As if you hadn’t heard(!).  I’ll say what I said before—I wish they had more specific references to history.  The guy from adidas basically said that they trolled through the old team photos and found some stripes on the 1890s-era teams, and AD DB suggested that the stained glass (I think Ira has that trademarked now) design is indicative of stitching on the old block M uniforms.  Fine.   I would have had a design that pointed to specific elements from uniforms for a specific team or era of Michigan football history. 

That being said, I really like the helmets and the gray throwback facemasks.  And—the jerseys definitely look much better on the players and over the shoulder pads.  I think having Denard wear it for the unveiling helped—the dude can make anything look kind of cool, right?

Denard Robinson in Notre Dame Throwbacks

And it’s not just that they look better on the players.  The shoulder-pad fitted “sleeves” are shorter on the actual uniform than in the version that the public can purchase.  Thus, there are about half as many stripes and it deemphasizes that aspect of the ensemble (as do Denard’s dreads):


Here’s RVB’s helmet:

Michigan throwback helmetthose are RVB’s forearms, not mohair extensions on the sleeves

It’ll be interesting to see if those number decals stay on the helmet.  I’m guessing a few will be displaced during the game.  Remember the winged design is painted on, not a decal as many assume.  They certainly won’t go through the pain of painting on the numerals for a single game.

Other stuff:

* Man, the athletic department can put on a top notch event.  Along with the media and U-M staffers, you had current and former players and various dignitaries and donors on hand.  If you’ve got a venue like that, why not exploit it?

* The podium was flanked by two other more traditional uniforms and yes, they will be used in the other home games next season.  Check out the back:

2011 Michigan jersey

* It was also announced that Desmond will be honored in some form at the Notre Dame game.  I asked Brandon if they are considering retiring #21.   His answer was basically a ‘we’re looking into the matter’ and ‘we’ll get back to you at the right time’-type response:

"We’re considering a great deal the whole concept of retiring numbers, not just as it relates to the situation with Desmond," Brandon said. "We have so many great players, and we’re always trying to figure out how to honor them in an appropriate way. We do have a tradition here of retiring jerseys, a policy and a program we’re taking a look at, and we’ll go forward."

As Mark Snyder of the Freep suggested to me afterwards, knowing the marketing machine, any announcements such as retiring jerseys would be a separate media event and marketing campaign.  Spot on.  I think it’ll happen.

* This is unconfirmed, but word on the street (HT: Mike) is that Elvis Grbac and Desmond may re-enact this as part of the game festivities.

* They passed out these throwback tees on the way out of the stadium.  (It has the under the lights logo on the back).  I really like it and I’ve seen this style logo out there somewhere—I’m trying to recall when and where:


* One more bit of scuttlebutt (HT: Mike).  Word is that the iconic maize Michigan stadium usher jackets are being scrapped this season for a new color (blue) and a new design.  You can panic for 1 hour then move on:


* Update:  I forgot to mention the Brandon announced there will be some special guests and some type of acknowledgement of the 10th anniversary of 9-11.   Also, he noted that the cheerleaders will be throwing back as well, maybe like this?

Want one of the jerseys?  Pre-order from my boys at Moe’s starting June 17:


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16. October 2010 · Comments Off on Iowa! (Pregame Photos) · Categories: Archive 2010 · Tags: , , , , ,

Just a few on another wildly beautiful day in Ann Arbor—let’s hope it ends that way.

From the field, center David Molk warming up.  He looked fine, perhaps favoring his taped left ankle just a tad.  [ed. I published these just before the game started and obviously jinxed Molk big time, my bad]



Some of the pink accessories the players are wearing today.  Also saw pink wrist bands and tape:


Many recruits in for the game today.  Here are two stand-outs from Fort Myers, FL, Sammy Watkins and Dallas Crawford:


The alumni band in full effect on this Homecoming:


denard robinson sept 4 press conference

What a day at the Big House yesterday but it’d be a much different feeling and memory had the team fell flat. 

Off the Field:

  • Artwork:  I love that they honored the national championship teams with these larger-than-life displays.  I didn’t get a chance to get over to the east concourse but plan to before the next game.  This from the west concourse, very nicely done:

michigan 1948 national champion banner

  • Commemoratives.   The renovation pin is a nice item for fans and the game program is off the hook.   Some of the history features were very well prepared expect one—the section on the Little Brown Jug.   Page 27, bottom right:
  • Dating back to 1909, the battle for the Little Brown Jug is the oldest trophy game in NCAA Division I Football Subdivision.

    OK.  That’s ok to say “1909” if they meant to say when the teams started playing for the trophy.  That’s correct of course.  But it continued:

    Heading into that 1909 contest, Michigan was undefeated in 28 straight games as it headed to Minneapolis..

    Ugh.  They were describing when the jug was bought and left behind in Minnesota and that was 1903 of course, in the midst of Yost’s point-a-minute teams.  In 1909 Michigan rolled into Minneapolis on the heels of a furious “one” game winning streak, albeit an all-timer—the great victory over Penn in Philadelphia. 

    Further, the repeated the incorrect assertion that the jug was missing from 1930 to 1934 “ Ann Arbor gas station attendant found the real jug behind a clump of bushes..”  Just wrong.  Readers of this site know those dates are wrong and that story is all crossed-up.  My mission next year is to fix that before we play the Gophers next season.

  • Fan Vision.  I toyed around the Fan Vision handheld unit.  It’s pretty sweet, especially if you don’t have the benefit of a TV and laptop while you’re watching the game.  Occasionally the replays were a bit pixilated and they didn’t seem to have defensive stats, but this device is a winner especially for the uber in-game nerds like me.  Michigan is a test bed of sorts because the company is backed by Steve Ross.  It only works inside the stadium, but you can watch any other games for teams’ that have Fan Vision rolled out.
  • Millen.  Yes, I spotted Matt Millen hanging around the press box.  I don’t care what you think of the guy as an analyst he shouldn’t be around these parts.  It’s not right.

On the Field:

  • This was the worst punt ever.  A guy nearby in the press box said he’s seen NBA’ers kick basketballs further which was awesome:

connecticut huskies awful punt sept 4 

  • On Denard.  Plenty will  be written on this guy in the next week but man, I can’t get over that performance.   In the brief glimpse of him in the spring, merely in drills, I knew something was different:
  • I’m basing this purely on the drills but Denard looks solid tossing the ball.   Ins, outs, slants, deep – anyway you want it. 

    He threw some beautiful passes and unless Rodriguez and crew called a perfect game, he seemed to make all the right decisions in the pocket.  And on the ground, you give 16 a crack and it’s good for five yards—it was amazing to watch.

  • On Tate.  Look, as good as Denard looked, Forcier will be pressed into service this year, I’d bank on it.   I read Mike Rothstein’s piece and saw the scenes of Forcier hunched on the sidelines.   I don’t know what that was all about but he needs talk to his old man and brother, sack up and finish the season with this team.
  • I was watching James Rogers a bit, thinking like everyone else he was really going to struggle.  I haven’t look at everything yet but it looked like he made solid plays at corner both against the run (holding contain) and in coverage.  
  • In general the defense was just solid, seemed to know what they were doing (expect on that quick fourth and goal touchdown run) and seemed to tackle well.   Denard was the biggest surprise but the performance of the defense was right behind.
  • Postgame Press Conference.   It’s tough to get a lengthy answer out of Denard but his smile makes up for a lot of any anxiety he has behind the podium.  He’s clearly getting more comfortable.  I think it was Mark Snyder who asked him a question, Robinson didn’t quite follow what was being asked and he said something like, “What are you trying to ask me?”.  
  • Dave Brandon sat in on the press conference as well, and Rita Rod came in and sat with him.  She was beaming the whole time.
  • Speaking of the presser, I was wondering if Rich Rod was going to be asked about Tate  but I’m not sure how many of the media saw Tate slumped over on the sideline (at the time).  It didn’t come up.   I knew about it (Phil from showed me on the Fan Vision) at the end of the game but I didn’t have the stones to ask RR about it.  Plus I was too giddy after the whole day.  My Q&A session would have gone something like this:

chris farley rich rodriguez that was cool

Me: “Do you remember when…umm, Denard ran up and down the field a bunch of times?”
Rich Rod: “Yes.”
Me: “That was so cool.”


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Related UConn game content:

  • It’s Great TBAMW
  • UConn Pregame Photos #2: Super Mikes, Skywriting, MSC and more
  • Early Pregame Photos: UConn Game (Field, Pin, Bottle, Device)
  • I had a chance to talk to a few folks at Media Relations about Saturday’s pregame activities. 

    It’s suggested you get into your seat at least 20-25 minutes prior to kick-off to be safe.  It won’t be a drawn-out process as there’s a TV schedule and of course a football game to be played. 

    Here’s what you can expect (bulleted by design, specific order not certain):

    • Video piece on the Stadium project
    • Video piece on Brock Mealer
    • Ribbon cutting (with Bill Martin, Dave Brandon, the Regents)
    • Brock Mealer will lead the team out, walk under the banner.  The team will follow.
    • Looks like two flyovers (sounds like MGoShoe has it right.) 
    • TBD – but possibly some type of pyrotechnics(!)?
    • There will also be set video pieces throughout the game

    In and around the concourses there are a few new items (I’m not sure how much of this was in place for Fan Day):

    • The Michigan Stadium ‘Art Deco’ lettering is now on the east side of the stadium, and Bruce Madej encouraged folks to check that out along with the goings on around the rest of the concourses.  He wasn’t sure if the other lettering set was going to put on the west side.
    • There is also new permanent artwork in the concourse areas "honoring teams and award winners."

    Other stuff to get you pumped:

    New banners in the parking lots featuring different players.  (P.S. Hope the sky looks like this on Saturday, it’s almost cartoonishly nice out):

    new banners

    Freshly painted lines and parking spots in the lot.  Holder of this spot, you lucky bastard:

    parking spot 98

    Ahh, nothing like rolling near campus and hearing the drumlines practicing and the band doing their thing:

    michigan marching band practicing

    A big thanks to Ira Weintraub down at WTKA 1050AM for passing these along, who in turn got them from longtime WTKA caller ‘High Octane Mike’.

    Harold Sherman lived in the area and wandered over to the original Michigan Stadium construction site and snapped these shots.  They were passed along to his son Pete, who was kind enough to show them to the likes of H.O. Mike and Ira.

    I’m thinking they date to the late spring timeframe, 1927, a few perhaps later on.   Why?  Well, it appears as though we’ve got some cement work going on here and Yost solicited bids for the concrete work in March 1927 and started pouring shortly thereafter.









    Don’t see a steam shovel or crane buried?  From my upcoming interview in GoBlueWolverine magazine with Dr. Robert Soderstrom, author of The Big House:

    GBW: One of the greatest tales of Michigan Stadium involves a crane or steam shovel being buried beneath the stadium, lost in all that water and sand during the build. But you didn’t find any evidence of this in your research?

    Soderstrom: [laughs] I was unable to confirm that and I’ve heard that story since I arrived in Ann Arbor way back in 1968. I could not find anything in the current literature, either in the Ann Arbor News or the Michigan Daily or anything. I can’t imagine that wouldn’t have been recorded by somebody if in fact they had lost a whole steam shovel.

    The [excavator] lost everything else. I also asked his granddaughter and she said she never heard that story from her grandfather.

    I took a load of photos but during the Michigan Spring Game but the best were of Denard Robinson doing his thing.  It was his day and consider Brian’s take seconded:

    Robinson looks like a quarterback now. A running quarterback with rudimentary passing abilities, but a quarterback. There were zone reads and screens and rollout passes and a number of zippy seams that hit players between the numbers. When the offense broke down, Robinson made the concept of "pursuit angles" humorous. Putting him on the edge, as suggested by the coaches’ clinic tea leaves, puts the defense in a bind. His throws were all on a line but they were accurate aside from a couple mediocre bubble screens.

    Here’s sixteen in action.  Please save the “Why don’t you marry him?” as I’m happily married.  Wait, is he available?

    c Denard Cut 


    c Denard DashIronic that everyone is blurry except the guy flying through the scene.  [Ed.  A few folks asked for a high res copy.]



    c Denard Follow Through As Brian noted, he tossed a pair of soft screen passes but beyond that the passes were solid.  That said, the follow through here is awkward unless he’s demonstrating that the Denard Meter is on high.


    c Denard Sideways

    He ended up turning this up field for a nice gain, but in this shot consider that he’s facing due east on a north-south field.


    c Turner Shiver

    This is the end of the same play in the previous photo, Denard upfield.  Check out the forearm shiver delivered by J.T. Turner.





    c Denard Snap 2

    Conclusion: We started the spring with the overdue admission by Rodriguez that he’d consider using Denard in different positions in the offense.  As the spring progressed, #16 earned the inside track on the starting QB position. 



  • Pre-Spring Game (Photos)
  • Post Alumni Game: ‘64 Captain Jim Conley (audio)
  • Alumni Game Photos

  • 17. April 2010 · Comments Off on Post Alumni Game: ‘64 Captain Jim Conley (audio) · Categories: Archive 2009 · Tags: , , , , ,

    a Conley barking

    I caught up with the oldest player on the field after the game, Jim Conley of the ‘65 Rose Bowl champs.  He roamed the defensive backfield for the Maize team this morning and shared a few thoughts.  Worth a listen, heavily tongue-in-cheek from the salty veteran:


    I asked Conley about the lack of a QB on the Maize team: “It met my dreams, you understand?  Because I hate referees, kickers and quarterbacks.”

    On the refs, who seemed to give the Blue QB (John Navarre) more than the allowed 5 seconds: “They had that Spartan Bob clock…they had 8 seconds sometimes.”

    On playing safety: “I moved better than I thought I was going to, to tell you the truth.   I just wanted to show the fans that an old man can play free safety.  If you’re a safety, you gotta sit back, look at the field, read the quarterback and go to the ball.   And as you saw nobody threw in my area because I was there.”

    On the leap he offered up during his introduction: “I wanted to show people that I have that 42” elevation…”

    A quick edition of eBay Watch features an auction of a mildly stained ticket from the Michigan-Ohio State game held in Ann Arbor on October 22, 1927. It has a little more significance than just an old piece of memorabilia from college football’s greatest rivalry. This game marked the official dedication of Michigan Stadium. Here’s the stub:

    1927 Michigan Ohio State

    Bennie Oosterbann captained the crew that roared to a 21-0 victory to officially break in the giant stadium, which of course is currently going through some major changes. We’re fortunate to have few excellent sources of information on this game.

    First, the Bentley Library has an outstanding summary of the dedication. Just a taste:

    General admission tickets sold for three dollars. The 11,114 student ticket purchaser had to pay a fifty cent surcharge on the normal $2.50 price for this and the other “big games” of the year. The box seats in the lower rows went for four and five dollars. More than 17,000 tickets were sold at Ohio State.

    Nearly one thousand Boy Scouts, from all over Michigan, plus a few from Toledo, Cleveland and Columbus, were on hand to usher the ticket holders to their seats. A crowd of nearly 85, 000 was on hand as the dedication ceremonies got under way at 2:00.

    Next, the Bentley site republished the Detroit Free Press article on the big day, click here to read the whole thing. An excerpt:

    This day, however, the new castle of athletics was formally anointed. While one cheering block pelted the other with yells and massed bands played Michigan hymns, the stadium was properly and thoroughly dedicated.

    It was properly dedicated because there were no speeches for one thing. No gentleman mustered sufficient brashness to think he could successfully pit his voice against the roar of the thousands Perhaps it was brashness that was lacking at that, it may have been the understanding that whatever might have been said with mighty word or tidy emphasis would be so much wasted breath.

    Finally, the great WolverineHistorian pulled together this beauty of a video of Dedication Day and posted it on YouTube for all to enjoy:

    Here’s the full auction for the 1927 ticket stub, there’s been quite a few bids already.