The question asked most often around Ann Arbor this fall is not "What kind of year are the Wolverines going to have?" but "How is Coach Schembechler feeling?" Bo Schembechler, of course, is the bright young man who took charge of Michigan's sagging fortunes last season and—quicker than you can say "Tom Harmon"—turned the Wolverines into the most surprising team of the year. Not only did Michigan win eight of its 10 games, including that implausible victory over Ohio State, but it tied for the championship of the Big Ten and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl. But all this eventually proved too much for Schembechler, 41, an intense, high-strung man. On the morning of the Rose Bowl he was admitted to Pasadena's St. Luke's Hospital for treatment of what was later diagnosed as a heart attack. With their coach in the hospital, where he was not even allowed to listen to the game on the radio, the Wolverines played an uninspired, listless game and lost to Southern Cal 10-3. Afterward his players and assistants were concerned about Schembechler's condition but not surprised. As one assistant put it, "He drives himself to the extreme, like nobody you've ever seen before. He wants to think football, football, football all the time. He never lets up."
Last spring, however, Schembechler did let up a little. He spent most of his time sitting on the sidelines in a folding chair while his assistants were out on the field doing most of the nose-to-nose coaching. But at the end of spring practice Schembechler was sounding more and more like his old self: "In the fall it's full speed ahead. I'm not holding anything back."
Michigan will have one of the finest defensive units anywhere. Ends Phil Seymour and Mike Keller, both returning starters, were held out of spring practice because of injuries, but they are ready now—and so are Tackles Fred Grambau and Pete Newell and Middle Guard Henry Hill. In Marty Huff and Mike Taylor the Wolverines have the league's finest linebackers, and Tom Darden is there to steady the defensive backfield.
Offensively, Schembechler feels he has the nation's most underrated quarterback in senior Don Moorhead, who last year outthrew both Purdue's Mike Phipps and Ohio State's Rex Kern in head-to-head duels. Tailback Glenn Doughty is returning, and so is Billy Taylor, who finished the season with 808 yards and a 6.1 average.
The schedule is not unkind. Three weak sisters—Arizona, Washington and Texas A&M—come before Michigan's first test, Purdue at Lafayette. After that, Michigan State and Minnesota both come to Ann Arbor before the grand finale against Ohio State in Columbus. Already the stories have been drifting into Ann Arbor about how Woody Hayes is plotting his sweet revenge, but Schembechler is not exactly looking for a place to hide. "If we're lucky enough to still have a shot at the title when we go to Columbus," he says, "well, let's just say that'll be one helluva football game." In case you didn't get the message it is this: Bo Schembechler and Michigan are feeling just fine, thank you.