Griffin #039;helps#039; Wolves’ staff learn the game

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 19, 2002

If the Michigan Wolverines beat Ohio State this Saturday, they have Buckeyes associate athletic director Archie Griffin to thank.

Now don't go branding Griffin a traitor. You see, Griffin didn't say anything that produced bulletin board material. He's too classy for that. Nor did Griffin reveal Ohio State coach Jim Tressel's game plan.

What Griffin did was some explaining of football terminology.

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You see, the folks up north aren't exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer. Griffin, the only two-time Heisman trophy winner, knows something about the game of football. This past summer he was teaching a class called Football 101: Introduction to Football.

One of the students in the class was Michigan athletic director Bill Martin. After losing to the Buckeyes last season at home, the Michigan coaches knew they were up against someone a little smarter in Tressel than they have been used to, so Martin took extensive notes about the exact definitions of football lingo.

Martin took the information to the Michigan coaching staff and was able to squash some misinterpretations they had been teaching their players and put the Wolverines back on the right path.

Here are the top 10 corrections Griffin helped Michigan accomplish:

1. Moving the ball means gaining some yardage and picking up some first downs, not slapping the ball to make it roll.

2. The huddle enables a team to secretly call a play, not talk about other players on the team.

3. "Sweep" means to run wide, not clean out the locker room.

4. Calling for a "bootleg" doesn't mean the players are going to buy illegal alcoholic beverages.

5. A "draw" does not call for coach Lloyd Carr to add pictures to the playbook.

6. "Red Dog" has nothing to do with the team mascot.

7. "Blitz" does not refer to how the players will get Saturday night in the postgame party.

8. The chain gang is not former Michigan players out on parole to watch the game.

9. Passing the football did not require quarterback John Navarre to swallow anything.

10. The conversion after touchdown does not deal with baptizing players into Christianity.

What Archie did for Michigan was helpful, but it's doubtful the information will be enough to help the Wolverines beat the unbeaten Buckeyes. You see, Archie never never got around to the chapters about "nickel" coverage or the Statue of Liberty play.

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.