn't able to do that, but I think
I got about 50 percent of them."
Griese played through the
pain of losing four games in each
of his four previous seasons, but
he never gave up hope that this
perfect moment would come to
His coach also waited patient-
ly. Lloyd Carr survived both good
and tough times as an assistant for
19 seasons. And when he finally
became a head coach in 1995, he
ignored criticism and pressure,
looking instead to the day when
he could call his team the best in
"For us, it's truly a dream
season," Carr said. "When you
can line up and play hard for 11
straight weeks againstthe caliber
of competition that we've face -
and never play when you didn't
play hard - that's the thing I'm
most proud of."
Michigan played hardest in its
had been rivals such as Michigan
State and talented, intimidating
opponents such as Penn State.
But no team presented a complete
test quite like Ohio State, mak-
ing victory over the Wolverines'
arch-rivals an appropriate finish
to a season full of challenges.
"This is a big rivalry just like
Michigan-Michigan State," Ray
said. "The only difference in this
game is that Michigan-Michi-
gan State is like a neighborhood
street fight and this is like a
Now that Michigan has won
that war, it can stand on top of
the world and smell the roses -
the scent of perfection.
"It's lonely at the top," said
senior co-captainEric Mayes, who
was injured in the fourth game of
the season and had to sit st the
last seven games. "it's lonely at the
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez is using tapes of Bob Ufer's Michigan-Ohio State game calls to motivate his team this week.
eDid Ijust hear a lii' Ufer
y grandpa, one of the
truest Michigan foot-
ball fans I've ever met
in my life, had gameday traditions
that I'll never forget.
A steaming pot of calico beans
that he some-
to keep warm
for the whole
drive to Ann
Arbor, a couple
giant yellow ANDY
radio headset Ri(D
and a cassette
tape he'd blast
through the speakers of his conver-
The tape was looped, and it
repeated Bob Ufer's all-time best
Walking across the Crisler
Arena parking lot yesterday, I
heard that raspy, half-gone voice -
the one that practically pleaded for
a Michigan victory for 37 years on
the radio - the one so passionate,
it almost felt like Michigan had 12
guys on the field.
Ufer's voice was wafting
through the cool, November air,
and it screamed, "And now Woody
Hayes is running out onto the field!
I've never seen anything like this
in all my days as a commentator!"
I hadn't heard that voice in
a long time, since my grandpa
stopped comingto games because
of old age. My ears perked up, and I
listened for it's source.
After a while, I realized it had
to be coming from beyond the
steel fences of Schembechler
Hall's practice facility. The Wol-
verines, who have been known
to play songs like the GS Boyz'
"Stanky Legg" before practice to
get pumped up, were listing to old
tapes of Bob Ufer calling the "Ten
Year.War" between Woody Hayes
and Bo Schembechler,
Let me repeat that - Rich
Rodriguez is blasting Ufer's game
calls of the epic battles between
Michigan's and Ohio State's most
iconic coaches. The man whom
many have accused of shunning
Michigan's great tradition is
using it to his advantage for the
single most important week of
A little Ufer during Ohio State
week? Sounds good to me.
For those of you who don't know
- and I'm sure there are plenty
of you, since Ufer's legacy hasn't
quite held the same test of time as
Fielding Yost's, Fritz Crisler's or
Schembechler's - Bob Ufer was
He shucked journalistic integ-
rity for his "Bo 'George Patton'
Schembechler scoring horn" and
an all-encompassing homer atti-
tude. There is still a foundation
in his name that gives back to the
Ann Arbor community. His grave
plot at the Forest Hill Cemetery on
Observatory Rd. is about 30 feet
from where Schembechler and
"Bob Ufer was Michigan foot-
ball," former defensive coordina-
tor Jim Herrmann told the Daily
in 1995. "That's what he lived
and died for. I think he would
have liked being described that
And if Rodriguez is usinghim
as a team booster, then that means
the West Virginia transplant is
obviously doing his homework -
and clearly honoring the vast and
special tradition that is Michigan
Rodriguez is a man that doesn't
like to dwell in the past. And Mich-
igan traditionalists, who revel in
the past, were immediately skepti-
cal of that. But that doesn't mean
the man can't respect and honor it,
which is clearly what he was doing
with yesterday's motivational tech-
And if you're not pumped up
to play Ohio State after listen-
ing to Ufer - "Oh the humanity,
the unmitigated gall!" - you'll
Since Rodriguez came to cam-
pus 707 days ago, he's had to field
questions about the Michigan-
Ohio State rivalry. There are still
skeptics out there that believe he
doesn't understand what it means
to be a part of The Game.
Rodriguez practically pleaded
with the media Monday to under-
stand that he "gets" the rivalry.
He told the story - probably for
the Sooth time - of the time that
someone snuck a "Beat Ohio State"
pin in his pocket.
"Justbecause I did not coach
,sege before, I dd iit pljy 4ere,
I'm not from the state of Michigan,
doesn't mean I don't understand
the rivalry," he said. "I understand
it as well as any coach can under-
So, Wolverine Nation, can this
tired, old concern please be put to
You and I may never know what
happens behind closed doors at
Schembechler Hall. But one thing
is for sure: As Ufer's powerful voice
drifted across State Street yes-
terday, Rich Rodriguez may have
proved - finally - that he gets it.
This team is going to be plenty
fired up at high noon on Saturday.
- Reid can be reached at
Leadership is hard to define
eadership is often one of the
easiest aspects to see within
an organization, but one of
the hardest to define.
Vocal leaders, like last year's
Michigan men's basketball team
captains C.J. Lee and David Mer-
ritt, are very
the court, and
you saw the way
teammates on NICOLE
the bench. AUERBACH
they led the
team, Lee and Merritt, both of
whom were former walk-ons and
split time with one another, didn't
exactly dominate games.
The year before, in coach John
Beilein's first season, senior captain
Ron Coleman led the team - but
not on the scoresheet. He averaged
22.7 minutes a game and just 4.8
points. Again, less than spectacular
numbers from a team leader.
This season, that vocal leader-
ship isn't as apparent as in years
past. But make no mistake - there
are leaders. Junior Manny Harris
and senior DeShawn Sims are the
backbones of the squad.
Thanks to Lee's and Merritt's
departures and sky-high expecta-
tions for the team, Harris and Sims
have been thrust into leadership
roles this season.
And that's exactly where the
Wolverines need them.
For the first time in the Beilein
era at Michigan, the best players
are expected to be the team's lead-
ers. And even though Harris and
Sims aren't the loudest guys in the
locker room, their ascension is
what's goingto keep the Wolverines
focused on and off the court this
"It's one thing when you have
leaders kind of emerge, kind of step
up - like what we did last year,
myself, Dave and Jevohn (Shep-
herd)," Lee said. "It's another thing
when you have your best players
who are getting a majority of the
minutes, who are producing a lot of
points, just really key players, doing
"When your best players can do
that and be the leaders, that does
wonders for the team."
It's not the production - like
Harris' triple-double and Sims'
double-double in the season-opener
- that shows leadership ability. It's
the little things, like Harris' behav-
ior duringthe exhibition game two
weeks ago. He was giving high-fives
and talking strategy with a hand-
ful of teammates. He was being,
well, more vocal than anyone had
Last month, Harris explained
that he has been a leader on every
one of his teams, but a good leader
doesn't always have to be a big
talker. If the team needs someone
to speak up like Lee used to, Har-
ris said he won't hesitate to step
into that role. As evidenced by his
demeanor in the season's first few
weeks, it looks like he'll be com-
fortable there. Sims was flexible,
too, saying, "Whatever the team
needs, that's the type of leader I'll
The thing is, these two players
already embody the type of leader-
ship the Wolverines need. They
don't need to be yapping all game,
but their growing vocal presence
From walk-on to
a sophomore 'A'
Glendening and prep school career, Powers talked
Hagelin named to the coach about Glendening
coming to Michigan as a possible
alternate captains recruited walk-on. Glendening,
who was considering playing foot-
ball at a small college, jumped at
By MIKE FLOREK the opportunity to join a Division
Daily Sports Writer I program.
He found his way on the ice in
The Michigan hockey team the second game of last season and
is used to underclassmen mak- embraced his role as a defensive
ing immediate impacts. Last year, forward, remaining a mainstay
sophomore Aaron Palushaj led the in the lineup during his freshmen
team in scoring before leaving for year. He registered just 10 points,
the NHL. Current goalie Bryan but his play spoke louder than that
Hogan sits second in Michigan to the coaching staff.
history in goals against average, "He just impressed you day-
with 1.97 - a number he posted as to-day," associate head coach Mel
a sophomore. Pearson said. "Day in and day out
When it comes to sophomore in practice, you just saw how hard
Luke Glendening, it's what he does he worked. And then he got into
in practice that's making history. the games and he made it tough for
For the first time in 19 years, and the coaches to take him out of the
just the third time in Michigan lineup."
program history, a sophomore will Forty-five games, a scholarship
wear a letter on his chest. offer and a Most Improved Player
After senior Chris Summers award later, the only major differ-
was the only captain for the first ence in his game when he takes the
10 games, the players voted Glen- ice Friday against Bowling Green
dening and junior Carl Hagelin to will be the "A" stitched to his jer-
be the alternate captains for the sey.
remainder of the season. Michigan coach Red Berenson
Glendening didn't expect it doesn't expect anything different
coming into the season, but the from Glendening or his contempo-
letter should feel like nothing new. rary, Hagelin, this weekend.
The soft-spoken Grand Rapids "It just gives them a little bit
native earned captaincy in three of entitlement, or a little bit of
sports throughout high school and authority, or a little bit of responsi-
boarding school, in part due to the bility to (continue working hard),"
same extraordinary work ethic he Berenson said.
has shown at Michigan in practice. Before his public recognition,
"I'm not always the most vocal Glendening's leadership was evi-
guy, but I've been on teams with dent in his penalty-kill prowess,
a lot of different players," Glen- which played a big part in keeping
dening said. "I think that's going him in the lineup as a freshman.
to help. There's a part of being an This season, he has spearheaded a
assistant captain - I need to be unit that ranks fifth nationally. For
vocal, but I also just need to kind of Glendening, being a part of a unit is
walk the walk." what it has been all about.
Making the feat more impres- "I like just being part of some-
sive is the fact that, at this time last thing like the Michigan hockey
season, Glendening didn't even team," Glendening said. "It's a lot
have a scholarship. bigger than myself It's a lot bigger
Two years ago, while on a than one person. I was just really
recruiting trip to The Hotchkiss excited when I got here to be a part
School to look at a different play- of that. Now, to be where I am, it's
er, assistant coach Billy Powers a great blessing, it's a great honor,
saw Glendening's play on the ice. but I have to just keep working
Despite Glendening's less-than- hard and doing the things that got
impressive statistics during his me here in the first place."
A RI EL BOND/C
Senior DeShawn Sims is expected to be a leader on and off the court this season.
does help. Michigan needs their
points, their poise and their hunger.
"They were here when it was
really, really rough, and they were
here when it gotbetter," Lee said. "I
think what they have to deal with
right now is they have expectations,
and we didn't have as many expec-
tations last year."
But of all people, Harris and
Sims should thrive in this situation.
They've handled being hyped
recruits and targeted players.
And better yet, the two appear
undaunted by the media attention
surrounding this season.
"The biggest thing is being able
to see outside yourself, being able
to see the big picture," Lee said.
"That's what our seniors did last
year.... These players have the same
ability, because they saw what it
took to get us to the tournament
and win a game there. They know
what it's going to take to get them
back there and hopefully go fur-
All the ingredients for strong
leadership are here, and Harris
and Sims are finally putting them
together. Teammates and coaches
trust them. They know how to
motivate themselves and others to
achieve a common goal. And most
of all, they translate their talent to
other areas of the game, not just
what shows up on the stat sheet.
For the first time in recent years,
Beilein has turned his stars into
"What's unique about those
guys is they weren't brought here
to be average players - they were
brought here to be great," Lee said.
They weren't necessarily brought
here to be leaders, either. But that's
where they're going to shine.
- Auerbach can be reached
at naauer dumich.edu.