M go Bru

September 25th, 2015 at 7:21 PM ^

working as a manager for a large copier company.

He went to Novi Catholic Central. His Rose Bowl Michigan jersey is on display in their trophy case.

My son, a recent CC graduate, caddied in his foursome at Birmingham Country Club two years ago with another Michigan grad. He came home and told me a man in his group went to CC and played football at Michigan and his last name began with a M.

The first names that popped into my head were Mohler and Mallory, but of course they did not go to CC. Then it struck me. Holy shit! Mark Messner was in your foursome. He was one of the greatest defensive linemen in Michigan history.

He was drafted by the LA Rams. Because of his small size, they tried to make him a linebacker. He never made the transition and only played a couple of years.

With the Fiesta Bowl victory over Nebraska, the 1986 MI team with Harbaugh, Morris, Messner, Hammerstein, etc finished ranked No.2 in th country. Bo's highest ranked team to finish the season. Messner was the Fiesta Bowl MVP.


September 25th, 2015 at 3:21 PM ^

Wormley is a physical marvel, amazing strength and somewhat awkard agility and speed for a man so large.  Yes I understand that's contradicting, but I don't know how else to describe him.  He also plays slower than he should at times, confused or just waiting too long for more information before attacking.  If the light really goes off and he trusts what he sees sooner, his beastly possibilities are nearly endless. 

Messner was the opposite in my mind.  Quick as a cat, seemed to know where the ball was going as well as the offense did, effortlessly sidestepped blockers, undersized and intense effort on every play.  Messner willed himself to greatness, though he had a good physical skills, there was always a ceiling.  He was just an excellent college player, showed up in big games and made big plays. 


September 25th, 2015 at 3:01 PM ^

I could be wrong here, bur his stepfather owned or co-owned Hammell Music in Livonia, as I recall, which was on Middlebelt between Five and Six Mile. I think it moved a bit west of that location and eventually closed, but I remember getting instruments from there back in the day.

The video tribute was awesome - he really was a force in some great Michigan defensive lines. He is still the program's all time leader in tackles for loss, sack yardage and a few other things, I believe. 


September 25th, 2015 at 3:13 PM ^

I'm a huge Messner fan. Great guy. Spoke at our high school once.

I remember reading a story out of the paper where he told about his recruitment by Bo, and about his first game.

Apparently he was so nervous he puked on the centers hand, who of course couldn't move it.

That was a great time to watch Michigan

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September 25th, 2015 at 3:45 PM ^

better than Rogers and Hammerstein. That Nebraska bowl game was one of the hardest hitting games I can remember. Messner was just tatooing guys.

Loved his technique of tackling fast Qbs by the ankles from behind - he was deceptively quick and a very smart player that gave 100%.

He did some DARE youth basketball charity games in the A2 area. His knees were shot but you could see what an athlete he was. Very nice and modest guy - vintage Bo player.

Thanks for posting this piece!


September 25th, 2015 at 3:58 PM ^

He was an absolute bitch! I say that in a good way. For such a small guy he made an incredible amount of big-time plays. in the backfield. He's definitely on my top 10 Michigan players of all-time list


September 25th, 2015 at 4:40 PM ^

I like the tribute, as Messner was a beast, but some of those artificial fields are frightening.

The Minn. field towards the end -- if my stone deck was glazed that well and looked that rock solid, I'd be a happy homeowner. The amount of rug burns and bruises (not to mention more serious injuries) that they all must have had could not have been fun.

EDIT: to be clear, that was a U of M home game against Minnesota. Our artificial turf in the 80s was very artificial.


September 25th, 2015 at 4:59 PM ^

When I was growing up, I remember hearing Messner and Hammerstein all the time, just like Rob Renes 10 years later. When you hear a DT's name a lot, it is very likely they are good.


September 25th, 2015 at 5:04 PM ^

Ara Parsegian says it all!. "You need help to block this guy, you can't block him by yourself." Mark Messner, He was one of the all time greats. 6'3" 245 lbs. Tough as an anvil, lightning quick, he had to be...    



September 25th, 2015 at 6:19 PM ^

I remember taking my dad to a game my sophmore year (Messner's redshirt freshman year) against Maryland. He was already a beast 3 games into the season.