The Wolverine

December 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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DECEMBER 2018 THE WOLVERINE 61   WHERE ARE THEY NOW? White said. "The tailback called the defenses. I had to call out blitzes to the quarterback and to the linemen. I called coverages and defenses, so of- fensive linemen knew who to block." That aspect became crucial in Mich- igan's 6-6 season in 1984. While long- time U-M fans recall Jim Harbaugh's broken arm against Michigan State, causing the campaign to tailspin, many don't know all the details. During the practice week before Michigan State, a freak accident at South Quad took a slice out of Michi- gan's offense. White pushed open a door with cracked glass, and his arm went through it. "I had 40 stitches, inside and out, on my right bicep," White recalled. "Jamie [Morris, then a freshman] was named the starter. Without running with the ones, he was thrust in as the starter, with no real practice. "He was supposed to call the de- fenses and all the blitzes, and then pick up the blitzes. The play that Jimmy broke his arm on, it was a missed assignment, and Jimmy breaks his arm. If I'm in the game, that doesn't happen." Michigan's backup quarterback, Russ Rein, broke his thumb in the same game. The Wolverines played behind previously third-string Chris Zurbrugg, with White — who re- turned two weeks later — as the backup. White assures despite the record, that group didn't give in. "We were in every single game," he said. "You go back and look at those scores. Two plays here or there, we would have won the game. We never quit. That's a testament to that team." Another testament involves the two seasons that followed. The Wolver- ines wound up No. 2 in the nation in 1985, White switching to fullback while remaining at tailback against bigger squads. He rushed for 564 yards on the year, including 110 in Michigan's 27-17 win over Ohio State. "It was pounding off tackle, just grabbing yard after yard, maintain- ing drives," White recalled. "For us, it was 10 plays or more, taking time off the clock, and wearing them down. That was the best game I had against Ohio State. It was fun." They capped the fun in the Fiesta Bowl, rallying for a 27-23 win over a very tough Nebraska squad, with several familiar faces on the other sideline and in the stands. "That was quite something," White said. "On that Nebraska team was McCathorn Clayton. He was my start- ing quarterback at Memorial Junior High School. One of their defensive guys, named Eugene Chealey, he was a halfback for us." White recalled his senior season as "a blur." He racked up 323 rushing yards and 408 receiving yards for an 11-2 Michigan team well noted for backing up Harbaugh's guarantee of a win at Ohio State, following a crush- ing home loss to Minnesota. The Wolverines got it done in Co- lumbus, 26-24, White insisting the guarantee affected no one. "As a team, we didn't think any- thing of it," he said. "At any point in time, any of us would have said the same thing. We just weren't on camera. We all felt the same way as Jimmy did. "It wasn't a big deal. It didn't put any added pressure on us as a team. It probably put Bo in a bad situation, but as for the team itself we all felt the same way — we were going to go out there and do it anyway." He described Michigan's subse- quent 22-15 Rose Bowl loss to Ari- zona State as "heartbreaking," but regards as heartwarming something he didn't learn until many years later. Schembechler spoke on the phone to his grandmother every week during football seasons, keeping a promise made early on. "He promised he would stay in touch with her," Smith noted. "He continued to contact my grand- mother. That tells you a lot about Bo — who he is, the type of person he is and what he meant to my family." White runs his own sports market- ing and entertainment business (Ger- ald White International) these days, which he relocated from Miami to Ann Arbor in 2005. He's still living the dream. ❏ Michigan Accomplishments: Accounted for 1,864 yards of total offense over a four-year Michigan career … Rushed for 1,297 while catching 64 passes for 567 yards with 19 touchdowns. Professional Accomplishments: Played in parts of three NFL seasons, two with the Dallas Cowboys and one with the Miami Dolphins … "I got a chance to learn from Bo Schembechler, Tom Landry and Don Shula," White said. "I don't think there's anyone else in the world who can say they played for those three coaches." … White has been involved in various marketing enterprises since and runs Gerald White International out of Ann Arbor. Michigan Memory: "I have many fond memories of my Michigan football days. From running out to touch the banner for the first time my freshman year and being so excited I jumped too high and almost brought the banner down. … Being a Florida boy and Michigan Man, beating both Florida State and the University of Miami. … Playing in the Rose Bowl. … Watching Clint Eastwood movies with the team on Friday nights before game days. "… But the most memorable Michigan memory for me was playing in the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., against Nebraska and my Memorial Junior High School teammates McCathorn Clayton and Gene Chealey. Our head coach Lou Fiorelli was in attendance along with one of our cheerleaders and my longtime friend Stacy Strazis, as well as a host of friends and of course my family. "Winning the game and finishing the season No. 2 in the country was simply icing on the cake." The Gerald White File White accounted for 1,864 yards from scrim- mage and 19 touchdowns during his U-M career, helping the team to three top-10 fin- ishes, including a final No. 2 ranking in 1985. PHOTO COURTESY GERALD WHITE

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