09. October 2016 · Comments Off on Pepscataway | Dr. Sap’s Decals · Categories: 2016 · Tags: , , ,


Here are the Decal Champions for Week Six by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis:


OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – At 4pm, Saturday afternoon, I sent out this tweet:

sap-tweetI just had this feeling that Jabrill Peppers was going to have a monster of a game. Sure he was coming back home and was playing in front of a lot of family & friends, but I didn’t think he would look as smooth as he did in the offensive backfield. I mean, he looked like a veteran option QB back there!! Decisive.

Oct 8, 2016; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Jabrill Peppers (5) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during their game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at High Points Solutions Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Quick. Deceptive, but more importantly, smart. He knows what to do when the ball is in his hands.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – When you realize that this game was somewhat close – in the first few minutes and in the rain – the defense needed to step up and deny Rutgers any chance of gaining any momentum. Jabrill Peppers made sure that was not going to happen on his watch and during his homecoming. His ability to make tackles in open space and get to the quarterback is very reminiscent of Charles Woodson, some 20 years ago.

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION – Seriously, is another team ever going to kick to Jabrill Peppers again? Even though his punt return TD was called back, (and that was NOT a block in the back on Jourdan Lewis!) that was an impressive return with a nice Barry Sanders-like spin-move. Much like Tom Harmon’s all-everything performance against Ohio State back in 1940, Peppers seemed like he did everything but sell tickets and blow up the footballs, Saturday night in Piscataway. Yes, the Heisman winner references are no accident.

COACHING CHAMPION – Whenever you drop the third highest point total in program history on your hapless opponent, you know there is some good coaching going on for the Maize and Blue. Gonna give one helmet sticker to the ENTIRE COACHING STAFF because that was the most impressive, thorough and dominant victory I have witnessed in a long, long time – maybe even better than the Gator Bowl whupping Michigan laid on Ole Miss back in 1990.

UNIFORM CHAMPION – The white socks look great with the all-white road unis! Even better is the fact that they were all the way up to the knees – no ankle-grabbers, here!!

socksChris Evans was Kung Fu fighting

Helmet sticker for that classic look. Thank-you, Sonny Anderson & Big Jon Falk!!!

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Week 1:  Chris Evans (Offense), D: Mike McCray (Defense), Jabrill Peppers (Special Teams), Don Brown (Coach), Michigan helmet (Uniform)
Week 2:  Wilton Speight (O), Jabrill Peppers (O), Tyree Kinnel/Chris Wormley (ST), Chris Partridge (C), Soles of shoes (Uni)
Week 3: Jake Butt (O), Jabrill Peppers (D), Jabrill Peppers (ST), Don Brown (C), Helmet Stickers (Uni)
Week 4: De’Veon Smith (O), Maurice Hurst (D), Kenny Allen (ST), Greg Mattison (C), #26 White Shoe Laces (Uni)
Week 5: Wilton Speight & Amara Darboh (O), Channing Stribling (D), Jourdan Lewis (ST), Jay Harbaugh (C), Jumpman do-rag (Uni)
Week 6:

04. October 2015 · Comments Off on Testudo Champions | Dr. Sap’s Decals · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Guest post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

Well, I was one of those guys who predicted a shutout against Maryland – just not like that – yikes!   The defense is starting to look very 1980/1985-ish.  But the offense?  The offense is still a work in progress, or is it?  I don’t know.  I guess we’ll find out where this team is in the next two weeks.  In the meantime, here are the Champions for the Maryland Game:

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – Gotta go with Drake Johnson. With no De’Veon Smith and Ty Isaac not being able to hang on to the ball, The Drake made plays and looked comfortable running the ball – brace and all on his left knee. When the team was sputtering and looking for a spark on “O,” #20 made the most of his opportunity.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – It’s obvious the D-Line is playing lights out these past few games, but when the game/match was resembling an FA Cup Final and tied nil-nil after 15 minutes, Desmond Morgan was the difference on defense. His INT and strip thwarted Maryland drives when the game was still in doubt. The more I see of #3, the more I think that he is starting to look like a classic Michigan middle linebacker.

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION – Speaking of soccer, you do realize that the winning points came from the kicker, don’t you? Yes, he missed one FG early, but Kenny Allen accounted for 8 points against Maryland. If the kicker is good for 8 or 9 points on the road, I’ll take that every week.

UNIFORM CHAMPION – Back in 1975, Ricky “The Peach” Leach and company wore white socks with their road white uniforms. It was a classic & clean look.


But Saturday against Maryland, Michigan came out with white socks on top of a blue lycra legging:

Leggings 1

It looked sharp and reminded me of another timeless look from 1969:


I’d say stick with the blue & white stockings for the rest of the year – you have the Dr. Sap Seal of Approval! :)


Decals dealt out in previous weeks:

    Decals dealt out in previous weeks:

    • Utah: Jake Butt, Jabrill Peppers, Blake O’Neill, (Uniform: White Road Uniforms), John Kryk
    • Oregon State:  De’Veon Smith, Chris Wormley, Delano Hill, The Coaching Staff
    • UNLV:  Ty Issac, Channing Stribling, Blake O’Neill
    • BYU: Jake Rudock, Defensive Line, Jabrill Peppers, (Uniform: Properly Hiked up White Socks), Amara Darboh
    • Maryland: Drake Johnson, Desmond Morgan, Kenny Allen, (Uniform: Blue lyrca leggings).



Guest Post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

Before we examine the 2015 decal (which we started in Phase I here) we need to look back at the evolution of the Michigan Football helmet decals. 

1969-1974 Version #1 – When Bo introduced the helmet stickers at Michigan in 1969 (Version 1), they were solid, maize-colored, crudely shaped footballs. These were used through the 1974 season.  Here’s Don Moorhead’s helmet as featured on HelmetHut.com:


1975-1982  Version #2 – The decal shape became more oval and the snarling wolverine head was added.   There was now a left-facing version, and a right-facing version.  Here is a good look at them from one of Jim Dack’s helmets (find more info on Jim’s collection at wolverinehelmet.com):

Photo Sep 13, 8 34 56 AM

The other distinction with this version was that the wolverine image was actually clear, thus allowing the blue helmet paint to make the wolverine appear blue:

Because the design was made 40 years ago, there was no high-end computer program like Photoshop that was used to create the snarling Wolverine head graphic.  It was probably created using Line Art.  Notice the level of detail on the hair, teeth and nose of the wolverine. The more you zoom in, the more detail you will see.

1983-1984  No Helmet Stickers.  The mystery of this two-year stretch discussed here.

1985-1994 Version 3 – After a two year absence, the decals returned in 1985 (Version 3) with a few modifications.


The shape was now more spheroid in nature. The snarling wolverine is no longer a clear image – it is distinctly colored blue.  The wolverine head was centered in the decal laces were now added to the top of the shape giving it more of a football feel, and the color was a little brighter yellow.  Before Saturday, we hadn’t seen decals on the Michigan helmets since the Wolverines defeated Colorado State in the 1994 Holiday Bowl.

2015- – Version 4 – So we learned on Labor Day that the decals would be returning.  Here’s another look:

decal Upon further review, a few things are apparent:

  • Size – The overall size is the same as the Version 3 (1985) decal with one distinction- the wolverine logo is actually slightly smaller, 1/16” (from blue tip edge to blue tip edge).
  • Color – It clearly has a darker tone of maize and blue color to it so that it matches the 2015 uniform, including the helmet wings and stripes.
  • Design – Overall design is basically the same as Version 3, with the laces and wolverine head are the same as Version 3, but now there is blue trim to it.

When looking closer at the image, I noticed a few things that were different from the 1985 decal, specifically with the quality of the wolverine:

  • (1) Teeth – there is less white area in teeth of this year’s decal.
  • (2) Nose – there is less white area on the nose, as well.
  • (3) Hair – the hair length around the neck and back of head has now been “smoothed.”
  • (4) Outline – the blue trim becomes jagged when zooming in on the decal.

I think all these differences are the result of scanning the 1985 version vs. scanning the 1975 version.   So, here’s the deal: the 1975 version was the original, and the 1985 decal was created from a scan of the 1975 decal.  When it came time to create the 2015 decal, hardly any of the 1975 stickers were in good enough condition to re-scan, so the only option was to scan a 1985 decal.  What you ended up with was a scan of a scan to make the 2015 version.  When you do that, there is a loss of image quality and that is why the hair appears to be smoothed, and there is less (white) detail in the nose, teeth and elsewhere.

Is anyone going to notice this from their seats in Michigan Stadium?  No.
Will I? Yes.
Am I ok with it?  Yep.  I’m thrilled that the helmet stickers are back!

Just maybe next time a tweak is being considered for the decals, maybe Dr. Sap can be consulted?

– – – – – –

More from Oregon State game here:


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sap Ed.  Steve Sapardanis aka “Dr. Sap” is back with his decals. 

This week I added the Editor’s Pick & the Fan Award.  Here are the picks from Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6 and Week 7 and Week 8 and Week 9 and Week 10.



DEVIN GARDNER – Let me get this right: over 300 yards passing and SIX touchdowns?   Dude looks like he’s been playing QB all season and not just 3 weeks. Hope DG saved some magic, and TDs, for next week!


JAKE RYAN – Here’s why I think “manster” is such a big deal on defense: it’s not his forced fumbles or his tackles for loss. It’s the fact that offenses have to treat him much like defenses have to treat Denard – YOU MUST ACCOUNT FOR THE MANSTER! It’s that simple. When was the last time UM had a defender that the offenses had to account for? You got it, Charles Woodson. ‘Nuff said.


BRENDAN GIBBONS – Sure he scored 6 points, but the reason he gets the nod this week is his TACKLE on a 2nd quarter kickoff. And get this – it was not even his first tackle of the year! Gibby had a tackle earlier in the season. Now that’s my kind of kicker!


DENARD ROBINSON – You had to love what Shoelace did in his last game at M Stadium! Over 120 yards of offense playing QB, TB and WR while only carrying the ball with his left hand – TOUGH! Thanks for the memories Denard!

Denard runs off the field Iowa 2012


U.S. FLAG & NUMBERS – Even though the only stickers I’d like on the UM helmets would be award decals, I’m ok with the U.S. flag and player numbers on the headgear. Did you notice that the flag and numbers are on the left side this year? Last year the flag was on the right side. Wonder if they will continue to switch sides each season?

Brendan Gibbons Helmet


HFOO Guy:  Hands down, got to give it to this guy who came strong:
Honey Funchess of Oats Sign
Runner-up:  Sorry dude; any other week man.  You ran into a buzzsaw this time:
Michigan Stormtrooper


JAMES ROSS III:  Nine solo tackles?  He’s JAMES ROSS IX to me.


More on the Iowa Game:

  • Handling Family Business (Michigan 42, Iowa 17)
  • Senior Day Pageantry (Photos)
  • Bear Hugs Aplenty
  • TWIMFbH: Platooning to Stop Davis, Blanchard (1945)
  • Moeller and Holtz Breaking Down “The Catch”

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    The recent Dr. Sap’s Decals post has sparked a bit of discussion on whether Hoke should bring them back.  One of the arguments folks use against the practice is that individual awards like this take away from the team concept.  But you have to reconcile that with the fact that Bo, who was mildly supportive of the team concept, started the tradition of issuing the decals.

    But there was a point when Bo wavered.  Did you know that he actually took them off the helmets for a short stretch in the early 80s?  I did, but only because Dr. Sap himself sent me an updated diagram a few weeks back.

    This week I got this email from a former U-M lineman who talked about when this happened and more:

    Not sure if you knew this but in 1983 and 1984 Bo did give us stickers but they were placed on a board in the Football Building.  He just did not put them on our helmets.

    When Bo announced it, it was to show the importance of the team and not the individual as the gold footballs were individual awards.  Initially It was like “that kind of sucks” and you never thought about it again.  More because it was a change than anything else. 

    It’s funny as an offensive lineman you were never quite sure why you got one.  A good block, a good game, a good play.  It was easy for the specialty folks, touchdowns, TFL, sacks, fumble recovery, interceptions, 100+ yard games, etc.  They never told us specifically why we received  one. You just seemed to get more of them when you won.  I still have my helmet from my freshman year where I earned I think 6 or 7 of them.  I only played on the kick-off return team then and I was never told what I did to receive them.  I would assume we had a great return so the kick-off return team would collectively get  a gold football but no one said to me at least, you are getting a gold football because you did “this or that”.

    That last part is disappointing to uniform nerds everywhere (like me), who were half-hoping Bo, after hours of carefully deliberation with the assistants, hand delivered the stickers in an elaborate ceremony after each game   :)

    1984 wasn’t Bo’s finest season on record and perhaps that drove him to bring the stickers back the following season.

    Hoke didn’t bring them back but I think a surprising number of Michigan fans would like to see them return.  I’m talking about the helmet stickers or decals of course, Bo Schembechler’s 1965 invention (while at Miami, OH) that he brought to Ann Arbor. 

    Wolverine gear guru Dr. Steve Sapardanis was one hoping they’d be back and he’s even suggested a 2011 version to grace the Schutts and Riddells on Saturdays:

    Although these won’t adorn the headgear this season, Dr. Sap thought he’d run down a his thoughts on who he’d honor each week.  First, some context from Sap:

    In the past, Bo Schembechler had a list of achievements and criteria for each team (Offense, Defense and Special Teams) as well as individual accomplishments for awarding his helmet decals.

    Not being privy to film study or game performance grading, the process has been simplified to just touchdowns and big plays – and a few other "Awards of Distinction" as you will see below.

    Here’s Sap’s rundown for Eastern Michigan, including some influence from the editor of this site.

    Week #3 vs. Eastern Michigan
    ALL members of the Michigan Defense: for not allowing a point in the 1st quarter – first time all season!
    Jibreel Black: 1 decal for Forced Fumble in 1st quarter.
    Thomas Gordon: 2 decals – one for 1st quarter Fumble Recovery and one for 2nd quarter one-handed Interception.
    Jordan Kovacs: 2 decals – one for 4th down goalline stop in 1st quarter and one for 3rd down stop/open-field tackle in 2nd quarter.
    Denard Robinson: 4 decals – one for 52-yard run in 2nd quarter; 9-yard TD pass to Kevin Koger; 11-yard TD run in 2nd quarter; 19-yard TD pass to Drew Dileo in 3rd quarter.
    Kevin Koger: 1 decal for 9-yard TD reception in 2nd quarter.
    Vincent Smith: 1 decal for Denard Robinson fumble recovery in 2nd quarter.
    Drew Dileo: 1 decal for 19-yard TD reception in 3rd quarter.
    Brandin Hawthorne: 1 decal for 2nd half Tackle For Loss.
    Craig Roh: 2 decals for 3rd quarter Sack and Tackle For Loss.
    Martavious Odoms:  1 decal, editor’s choice, for his blocking downfield and driving an EMU defender five yards out of bounds
    Jeremy Gallon:  1 decal, editor’s choice, for doing a great job handling punts.  Relief!
    Jake Ryan: 1 decal for 2nd half Tackle For Loss.
    Will Heininger: 1 decal for 2nd half Tackle For Loss.
    Fitzgerald Toussaint: 1 decal for 1-yard TD Run in 3rd quarter.
    Brendan Gibbons: 1 decal for 21-yard Field Goal in 4th quarter – the FIRST UM FG this year!
    Mike Martin: 1 decal for the NASTIEST-LOOKING HELMET on the team – it looks like it already has a year’s worth of scuff marks in just game #3 of the season!
    Vincent Smith & Jordan Kovacs: 1 decal each for the BEST LOOKING HELMET DESIGN on the team. No surprise that they BOTH wear Schutt helmets designed by Russ Hawkins of Capitol Varsity.  and Finally:

    Ron English: 1 decal for putting decal awards on the EMU helmets – what a novel concept!

    And since we’re in week 3, Sap shared his tallies for the first couple weeks:

    Week #1 vs. Western Michigan
    Brady Hoke
    : 1 decal for not wearing a coat or jacket during the downpour of rain. TOUGH!
    Michael Shaw: 1 decal for 44-yard TD run.
    Fitzgerald Toussaint: 2 decals – one for 1-yard TD Run and one for 2-yard TD Run.
    Brandon Herron: 3 decals – one for 94-yard Interception Return for a TD and one for 29-yard Fumble Recovery for a TD, and +1 editor’s pick for getting us to talk about Tom Harmon’s exploits.
    Jake Ryan: 1 decal for knocking down pass at goalline that Herron returned 94 yards for a TD.
    Ryan Van Bergen: 1 decal for Fumble recovery.
    Jordan Kovacs: 2 decals – one for blitzing hit on QB that caused fumble return for TD, one for other blitzing sack.

    Week #2 vs. Notre Dame
    Dave Brandon: 1 decal for creating an outstanding atmosphere for a college football game -2nd only to the Rose Bowl at night! (For those of you who have never been, the Rose Bowl at night is a DEFINITE UM Fan Bucket List priority!).
    Charles Woodson: 1 decal for the biggest (Super Bowl) ring in the stadium – I could see it 3 sections over and 30 rows up –sweet!
    U-M media relations – 1 editor’s pick, for posting the audio from Gary Moeller’s headset before the catch.
    Desmond Howard – 1 decal editor’s pick, for his wonderful speech before the game.
    Steve Everitt: 2 decals – 1 for still being the toughest AND toughest LOOKING dude in the stadium & the best center U-M has had since…#48?  And editor’s choice, for blowing up this website with people searching on the name ‘Steve Everitt’.
    Drum major McMahon: 1 decal for his pre-game catching of the baton over the crossbar, atoning for the fumble in Season Opener vs. WMU.
    Denard Robinson: 5 decals – one for each TD (4 passing, 1 rushing).
    Junior Hemingway: 2 decals – one for 77 yard reception and one for 43-yard TD catch.
    Jeremy Gallon: 2 decals – one for 14-yard TD reception and one for 64-yard reception to set up winning TD.
    Vincent Smith: 2 decals, one for the epic 21-yard TD reception on the screen, and +1 editor’s choice, for tossing the ball into the hands of the Irish Guard at the back of the end zone after the play.
    Roy Roundtree: 1 decal for 16-yard game winning TD reception.
    Jordan Kovacs: 1 decal for 2nd quarter interception.
    J.T. Floyd: one decal for 2nd quarter interception.
    Will Campbell: 2 decals – one for 3rd quarter fumble recovery and one for 3rd down stop late in game.
    Jake Ryan: 1 decal for 3rd down stop late in game.
    Ryan Van Bergen: 1 decal for 4th quarter fumble recovery.
    Marvin Robinson: 1 decal for forced fumble.
    Terrance Robinson: 1 decal for fumble recovery.
    Stephen Hopkins: 1 decal for executing goalline fumble-rooskie play to Denard for TD – NICE!