When Michigan linebacker Scott McClintock walks onto the field
Saturday, he’ll see his opponent, and one thing is for sure: He’ll
be well-versed in how to conquer it.
McClintock is an avid reader of philosophical texts. Recently,
he’s dived into Machiavelli’s “The Prince”, Dante’s “Inferno” and a
book by famous surreal artist Salvador Dali.
“I don’t want to be just about football,” McClintock said,
“because there’s a lot more to me than that.”
It makes sense that McClintock, the junior from Belle Vernon,
Pa., enjoys escaping from football with a thought-provoking book.
He describes himself as “more of a person who sits back and is more
tentative,” which explains why few of his teammates know they’ve
got a team philosopher sitting next to them in the lockerroom.
“I’m not really boisterous with my ideas,” said McClintock, who
is studying to be a high school social studies teacher. “Maybe I
should be. I don’t tell people I read stuff.”
Offensive left guard David Baas, who was McClintock’s roommate
this summer during training camp, says he had no idea about
“During camp, there’s not a lot of time to sit down and read,
but I can definitely see Scott doing that with his little glasses,”
said Baas, laughing. “If reading philosophy makes him a better
football player, then go for it.”
Whether it’s his knowledge of philosophy or a work ethic that
would make any Western Pennsylvanian proud, McClintock has risen to
the top of the Michigan defense’s depth chart entering the
Wolverines’ titanic battle with Notre Dame. Through two games, he’s
tied for second on the team with 10 tackles.
“He’s impressive,” defensive end Larry Stevens said. “He’s
really aggressive, and he can hit. He’s a good player. He’s a
linebacker that, with experience and more time with (defensive
coordinator Jim) Herrman, can be a great player.”
McClintock has made up ground on the depth chart by working as
hard as anyone during summer workouts and two-a-days to get into
shape. He’s increased his knowledge of the Michigan defensive
scheme by dissecting film. McClintock also took advantage of
injuries to Carl Diggs, Zach Kaufman and Lawrence Reid last season
to garner crucial playing time against Ohio State and Florida.
“(The experience last season) was very valuable,” McClintock
said. “Just the fact that we lost that game (to Ohio State), it
hurts to put that much into it and come out the loser.”
This season, McClintock will be an integral part of whether
Michigan wins or loses each week. As an inside linebacker, he’s
forced to drop his tentative nature and become the quarterback of
“You have to get the defensive linemen set up, and if you don’t
do it fast enough, it could cause some problems,” McClintock said.
“I’ve got to try and step up and act like an older upperclassman,
put the younger stuff behind me and step into the role.”
While Stevens readily admits that McClintock is “no Mike
Singletary,” known for his menacing stare as a middle linebacker
for the Chicago Bears, he’s impressed with the play-making ability
McClintock has shown.
“If you see him at practice, he hits,” Stevens said. “The man
will come out and hit.”
McClintock says he gets a lot of his skills on the football
field from his grandfather, who played at Georgia for one year. He
described he and his grandfather as “golfing buddies,” and even
though there’s a huge generation gap between them, they’re able to
talk about everything – especially football.
“My grandfather has a bunch of video clips of (legendary
Illinois and Chicago Bears linebacker) Dick Butkus, (Butkus) was
one of his idols,” McClintock said. “I’d go watch films of Butkus,
and he just made the game look fun. He had no friends on the
If Machiavelli could talk football with McClintock, he’d likely
agree with that philosophy.
As he put it in “The Prince”: “We have not seen great things
done in our time except by those who have been considered mean; the
rest have failed.”