The Michigan Daily: What are your favorite memories from playing against Minnesota, with the Brown Jug at stake?

Ed Muransky: I think my favorite memory was actually not in Ann Arbor. It was in Minneapolis, and it was prior to the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. They played at the university, and it was a cold November day. It was snowing. Minnesota had a great team, and it was a great college stadium. An old, 100-year-old stadium with the Jug sitting on the sidelines. The end of the game with us carrying it across the field, that’s how I remember the Jug.

 

TMD: Which Minnesota players do you have the fondest memories of going up against?

EM: The one I remember was a defensive tackle, Karl Mecklenburg. He ended up being a great outside pass rusher and linebacker for the Denver Broncos for many years.

 

TMD: Did you go against him when you were with the Raiders (from 1982-84)?

EM: I did. And also the Fahnhorst brothers. (Jim) was a linebacker, (Keith) was an offensive tackle for the 49ers for a long time. I played against Marion Barber III’s dad, also. He was Minnesota’s back when I was at Michigan (from 1978-81).

 

TMD: Did the son remind you of his father?

EM: Yeah. Exactly the same type of runner.

 

TMD: You and (offensive tackle) Bubba Paris were the first 300-pounders at Michigan. Do you take pride in that?

EM: It’s kind of interesting. If you head back to 1978, my freshman year, I think Bubba and I were legitimately under 300 pounds. And then for four years, Bo insisted that we stay under 300. Even if you were 320 at the time, you were always (listed at) 299. Nobody was ever allowed to get to that weight. Bubba and I were kind of in the next stratosphere, being 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-7, (respectively) and 270 pounds. When we arrived at Michigan, it was kind of taboo to hit the 300-pound mark.

 

TMD: Did you ever do anything to try to stay under the 300-pound limit?

EM: My junior year, Bubba and I were Honorable Mention All-Americans and we both made the All-Big Ten team as juniors. I was a Playboy All-American going into my senior year. And Bo told us after spring practice that we each had to weigh 285 pounds or less. During the spring, Bubba was 310 and I was about 300. We were going to run every day of double-sessions, and we would run every day after practice, because Bo was not having an offensive lineman over 300 pounds.

 

TMD: Was it perceived that, if you weighed that much, you were out of shape?

EM: No, it had nothing to do with physical shape. We worked out like fiends. We didn’t know what the hell steroids were. We were big guys who liked to eat. We had the same conditioning coach that had been there since 1978, Mike Gittleson (who is still with the team). He was there for our freshman year, and we were kind of a test group. We were trying to do as much as we could from a running standpoint. We lifted weights like crazy and we were very strong.

But sometime in the beginning of July, Bubba said, “We have to get moving on this. I have these plastic suits, and I’m going to take some Exlax to get this started.” Bubba weighed about 335 at the time. I was about 315. We were five weeks away from camp. So we started working out, and after about 10 days of running our butts off, lifting and starving, I think he lost three pounds and I lost two pounds. We were very, very depressed that we weren’t going to make the weight. But we continued to work out.

The following Sunday, I was in my apartment and I got a call telling me to come down to the football building immediately. We used to have these meat scales in our locker room. Bubba had a friend who used to service them. So here’s this guy on the scale, and Bubba says, “We might have something we can work with here.” He got tongue depressors and one by one, put them under the pad of the scale so that, the first time Bubba got on the scale, it would only go to 305. He put a couple more tongue depressors under the scale, Bubba got back on, and we got it to the point that, no matter how much weight you put on the scale, it would read 284 pounds.

So we made our mile-and-a-half time because we were in shape. Then we had to come in for the big weigh-in. You have all the freshmen, all the coaches, we’re all soaking wet from running. We starved ourselves the night before. And Bubba gets on there, and WHOOM! The scale goes up to 284 pounds. There’s a cheer, everybody’s hugging him. Nobody had any idea. I got on the scale, 283 7/8, everybody’s going crazy. So the entire year during the season, on Tuesday and Wednesday, you had to weigh in after practice and before, so you wouldn’t get dehydrated. Bubba and I were between 282 and 285 the entire year.

We go to Ohio State, and it’s an autumn, Indian Summer day. Mike Gittleson told everybody to weigh in to make sure that nobody got dehydrated. It was 80 degrees in November. So Bubba and I looked at each other. We were in a strange locker room, a scale that we did not have fixed, and we didn’t know what the hell to do. Just about the time everybody was leaving the locker room, Bo said from around the corner, “You two fat-asses, don’t leave before you weigh in. We don’t want you dehydrated.” So now, there was a small group gathered of Gittleson, Bubba, me, Bo and Jerry Hanlon, the line coach. Bubba got on the scale: 337. I got on the scale: 315. Bo gave us one of his looks where he didn’t have to say a thing. He just shook his head.

It was Ohio State, and there was no damned way we were going to play the game. We were going to be kicked off the team or suspended. He and I were roommates, and the night before the game, Bo would come up to say goodnight and tell us what we would work on tomorrow. So we were dreading getting the knock on the door. At 10 o’clock, it’s Bo. Bubba and I, for the last half an hour, were figuring out how to explain this to our parents. It was so embarrassing. So Bo comes in, he looks at us, shakes his head again, and he says, “Do you fat-asses really think that I thought you weighed 284 pounds the entire year? Go kick some ass tomorrow.”

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