Schembechler A Smash In Sunny Pasadena
SCHEMBECHLER A SMASH IN SUNNY PASADENA
By Wayne DeNeff
“The best interview ever given by a Big Ten coach.”
“This is going to be a terrific two weeks.”
Those were just some of the comments by enthusiastic Los Angeles sportswriters here late Thursday afternoon after Bo Schembechler had completed his first press conference.
The Michigan coach appeared before sportswriters for a formal conference within an hour after his team had arrived to start preparations for the Rose Bowl game with Southern California, and made a big hit with the press because of his direct and lively answers to all questions and concise review of his team.
Schembechler also left them laughing.
“I’m putting on my good guy image this first week,” said the coach who took the Wolverines to a conference co-championship in his first season in the Big Ten, “because the second week I might not be too easy to live with.
“Then if I am mean next week, you’ll say, ‘Oh, that’s not the real Bo Schembechler.”
In answer to a question, Schembechler said he talked with coaches Woody Hayes of Ohio State, John Pont of Indiana and Duffy Daugherty of Michigan State about the difficulties of getting a team ready to play amid the distractions associated with the Rose Bowl.
Pont and Daugherty, who had practices that were largely open, would do it differently if they had to do it over, said Schembechler, who has closed his practices at the East Los Angeles College stadium.
Newsmen will be able to see the Wolverines at work only through special permission.
“We’re going to see some of the sights,” said Schembechler. “I am not that hardnosed about it.”
But he left no doubt that the Wolverines’ number one objective was victory in the Rose Bowl game on Jan. 1 and that the Wolverines would participate in special festivities only in so far as it wouldn’t affect their game preparations.
Schembechler related how Daugherty had started to feel uneasy about the situation in preparing for the 1966 game with UCLA, a game which the Bruines won in a major upset.
Daugherty apparently gave the Spartans a tongue-lashing and their next practice started well with lots of real hard efforts. But it was suddenly interrupted when a helicopter dropped out of the sky and onto the practice field carrying Gov. George Romney. All activity ceased in order to greet the governor.
Schembechler indicated alertness to other possible distractions.
“I have already told my players not to believe anything they read in the newspapers out here,” said Schembechler with a broad grin.
What do you believe are the strengths of USC?
“Like everyone I am mostly impressed with their defense,” he said, “but I am also impressed with the way they play with their backs to the wall and the way they can come up with the big play on offense.”
The undefeated Trojans earned their way to the Rose Bowl by defeating UCLA on a last-minute pass. Earlier in the season, they came from behind to tie Notre Dame. They defeated Stanford on a field goal, the ball sailing through the uprights with no time left on the clock, and came from behind to defeat California and Georgia Tech.
Most of the Wolverines have never been to California before. They left Detroit Metropolitan Airport in snow flurries and arrived here about four-and-a-half hours later with the temperature at 74 and a bit of smog in the air.
Schembechler was the first person off the chartered flight.
Following the coach down the ramp was Capt. Jim Mandich, a 6-2, 217-pound senior All-America tight end. Athletic Director Don Canham and the rest of the 50-man squad followed.
Rose Bowl Queen Pamela Dee Tedesco, dressed in a white coat, and her six princesses, dressed in bright pink coats, greeted the Wolverines along with a band, a delegation of Michigan alumni with Maize and Blue hats, and a crowd of spectators.
The team was whisked across town in Rose Bowl cars to the Huntington-Sheraton Hotel where Schembechler was asked to hold a press conference while the Wolverines got settled in their rooms. Following the conference, Schembechler and the team had dinner and went into meetings.
Two-a-day practices are scheduled for today and tomorrow and there will only be a light drill on Sunday. A visit to Disneyland will make up part of the program for Monday. So there will only be one practice.
It looks like two-a-day practices on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.
Three Wolverines have arm injuries, but apparently will be ready to play against the Trojans.
Roverman Frank Gusich has actually had arm trouble all season while offensive guard Bob Baumgartner has rounded into good shape following injuries in the final game of the regular season against Ohio State. Defensive back Barry Pierson was hurt in practice back in Ann Arbor last week.
PHOTO CAPTION: All Aboard: Members of the Wolverine Rose Bowl retinue pack their luggage onto the truck which carried it to their plane at Metro Airport. Waiting their turns are (left to right) assistant coach Dick Hunter, assistant trainer Mike Willie and team captain Jim Mandich. The travelers found sunshine and smog on arriving in Pasadena.
PHOTO CAPTION: Final Instructions: Head coach Bo Schembechler has some final words for his three sons as the Wolverine contingent prepares to leave from Yost Fieldhouse for the airport. Eagerly awaiting the departure are (front to rear) Geoff, 11, Chip, 14, and Matt, 10.
Yost Field House
University of Southern California Trojans
University of Southern California
University of Michigan - Football
Ohio State University
Ohio State Buckeyes
Michigan State University
Michigan State Spartans
Big Ten Conference
Ann Arbor News
Pamela Dee Tedesco
George W. Romney
Donald 'Chip' Schembechler