Guest Post by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

The last time Minnesota won the Little Brown Jug in Minneapolis, Marion Barber SENIOR was the running back for The Gophers.  That was back in 1977, when Michigan was #1 in country and Jim Harbaugh was roaming the sidelines for the Wolverines – as one of the Michigan Coaches’ sons!


Like Wilton Speight said, maybe the Football Gods WERE smiling down on Michigan Saturday night.  Speaking of #3, here are your LBJ Champions:

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – Gotta give it to QB Wilton Speight.  His first three completions in his career?  WoW!  He was obviously tight at first but it sounded like the old ball coach settled him down and stuck with him.


Sure enough, he delivered the goods in a BIG way – especially on that 2-point conversion pass.  He has come a long way since the verbal tongue-lashing he received from Coach Harbaugh that we saw on the HBO Real Sports feature a few months ago.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – I haven’t seen a game end on a defensive stop since the 2012 OT Game against Northwestern when Kenny Demens made the pivotal play.

Line Stop

But this one felt a lot like the 1993 Michigan – Penn State Game at Happy Valley.  Michigan stopped JoePa and the Nittany Lions 4 times at the goal line back then.


I thought The Gophers would QB Sneak it the play before, but it was obvious the Michigan D was waiting for them on the last play of the game.  Incredible!

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION – I’ve said it before that Jabrill Peppers makes a HUGE impact returning punts and last night was another example of that.  I’m not sure  I have ever seen a return man field so many punts, not just on the run, but at full speed!  Just wish he hadn’t tried to truck the punter on that one kick because he would have had two TD’s the Woodson Way – one on Offense and one on Special Teams.  Don’t worry – it’ll happen.

UNIFORM CHAMPION – Gotta give it to Jabrill for placing his helmet stickers BETWEEN the stripes on the back of his helmet!  In all my years of following Michigan Football, I have NEVER seen a player put his stickers there.

Peppers Decals

It may have been considered sacred real estate on the helmet in the past, but I guess if anyone is going to do it, I got no problem with #5 putting his helmet stickers there. [Ed. Et tu, Dr.  Sap!  This can’t go on! ]

COACHES – From the entire Michigan Coaching Staff keeping this team’s collective heads up after the MSU heartbreaker, to Harbaugh coaching up Speight late in this game, to DJ Durkin’s Destroyers being ready for The Gophers on the goal line, this entire coaching staff deserves a helmet sticker for last night’s win.  The old football saying, that sometimes you lose a game five times, but you gotta find a way to win it the 6th time, never rang more true than it did against Minnesota.  Bob Ufer used to say that football was a “Game of Emotions,” and he was right.  Jerry Kill and Minnesota played the “Emotion” card Saturday night, but Michigan pulled trump and played the “Never Say Die” Card.  GO BLUE!  It’s nice to have the Jug back in Ann Arbor!

– – – – – – – –

Like Peppers’ headgear, Sap’s virtual helmet is out of real estate and looking for new property!

Virtual Decal MVictors Helmet WK9

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).
    • Northwestern: Jehu Chesson, Jourdan Lewis, Offensive Line, (Uniform: Maize and Blue gloves).
    • Michigan State:  No Champions
    • Minnesota: Wilton Speight, Michigan defense, Jabrill Peppers, (Uniform: Stickers crossing the stripes! :O)





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Amara Darboh

So Amara Darboh had 9 helmet stickers after Utah, Jake Butt 8 and a handful of others (Peppers, Rudock) had seven.   Assuming the stickers are dealt out after games, we’ve presumably got a few guys with at least 15 helmet stickers on their lids following Oregon State. Now, I’ve heard some argue that these assumptions are wrong – that many of the decals to date were earned in practice (including camp) and therefore it’s not a straight line ratio from now to the end of the season.  But if the stickers are tied to game performance, and the criteria for getting stickers in a game stays consistent throughout the season – things will get sticky soon.   The skinny:

We already know they stickers are the same size as the 1985-1994 version.  As discussed here, the standard for decals likely goes to Mike Hammerstein, the mid-80s standout defensive tackle.  He was the team MVP in 1985 and his helmet showed it.  The big man was honored with 47 decals entering the bowl game, assuming he didn’t leave a couple on Keith Byars’ arse:


Assuming we’re not touching the area on or inside the wings (I will fight you, Jake Rudock!), at a glance it looks like we’ve got max capacity at 60.  Maybe we could get 62 on Wormley.

Fast forward to 2015.  A guy fifteen dekes after week 2 is projected to have 90 after playing the Buckeyes and entering the BCS playoffs bowl game.    So at this rate we’ve got a problem unless Harbaugh and crew slow their decal roll.

We’ll see how this plays out.



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De'Veon Smith - Michigan Daily

“I GUESS I HIT THAT HOLE YOU NERDS!” (via Michigan Daily)

Following another Smith score to put U-M up 26-7, Harbaugh personally called for the 2 point conversion.  He gave some kind of signal to the celebrating players – it looked like a bear claw from the press box.  He sat hunched over outside the team area basically begging for Rudock and a few other guys to get the message and line up—flashing the bear claw gesture as hard as he could.

Rudock and crew eventually got the message, lined up and successfully executed the 2 point conversion to put U-M up 28-7.  On the trot back to the sideline Rudock tried to slide back to the bench with the rest of the unit but Harbaugh put his hand in Rudock’s chest—stopping him in his tracks.  There was a quick chat between QB and coach, I assume something along the lines maintaining composure even after a TD and paying attention.  After the chat, #4 delivered a pair of hearty butt slaps and Rudock went back to the bench.

Here’s the deal – Harbaugh is in absolute control (most of the time) of the sideline and what the players are doing on the field.  The only other way he’d have it is if the rules allowed him to play a snap or two.  So the coach is in charge and coaching.  Big deal, right?  Welp…it is in these parts.

Now, it’s classic college football fan to oversteer on losses and on the wins, and that’s 3X in Ann Arbor and 4X here in Saline (me).  But the team is better and actually demonstrating real toughness. Given the recent past this is step one.  Looking ahead to some of the big games you have to feel, if nothing else, Michigan Stadium is difficult place to play again.

Sights and Sounds:

  • Darker, darker, and decals.  Uniform updates includes darker maize, darker blue and decals.  More on all that here and here the full Uniform Timeline is there.


  • Darker Maize.  So now that the uniform, for the most part, has adopted the deeper, old school maize – it’s time for the rest of the stadium to get on board.  Most notably the block M on the field and the MICHIGAN in either end zone.  The contrast is striking when looking at the players against the field graphics:

image            Memo to AD Hackett.  Other things that need to get in sync with the deep maize color:

    • The GO BLUE banner
    • The band uniforms
    • Pretty much everything fans wear
    • The goal posts?  I consulted the MVictors law-talking-guy and we agree we have some leeway here to repaint the uprights.  cc: AD Hackett.  2015 NCAA rulebook:

Maize Posts

  • Banner Start. Speaking of the banner, Jim Harbaugh did not touch the banner on his way out to the field.  Vid via Mark Snyder of the Freep.   Coach did slap many-a-butt on the sidelines after units returned to the sideline, but left the banner alone despite my 85% odds on him doing so.
  • Want (in darker maize naturally):


  • New Drum Major.   Well done to that guy on your first head dip.  Nice core strength.
  • Free Peek.  BRAVO to #1000SSS on the kick ass game program cover.  And bless you for sparing us shots of  players posing in golf shirts all season.  I look forward to what they bring week-to-week.  This is an actual colorized shot from Ferry Field via the U-M Bentley Historical Library.  I’m efforting more info but I assume it’s 1920-1925-ish. [Update 9/14:  Per Greg Kinney of the Bentley “The photo is from the graduation ceremony of June 1940.  It was on the cover  of  the July 1940 issue of the Michigan Alumnus Magazine. Before 1927 you would have seen a goal post (or maybe temporary bleachers) from that view.”]  

2015 Michigan-Oregon State game program Insert joke about Dave Brandon’s great granddad trying to charge this kid 2 bits for the peek

  • 2015 <—> 1964  After surrendering an early touchdown to Oregon State, the team pitched a shutout from then on, scoring several touchdowns with the lead U-M running back finding the end zone 3 times.  Sounds familiar?    That’s how the biggest game we’ve played against Oregon State in U-M history played out, namely the 1965 Rose Bowl.  So 50 years ago this year Michigan won 34-7 after the early Beaver TD put them up 7-0. Mel Anthony tallied 3 TDs and captain Jim Conley and Bump had their Rose Bowl championship.  Here’s All-American Bill Yearby looking Chris Wormley-esque in his beastness:

Bill Yearby - 1965 Rose Bowl My money is on Michigan in this one

  • Twelve.  Prior to the once-in-a-half-century snap snafu, Michigan had twelve men on the field.  The U-M sideline caught it, called a 30 second timeout, and then the snap snafu ensued.   Props to the tweets from a few folks reminding me that 12 men beats 10 (Agreed).  A pic of the 12 fellers from upstairs:

12 men on the field - Michigan

  • Coach B in the Booth.  Nice work by coach Beilein hopping the radio booth and even showing his chops on a play-by-play call:


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UGP Michigan Apparel

So by now you’ve seen The Wolverine’s Chris Balas tweet out what his sources say will be the 2015 road uniform:

image So a couple notes:

  • This indeed appears to be a modern version of the epic all-whites worn exclusively on the road in 1973 through 1975 (concluding with the 1976 Orange Bowl).  Here’s a look at the 1973 MSU game up in East Lansing:

1973 - Michigan vs. Michigan State (East Lansing) 1973 Michigan Jerseys/Uniforms

  • While we know photos can deceive, there seems to be no doubt the both the maize and blue tones are darker, and this backs up a bit of solid insight I got from a great source.  Good timing after this recent post on the origins of maize and blue back in 1867.

My guess is that Balas is correct and we’ll see these September 3rd.   I like the stripes, I could probably do without the white pants for an entire season but I’ll reserve judgment until we see them for a few games.

Now…after the Utah game will be seeing helmet stickers?   Call it a gut feeling but I’d say we’ll see them.

More from the Uniform Timeline here.   I can’t officially update the timeline until we have an official release or we see them on the gridiron September 3.


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bo and jim

So if Harbaugh is indeed introduced next week, a big question for Michigan uniform mavens concerns whether #4 will re-introduce the helmet decals.  Bo actually invented the concept while at Miami, and brought them to Ann Arbor in 1969.  Here’s a brief run down of the stickers over the years thanks to Dr. Sap:

decal history You’ll note above that the decals actually took a break in the mid-1980s during Harbaugh’s tenure, but did indeed return for his final two seasons, including his captaincy in 1986.  We also know that Coach Harbaugh used them in Palo Alto:

luck helmet stickers

Coach Hoke was asked about this by Wojo back in 2011 and obviously nothing happened, but with Harbaugh?   You’d have to think there’s a good chance we’ll see them on the field in 2015. 

What do you think?

Regarding the All-Whites:

View Results

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Update:  Amani Toomer chimes in with authority:



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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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    Matt Wile: 5 decals – for 5 Non-Returnable (Aluminum Beer Can) Kickoffs!* Don’t kid yourself at the importance of these kicks – they forced Illinois to drive 80 yards almost all game and that made a HUGE difference!
    Fitzgerald Toussaint: 3 decals – 1st QTR 65-yard run, 25-yard run, and 4th QTR 27-yard TD run
    David Molk: 3 decals – seal blocks on Toussaint 65-yard and 25-yard runs in 1st QTR, seal block on Denard 2-yard TD run in 2nd Qtr
    J.T. Floyd: 4 decals – 1st QTR PBU, 4th QTR INT (would have given one more for a pick-six!), 4th QTR PBU, +1 editor’s choice, for transforming into Chuck Woodson for this game, wow.
    Ryan Van Bergen: 3 decals – 3rd QTR sack, and two 4th QTR sacks
    Denard Robinson: 2 decals – 5-yard TD run in 1st QTR, 2-yard TD run in 2nd QTR. 
    Jake Ryan: 2 decals – 1st QTR TFL, 3rd QTR PASTING hit on QB during option-pitch – outstanding!
    Jordan Kovacs: 3 decals: 1 for forced fumble in 2nd QTR, 1 for TFL in 3rd QTR, and +1 editor’s choice for actually being Zack Novak and fooling us this whole time.
    Thomas Gordon: 2 decals for fumble recovery in 2nd QTR and PBU in 4th QTR
    Michael Schofield: 1 decal for seal block on Toussaint 65-yard run in 1st QTR
    Will Hagerup: 1 decal for 1st QTR punt OOB inside Illini 15-yard line. Kipke-esque!
    Craig Roh: 1 decal for 1st QTR TFL
    Jeremy Gallon: 2 decals – 1 decal for 37-yard punt return in 1st QTR and  +1 editor’s choice: We’re getting spoiled—Gallon has completely turned around my comfort level on punt returns and starting to make it a weapon. 
    Kevin Koger: 1 decal for 39-yard clinic on keeping-your-feet-moving-until-someone-(finally)-drags-you-down reception in 2nd QTR
    Blake Countess: 1 decal for 2nd QTR PBU
    Kenny Demens: 1 decal for 2nd QTR sack
    Desmond Morgan: 1 decal for bone-jarring hit on Illini RB in 3rd QTR – Ron Simpkins would be proud of that stick!
    John McColgan: 1 decal for muffed punt recovery in 3rd QTR
    Junior Hemingway: 1 decal for 20-yard reception in 3rd QTR
    Brendan Gibbons: 1 decal for 27-yard FG in 3rd QTR
    Devin Gardner: 3 decals.  1 decal for 27-yard TD pass to Martavious Odoms in 4th QTR, and +2 editor’s choice: +1 for third down conversion to Hemingway, +1 for stepping in and finishing off the game when Denard was down—excellent stuff.
    Martavious Odoms: 1 decal for 27-yard TD reception 4th QTR.  [Ed. Ace and I call him Dooms.  Or when I’m feeling emotional, Moods.  Yes, there’s another way to spell it but I’m steering clear of that.] 
    Mike Martin: 1 decal for 4th QTR sack
    Roy Roundtree: 1 decal onside kick recovery in 4th QTR.  [Ed. Gotta be like the 3rd or 4th time this season Treezy did nothing all game only to make a big play at the very end.  Love Treezy.]

    * The Aluminum Beer Can reference is a nod to the late and great Bob Ufer. Back in the 70’s, recycling wasn’t a big part of the American way and aluminum beer cans were a no deposit/no return setup. So when you were done with your PBR, you just tossed it (preferably in the garbage), but you weren’t getting 10 cents for it at the grocery store!

    Updated season tally (leaders):

    Denard Robinson 32
    Ryan Van Bergen 15
    Vincent Smith 14
    Jordan Kovacs 13
    Craig Roh 12
    Jake Ryan 12
    JT Floyd 10
    Fitz Toussaint 10
    Jeremy Gallon 9
    Desmond Morgan 9
    Brendan Gibbons 9
    Blake Countess 9
    Mike Martin 9
    Matt Wile 9
    Thomas Gordon 8
    Devin Gardner 7
    Big Will Campbell 6
    Mark Huyge 6
    Kevin Koger 6
    Will Hagerup 5
    Kenny Demens 5

    Plenty to dole out, take it away Sap:

    Adidas: 1 decal for bringing back the white socks on the road with a little block M on them a la Tom Harmon and the boys back in 1939!  (Editor’s note:  Might have to take this decal away.  There’s obviously something wrong with the 2011 away jerseys, causing some of players to switch to last year’s model!   Get that fixed, Beaverton) 
    Dhani Jones: 1 decal for Rocking The Bowtie before, during and after the game! Hey, Dhani, how about a Bowtie with U-M helmet decals on it?   Dr. Sap would make the switch to a bowtie if that were the case – GUARANTEED!!
    Greg Mattison: 1 decal for 2nd half shutout of Wildcats – Very Bill McCartney-esque!
    Denard Robinson: 5 decals – 9-yard TD pass to Watson in 1st QTR; 25-yard TD pass to Gallon in 2nd QTR; 2-yard TD run in 3rd QTR minus one shoe; 5-yard TD run in 4th QTR, +1 editor’s pick for running up to the crowd on the final score.
    Defense: 3 decals for each member of unit – 4th down stop in 2nd QTR; 4th down stop in 4th QTR; pitching a shutout in 2nd Half.
    Desmond Morgan:  +1, editor’s choice, for flying over the NW offense line in an attempt to sack Persa.
    Jordan Kovacs: 3 decals – TFL on 4th down stop in 2nd QTR; Pontiac Game Changing Play in 4th QTR (ripping Persa’s helmet off on Safety Blitz!); Goalline tackle at end of game preserving 2nd half shutout.
    Thomas Gordon: 2 decals for Forced Fumble/Strip and Fumble Recovery on same play – outstanding!
    Vincent Smith: 2 decals, editor’s choice, for the 2 solo tackles on the NW interception return.  Little man is tough.  And he mixed it up a bit with one of the Wildcat lineman after the first, nicely done.
    Junior Hemingway: 1 decal for 48-yard reception in 1st QTR. (Junior Megatron?)
    Steve Watson: 1 decal for 9-yard TD reception in 1st QTR.
    Jeremy Gallon: 1 decal for 25-yard TD reception in 2nd QTR.
    Mark Huyge: 1 decal for kick-out block on Gallon TD.
    Ryan Van Bergen: 1 decal for Pass Break Up in 2nd QTR.
    Roy Roundtree: 1 decal for 57-yard reception in 3rd QTR.
    Devin Gardner: 2 decals, 1-yard TD run in 3rd QTR, and +1 editor’s pick for handling the reins like a vet while Denard was out.
    Brandin Hawthorne: 1 decal for diving interception in 3rd QTR.
    Michael Shaw: 1 decal for 2-yard TD run in 4th QTR.
    Blake Countess: 1 decal for PBU in 4th QTR.
    Will Campbell: 2 decals, 1 for sack in 4th QTR, +1 editor’s pick for barreling off the field top speed at the end of the game, to the delight of the Michigan faithful.
    Kenny Demens: 1 decal for TFL.
    Craig Roh:  1/2 decal for 3rd QTR 1/2 sack along with Mike Martin. 
    Mike Martin: 1/2 decal for 3rd QTR 1/2 sack along with Craig Roh.


    Dr. Sap’s Decals – Minnesota

    Dr. Sap’s Decals – San Diego State

    Dr. Sap’s Decals – Eastern Michigan