30. November 2014 · Comments Off on Dr. Sap’s Decals | Leaving the Snake Pit and 2014 Behind · Categories: 2014 · Tags: , , , , , ,


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:


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?


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?


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?


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.]


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…


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…


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’…


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?


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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!



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.




It was an odd vibe before the game.  While the atmosphere was a little more exciting than usual, probably due to the timing and the collective BAC, I asked few folks how they felt things would go in the game. 

Devin mgoblue Usually folks narrow in on a player or two or say something like ‘if we can just run the ball..’ or ‘if we don’t turn the ball over..or whatever.  Yesterday I got looks of confusion, bewilderment and/or just disinterest. 

The problem is fans don’t know up from down right now—the compass is broken, man.  It’s a bad place to be.  Last night’s win didn’t fix that but damn, it was nice to walk out of there with a win.

Speaking of up from down, these things happened:
* Players wearing blue pants
* Punt returners doing choreographed pre-punt dance routines with personally selected music blasting over the PA
* MMB doing light shows

If you told me 10 years ago that these things would eventually happen in the Big House I would have hurled.  Somehow last night each of those things worked for me (seriously).  More below.

To the game: Quick props out there to CAPTAIN Jake Ryan for getting better each week and leading the defense in putting up an inspiring performance.  And to Matt Wile for drilling those crucial field goals that proved to be the difference out there.  And finally to Devin Gardner…thank 98 if you see him about town.  He was clearly hurt but sacked up and made it back out to finish the game and make the next two weeks tolerable.

* No boycott – While there was talk of a pregame boycott there clearly was no boycott.  John (Captain Torso) Navarre went on WTKA pregame & urged students to not do it.  In fact the student section was a filled up early as it’s been all season.  I’m glad the students showed en masse.
* Section 23 Bo – This is great.  The usher all the way atop section 23 (50 yard line on the west side) affixed a Bo-bblehead doll to the wall outside the Regent’s box.  I love it:

Bo Usher

I know some of you want to stick something else outside the Regent’s box but please…maintain your dignity.

After the jump – Pomp, Uniforms, Tunnels of Love, MMB Killing it, Norfleet, MORFleet, More, more..

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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 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.

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.


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?? ;)


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..


mgoblue photo


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IMG_9623 - 98 grin

People needed an old school toilet-paper toss style beatdown on someone, and I guess it helped a weency bit that we dropped it on the source of our epic humiliation seven years ago.  Still, we needed 48 more points to erase THE HORROR from memory and in fact, officially from the NCAA record books.  Look it up.

Beyond that, I loved seeing the gaping holes in the line, it was great to see the #1 out there and there was genuine excitement when Peppers was on the field.   Looks like Jake Ryan is still getting used to the position and we need to feel him more next week.

So the general sense out there—that was fun, but now let’s block & run against a real team.  Check back in Saturday night.

Historical Games Notes:  Primarily via #1000SSS:

  • Michigan improved its record in season openers to an impressive 111-21-3.
  • With his three passing touchdowns, Gardner upped his career total to 37 and earned a share of the seventh spot among Michigan’s all-time leaders in the category. He is tied with Todd Collins (1991-94). Gardner also moved to ninth among U-M’s career leaders in total offense with 5,280 yards, passing Tom Brady (5,180, 1996-99).
  • It is the 38th time in program history that U-M boasted two or more 100-yard rushers in a single game.
  • Funchess is the first wide receiver in Michigan program history to boast three touchdown receptions in a season opener.
  • Also of note – today of course was the call for new radio crew of Dan Dierdorf and Jim Brandstatter.

Arena:  As tweeted by Craig at HSR, re: the data graphics on the scoreboards:

scoreboardAgreed – a cleaner look, better data, way easier to read and understand.

Speaking of in stadium improvements, did anyone catch the real time 1050AM radio broadcast?  How about the phone reception?

Mood UpdateThe Mood Index, the metric trying to gauge how great it is to be a Michigan Wolverine.  Up:


Uniform Update:  A few updates out there on Saturday:

  • Legends jerseys.   Funchess swapped the #87 for the coveted #1 of course – details here – so #11 Wisterts, #21 Desmond Howard, and #87 Ron Kramer are currently on the shelf. 
  • Under shell.  Several of the players donned body shells under their jerseys – Team 135 on the left sleeve, Block M on the right.  My take – many players wore these shirts when they first came out but took them off before game time.  I assume they’ll be more prominent when it cools down:

Team 135

  • Nosebumper.  Confirming that the block ‘M’ nosebumper on the helmet it made it to the field (this was a question as recently as Media Day).  Here’s how they look:

Photo Aug 30, 10 47 18 AM

Wondering how they affixed that thing to the helmet and if/when one of them will pop off after a collision. 

This is the first significant change to the nosebumper since the 1985 season when the MICHIGAN label replaced the name of the helmet vendor:

Michigan nosebumper Sidenote: It did appear the shade of maize on the helmets (and only the helmets) was a tad darker this year.  Discussed here.

Uniform Timeline updated.

Hagerup’s kicks:  FWIW:



I’m calling you Chicken while looking cool:  Nice — the folks at Carhartt poked a little fun at our buds in South Bend in this ad in the game program:


M Blogs Killing it:

mgoblog :
Appalachian State Postgame Presser: Brady Hoke
Ace’s game recap:

Only two things came up as real concerns during the game. Jabrill Peppers missed the second half with an ankle injury; Brady Hoke confirmed after the game that his absence was precautionary, and he’ll be back on the field next week for Notre Dame. Meanwhile, Jake Ryan looked uncomfortable at times at middle linebacker, getting overaggressive on run defense and allowing a big gain through the air when he didn’t get enough depth on a zone drop. If your biggest defensive concern is Jake Ryan, however, your defense is in a very good place.

Maize and Blue Nation:
Game Recap
Pregame Photos
The Two 98s (sweet!):


Maize N Brew:
Running game paces Michigan to 52-14 blowout
Michigan 52-App State 14: UM Wins Big In Opener


Maize and Blue News:
Five plays that Changed the Game


Related on MVictors:


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Ed.  Dr. Sap is back with his decals for week 5.   I added the Editor’s pick and we collaborated on the Fan award this week.  Here are the picks from Week 1 and Week 2 and Week 3 and Week 4.

clip_image002[1]Back when Bo was coaching the Michigan Football team, he awarded decals for individual as well as TEAM accomplishments.   He also selected Champions each week.

Not only were the obvious categories (offense, defense, special teams) selected, but Bo also made it a point to recognize the not so obvious ones – Scout Team Champions and Team Hustlers – each week.  


DENARD ROBINSON – So it wasn’t just me.  Even Frank Beckmann said that the way Denard and the UM offense was churning out the yardage Saturday, you could put a #7 on his back and you would have thought Rick Leach was running the Michigan offense again.  Only fitting that Denard’s performance made him the All-Time Big Ten Rushing QB Leader.  When he’s healthy, Shoelace is tough to bring down – with or without his shoes on.


JAKE RYAN – After watching #47 do his thing again, one word came to mind – MANSTER.  In the late ‘70s, Bob Ufer recalled how UM D-Tackle Chris Godfrey was called “manster” by fellow wolverine Ron Simpkins.  Why manster? He was half man, half monster. Jake Ryan – ‘nuff said!


DELONTE HOLLOWELL – His kickoff fumble recovery swung momentum HUGELY and quieted a crowd that has been known to help the home team pull off some major upsets against UM – just not this year!


J.T. FLOYD – Maybe it was the look sans dreads, but JT’s PBU’s stalled Purdue drives in key situations. Against a receiving corps that was widely considered the class of the conference, Floyd schooled them on coming his way.


MAIZE PANTS – After all these years, and uniform changes, it’s great to see the pants go essentially unchanged – are you listening adidas & DB?


THOMAS RAWLS – One of the most epic garbage time performances in history.  Talk of the Flint native covered the first half of Sam’s WTKA morning show on Sunday



MAIZE & BLUE RAINBOW HAIR DUDE – His get up was a little over the top (M tie on front and M flag on back), but you gotta like his enthusiasm. I assume he wore the tie just was in case he was invited to the Regents tailgate before the game. What I can’t figure out is the sawed off broom handle in his left pocket. What is that for? Beating back the swarming ladies? 


Via U-M Media Relations

Oosterbaan Recognized as "Michigan Football Legend," Linebacker Jake Ryan to Don Famed No. 47 Jersey

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan Athletic Department officially recognized Bennie Oosterbaan as a "Michigan Football Legend" today (Sept. 8) during a pregame ceremony of the Michigan-Air Force football game.

Junior/sophomore linebacker Jake Ryan (Westlake, Ohio/St. Ignatius) will change from No. 90 to No. 47 for the remainder of his career in honor of Oosterbaan. A patch over the left upper chest will be affixed to the No. 47 jersey worn by Ryan and all other future players donning Oosterbaan’s jersey number.

In addition to the permanent patch, Oosterbaan will be featured in a special area to be designed and constructed in the soon-to-be renovated Schembechler Hall. Also, the lockers to be used by No. 47 in both the Schembechler Hall and Michigan Stadium locker rooms will be customized to reflect the fact that Oosterbaan will forever be a Michigan Football Legend.

Oosterbaan was a three-time All-American (1925, ‘26, ‘27) at end for Michigan, becoming the first of only two three-time All-Americans in Wolverines football history; Anthony Carter is the other player to accomplish the feat. Oosterbaan was a nine-time letterman at Michigan, earning three letters in football, basketball and baseball. He was the Big Ten touchdown champion in football, the Big Ten batting champion in baseball and the Big Ten scoring champion and the first Michigan student-athlete to be named a first-team All-American in basketball.

Following graduation in 1928, he turned down contracts from professional baseball and football organizations in order to join the Michigan coaching staff. He served as an assistant under Fritz Crisler for 20 seasons and was U-M’s head coach from 1948 to 1958, compiling a 63-33-4 record. During his tenure, the Wolverines won or shared Big Ten titles three times, won the 1951 Rose Bowl and captured the national championship in 1948.

Former players Ron Kramer, Gerald Ford and Francis, Albert and Alvin Wistert also will be honored as "Michigan Football Legends" during the 2012 season. Following are the dates for recognizing legend status for those former players:

· Ron Kramer (No. 87) — Massachusetts (Sept. 15)

· Gerald Ford (No. 48) — Illinois (Oct. 13)

· Francis, Albert and Alvin Wistert (No. 11) — Northwestern (Nov. 10)

Desmond Howard was the inaugural Michigan Football Legend, honored in 2011 during the first night game in Michigan Stadium history. Howard’s No. 21 jersey is worn by senior wide receiver Roy Roundtree (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) in 2012.