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!