UGPtop

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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Bless you Sap for serving up decals after that rough game.  Here you go:

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION

DE’VEON SMITH – Now you know why coaches like Bo and Bill Parcells loved to have a strong running game. When you can close out a game, or at least milk the clock, it puts pressure on the opposing team to either use all their timeouts late in the game or drive the length of the field to win. Smith has given the Michigan offense the strength and stability it desperately needs – especially when U-M’s QB is basically playing on one leg.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION

FRANK CLARK – Finally a solid, break-out, statement game from Clark. Dude was the classic guy who came to play right from the opening snap to the final play of the game. I haven’t seen such a strong and steady big play performance from a Michigan defender since some guy wore #2 in 1997.

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION

KICK TEAM – I don’t want to sound like an old coach, but don’t EVER take another extra point for granted. If Matt Wile doesn’t convert his PAT, the score would have been 9-9 instead of 10-9, and all Northwestern would have needed was a PAT of their own to win.

 

I know, I know, Wile had one kick blocked, but aside from that, the entire Kick Team played lights out against the Wildcats. From Will Hagerup’s Aussie Drop style punts being downed at the Northwestern one-yard line, to Jehu Chesson recovering a Wildcat muff, the execution of the Michigan Kick Team flipped field position in this contest the entire night. And when playing against an offense that was as scintillating as Northwestern’s was (NOT!), it tilts the field even more in your favor.

UNIFORM CHAMPION

YELLOW SHOES – If I can accept the blue stockings (instead of the traditional maize shoes white socks), y’all can give me the yellow cleats that Blake Countess strutted out on Ryan Field on Saturday night. Talk about sick!?!? I LOVED that look with the white jersey, maize pants and white socks!!

 

If Michigan ever goes back to the Canary Yellow unis, you gotta complete the ensemble with those wicked yellow Countess cleats!

EDITOR’S CHOICE

image

JAKE RYAN -  The position move to middle linebacker was a tough transition for Jake but man, he’s looked solid the past few games and he was an badass out there Saturday.  On the NW sideline Fitz must have seen shades of his old playing days watching #47 out there.  He had one series (that ended with his interception) that is a mini-highlight package all in of itself.  FWIW he didn’t wear his Legends Bennie Oosterbaan patch on the #47 jersey for some reason—I half wondered if he removed it and sewed it on Fitz’s ass during pregame.

 
   

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Sap is refreshed, recharged and kindly offers you his post-Hoosier decals.  I tossed in the Editor’s edition for good measure:

 

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION

AMARA DARBOH – This was the breakout game we’ve all been waiting for from Darboh for the past 2 years. Much like the Detroit Lions needed another wide receiver to complement Megatron, the Michigan passing game needed another option downfield other than Devin Funchess. Especially now, when Devin Gardner’s foot injury is forcing him to do his best Dan Fouts-stay-in-the-pocket-no-matter-what impression, Darboh gives the offense another place to go with the ball other than wherever Funchess is.

 

Hopefully Darboh can use this game to jump start his career and the U-M passing game.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION

RYAN GLASGOW – It was obvious that the Michigan defense came to play this game and made sure there was going to be no repeat of last year’s basketball-like score against IU. That all starts up front, and while there were several guys who played lights out by keeping the Hoosiers under 200 yards of total offense, I singled out Glasgow because of his strip and fumble recovery – all in the same play. These guys in the trenches don’t often get the glory, but you had to like what Glasgow did.

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION

MATT WILE – A missed field goal can be momentum-killing and team deflating – just ask Indiana how they felt when their kicker doinked one off the upright early in the game. You gotta make your kicks when you get the chance and not give your opponent the energy and momentum to get back in the game. That’s why Matt Wile’s field goals, why they may seem mundane and unspectacular, were important against IU.

 

Coaches (and Blue-hairs) will tell you that you have to execute in all three phases of the game. Wile did his part against Indiana on Saturday.

UNIFORM CHAMPION

YELLOW LACES – I appreciate the little things that make the Michigan uniform iconic. We’ve all seen the blue socks before and the Pink colored accessories that appear each November. Me? I was geeked when I saw a few of the guys wearing yellow laces on their cleats:

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If you are going to deviate from the traditional black shoes with white laces by adding blue and yellow highlights to the Michigan footwear, you might as well coordinate to the max and make sure the laces don’t clash!

 

EDITOR’S CHOICE

JOHN U. BACON – It was great to see Bacs back upstairs in the press box this week and I’ll leave it at that.

 

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Dr. Sap's Decals Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis once again provides his game decals in this, ahem, challenging(?) season.

Until the day comes that Michigan gets its collective act together and assigns helmet decals again, Sap will bring you his game Champions who will be decorated, albeit virtually, with his helmet stickers.  

I’ll typically toss in the Fan Award and the Editor’s Choice:

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION

DEVIN GARDNER – I thought New 98 did his best to win this game for his team. He is a leader because he has been through the most of anybody on this team. How many coaches/coordinators has he been through? To be sat down for the conference opener last week in this his 5th year had to have been a tremendous disappointment.

But true to his character, he let that slide right off his back and focused on the game at hand.  DG made some sweet throws (Butt’s grab in the first half comes to mind) and his 4th quarter TD run set Michigan up for the game winning field goal. Too bad it was blocked. Wonder if New 98 can kick like Old 98?? 

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION JOE BOLDEN – For the second straight week, Bolden was the best player on defense. Playing what looked like every play in a track meet-like game against a RichRod derivative spread offense is a tall order for anyone and I didn’t see him tire or fatigue one bit.

I feel for defenses that play against these spread offenses. These schemes can make a no one like Rutgers QB Gary Nova look like the second coming of Timmy Chang while making the defensive players look silly. Bolden didn’t look silly out there.

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION DENNIS NORFLEET – I can honestly say I’ve never seen someone play both sides of the Special Teams as good as Norfleet.   Sure, his speed has something to do with that, but he continues to bring the energy on both the Kick Team and the Return Team. Just waiting for the game where he finally takes it to the house!
UNIFORM CHAMPION TEAM 135 Sleeve – Maybe it was me, and maybe it was the cold weather, but it seemed like everyone was wearing the TEAM 135 sleeve against Rutgers.

Maybe it was the week that Michigan just went through, but to me, the sleeve seemed to be a show of team unity and solidarity. Hope so – looks like it might be a long year…

 

* sorry

 

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28. September 2014 · 2 comments · Categories: 2014 · Tags:

IMG_4144 Barbarians!

Dr. Sap's DecalsSteve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis is back this season with his weekly postgame helmet stickers.  Sap would do a backflip if coach Hoke decided to reinstate this tradition that Bo brought to the team in 1969. 

Until that day comes, Sap will bring you his game Champions who will be decorated, albeit virtually, with his helmet stickers.   I’ll typically toss in the Fan Award and the Editor’s Choice:

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION

NONE – I was going to award De’Veon Smith with a decal as he ran hard in the first half. He scored a TD. He ran with passion. Smith ran with an attitude that seemed to be just what this offense needed. But then where was he in the second half? Not slamming him for lack of playing time, but…NO DECAL FOR YOU!

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION NONE – Joe Bolden made some big stops in this game. Yes, he had 10 tackles and 1 sack and yes, the defense kept up their end of the bargain for as long as they could, but…NO DECAL FOR YOU!
SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION NONE – Dennis Norfleet had a decal all but sewn up. He was solid in his returns. He made all the catches – some under duress – and heck, he even downed a punt at the Minnesota 1-yard line, but then he went and fumbled a 4th quarter punt that pinned Michigan deep inside their own 10-yard line late in the game, so…NO DECAL FOR YOU!
UNIFORM CHAMPION White adidas Arm Sleeve – Thought it looked cool. The white sleeve was a nice contrast to the traditional maize and blue unis, and I thought the white sleeve looked better than the black one. My take? Wear the white sleeves at home and the black sleeves on the road.
BOB UFER FAN AWARD SGT. BAD ASS:
Photo Sep 27, 3 17 16 PM
EDITOR’S CHOICE BUMP ELLIOTT:  No question: the WWII vet, Mad Magician, National Champion, Big Ten MVP, Rose Bowl winning coach and esteemed Iowa athletic director..89 year old Bump Elliott:
 DSCN6635

 

 

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maratop[4]

 Dr. Sap's Decals

Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis is back this season with his weekly postgame helmet stickers.  Sap would do a backflip if coach Hoke decided to reinstate this tradition that Bo brought to the team in 1969. 

Until that day comes, Sap will bring you his game Champions who will be decorated, albeit virtually, with his helmet stickers.   I’ll typically toss in the Fan Award and the Editor’s Choice:

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION

Devin Funchess – There is an old Canadian Hockey saying about getting or giving a “Hotel Dieu Pass” to or from one of your teammates. That means your inaccurate pass caused one of your teammates to get laid out and lit up, to the point where they have to be taken off on a stretcher and taken to the local hospital. (Hotel Dieu is a common Canadian Hospital name.)

image

What that pass did, aside from Funchess taking a wicked shot, was jack up Utah even more. When you get a freebie to lay out one of the stars from the other team, you have just incited the feeding-frenzy to begin.

over the middle 
Via mgoblog / Fuller

So while it was just one incomplete pass, it was MUCH more than that. It was Utah’s cue to come after Michigan for more. I commend Funchess for staying in the game and making two huge catches after that hit. Devin Gardner, you owe Funchess a dinner, and an apology.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION Jourdan Lewis – Dude came to play and it showed. He held his own and then some against a quality group of receivers. The defensive backfield may have lost Raymon Taylor for a while, but they just found themselves a new corner. Lewis has closing speed on routes and also when tracking down opponents on blown coverage. So impressed with this guy!
SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION None – I don’t know what to say. Giving up a punt return for a TD is always lethal, but is it too much to ask your punter to angle for the coffin corner?
UNIFORM CHAMPION “M” Terrible Towel – Thought it looked cool that most of the skilled players on offense were all wearing it as well as some of the guys on D. Just worried that the “Terrible Towel” name and connotation might stick.
BOB UFER FAN AWARD Those Who Stayed – This category is quickly turning into a Fan Endurance Award of sorts, but there’s no question who gets it this week:

stayed

EDITOR’S CHOICE Willie Henry Jr.  Obvious (via Ace at mgoblog)
 Henry Ace

 

 

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maratop[2]

Dr. Sap's Decals Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis is back this season with his weekly postgame helmet stickers.  Sap would do a backflip if coach Hoke decided to reinstate this tradition that Bo brought to the team in 1969 (from Miami, OH, mind you). 

Until that day comes, Sap will bring you his game Champions who will be decorated, albeit virtually, with his helmet stickers.   I’ll typically toss in the Fan Award and the Editor’s Choice:

 

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION

OFFENSIVE LINE – Kind of stepping out on a limb here but, Derrick Green does not run for 137 yards and 2 TDs without some holes being created by the O-Line.  Derrick Green does not look like High School Derrick Green without the Big Uglies getting it done up front.

I realize the opponent was a MAC school that hadn’t won a game in almost 2 years, but I saw signs of progress by the Hosses in the trenches.  I had a feeling this line would show some addition by subtraction, and now that the 2 senior tackles have left, this unit is starting to gel.  Again, I’m not talking B1G Championship here – just saying that when you gain over 450 yards of offense, the guys up front are something right. Doing it in September is one thing.  Getting it done in November is another.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION JAKE RYAN – The Manster seemed to be all over the field on Saturday. He was back to his old self – flying around, making stops and in on tackles all over the place. He is that unit’s leader and identity and needs to continue to be the sparkplug on D.
SPECIAL TEAMS DENNIS NORFLEET – His kickoff returns gave Michigan great field position in the first quarter. Those setup the offense for a couple of short fields and early scores and conversely gave Miami poor field position when Michigan’s offense was forced to punt. Sure he was in on the muffed short kick by the Redhawks, but that was offset, in my opinion, by making a tackle on one of the Wolverine kickoffs later in the game.
UNIFORM CHAMPION

M NOSEBUMPER – It’s starting to grow on me now, after having seen it for a few games. I like the look of the “M” and to be quite honest with you, the “MICHIGAN” was kind of small and tough to make out.

nosebumper

Have you noticed that the NFL is doing the same thing by putting the team logos on the helmet nosebumpers?  It’s all about the Brand, right? 

Well, if you don’t like the “M” what about putting a snarling wolverine head inside of a yellow football up front?? ;)

clip_image002

BOB UFER COTTON PICKIN’ FAN AWARD PAPA BUTT & HEADBUTT – References to our beloved tight end named Butt never get old.  Well done Butt family:
Papa Butt

 

EDITOR’S CHOICE YOUNG BUTT – Everything I hear about this guy behind this scenes points to one thing – this dude is pure gold.  Made a really nice athletic play on this touchdown catch over the shoulder.  Won’t be long before JBooty_88 becomes JBooty87..

Jake

mgoblue photo

 

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ND stadium Via Maize & Blue Nation

Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis is back this season with his weekly postgame helmet stickers.  Sap would do a backflip if coach Hoke decided to reinstate this tradition that Bo brought to the Dr. Sap's Decals team in 1969.

Until that day comes, Sap will bring you his game Champions who will be decorated, albeit virtually, with his helmet stickers.   I’ll typically toss in the Fan Award and the Editor’s Choice (except this week b/c we sucked).

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION NO DECAL  – I get it, Funchess had over 100 yards receiving, but no points = No Decals for anybody on the offense.
DEFENSIVE CHAMPION NO DECAL  – The D played hard and was not the reason U-M lost this game, but I didn’t see any consistent play from anyone that deserved any decals.
SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION NO DECAL – Two missed field goals early set an ominous tone for this game. You just can’t have misses like that in big road games like this.
UNIFORM CHAMPION WHITE SOCKS – I saw several players wearing all white socks up to their knees – wonder if they read my post last game?
white socks hiked
That look, with the road white jerseys and white socks, is classic and timeless. Decals to all those knee-high-white-socked-M-Men!!
BOB UFER FAN AWARD THOSE WHO STAYED – To those M fans in South Bend who stayed…until the last snap (and I mean the very last snap after the pick six, cheaters).  Salute.  Next time we see each other I’m buying the bagels.

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