The Wolverine

September 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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WOLVERINE WATCH JOHN BORTON T Seeking To Mold Champions dium the evening of Sept. 1. It's the Crimson Tide versus the Wolverines, defending national champions against a resurgent heavyweight, the SEC going toe- to-toe with the Big Ten. Just doesn't get any bigger he eyes of the college football world will laser lock onto Cowboys Sta- than that, does it? Actually it does, on a num- ber of levels. Michigan rolled through an 11-2 season last year, putting several significant notches in its belt along the way. Their head coach later told and a twinkle in his eye that only came out when you did or said something that made him proud of you," the younger Craw re- called. "I miss that glimmer in my father's eye. My father was a tremendous man." Hoke has more than a little them they — coaches and play- ers — collectively failed, because they didn't accomplish Job One. They didn't win the Big Ten. So while a game-one showdown Brady Hoke looks to impart lessons to his players the same way Bo Schembechler (left) did to his former player Garvie against Nick Saban and all of his Sa- banic forces of evil looms unfathom- ably large at the moment, it won't re- main that way long. Unless, of course, the Wolverines win it, along with the 13 games that follow, and that's a dream scenario for another day. Hoke wants to add Big Ten cham- after finishing his own career for Schembechler, Garvie Craw enlisted his former coach's aid. Matthew flew home on leave, Craw, as well as Craw's son Matthew (right). PHOTO COURTESY MATTHEW CRAW Bo in him, although the pres- ent head coach would quickly, and self-deprecatingly, wave off comparisons. There isn't any question, though, that Hoke sees a big part of his job involving the development of tremendous men. That's why it's never easy, pionship No. 43 to Michigan's league- leading collection. He wants it badly, and so does his senior quarterback. So do his coaches, his starters, his walk- ons and his water boys. Along the way, Hoke wants even more. That's where Garvie Craw comes into play. The tough, rugged fullback has been gone five years now. A senior on Michigan's famed 1969 squad, he got to know Michigan's fiery new head coach Bo Schembechler in a hurry that season, and it definitely wasn't a one-year association. Craw is famed for never losing a and his dad persuaded him — af- ter the Marine trekked from Camp Pendelton to Florida — to make the two-hour drive to Schembechler's Sunshine State retreat. They met with Michigan's legendary coach — only a few months from his own pass- ing — for a burger and beverage at a beachside café. After some small talk, Schem- bechler got down to business. "Matthew," he barked. "Yes, sir." "Did you serve your country hon- orably?" "Yes, sir." "Did you go to war and put your life on the line for your fellow Ameri- cans?" "Yes, sir. I did." "Did you do things that civilians yard in his career at Michigan. He was the definition of "three yards and a cloud of dust," according to his son, Matthew. Matthew Craw finished his full ers — redshirt junior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and sophomore defensive end Frank Clark — who ran afoul of the law in recent months. He wants to instill a discipline in in the head coach's office. He's molding a pair of potential start- them that will not only move Michi- gan toward a Big Ten title, but also move their lives in the right path for the next 60 years. The job goes so far beyond those two. Michigan players are facing another grueling, physical, energy- sapping crucible of fall camp, one that can perhaps put another trophy in the case. Down the road, it could mean even more. These days of suffering in the sun just might mean individual Wol- verines will stay and be champions — in a family, in a job, or in the sort of brotherhood that stays intact decades after the sweat drips away. Just ask Matthew Craw. Just ask will never have to in order to preserve our freedom?" "Yes sir. I believe I did." Matthew Craw won't soon forget the moment that followed. Craw recalled: "He looked at me enlistment with the United States Ma- rines in 2009. In 2006, he was consid- ering extending his active duty to re- turn to Iraq once again with his unit. His family thought he'd done enough, and desperately wanted him to come home. Nearly four decades 8 THE WOLVERINE SEPTEMBER 2012 with his piercing eyes as I imagined he did to all of his players, friends and family when trying to prove his point and said, 'Then dammit, you did your job! Now go home to your family.'" That's what Matthew Craw did. "I looked over at my dad and he had an ear-to-ear grin across his face those who toiled, from misery to championship ecstasy, under Schem- bechler. Just ask a host of Hoke's for- mer players. Oh, Alabama is a big deal — a very big deal. Winning the Big Ten cham- pionship is an incredibly big deal, one the Wolverines have labored toward ever since the Sugar Bowl celebration ended. But there are bigger ones. ❑ Editor John Borton has been with The Wolverine since 1991. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @JB_Wolverine.

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