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By Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

In the 1970s player introductions for college football games were very different compared to the productions that they are now.  There were no fancy graphics, no computer generated backgrounds and no animations some forty years ago.  While the intros back then lacked the glitz and glamour of today’s game, they made up for it in uniqueness and creativity.

In 1973, the player introductions for the Michigan-Ohio State game were announced over the Michigan Stadium public address system. ABC-TV’s Bill Fleming was live on the field and had the players run up to the on-field camera as he announced their names to the sell-out crowd and national TV audience, literally minutes before kickoff.  Those introductions were epic and captured the emotion of the moment.  None were better than Michigan’s Curtis Tucker, Dave Gallagher and Paul Seal’s introductions.

A few years later, ABC decided to use video mug shots at the Friday walkthroughs for both teams instead of delaying the start of the game with on-field player introductions.  This was relatively boring as the players were usually just standing there in their team-issued sweat-suits as the camera moved down the line, one by one.

Then, in 1978, Michigan tailback Harlan Huckleby added a subtle coolness to his intro for the game against Notre Dame.  When the camera moved in front of #25 and paused for about 3 seconds, Huckleby winked:

When I recently asked Huck about it he didn’t recall doing the wink or what his motivation was at the time.  Whatever the reason, it was a cool move by one of Michigan’s coolest cats, for sure!

The next time Michigan was on National TV, Michigan’s Russell Davis, Ralph Clayton and Doug Marsh all decided to continue the tradition of the Huckleby Wink. During the 1978 Michigan-Ohio State game, all three players winked when the ABC camera got in front of them.  The next year, during the 1979 Notre Dame mug shot player intros, Stan Edwards, Lawrence Reid, Clayton and Ed Muransky all winked to the ABC camera.  Who knew that what Huck started on a whim a year earlier would continue with the next group of Wolverines?!

For the 1979 Rose Bowl, NBC took the player introductions to a new level.  The peacock network already had the players introducing themselves, as well as their hometown and degree of study for the previous few Rose Bowl telecasts. In 1979 NBC decided to have the starters for each team hang out in a picturesque garden while they shot their player intros.  It was a little more dynamic and flashy than ABC’s Friday walk-through mug shots, but not by much.

For Michigan quarterback Rick Leach, NBC decided to add a little pizzazz to his intro. After announcing all the offensive starters, NBC had Leach crouch down behind his offensive linemen. As legendary broadcaster Curt Gowdy announced that “you can’t hide an All-American,” the Wolverine offensive linemen all knelt down on one knee and up stood the Guts and Glue behind them. It was classic!

I’ve made a video collage of some of the more memorable Michigan player introductions of the 1970’s for all to see and remember:

Ed. You can check out the whole Dr. Sap Archives video collection here, including the intro clips from several games in the 1970s.

 

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[Ed. In a repost from January 2014, Dr. Sap is back and offers up some Bo-era flavor that comes from the treasure trove that is the Sap archives. –G]

Guest Post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

When Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh scored on a quarterback draw against Notre Dame in 1985, little did he know that a photo of the classic TD would spark an interesting discussion in the national media.   As Harbaugh crossed the goal line that afternoon, Ara Parseghian exclaimed on the CBS broadcast, “A quarterback draw – great call!”

The next week, Sports Illustrated captured Harbaugh’s scoring play under the title, “A Cure For Bo’s Blues”:

A Cure for Bo's Blues - HarbaughA couple of SI readers took notice of the NFL football Harbaugh was cradling in the photo.  They were inspired to write the editor and ask why a collegiate athlete was using a professional pigskin:SI Letter - Jim Harbaugh's NFL Wilson footballAs noted by SI’s ED/Sir, this question was addressed by the NCAA and the next year they decided to modify their college footballs that were used by Division I schools. So when Michigan played at Notre Dame in 1986 Harbaugh was throwing around the new AFCRT Wilson 1001:

Jim Harbaugh - Notre Dame 1986It was the same model, size and shape as the NFL Wilson – it now just had a different, less professional-looking, stamp on it.  Of course everyone then was asking, “What the heck does AFCRT mean?”  It stands for the American Football Coaches Retirement Trust and is essentially a retirement plan setup for qualified college football coaches.

The ball stayed in circulation for a few years. In fact, when Demetrius Brown outdueled Rodney Peete in the 1989 Rose Bowl, this was the ball that was used in that glorious victory over the Trojans:

AFCRT pigskin Michigan

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Thanks Sap!  If you want to see the best looking ball from a Notre Dame game, that’s easy.  My pal and artist Jil Gordon does the handiwork on many of the game balls awarded to players and coaches.  Here’s what she did for UTL 1.0 – just amazing:

ND ball

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31. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: 2014

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Great stuff from Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee (HT: JP & GN).  A snippet:

  • Your Harbaugh does not function like other head coaches. An innocuous query about the weather, for instance, could trigger a florid quote from Admiral William Halsey. And yet a routine question about a running back’s knee injury may cause your Harbaugh to wince, pause and grimace as if a malodorous scent has wafted into the room. Your Harbaugh’s default in this instance is: “We don’t really talk about that here” or “I can’t get inside his body” or “He’s working through something.” This is a design flaw our technicians in California have not yet worked out.
  • You may notice that your Harbaugh never shuts off. This is normal.
  • [this –>] There are still a few bugs in the answer-response system. For instance, you may sense – due to a long pause – that your Harbaugh has completed an answer. You will begin to ask another question. You could be two sentences into your question when your Harbaugh suddenly continues his answer to the previous question. You will feel stupid. Do not be alarmed. This is normal.

Full instructions (and warnings!) here.

Related:

This was a highlight of yesterday’s presser for me:

This time, we flew in, and they had a gift bag for the kids, hats, scarfs, sweatshirts, and that took me back to walking into Moe’s Sport Shop and looking at everything with big, wide eyes hoping you would get something. Moe’s Sports Shop gave us a 10- or 20-percent discount on coach’s families, and that’s what I would save my money for. I would cut lawns, shovel snow and rake leaves so that I could go to Moe’s Sport Shop to get a pair of basketball shoes or something with the block M on it. My kids were wearing, that and that took me back to a place.

I know that feeling…and a tip of the hat to MVictors sponsor Moe’s for jumping on this one:

 

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Harbaugh taking a break from family time to deliver Blue Steel.  Or is that Magnum?  Either way, after he gave me this look I had no choice but to split. 

And update: the winner on Twitter goes to Ace (/sigh):

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Runner up:

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 weeee:

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Maize Watch

Hackett’s “maize” watch.  Lovely timepiece but not sure that’s a color tone I want to see on my beloved helmet or uniform.

 

 

M ring

Harbs crushed more Diet Cokes than John Daly, probably to help soothe that raspy throat.  Also note the U-M Club of Detroit M ring.

 

 

Lloyd Carr showed respect by rocking the khakis.

 Saint Hackett
Saint Hackett

Coach Carr and Captain Jansen

 Harbaugh

More stuff later on.   Related:

 

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30. December 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: 2014

Harbaugh

All the press conference pics here

Via mgoblue.com:

Michigan Interim Athletic Director Jim Hackett
Opening statement … “It’s great to be with all of you today. I want to welcome all the people who have come from all over the place to report this news. I want to single out some people here who are quite special and made a special effort to join us. You heard we have former coaches from Michigan in Lloyd Carr, Gary Moeller and Jerry Hanlon. The Michigan faithful will always stop to shake their hands and thank them for all they have done over the years for this great university. Let me do that as well as they unselfishly helped me in thinking through this coaching transition. All of these gentlemen coached under the late, great Glenn E. “Bo” Schembechler and with a simple phone call, we have Bo’s wife, Kathy Schembechler, here who made a huge effort during holiday break and snowstorms in Denver to join in this celebration today. Thank you, Kathy.

“We also have here today Michigan regents Kathy White, Larry Deitch and Andrew Richner, all of whom have been so helpful in the process we constructed that resulted in this great hire. And while I am mentioning the top leadership at the University, let me also thank our president Mark Schlissel, who had just arrived less than six months ago this summer. He was terrific to me in counsel, as a person to brainstorm with and more importantly as a touchstone of what the University seeks in its destiny of being leaders and best in academics and athletics.

“And finally, I invited members of my team, two of whom knocked themselves out since we started this project, Chrissi Rawak and Mike DeBord plus Tim Lynch, who is the VP in general counsel. When you do a deal like this, there is a lot of legal work. Thanks to all three of them.

“As you hear of my selection for head coach, you should also know I broke one of the cardinal rules in negotiation. I fell in love with the guy from the other side. His name is John Denison and he played an enormous part in bringing the coach home.

“I am sorry for the preamble because I know you want me to get on with it. This part of the program is really what it’s about, being at Michigan. We recognize the team first.

More »

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bo and jim

So if Harbaugh is indeed introduced next week, a big question for Michigan uniform mavens concerns whether #4 will re-introduce the helmet decals.  Bo actually invented the concept while at Miami, and brought them to Ann Arbor in 1969.  Here’s a brief run down of the stickers over the years thanks to Dr. Sap:

decal history You’ll note above that the decals actually took a break in the mid-1980s during Harbaugh’s tenure, but did indeed return for his final two seasons, including his captaincy in 1986.  We also know that Coach Harbaugh used them in Palo Alto:

luck helmet stickers

Coach Hoke was asked about this by Wojo back in 2011 and obviously nothing happened, but with Harbaugh?   You’d have to think there’s a good chance we’ll see them on the field in 2015. 

What do you think?

Should the helmet stickers return in 2015?

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Update:  Amani Toomer chimes in with authority:

Toomer

Related:

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[Ed. What the heck – a primer on Jim Harbaugh’s greatest moments as a Wolverine as we await the official decision. Once again a nicely done Bo-era gem from Dr. Sap!]

A guest post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

#5: 1984 Miami (FL) – Jim Harbaugh’s first start as a Michigan Wolverine would come against the #1-ranked, defending National Champion Miami Hurricanes and he didn’t disappoint. Wolverine fans, myself included, had long felt that the maize and blue lacked one thing on offense for a few years – a tall, pocket-passing QB, ideally from California. That finally happened with the Palo Alto, CA 6-3, 202 pound Harbaugh.

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Having heard that he had attended a high school passing camp with John Elway as his instructor, sealed the deal for me – Harbs was going to be the next starting QB in my opinion and his first start was highly anticipated by many. His first two passes against Miami – an out pattern to Vince Bean for 11 yards and another to Steve Johnson for 16 yards – showed off his strong arm, much to the delight of the Michigan Stadium crowd, as Michigan went on to win, 22-14. It was an impressive victory for the Wolverines and a great start for the new QB from California.

#4: 1985 Notre Dame – Remembering how Michigan finished the 1984 season at 6-6, not many gave U-M a chance in the season opener against Notre Dame in 1985. It was a statement game for both Michigan and its quarterback. Would the Wolverines bounce back with another 10-win season?

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Would their quarterback return to form after breaking his arm a year earlier? A strong defense and solid ground game would power the maize and blue to the victory, and while Harbaugh didn’t light up the scoreboard with his passing, he was effective enough through the air to get the win, 20-12. His 3rd quarter touchdown on a quarterback draw and his ensuing endzone celebration put an exclamation point on the victory – Michigan and Harbaugh were back. 

#3 1985 Ohio State – With Iowa having all but wrapped up the Rose Bowl bid a few weeks earlier with a one point win over Michigan, the Wolverines and Buckeyes were playing for Fiesta & Cotton Bowl bids respectively.

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Not quite the same, but the chips were still high and Harbaugh was clutch throughout the game – particularly on 3rd down. Michigan’s QB would finish the game 16 of 19 for 230 yards and 3 TD’s with 8 of 9 passing on 3rd down for 8 first downs. He topped his clutch performance with a 77-yard touchdown bomb to John Kolesar that put a dagger in the Buckeye hearts once and for all as Michigan won, 27-17.

#2 1986 Notre Dame – Going into the game against the Irish in 1986, Michigan was ranked #1 in some polls but Notre Dame was strutting out their new coach and no one knew what to expect from Lou Holtz and ND.

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Two moments stood out for me in this game: (1) After Harbaugh floated a perfect 27-yard touch pass to Jamie Morris for a touchdown, the Michigan quarterback flashed the #1 finger as he raced to the endzone to celebrate the score with his teammates. When did Michigan’s QB ever proclaim so visibly that they truly were #1? Never. (2) Late in the 4th quarter with the contest still in doubt and facing a critical 3rd & 6 at their own 22 yard-line, Harbaugh lofted a perfect 38-yard pass to Kolesar down the Michigan sideline that got the Wolverines out of trouble. When did Bo EVER throw deep on a critical 3rd & short with the game on the line? Never. Not until #4 arrived. A last-second John Carney field goal miss preserved the 24-23 Michigan victory.

#1 1986 Ohio State – After beating Notre Dame (twice), after beating Ohio State at home, and after winning the Fiesta Bowl, there was still something missing on the Harbaugh resume: a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl berth. Both were on the line in 1986. If that wasn’t enough pressure, Harbaugh put the bull’s-eye squarely on himself after he predicted victory over the Bucks on the Monday before the tilt with OSU.

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This game was what he dreamed about as a kid emulating his boyhood idol, Rick Leach – beating the Bucks & going to Pasadena – and nothing was going to prevent him from reaching his ultimate goal. Much like he said before his first start in 1984, he was going to do whatever it took to win. In this game it meant overcoming a 11 point deficit in the second half and the raucous crowd in Columbus he so incited with his guarantee. It meant cupping his hands around his facemask to make it appear that his teammates could not hear his audibles that he really wasn’t screaming to them. It meant not throwing a touchdown pass the entire game. It meant executing the game plan to perfection. When it was all said and done, Harbaugh & the Wolverines would emerge victorious In Columbus, 26-24. They were Big Ten Champs and would head west to play in the Rose Bowl, just like he dreamed about as a kid.

Other Notables on Harbaugh:

  • Harbaugh would be the first UM QB to throw for 300 yards in one game (1986 Wisconsin, 1986 Indiana).
  • #4 was the nation’s most efficient passer in 1985 & finished second in 1986.
  • He would also become the QB to successfully break the Bo threshold of attempting more than 25 passes per game AND WIN – another indication that Michigan had finally devised an effective passing game that could win games.
  • Harbaugh started his career being late for his first team meeting and held a clipboard that entire 1982 season. He ended his career by hoisting the Big Ten Championship Trophy and singing The Victors in Columbus.

 

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