M GRIDDERS MAKING FINAL BOWL PREPARATIONS
Monday, Tuesday Most Critical
By Wayne DeNeff
PASADENA, Calif.—Monday and Tuesday will be the critical days for the Michigan football team.
Those will be the final two days of full practice and Coach Bo Schembechler expects to know then if the Wolverines are sharp and ready to play a rugged game against Southern California in the 56th annual Rose Bowl.
“We are not ready yet, I can tell you that,” said Schembechler at a Saturday evening press conference after the Wolverines had completed their practice for the day.
“When we first came out here we looked pretty good,” said Schembechler, “but we lost something over the lull around Christmas. We just haven’t regained our stride yet. Monday and Tuesday will be the critical practices.”
With the exception of the annual Big Ten banquet Monday night, it’ll be just about all football for the Wolverines from now on. They’ll hold a regular practice today and plans call for one hour and 15 minutes of meetings each morning and each night in addition to the regular practice at 2:30 p.m. Both Schembechler and Southern Cal Coach John McKay have indicated it would be a low-scoring game.
Said Schembechler: “Actually trying to predict how we will do is a mystery. This reminds me of spring practice. Or maybe preparing for an opener. There’s just no way you can tell how we’ll do. But I do think it will be a low-scoring affair.”
Said McKay: “If we are to be in the game, it will have to be low-scoring. Only teams like Michigan can score 50 points. We couldn’t score that much if the opponents didn’t show up.”
The Trojans, of course, are noted for their defense while Michigan yielded only four touchdowns in its last five games.
Schembechler is taking nothing away from Jimmy Jones, the Southern Cal quarterback who manages to win games without impressive statistics.
“He’s a winner,” says Schembechler.
“If he were a bad quarterback, there is no way he could have pulled out all those games. He has poise, running ability and he is strong. He’s our kind of quarterback because Michigan quarterbacks have to be able to run or pass. He does both.”
Schembechler has a lot of respect for Southern Cal’s overall personnel.
“It’s ridiculous,” says Schembechler about Michigan’s role as the favored team.
“Just because we beat Ohio State we’re being called a super team. I don’t think we really overwhelmed very many people. There’s not a team in the United States that has better personnel than USC—I would defy anyone to show me who it is. And that includes Ohio State.”
Still, the feeling persists among some people out here that USC still hasn’t proved itself despite a record of nine victories and a tie in 10 games.
The idea irritates McKay.
“The object of the game of football is to win,” McKay said, “and this team has done a pretty good job of winning. I don’t care who is favored. All I care about is the final score.”
Michigan has been favored by about four or five points but those odds may drop in view of Glenn Doughty’s knee injury, which required surgery, and the condition of Barry Pierson, who is still a doubtful starter because of an arm injury.
The cast comes off Pierson’s arm on Monday and then it is expected to be known just how much Pierson can help the team on January 1.
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