The following are
excerpts from Herb's file on the rememberances of Harry "Red"
Miller, one of the heroes of the Michigan game, and father of future Notre
Dame star, All American and Hall of Famer, Creighton Miller.
Interestingly, in 1942, in only the second game played since the
1909 victory, Creighton Miller had a career day, gaining 159 yards on 10
carries and scored two touchdowns. I'm pretty sure old Red was at Michigan
Stadium in '43 to see his sons big day...
From Herb's file on "Red" Miller:
"That 1909 Notre Dame conquest of Michigan's Paladins happened four
years before the so-called "unknown little Hoosier school" came
out of the West to humble Army and startle Eastern critics - which
explodes that fallacy! The truth is that every football follower in the
Midwest recognized Notre Dame as a formidable grid power long before
Rockne and Dorais collaborated to ambush the unsuspecting Cadets.
Indeed, Rockne didn't even originate the system which bears his name,
though he did dramatize it. Rock himself always credited the hike shift to
his coach, Jesse Harper, a disciple of Alonzo Stagg."
"The forward pass, incorporated into American football back in 1906,
was old stuff by the time Dorais began pitching to Rockne. Brad Robinson,
first of the super passers, completed heaves of sixty-seven and sixty-five
yards for St. Louis University in 1906. Robinson towered 6 foot 4 inches
and grabbed the pigskin by its pointed end as though it were a baseball.
Dorais couldn't have taught that guy anything about tossing a pass."
"Among the pre-Rockne era football stars who gleamed brightly at
Notre Dame from 1887 to 1910 were Cartier, quarterback; Cusack, halfback;
Mullen, end; Dimmick, tackle; Philbrook, guard; Shaughnessy, end; Cullinan,
tackle; H. Miller, halfback, and Salmon, fullback. Even Coach Frank Leahy,
abundantly supplied with material though he was this fall, could have used
some of those "antediluvians.""
If Eastern football authorities had never heard of Notre Dame before the
Irish exploded that barrage of passes against Army in 1913, it was because
the smug Brahmins of the Atlantic coastal sectors never bothered to look
beyond the Allegheny Mountain barrier."
* * * * *
period saw a revolutionary change in football paraphernalia, and the
beginning of better and proper protection against injuries. The shin
guards disappeared in 1906. The nose guard, a suffocating device, was last
seen in a few instances in 1906. Throughout the next four years the union
suit with the vest attached to the pants gradually gave way to just pants.
By 1909 only four or five players on a team were wearing the combination.
The union suit as well as the pants with their thick padding and splints
and papier mache' were heavy and burdensome, and became more so with sweat
or rain or dampness. I recall that quarterback Don Hamilton in 1908
removed all the padding and papier mache' in his pants and fashioned light
knee pads. Others followed suit. Shoulder and elbow pads were sewed on the
jerseys and offered poor protection compared with present pads. Headgear
was made of felt and offered little protection. In fact headgear then was
a nuisance. I never wore one. In comparison with present day helmets, that
headgear from a protection point of view just didn't exist. Shoes were
much heavier, and no attention was paid to the worn-out cleats. Many a
good gain and touchdown were lost by the failure of poor cleats to hold.
The monogram sweaters awarded then were wonderfully well made, very thick
and very heavy and with a long turtle neck. I still have, in excellent
shape, the one I won in 1906. The V-neck sweater followed by the sweater
coat became optional in 1908."
"The spectators at Notre Dame out of town games in those days never
numbered more than 9,000, which was then considered a very large crowd. At
Notre Dame the crowds were much smaller. There were no automobiles then
and the college alumni interested in football was quite limited."
* * * * *
system was entirely different from Place's. His plays were simple and
comparatively few in number. He had a team of old, experienced players who
knew the science of football well and were masters of their positions and
of all tricks of the game. It would have been impossible to have picked
one as the star of the team. They were all stars. Each had the great
confidence that comes with knowledge and ability; and in each football
instinct was greatly developed.".