Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis is a Schembechler-era savant and once again this season he’ll be diligently handing out his postgame helmet stickers after each game. Sap has pored over hours and hours of U-M games over several decades, and in these posts he’s able to tie the present to the past. I encourage you to subscribe to Dr. Sap on YouTube, or follow Sap on Twitter.
OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – Easy to single out Karan Higdon for this, but I’m going with the Big Uglies up front – specifically the Interior O-Line. It seemed like most of the successful (running) plays were straight up the middle. And while it’s difficult to single out just one guy, I’ll go with all three interior linemen. We saw some hints of this last week against another basketball school, so it was nice to see that it wasn’t a one-week-wonder.
DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – For this defense to click, it has to start with pressure up front, and Maurice Hurst seemed to bring it all game. If Fat Bastard (of Austin Powers fame) were to call or describe one of Mo Hurst’s sacks, I’m sure he’d exclaim, “Get In My Belly,” every time #73 took down an opponent and then rubbed his belly. So ya, Mo Hurst gets a helmet sticker. Yeah, baby!!
SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION – Don’t ever think blocking a field goal is easy to do or a non-factor. Maurice Hurst did that against IU and for the longest time it looked like that would be the difference in the game. It ended up not being the case, but still underscores the importance of what Hurst did. “Get In My Belly!!!”
COACHING CHAMPION – Nice to see Assistant Head Coach Tim Drevno channel his inner Bo Schembechler. Back in the day, whenever Michigan lost a game they shouldn’t have, Bo always liked to say that the best way to correct those mistakes that led to the loss was to get back to basics. That meant running the ball, A LOT, and running it between the tackles. There was a reason Bob Ufer used to always say, “Two tight ends and a balanced line” to start his call of a play. That basic formation dictated how the defense was to line up. If the D played straight up, then the O-Line knew their blocking assignments were pretty much the guy across the line of scrimmage. If the D over-shifted to one side of the play, the offense would run the other way. Pretty simple stuff, much like the old acronym: KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. When it works, like it did against IU, it looks pretty simple, and effective. When it doesn’t? “Get back to basics – that’s just fundamental!” just like the old ball coach used to say.
UNIFORM CHAMPION – Ok, I’m down with the all white unis on the road, but when the home team wears white pants, can Michigan at least have the option to wear their maize pants? I just didn’t like that look against Indiana. Maybe next week against Penn State this possibility can be explored? Just sayin’… In the meantime, no sticker for you!
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Week by Week Champions (O = Offense, D = Defense, T = Special Teams, C = Coaching, U = Uniform, E = Editor’s pick)
Week 1 vs. Florida: Ty Issac (O), Devin Bush (D), Quinn Nordin (T), Don Brown, Greg Mattison (C), all-maize unis (U), Camaron Cheeseman (E)
Week 2 vs. Cincinnati: Ty Issac (O), Tyree Kinnel (D), Grant Perry (T), Greg Mattison (C), refined helmet decals (U).
Week 3 vs. Air Force: N/A (O), Chase Winovich (D), Quinn Nordin & Donovan Peoples-Jones (T), Jim Harbaugh (C), full on maize and blue uniforms (U)
Week 4 vs. Purdue: John O’Korn (O), Devin Bush (D), Brad Robbins (T), Don Brown (C), white-arm-sleeves-on-shins (U)
Week 5 vs. Michigan State: N/A
Week 6 vs. Indiana: Karan Higdon (O), Maurice Hurst (D) and (T), Tim Drevno (C)
Week 7 vs. Penn State: N/A
Week 8 vs. Rutgers: