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1:06 am EST 54°F (12°C) in Dearborn, MI
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For almost all of the last ten days, I have actually been here at home. This was supposed to be a six-day hometime from which I was to return to the road this past Wednesday, but what with the Thanksgiving holiday, I was told that there was no freight and that I should check back in this past Friday. Upon doing that two days ago, I was again told there was no freight to run until at least tomorrow. At that point, six days will have ballooned into 11 days of no pay.
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the triumph of evil over good eight days ago in Columbus, OH, as Ohio State beat Michigan 42-39. The Michigan offense did everything that could have been asked of it and then some, but the defense failed to live up to its billing. Ultimately, the game was won for Ohio State long before the Buckeyes even took the field; the credit really has to go to the sweater-vested minion of Satan, Jim Tressel, and his work in the film room. I’m not sure what he saw; but clearly, he figured out from watching film that a bunch of underneath screens, slants, and crossing routes, with throws rarely going more than 15 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, was the way to move the football against Michigan. On game day, we saw just how deadly effective that strategy was for Ohio State.
This worked for a number of reasons that go well beyond just the speed of Ohio State’s receivers. The obvious adjustment for a defense, when they realize they’re getting killed by the short passing game, is to bring the safeties and corners up to defend against it. This, of course, opens up the deep ball, which the Buckeyes exploited for one score, and also puts the defense at risk of giving up long rushes for scores — once the back gets into the secondary, he’s gone. (The Buckeyes got two more scores and 108 of their 182 rushing yards on just two such running plays.) Quite honestly, three Ohio State turnovers were about the only thing that made the game as close as the final score was.
It may not have helped Michigan that the game was being played the day after the greatest modern icon of Michigan football, Bo Schembechler, died at the age of 77. He was at the Southfield, MI studios of WXYZ-TV (Detroit’s ABC affiliate on channel 7), in the “powder room” where people have make-up applied before going on the set, when he collapsed at 9:15 am EST; two and a half hours’ worth of attempts to revive him failed, and he was pronounced dead from heart failure at 11:42 am EST. The explanation given by his doctors was that his heart muscle, which had been significantly weakened by heart attacks in 1970 and 1987, just gave out, beyond the capacity of his pacemaker and internal defibrillator to revive him.
If he had to go, I suppose it’s appropriate that the one body part that most truly defined Schembechler — his heart — was the one that finally failed. The man truly loved Michigan, and gave far more to the ‘U’ even after his coaching career than anybody could possibly have expected of him. I’m barely old enough to remember the sunset years of his coaching career (1969-1990); mostly, I remember him better for his later contributions to the University of Michigan community, especially to the University’s medical system. The football administrative building will continue, hopefully in perpetuity, to bear his name — Schembechler Hall. With that, I say my final farewells to the man who proved that good things can, in fact, come out of Ohio, Glenn Edward (“Bo”) Schembechler (April 1, 1929-November 17, 2006).
This past week, I really haven’t done a lot. I decided to change the battery in my car earlier in the week; the old one was four years old, and I figured I probably ought to get a new one before winter set in. This new one is an AC/Delco battery, the type used as OEM on a lot of GM cars, and is more powerful (higher cranking-amps rating) than the old Interstate battery it replaced. For the hell of it, I also went out and test-drove the new Saturn Aura, mostly because I wanted to see what it’s like; in all honesty, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a $26,000 car scream “CHEAP!” any louder than the Aura — there are other GM cars that only carry $21,000 sticker prices and yet have more standard features!
I hear the sleep gods calling my name, so it’s time to post this and say good night.