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September 29, 2014 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-09-29

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2B -'September 29, 2014

The Michigan Daily -.michiganda ly.cam

They don't celebrate mediocrity at Michigan

In the Crisler Center
parking lot, a group of men
in their mid-60s ate cold
cuts and drahk beer Saturday
morning. Forty-five years ago,
they were Michigan's heroes -
Bo Schembechler's first team.
Forty-
eight
members
of the 1969
Michigan
football team
gathered in
Ann Arbor
this weekend MAX
to celebrate COHEN
the 45-year
anniversary
of their
Big Ten championship and
monumental defeat of Ohio
State. They spent the tailgate
before Michigan played
Minnesota laughing and
smiling, telling stories of their
glory days, which they claim
grow more exaggerated by the
year.
They take pride in starting
what they consider to be
the modern era of Michigan
football. They're the ones
who survived Schembechler's
first training camp, the one
where he hung the "Those who
stay will be champions" sigh.
They toppled undefeated and
top-ranked Ohio State, even
though nobody gave them a
chance. Starting quarterback
- Don Moorhead tells a reporter
his team beat the Buckeyes,
not upset them. Schembechler
made sure they had no doubts
they could win the game.
They speak lovingly of
their coach; he brought them
together when they needed him
and still connects them even
after his death.
A sign stretched across
the top of one of the group's
tents reads, "'69 Bo's Boys,
We Stayed." At their 40-year
reunion, each player received
a shirt that says "We Stayed."
This year, they received hats

Michigan coach Brady Hoke couldrnt get his team turned around against Minnesota, as the 1969 team did.

with the same message.
They come back'to Ann
Arbor to bask in their legacy, to
reunite with old friends and to
remember their coach and some
of their teammates who are no
longer with them. A handful of
the men still live in Ann Arbor,
while some travel from as far as
Arizona.
They wear their Big Ten
championship rings, each with
a big block 'M' facing outward.
The right guard from the 1969
team, Dick Caldorazzo, never
misses a home game, wearing
his ring to each one. Most of
the players consider the victory
over the Buckeyes to be one of
the greatest moments of their
lives.
They stayed when others left,
and they are forever champions.
But it almost wasn't so.
Like the 2014 Michigan
football team, their season
also seemed to be headed
toward irrelevancy. Unlike this
team, they found a way to pull
together.

The early r
1969 seas(
reveal the
a championship t
five games, Mich
one loss was a 40
at the hands of M
other was a 23-12
Michigan State.
The Wolverine
home games in fr
empty Michigan
People on
the outside
wondered
if this new
Schembechler
guy from
Miami (Ohio)
could cut
it as a big-
time college
football coach.
The week
following
the loss to the Spa
began ominously.
was scheduled to
Minnesota, but nc
team's key player;
Schembechler
on his principle tl
players didn't pra

esults of the
on didn't
makings of
eam. After
igan was 3-2.
3-13 drubbing.
issouri. The
loss against
s played their
ont of a mostly
Stadium.

as they were going to play
Saturday, the team wouldn't
win. So if his players didn't
practice Tuesday, they wouldn't
play Saturday.
The Tuesday before the
Minnesota game, starting
halfbacks John Gabler and Glenn
Doughty missed practice because
of injuries suffered during the
Michigan State game. They
missed practice Wednesday

cortisone shot during halftime.
But the Wolverines were
resolute. They dominated the
second half, winning 35-9.
Then they won five straight
games and didn't lpse again
until the Rose Bowl.
This year, skepticism has
mounted by the week.
That much was
evident by the tailgaters
in the parking lot spaces
surrounding the 1969 team.
The current Wolverines were
2-2, their season teetering on
the brink of disaster, just like
the 1969 team's season once
was. The tailgaters wondered
aloud whether Brady Hoke
was the man to win Big Ten
championships and if this year's
team still had a chance.
Hoke has been resolute that
his team can get the job done.
His players have been, too,
insisting the team is good based
upon what goes on in practice.
The words of 1969 defensive
end Michael Keller about his
own team after five games are
reminiscent of what many of
this year's Wolverines had been
insisting all season.
"We knew we were good,"
Keller said. "We knew we were
good enough to play better
than we did.... From then on,
we just kicked the crap out of
everybody."
Keller had no doubts about
when this year's team needed to
start performing if it wanted to
follow his own team's path.
"Itstarts today," he said
Saturday.
Against Minnesota, this,
year's Michigan team
had its own opportunity
to start something bigger, a
game that could turn around its-
season. The players and coaches
emphasized they understood

the stakes and that the team
could get the job done. The
concept feels laughable now.
Early on, the 2014 Wolverines
followed the pattern of the 1969
team's game against Minnesota.
They trailed, 10-7,.at the half.
But history doesn't always
repeat itself. The 1969 team
scored 28 straight points in the
second half against Minnesota.
This year's team surrendered
20 in a row, 30 if you include
the first half.
The Wolverines were
outmanned in every way, on
offense, defense and special
teams. They did nothing the
champions of the past did. They
showed little fight on the field.
It was a sad chapter in what's
now sure to be a sad season.
People stopped questioning
Brady Hoke, instead screaming
with conviction for his
dismissal, chanting for it in
the stadium. He had decided to
start sophomore quarterback
Shane Morris and kept him
in for too long, to the point
where he could barely stand.
Then, when replacement
Devin Gardner's helmet came
off, necessitating a trip to the
sideline, he put in Morris for
one more play of what can
be deemed a modern.form of
torture, football-style.
Hoke was the first person to
head toward the locker room
when the clock approached
zero. Morris was the last,
needing a cart to exit the field.
He looked down at his feet
while the cart drove to the
tunnel and the Golden Gophers
celebrated around him.
Michigan had never lost
three games in September in
the history of the program. This
year's team is 2-3 and 0-1 in the
Big Ten.
In 45 years, this team won't
be wearing rings and drinking
beer in the parking lot.
It will be sitting at home;
because they don't celebrate
mediocre teams at Michigan.

as well, but
participated
Thursday. Still,
They don't Schembechler
keptthem
celeb ate off the travel
list Thursday
mediocre teamS night. The
players
at M ichigan. realized that it
didn't matter
who they were;
everyone had
artans to adhere to the coach's rules,
Michigan even if it meant having little
travel to depth at the halfback position.
ot all of the Michigan trailed at halftime
s made the trip. against the Golden Gophers,
was resolute 9-7. Making matters worse,
hat if his Moorhead was injured with
ictice Tuesday a hip pointer, receiving a

Five Things- We Learned:
Minnesota rolls Michigan

I

4

Morris struggles,
defense sputters in
blowout home loss
to Minnesota
By ALEXA DETTELBACH
Daily Sports Editor
The Michigan football team's
season continued to spiral out of
control on Saturday when it lost,
30-14, at home to Minnesota. It
was the Wolverines' first loss
to the Golden Gophers since
2005 and just their second since
1986. Here are the five things we
learned in Michigan's second
straight loss:
1. The Wolverines are a bad
football team:
Maybe we already knew
this, or maybe we were naive
enough to think that Michigan's
struggles would go away once
Big Tenplay started. Either way,
there's no truer conclusion from
the Wolverines' horrific 30-14
loss to Minnesota other than it's
a bad football team.
From start to finish, the
Wolverines looked unprepared,
unmotivated and lost on the
field. The crowd booed even
louder this week calling for
Michigan coach Brady Hoke's
and Athletic Director Dave
Brandon's jobs. It's hard to
blame them considering the
Wolverines had just 171 total
yards of offense, 12 first downs
- three of which were earned
through penalty - allowed 206
Minnesota rushing yards and
have lost three games in the
month of September for the first
time in program history.
And all this coming at the
hands of a struggling Minnesota
team.
2. Quarterback Shane
Morris is not the answer:
After the Wolverines lost

to Utah last week, it was clear
they needed a change. So the
coaching staff went with backup
quarterback Shane Morris. The
sophomore had a long afternoon,
going 7-for-19 with 49 yards,
one interception and a fumble.
But his struggles went beyond
his numbers. Morris spent
all afternoon over-throwing
receivers and missing targets.
He also sustained a leg injury
in the third quarter, but stayed
in the game. Then, early in the
fourth he was hit in the head,
drawing a roughing-the-passer
penalty. He appeared to be
wobbly and needed to lean on
a lineman to stand. Running
back Justice Hayes looked to the
sideline on Morris' behalf, but
the coaching staff kept him in.
He ended up being carted off
the field at the end, but even
when he was healthy at the
beginning of the game, Morris
was far from the solution to
Michigan's issues.
3. Brady Hoke is a dead man
walking:
Argue what you want, but an
embarrassing loss to Minnesota
all but nailed Hoke's coffin shut..
Michigan has just four wins
in its last 13 games, the most
impressive last year against a
subpar Northwestern opponent
that required triple overtime.
Maybe Brandon won't do
it until the end of the season,
or maybe one more loss like
Saturday's will be all it takes
to do it midseason, but it's
hard to see this administration
retaining Hoke for a fifth year.
4. This team will probably
be missing key players against
Rutgers:
This one is harder to predict
considering Hoke never shares
injury updates with the public,
but junior receiver Devin
Funchess was badly limping and
needed help off the field at the
end of the game. He said earlier

this week that he'll be playing
with an injury all season, but
this could be too much to bear
considering he couldn't get to
the sideline on his own.
Morris also appeared to
have a leg injury, but was able
to manage, until he was steam-
rolled early in the fourth
quarter by Minnesota's Theiren
Cockran.
5. Bold Prediction:
Michigan will win ONE
conference game:
It's going to be a long Big Ten
season if the Wolverines come
out playing the way they did
Saturday. And thus far they've
given fans no reason to think
they'll play any differently.
So, for now, it feels like this
Michigan team is only going to
win one more game.
How can this team win
anymore than one? How can
they beat Rutgers on the road
or Penn State under the lights
if the Wolverines play like
they did yesterday? Teams like
Indiana and Maryland are going
to be a handful for this severely
underperforming Michigan
squad.
BY THE NUMBERS
Michigan Football
1
Time in school history that theWolver-
ines haveInst threatimsainSantember

I
I

I
I

36.8
Completion percentagefor Michigan
sonhomore narterhark Shane Morris

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