After a delay of more that two hours while they waited for a substitute plane to bring them to California, the University of Michigan football team arrived at Ontario International Airport late Friday afternoon to prepare for their New Year's Day date in the Rose Bowl with Washington.
The Wolverines' charter plane developed a serious engine vibration while warming up at Detroit Metropolitan Airport and the team's departure was delayed until a second plane could be ferried in from Milwaukee.
Because the vibration was discovered before the team left Ann Arbor, Coach Gary Moeller took advantage of the time to show films of past games.
"It wasn't so much we wanted them to see more films, but it was a way to keep them busy and their minds off the delay," Moeller said. "I'm just glad it was discovered before we got in the air. That would have been much worse."
The team was bused to their quarters at the Waterfront Hilton in Huntington Beach. They will begin practice for the Rose Bowl game this morning at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. All practices are closed to the public.
One who didn't make the trip is Jesse Johnson, the Wolverines' second-leading rusher behind Tyrone Wheatley. Johnson, a junior from Harper Woods, Mich., was dropped from the team for violating team rules.
Johnson rushed for 792 yards in 155 carries this season, a 5.1-yard average. He scored four touchdowns rushing and caught one touchdown pass. He twice rushed for more than 100 yards, getting 118 at Purdue and 121 against Illinois.
In last year's Rose Bowl game, Johnson carried four times for 30 yards and caught one pass for five yards.
Michigan, in winning its fifth consecutive Big Ten championship, also swept individual honors. Moeller was voted conference coach of the year, Wheatley offensive player of the year and tackle Chris Hutchinson defensive player of the year. Hutchinson, the team's only All-American selection, was also selected the team's most valuable player.