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Enthusiastic Wolverines Working Hard

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By Wayne DeNeff

PASADENA, Calif.—Hard work and lots of enthusiasm.

That’s Michigan’s theme for the 56th annual Rose Bowl game.

“We got here on hard work and a lot of enthusiasm,” says Coach Bo Schembechler, “and we’ve got to do it all over again for this game with Southern California.”

The Michigan coach was pleased with the Sunday afternoon practice—about two hours of it on a sunny, cool, windy day with the temperature in the low 50s.

“They’re getting up,” said Schembechler.

“We had an enthusiastic practice and made fewer mistakes than we have made in the last few days. We were more alert.”

Schembechler said the newness and the excitement of coming here has now worn off and so had the Christmas lull. “I think we are about ready to play a football game and go home,” the coach continued.

During the course of the regular season, Schembechler said he was in favor of repeating the “no-repeat” rule, but now he says he is “wavering” on it.

“It’s a great experience coming out here,” said the coach, “but I understand better now why the Big Ten has a no-repeat rule. This is nice for Southern California. They don’t have to give up Christmas and they don’t miss their families.”

Schembechler said he would like to see the Big Ten’s Rose Bowl team practice for about a week in the nearest warm climate and then return home for Christmas.

Then the team would reassemble again for a week of preparation here for the game.

“Don’t misunderstand me,” said Schembechler, “I am happy to be here and enjoy the hospitality but the conditions aren’t the best to prepare for a football game.”

Schembechler, who lives football practically around the clock during the regular season, has been called upon here for frequent meetings with the press and various other functions. He has met all social obligations. The Big Ten dinner is scheduled for tonight and he is to appear before the Southern California Sports Writers’ Association luncheon tomorrow. Then there is the big “kickoff luncheon” Wednesday noon.

Schembechler hopes his players can avoid some of the hoopla in the next couple of days and he is considering housing them at a nearby monastery both Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

The Big Ten team customarily stays at the monastery at least the night before the game.

Quarterback Don Moorhead said today he felt the team was approaching a good state of readiness for the contest, scheduled to start at 2 p.m. (5 p.m., Ann Arbor time) on New Year’s Day. The game will be televised on Detroit’s Channel 4.

“On Sunday, things looked good,” Moorhead said. “We were enthusiastic.”

In response to a reporter’s questions as to whether Michigan again could reach the emotional peak of the Ohio State game, Moorhead said: “If we want this game bad enough, we can do it again.”

“Starting today (Sunday), I think they (the Wolverines) got the feeling of the game,” said Schembechler, who has to admit things aren’t exactly the same as when the Wolverines were building up for Ohio State in a game which had the Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl trip riding on it plus the strong emotional factor that the Wolverines had been beaten, 50-14, by the Buckeyes the year before.

“I’m not minimizing the Rose Bowl,” said Schembechler, “because this is a mighty big game for us. But it is a different thing.”

Schembechler said he does not yet know how much senior defensive back Barry Pierson will be able to play. Pierson’s arm was scheduled to come out of a cast today for X-rays.

Meanwhile, Pierson’s punt return duties have been delegated to sophomore Bruce Elliott, who worked out extra long with punter Mark Werner Sunday afternoon.

Another player who gets his cast off today is offensive guard Bob Baumgartner but there is no doubt he’ll be fit and ready.

Baumgartner suffered a hand fracture in the season’s finale with Ohio State. It has had plenty of time to heal and has not restricted his practice to any great extent. Another due to lose his cast is no. 2 rover back Frank Gussich, who has been bothered all season long by wrist trouble.

While tailback Billy Taylor’s thigh injury has cleared up, fullback Garvie Craw is slowed by a charley horse. But it looks like Craw should be okay by game time. Schembechler said that Taylor “for sure” and either Lance Scheffler or Preston Henry would be the deep backs on kickoffs. The Wolverine leader in kickoff returns, Glenn Doughty, suffered a knee injury last week and had surgery.

Doughty’s surgery has been termed a complete success and Michigan officials are hoping to have him on the sidelines to watch the New Year’s Day game.

PHOTO CAPTION: Some Backfield: The Michigan football team’s backfield may well look like this when the Wolverines tangle with Southern California in the Rose Bowl game on New Year’s Day. Calling the signals will be quarterback Don Moorhead (27) and he will have fullback Garvie Craw (48), Billy Taylor (42) and wingback John Gabler (18) as running mates.