good story from an ooooold player

Submitted by ish on January 3rd, 2011 at 10:43 PM

tonight i met an alum from bump elliot's days.  he had good stories that i thought i would share.

he was a freshman in 1959 when freshmen weren't allowed to play on the "varsity" team.  it was the first year they were using plastic helmets.  bump elliot got enough for his varsity team, and a few of the freshmen, but not all of them.  as the plastic helmets started to trickle in, more and more of them would get them, in the order that bump thought each freshman thought showed promise to one day play for the real team.  this guy was non-scholarship, and so he got the very last leather helmet every worn by a michigan football player.  regrettebly, when another plastic helmet came, he gave the very last leather helmet back.

he also told me about a few drills they used to run.  bump would put a freshman in a large box and put four ohio state replica jerseys in it.  a varsity player would try to get one out of the box while the freshmen were made to guard them.

lastly he said that bump was a stickler for tackling technique and that even though bump was never his coach, he was told that if he didn't learn to tackle properly, he'd never play for bump.  so the freshmen tackled each other so much they'd all get hurt.  but he said that even today, he knows tackling technique so well that when he watches football, he can tell right as the defender goes in for the kill whether the tackle will be broken.



January 3rd, 2011 at 10:57 PM ^

Good stories, especially about the tackling technique.  The "tackle each other to the point of injury" method is probably the very best one out there, but in the age of scholarship limits and increasingly competitive recruiting, that's one tradition we can't bring back anymore.

Might I ask how you met this old warrior?


January 3rd, 2011 at 11:08 PM ^

My old high school coach harped on tackling techniques.  He would go on rants every practice about how current players don't know what an actual tackle is.  I love hearing older folks talking about how the game used to be.  It almost makes me wish I lived back at the turn of the century when forward passes were illegal, and a tackle meant you actually wrapped a man up and knocked him backwards.

Mi Sooner

January 3rd, 2011 at 11:18 PM ^

the pads back then weren't very good; they, at best, minimized injury; they did not prevent it.  The pads the players wear today are armour shells.  The problem with technique is that it isn't worked on as much as it was in the old days, and you add in that old school tackles do not get you in the ESPN highlights...

Bando Calrissian

January 3rd, 2011 at 11:31 PM ^

Today's padding has made the dynamics of tackling completely different.  Guys play harder and make more dangerous, projectile hits than in the past because they can use the padding as both protection and leverage.  If you watch old game film from before the 1970's, it's a lot more wrap tackling than today.  Not as many catastrophic injuries, fewer (diagnosed) concussions from helmet to helmet contact, etc.


January 3rd, 2011 at 11:53 PM ^

The MGoBoards must have been on fire back then (no, really -- smoke signals).

1959    4-5

1960    5-4

1961    6-3

1962    2-7

1963    3-4-2

1964    8-1

1965    4-6

1966    6-4

1967    4-6

1968    8-2


January 4th, 2011 at 2:28 AM ^

Someone I know played for Bo during the early 70s.  He said they did this training drill where players coupled off, ran in place in front of one another, and hit eachother in the shoulder pads. 


January 4th, 2011 at 11:11 AM ^

C O O L   S T O R Y!  the cc posts are like a bad accident you basically know what you will see yet it is so intriguing you can not look away!  until our RR is fired or our new coach is introduced the madness will continue yet i can not stay away from the blog.  this story gives me hope that football is still football.  i imagined myself in the story as you were telling it and it was mind boggling to remember how i played in highschool and to think that leather helmets and no face masks would be protective!  thank you for Michigan lore, i love the Wolverines!  Go Blue!