Michigan Football Preview 2018

2018 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 26 of 179

Schembechler's success in 1969 set the stage for 13 Big Ten Championships and 17 top-10 finishes during his 21 years at the helm in Ann Arbor. PHOTO BY PER KJELDESN Michigan State. He did take a trip over to Ox- ford, checking out the mercurial head coach there while Schembechler remained boss. "I remember sitting across from Bo at his desk at Miami of Ohio, thinking, this might be the most intense human being I've ever en- countered in my life," Dierdorf recalled. "I'm sitting there thinking that it would be insane to play for a guy like that." Dierdorf subsequently took a trip to Michi- gan, resolving to become a Wolverine. That rendered inconsequential a later visit by a Mi- ami assistant coach to his high school. Nevertheless, Dierdorf's high school coach approached him during the school day, noting the Miami assistant was there to see him. "It was unannounced, and he said the guy would like to visit with you, and he's in my of- fice," Dierdorf noted. "So being the responsible 17-year-old that I was, I went home. I left. "As it turns out, the coach that was sitting there was Jerry Hanlon. So he immediately goes and tells Bo that I stiffed him." When Canham announced Schembechler as the new boss, one Wolverine cringed a bit. "When the headline in the Detroit paper said, 'Bo Who?' with a giant question mark, that was not directed at me," Dierdorf said, laughing. "I knew who that Bo was, and I couldn't believe it." That Bo was his new college coach. That Jerry now directed his position group. Dierdorf knew he needed to go take his penalty for un- sportsmanlike conduct. "That was my first lesson that the world is a much smaller place than I envisioned," he offered. "Who could imagine that I would ever see Bo Schembechler again the rest of my life? "I decided I'd better face this head on, rather than him tracking me down. I went down to the coach's office as soon as I found out he was in residence. We encounter each other in the hallway. "I stick out my hand to shake his hand, and his hand goes right past mine. He grabs me around the midsection and goes: 'You're fat. You're mine. And I never forget.' "I knew I was in a world of hurt — and I was." Others quickly discovered the intensity, the demands, the steely determination and unwav- ering will of the new head coach. Jim Brand- statter, a sophomore on the '69 team and now the Michigan radio play-by-play man, entered the relationship without prior warning. "I had never met him, never heard about him," Brandstatter said. "I was like the guys in the headline, that said: 'Bo Who?' Then when we met him, I knew there was a new sheriff in town. "He wasn't easy to smile back then. He saw you as a player, and he knew he was going to make you better. I knew he couldn't become THE WOLVERINE 2018 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 25

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