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Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis bids adieu to a painful 2014 with a final offering of decals to a handful of seniors.  

But before that, did you catch ESPN’s GameDay on Saturday?  It included a nice piece on the rivalry and the Michigan banner, including a short clip of the Buckeyes tearing down the coveted slice of canvas in ‘73 synchronized with Bob Ufer’s epic audio description of that dastardly deed.   Guess who put that together and shipped it off to ESPN?  That’s right..Dr. Sap himself!   Here’s a low res version of the full clip Sap provided to our friends in Bristol:

Those painful dekes:

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION

DEVIN GARDNER? – We watched a gutty and gutting end to New 98’s career on Saturday. In between the first pass/interception of the game and the fumble that gave OSU the clinching score, Gardner played his heart out and did all he could to help UM win. Problem is, he also helped OSU win. Take away those free 14 points and we have an even ballgame.

I don’t want to remember Gardner for his interception and fumble. I want to remember him for his courage for keeping UM in the game. I want to remember him for his compassion when he went over and consoled J.T. Barrett when he broke his ankle. Instead, I am reminded of a Demetrius Brown-like talent that was so good he made you cheer, and at other times he was so confounding he made you sneer. So…Devin Gardner?

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION

JAKE RYAN? – Much like Gardner, I want to remember Ryan for leaving it all on the field Saturday. The image of him flying around, throwing his body all over the place to make the tackle was offset by two other images: whiffing on Barrett as Ryan’s surgically repaired knee couldn’t make that extra move to tackle the OSU QB as he ran for a first half score, and failing to wrap up Ezekiel Elliott on the clinching 4th and 1 touchdown late in the game. So…Jake Ryan?

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION

WILL HAGERUP? – I don’t know. Dude was suspended three times and came back for this?   He put one inside the 20-yard line and averaged over 40 yards on 4 punts. I can’t really give it to Norfleet for starting the game off like he did, so…Will Hagerup?

UNIFORM CHAMPION

HELMET COLOR – After dealing with all the crap this season, I finally had enough of seeing the wrong shade of yellow on the M helmets!  It was painfully obvious to me that it was not right the correct color and it’s time we got it right! 

Maybe it was the culmination of everything that we had to deal with this year, including the all blue unis, but for some reason the color of the yellow on the Michigan helmets was painfully out of synch with the rest of the uniform.   The shade of yellow/maize didn’t match the pants. It didn’t match the yellow trim on the jersey.  Heck, it didn’t even match the yellow shoes worn by some of the Wolverines. Time for Riddell to get it right! If they can’t get it right, then they need someone to help get it right. Consider myself volunteered!

 

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[Ed. Bless you Sap for putting some heart into the final home decals of the year after…that.]

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION

DEVIN GARDNER – To me, New 98 is the LaVell Blanchard of the Michigan Football Team. Great kid. Smart kid. Face of the program for the past few years. Much like Blanchard, Gardner has been caught in the middle of a coaching change during his career. Caught in the middle of a program trying to find its way. Caught in the middle of a university trying to figure out what kind of identity they want their football team to have. Much like we do when looking back on the career of Blanchard, I’m sure we will say much the same for Gardner: “Oh, the Gardner years! Tough kid. Never quit. Never gave up. Sad that his record wasn’t better.”

At the half, I saw no one on offense who stepped up to spark this unit. This offense rushed for almost 300 yards and only Gardner got into the endzone. You can see he’s feeling better, but he is obviously still a shell of himself, physically, and probably mentally. There’s an old Canadian hockey saying about a goalie that gets peppered with so many shots that draws a parallel to a QB in football who gets hit and sacked a lot: “That guy has seen more rubber than a dead cat on the 401 Highway.” I’m sure DG can somewhat relate. Great kid. Smart kid. Tough kid. Sad…

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION

JAKE RYAN – During the first half, I was pleasantly surprised to see the old Michigan Football adage come to life – the expectation is for the position, not the player. Mario Ojemudia, #53, was making plays like #57 used to! The Maryland offense had been kept in check and kept out of the endzone. But in the second half, much like #57 was not on the field, I didn’t hear #53’s name called much.

What I DID see all game long was #47 flying all over the place trying to make something happen for the defense. Sure enough, Ryan caused a fumble, but as luck would have it, the Maryland ball carrier had the ball fumble right back to himself. I don’t have it in me for a Jake Ryan player analogy. Another talent come and gone without the proper career sendoff. Sad…

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION

JOE KERRIDGE – I loved the fake punt call and was thrilled to see Kerridge rumble 52 yards to convert the 4th & 6 into a first down. But as soon as I saw that he didn’t quite make it into the endzone, this ominous feeling came over me that the Michigan offense would have to settle for a field goal instead of a touchdown. Some people love to quote movie lines. I choose to quote lines from past Michigan Football games. After this play, I immediately thought of the 1986 Fiesta Bowl telecast where NBC color commentator Sam Rutigliano (former Cleveland Browns Head Coach) said, “If you block downfield you get touchdowns instead of first downs.” A better block downfield puts Kerridge in the endzone. Just sayin’…

UNIFORM CHAMPION

SENOR DAY PATCH – I didn’t see any uniform callouts this week, but did come up with one idea of my own. Seeing that UM has a Spring Game Patch on the jerseys for their April inter-squad scrimmage/practice, I’m sure we’ll one day see a Senior Day Patch to commemorate the last home game for all the departing seniors. Why not?

UFER FAN AWARD

MIKE KHOMUTIN200 straight Michigan football games, home and away, dating by to 1998(?).  Oh, the highs and the mediums and the lows and the lows.  Well done.

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Son of a BISCUIT I want these guys to turn this around.  It’s a little odd to me because I still see the pieces of a decent team but the results are a wreck.  Yesterday – with a the exception of a few breakdowns I thought the defense played pretty damn well (Jake Ryan – Manster.  Jourdan Lewis – fun to watch).  Derrick Green, when he was in there, looked like a seasoned back – he was patient and found the holes.  And once again, we outgained our opponent yet failed to score a TD.

Gardner.  I don’t know what I’d do with 98.  He’s losing confidence with every interception – he’s becoming more tentative and locking on.  That’s fine against Miami but we’re not going to out-athlete the rest of the schedule.  If you bench him now I just wonder if that’s a point of no return for his confidence.  So I guess there are a couple options?

1. Start Gardner with a limited playbook.  It sucks to say that about a 5th year senior but sorry.   Shorter passes with the occasional sideline heave to Funch, and he’s got to run more. I’d encourage the big guy to take off for 5-7 yards more with more frequency.   I feel like we’re still on that treadmill of doing what we think a Michigan team should do, as opposed to what we could do with the players (namely 98) that we have.
2. Start Morris with a limited playbook.  Mix in Gardner in the slot or in the backfield to mess with everybody and possibly get some of 98’s confidence back.

But what do I know, man?

Other question – So we have a good if not darn good defense (take stats through 4 games for what they are worth, but we’re #8 nationally), right?  Why do we keep punting in the opponent’s territory?  Hagerup’s been pretty bad, but the reason we are #123 (of 125) in net punting is that he’s become Poocherup.  Even if you take out the 66 yard punt return from the equation (after a bad punt and horrible coverage), we’d still be ranked in the 110s nationally.  Dude. 

More »

Ed.  Steve Sapardanis aka “Dr. Sap” is back with his decals.  This week I added the Editor’s Pick & added a bit to 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.

OFFENSE ROY ROUNDTREE – I’m sure most of you had the same reaction I did with Roundtree’s performance on Saturday – IT’S ABOUT TIME!! We knew he had it in him, it was just a matter of WHEN he would have his breakout game. Not only was he targeted more times against Northwestern than he was all year, he drew THREE pass interference calls – I don’t even know if Desmond had as many in one game. Welcome back, Treezy!
DEFENSE KENNY DEMENS – He didn’t play a perfect game but he did make the tackle of his life – TWICE! It’s a play and situation you dream of as a kid growing up playing Pop Warner Football. Demens not only made the big stop to win the game on 4th Down, but he also made the stop the play before on 3rd Down! OUTSTANDING!
SPECIAL TEAMS BRENDAN GIBBONS – We’ve called him, “Gibby” and “Lefty” but I think we should just call him “MONEY!” Eleven field goals in a row? That’s GOTTA be a Michigan record!
HUSTLER /
SPARKPLUG
DEVIN GARDNER – DG was doing whatever it took to win the game yesterday. He laid out for his first score and even after Coach Hoke reminded him that the 35th President of the United States was his backup, he still kept plays and drives alive with his feet – to say nothing of the throws he was making with his right arm!
UNIFORM CHAMP CHEERLEADERS – I guess I’ve been paying too much attention to the action on the field to realize that the U-M Cheerleaders have TWO sets of unis. The predominantly blue scheme caught my eye, but then I really liked the white outfits! I think it’s because the long white sleeves look very USC-ish, and I’m SOOOOO okay with that!

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UFER MAIZE & BLUE
FEDORA FAN
Maize & Blue Bib Overall Guys – The weather was unseasonably warm yesterday, so I can’t fault the guys below for their get-up.

I just have one question: where did they get the maize & blue striped bib overalls? I know the M-Den doesn’t sell them. Might have to ask the folks at Carhartt if they carry this style!  [Ed. Come on Sap!  Always go to Moe’s, MVictors #1 sponsor—they’ve got them]

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[Ed. Runner up:  YOU – all those in an attendance for the roar you gave The Ox when he was announced before the game.  I got the chills.]

EDITOR’S PICK The true gentlemen of SAE, who dominated FIJI in the 2012 Mud Bowl on Saturday.  Photo thanks to Geoff Voss:
MB - celebrate

 

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Related:

Check out more postgame jug photos here, and of course pregame shots here. 

Devin Gardner run and cuts against Minnesota 2012

Slash!  Gardner heading here:

Michigna's Devin Gardner stretches for a touchdown against Minnesota - TCF Bank Stadium

 

Devin Gardner and Denard Robinson chat during 2nd Half - Minnesota 2012

Gardner and Capt. Robinson comparing notes

Minnesota Marching Band - Drumline

Gopher drumline adding some pageantry

 

Michigan Gang Tackle 

Gang tackle.  There are few extra legs and feet in there somehow like the Iwo Jima Memorial

 

"No More Minnesota Nice" T-Shirt and Mandy Pepperidge

Deep sigh.   Guys, it’s hard to take the ‘No More Minnesota Nice’ thing seriously when you flash the hearty double thumbs up next to Mandy Pepperidge – who herself looks like she just found a box of puppies.   And memo to the guy below:  I know Gangnam Style is irresistible but you made a commitment when you put on that shirt and the eye black.

Minnesota fan goes Gangnam Style

 

Roy Roundtree positions to make catch - 2012 Minnesota

I haven’t seen the reply yet but this is the play where Roundtree wrestled the catch down near the goal line to set up the score.   Would love to see a little more of Wrestlin’ Roy the rest of the way.   Here he is telling the back judge what was up:

Roy Roundtree argues for interference

 

Minnesota helmet heaters/coolers/cozies

Until just now, I thought there were merely cute little helmet cozies on the back of the bench, certainly worthy of a post here for many reasons.  Upon further review- they are actually hooked up to a propane-fueled heating (or cooling?) system.  Gophers know how to deal with the elements, that’s for certain.

 

Devin Gardner slashes at Minnesota 2012

Slash Part II.

 

View from TCF Bank Stadium press box

View from the press box – first class all the way.

 

Brandin Hawthorne carries Little Brown Jug

Did she reach it?  Careful now!

 

So much more:

  • Dr. Sap’s Decals – Gopher Edition
  • Gopher Pregame Photos
  • Jug Secured!
  • Denard’s Arm and Beer
  • Happy Birthday–Coach Hoke!
  • Getting to Minneapolis
  • TWIMFbH: Avenging Ithaca and Forming the League (1894)
  • Little Brown Jug Lore: What Really Happened in the 1930s
  • Electrifying Game

  • room

    At halftime Coach Mattison told Doug Karsch "..they’re getting us on the same play..".  Above (click for poster size) is what it looked like all day.  Hats off to Air Force and I’m not taking anything away from the Falcons.  As you know, they ran that thing to perfection.     It seemed the U-M corners did their job – engaging the block, containing the corner and forcing the run inside.  It’s just that the inside was a gaping hole you could fit a Stealth Bomber though..let alone any one of Sam McGuffie’s brothers.

    That was close.  If Air Force could have done something/anything else, namely, toss it downfield more than 15 yards, or execute a fake kick, or execute a real kick, I think we’re 0 and 2.

    On the other side of the ball, it’s amazing how numb we’ve become to Denard’s exploits.  Denard’s performance seemed to be an afterthought on postgame the talk.  We untie our shoe laces, compose songs and videos about how much we love the young man, and sleep in #16 jerseys but I just get the sense that his performance yesterday was met with a fat yawn.  Four TDs and 416 total yards, 200 each on the ground and air and those 2 ridiculous scoring runs?  I get that it’s coming off the Bama game where he was smothered but sheesh.

    And…that concludes the MVictors game analysis.  Onto the #’M’iscellanea:

    Indulging just a little:  Regarding The Michigan Daily’s ‘Resist Temptation’ campaign to get students and fans to replace chanting “You Suck!” with “Defense” before fourth downs.  I only was able to catch one instance outside in the 4th quarter, but from the Air Force sideline I can tell you it sounded like: “DEE—SUCK”.  (Pretty close to “DEEZ NUTZ!”, which would have been awesome).  Also – while there was a lot of space with 10 minutes before kick-off, it looked like the students filed into the Big House at a better than average clip?

    Double Zero Indeed.  Our AFA visitors made fine guests as expected and the team played beyond admirably.   But one bone to pick with my sky blue buddies.   The team nickname is the Falcons and apparently they bring a couple of these impressive creatures on road games:

    mascot

    So why, given you’ve got those badass falcons, do you have that silly/cartoonish feathered mascot walking around who goes by the name, “The Bird”?   They don’t even call him ‘The Falcon’ or Francis the Falcon or whatever.  It’s just ‘The Bird’.   Here’s me giving you the bird, Bird.

    The two Devins:  Added to the postgame press conference hall of shame was the fiasco The Devinsaround the media trying to figure out how to address individual questions to Devin Gardner or Devin Funchess,  as the Two Devins were trotted out to meet the press at the same time.   The Wolverine’s Michael Spath asked the first question and intentionally addressed the question to “Devin” as a joke, but that didn’t help matters.   More than a few times the players had to ask for clarification as to whom the question was addressed and it got silly.  “The old one,” was offered up at one point to clear up the confusion, making Gardner, who was trying to be a bit stoic, crack up.   Props to WTKA’s Steve Clarke who directed the final question to “Number nineteen”.    I was going to direct mine to “number square root of 144”.

    More Funch:  Speaking of Clarke, he asked #19 what the players call him.  Funchess said they call him by last name or “D Funch”.  I’m going with Hawaiian Funch, or as @stuba2 on Twitter suggested: “Honey Funchess of Oats.”

    #NDRG:  Coach Hoke said earlier this year that he likes when things get a little chippy in practice.   Weeeelll, Coach Hoke himself got a bit chippy with the media after the game.  This isn’t the best example of that but it’s the most fun.  Here’s Mike Rothstein of the four letter mother asking about “the ‘non-Denard running game’” and Hoke snorting at the new phrase:

    The Fitz & Frank boost:  Regarding the #NDRG…based on today’s game I loaded the data and crunched the numbers on what would have happened in Dallas had Fitz and Frank suited up for the Wolverines.   Average final score after 10,000 simulations:  Alabama 41, Michigan 14.

    Tight Spiral.  Spotted pregame, Tim Hardaway outside Crisler with a nice delivery although he needs to bring that arm across his body a bit more and dial down the wrist action.

    9 - Hardaway tossing

    Oosterbaan.  Looked like they did a real nice job with the Bennie O. ceremony and I love the choice of Jake Ryan to don the #47.  While Oosterbaan, like everyone who suited up in his day, played offense and defense, he was best known for his work at WR.  But I dig that the coaches aren’t necessarily pigeon-holing the Legend jerseys to the positions the player was known for.  If they didn’t it would get weird after a while, with offense skill positions dominating the Legends jerseys. 

    Onto #87.  That said…I do think it would be cool to give Ron Kramer’s #87 to a tight end next week and I think the big debate will be whether they’d be willing to offer it up to a freshman, namely Mr. Funchess.  We’ll see.   I know some folks won’t be down with the idea of handing over such an honor to an unproven freshman, but if all signs are that Funchess is a good kid, I say why not.  And for the coaches it means it’s something they won’t have to worry about again for several years.

    Elsewhere:

    Air Force content on MVictors:

    MVictors on Twitter

    devin_garder

    I spent a few moments with Devin Gardner.   From the little I’ve seen, he’s clearly much improved and in the mix the fall and I’m very surprised after seeing Gardner a bit in the fall.

    A few quotes:

    Are you still living with Charlie? [for context, click here and scroll down]:  Charlie?  Oh no, I’m not living with Charlie anymore I’m living with Denard.

    How’s that going [living with Denard]?  "It’s going great.  You know, he’s like a garbage disposal, he eats everything, I don’t know why.  He’s hungry all the time."

    He looks like he’s bigger.  "Yeah, because he’s eating all that food <laughs>."

    It looks like you’ve improved [from spring to now], do you think so?  "I’ve definitely improved from the spring, but I don’t think I’m where I need to be.  I want to be the best at everything I do."

    What command of the playbook do you have at this point?  "Everything they’ve taught us I know it to a ‘T’.  I don’t know if they’ve told us everything, but they said it’s a big chunk that we’re going to use against UConn."

    Related:

  • Will Hagerup – Media Day
  • Tate Forcier – Media Day
  • Media Day (Photo Gallery)
  •  

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    devin gardner michigan 
    Most eyes were on #7, that’s QB Devin Gardner of course

    What a great day and I couldn’t resist swinging by to check out the first practice of the year out at Schembechler Hall.  

    Big news?  QB Nick Sheridan is hanging up the cleats and Rodriguez advised he intends pursue coaching.  He’s got a semester or so of work left and I guess he can’t technically be an assistant until he finishes up.  Sheridan was watching practice today and I’m going to try to do an interview in the next couple weeks.  Stay tuned.

    Anyway, here’s a few photos from the big day.  Rodriguez spoke to the media for about 10 minutes and eventually we got to head outside to watch 4 “periods” (5-8) of practice:

    ryan van bergen ESPNJoe Schad of ESPN interviews Ryan Van Bergen

     

    fred jackson michigan playersFred Jackson coaching up the backs

    wolverines spring pratice Calvin Magee works with the backs as well

     

    denard robinson 
    Denard Robinson warms up.  Rodriguez admitted that they’ll be doing “different things” with #16, “moving him around.”  RR hinted that this would be at WR.

    defense michiganThe guys wearing blue are the defense.  Here the corners working on getting low.

    ricky leach and former players

    That’s Ricky Leach (holding his lucky blue jacket) along with some former players.

    010 - sled

     hitting the sled

     leap drill

     michigan quarterbacks

     

    I know this is what you want:

    devin gardner throws

    devin gardner throws

     devin gardner throws