Hartman: Shanahan got his break as U assistant

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 12, 2012 - 6:49 AM

Before winning two Super Bowls, Mike Shanahan won praise as Gophers offensive coordinator in 1979.

This is a column about a two-time Super Bowl-winning coach who got his big break as a 27-year-old Gophers assistant under Joe Salem in 1979, because of one game in a season where the team went only 4-6-1 but scored 264 points with its run-and-shoot offense, at the time the highest total in school history since 1926.

His name is Mike Shanahan, a very close personal friend who will coach the Washington Redskins against the Vikings in a game that, if the visitors can win, could establish Leslie Frazier's team as a contender for the NFC North title.

Shanahan had about six major college assistant coaching offers after his one season with the Gophers. In 1980, he wound up as an offensive coordinator at Florida, and he made the leap to the NFL as a Denver Broncos assistant in 1984. Since then he's gone on to be the head coach with three pro teams, winning the Super Bowl in back-to-back years with Denver.

But before all that, he was a college assistant here. His second game with the Gophers came Sept. 15, 1979, at Memorial Stadium against 15th-ranked Ohio State, which was coached by Earle Bruce. His staff included future Gophers coach Glen Mason as well as Pete Carroll, now coach of the Seattle Seahawks.

The year before, the Buckeyes went 11-1 and won the Big Ten title. That day, they were three-touchdown favorites. But they struggled mightily to slow down the Gophers.

The Gophers took the kickoff, marched 80 yards in seven plays for a touchdown with Garry White scoring on a 29-yard run. There were only 2 minutes, 40 seconds gone when the Gophers took the lead.

Later in the first quarter, White scored again on a 16-yard pass from Mark Carlson, ending a nine-play drive for 62 yards.

At that point, according to Mason, Carroll -- who was calling the Ohio State defensive signals from the press box while Mason was doing the same for the offense -- was so disgusted with the play of the defense that he threw the book with all of his defensive setups into the crowd.

Paul Rogind's 44-yard field goal just before halftime put the Gophers up 17-7, but they ended up losing 21-17 when Art Schlichter scrambled for a 32-yard, fourth-quarter score.

But what impressed coaches around the country about Salem, Shanahan and the Gophers offense was that the Maroon and Gold ran up 505 yards to the 295 of the Buckeyes, who went to the Rose Bowl undefeated and ranked No. 1 but lost to USC. White ran for 221 yards on 34 carries that day.

So Shanahan, who had been an assistant to Salem at Northern Arizona in 1977 and then an assistant at Eastern Illinois before rejoining Salem in '79, became one of the most sought-after assistant coaches in the country.

And this great career of his really got going after Salem gave a 27-year-old a big opportunity at Minnesota.

Good News at U

Visiting campus Thursday, I had an opportunity at TCF Bank Stadium to see Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray, who has missed almost three weeks, get ready to play against Northwestern on Saturday. Gray was listed on the depth chart as a backup to Max Shortell.

And stopping at Williams Arena where the Gophers men's basketball team was, I watched Trevor Mbakwe, who has been sidelined since last November after knee surgery, getting ready to scrimmage Friday, when the Gophers will hold their annual All-Star Friday night to start the season.

Getting back to football, like coach Jerry Kill said after the loss to Iowa on Sept. 29, "We need to do well and get the bad taste out of our mouth."

However, Kill has been a nervous coach when it comes to addressing the problems Northwestern will pose this week.

"I think they always create a problem," Kill said. "I mean, they use their personnel -- not just their two quarterbacks, but you have to look at their team and what they do.

"They can be a personnel nightmare with the no-huddle system, like everybody else is using, and then they use two quarterbacks [Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian]. Those two quarterbacks are athletic enough to do other things besides play quarterback, so you have to worry about where they're at at all times. They can throw a double pass, they can do a lot of things. Practice, your preparation in practice is long, and you have to make sure you have good matchups on people. That's why it's really important that [defensive back] Brock Vereen is healthy, and if [defensive back] Martez [Shabazz] is able to play, that would certainly help us."

A victory Saturday, and even all of the Gophers haters will have to pay attention to the team's success.

Jottings

• There are a number of former Twins appearing in the MLB postseason. Kyle Lohse pitched his second terrific game for St. Louis on Thursday, giving up only one run on two hits and one walk with five strikeouts over seven innings in a no-decision. Lohse, who won Friday night's wild-card game at Atlanta, has a 1.29 ERA in two playoff starts and, at age 34, figures to sign a large free-agent contract after going 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA this season. It's disappointing to think that the Twins' only compensation for trading Lohse to Cincinnati in 2006 was Zach Ward, a righthander who never pitched above Class AA and now is out of baseball at age 28.

• Former Twins lefthander Jose Mijares bounced back from a horrid first playoff outing with San Francisco -- when he gave up three earned runs and didn't record an out in the Game 2 loss to Cincinnati -- to record a big strikeout of former NL MVP Joey Votto in Game 4 on Wednesday, as the Giants came back to win the series.

• Jim Thome is having a very rough series for the Baltimore Orioles against the New York Yankees. He is 2-for-15 through four games. ... J.J. Hardy also is having a rough series at 3-for-18, but his third hit was a big one, a 13th-inning RBI double that gave Baltimore a 2-1 victory in Game 4. ... Lew Ford pinch ran for Thome on Thursday but got picked off first.

• In the Oakland-Detroit series, Pat Neshek pitched two-thirds of an inning in Game 1, but the appearance was especially notable because it came only days after the death of Neshek's newborn son, Gehrig, who was not even 1 day old. The other former Twins reliever on the staff is A's closer Grant Balfour, who took the loss in Game 2 in Detroit but earned the save in Game 3. ... Delmon Young drove in his second run of the series during Detroit's four-run seventh inning in Thursday's Game 5.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City 0 Top 1st Inning
San Francisco 0
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 2 FINAL
San Jose 1
Boston 1 2nd Prd
Toronto 0
NY Rangers 1 2nd Prd
Montreal 1
New Jersey 0 2nd Prd
Ottawa 0
Dallas 1 2nd Prd 18:01
NY Islanders 3
Detroit 1 2nd Prd 15:19
Philadelphia 0
Chicago 0 1st Prd 19:45
St. Louis 0
Pittsburgh 0 1st Prd 19:44
Nashville 0
Tampa Bay 0 1st Prd 20:00
Minnesota 0
Florida 8:00 PM
Arizona
Washington 9:00 PM
Calgary
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
UAB 17 FINAL
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 40 FINAL
Colorado 37
Akron 21 FINAL
Ball State 35
Massachusetts 35 FINAL
Toledo 42
Ohio U 21 FINAL
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 FINAL
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 14 FINAL
Stanford 38
Fla Atlantic 16 FINAL
(23) Marshall 35
Louisiana Tech 31 FINAL
Southern Miss 20
(1) Miss State 45 FINAL
Kentucky 31
Georgia Tech 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 28
(22) West Virginia 34 FINAL
Oklahoma State 10
Texas Tech 27 FINAL
(10) TCU 82
Michigan 11 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 35
Boston College 23 FINAL
Wake Forest 17
Central Mich 20 FINAL
Buffalo 14
Vanderbilt 14 FINAL
Missouri 24
Old Dominion 51 FINAL
Western Ky 66
UNLV 20 FINAL
Utah State 34
Temple 14 4th Qtr 12:20
UCF 34
(15) Arizona 31 3rd Qtr 14:52
Washington St 16
Texas-El Paso 14 2nd Qtr 5:10
TX-San Antonio 0
Wyoming 3 2nd Qtr 9:10
Colorado State 24
Syracuse 3 2nd Qtr 6:27
(21) Clemson 0
Texas State 0 2nd Qtr 5:00
ULM 13
(3) Ole Miss 6 1st Qtr 0:07
(24) LSU 0
(4) Alabama 13 1st Qtr 7:12
Tennessee 0
So Carolina 7 1st Qtr 2:05
(5) Auburn 0
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
D.C. 1 FINAL
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 0 1st Half 25:00
New England 0
Portland 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Colorado 9:00 PM
Vancouver FC
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 24 FINAL
Toronto 26
Brt Columbia 7 6:15
Winnipeg 7
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Sunday in Tampa Bay?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close