Mike Lantry, 1972
Elvis Has Left The Building
9/10/2007 - Michigan 7-39 Oregon - 0-2.
Bo is dead.
And, apparently, when he died the spirit of the program went with him. I don't know where it went. Probably Tibet. There is probably a 9-month-old child somewhere in Tibet who has the spirit of the Michigan football program. What a dick, hoarding all that spirit we need. I hope his yak butter goes rancid. But here we are.
I posted the above on the eve of the season as part of a hype post featuring Bo's "The team, the team, the team" speech. On the left: Bo, weirdly confident, almost bemused by all this crap he has to put up with just to get the job. In the middle: a young, petrified-looking Don Canham. There are few expressions easier to read than the one he's sporting: "God, I hope I didn't screw this up." On the right: Bump Elliot wondering if someone off camera has a sandwich. "I'm hungry. I wonder if that guy has a sandwich. I wonder if he would give me his sandwich... probably not. I probably shouldn't have lost to Ohio State 50-14. This seriously compromises my sandwich-acquisition capabilities. Shit. I knew that two-point conversion was bad news."
In two games Lloyd Carr has gone from a potential mini-Bo, pending the successful resolution of his final season, to a definitive mini-Bump and Michigan is searching for the man on the left again ten games too early. And while I would still give Lloyd Carr a sandwich, I no longer want him mucking around with my football program. This is an opinion now universally held by Michigan fans, and the alternative is too mindboggling to consider. So going forward, the assumptions:
- Carr will retire at the end of the season.
- His assistants will be given nice severance packages and a firm handshake.
- Martin conducts Michigan's first open, national search for a new football coach since 1968.
There are competing theories out there. Tom Kowalski, who's a Lions guy and probably should not be trusted, asserted on the radio this weekend that Carr will wait until the last possible moment to retire to ensure his assistants get a crack at the job. This assumes that Carr has completely lost his mind and that this will not cause a major revolt among donors and fans. It can't be taken seriously.
There's also a hilarious debate amongst various Detroit columnists about whether Carr should be fired right now or resign right now or wait until the end of the year or whatever, which is a quintessential example of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Who cares if Carr goes now or at the end of the season? What matters is the man who replaces him. The conversation going forward here will focus on that.
As I was searching for the pictures of Bo featured in the above-linked post, I stumbled across a page the Bentley put up with items from their library; the above was weird and wonderful and did not quite fit with the post I was putting up, so I squirreled it away for another time, which is apparently now. The Bentley caption:
Bo Schembechler leaving hospital after heart attack at 1970 Rose Bowl [with Hal Coombes, University Entertainment, Tournament of Roses and Mrs. Helen Fowler, R.N. ] Date: 19700119
Bo, struck down after his program-defining victory over Ohio State, leaves the hospital and is accosted by some photographer. He wants a picture. Hal Coombes, University Entertainment, Tournament of Roses and Mrs. Helen Fowler, Registered Nurse, are appalled, but Bo accedes. Hal Coombes, UE, ToR and Mrs. Helen Fowler, RN, can't quite get over the awkwardness of the situation -- this man, just out of the hospital, still in a wheelchair, asked for photographic evidence of his weakness -- and end up looking like extras in a zombie movie.
But Bo does not care. Bo says what the hell, and smiles, and by all appearances actually means it, and Mrs. Helen Fowler, Registered Nurse, is confused and alarmed into inaction but thinks that if this guy here is so capable of dealing then things will probably be all right. We have lost that; it is time to go seeking again.