30. August 2014 · Comments Off on Pregame Pics | Appalachian State · Categories: 2014 · Tags: , , , , ,

In and around the gridiron before from this fine morning:

Photo Aug 30, 11 07 26 AM


The obligatory Peppers


Photo Aug 30, 11 21 05 AM

No Horror part Deux, thank you


Jim Brandstatter, Dan Dierdorf, Michigan Football radio

The new radio duo loving it.  And P.S., I shook Dierdorf’s giant hand and now I can barely type this



The inside of the mascot head smells like Doritos, Jagermeister and shattered dreams. (HT: Sklars)


Devin Gardner

The Funchise — surprised everyone by coming out in the COVETED #1.  His statement here.  Uniform timeline will be updated.


Photo Aug 30, 10 47 18 AM

The block M nosebumper made it on the field, Uniform Timeline will be updated.  First change to the bumper since 1985 when MICHIGAN replaced the helmet manufacturer in that slot.


Jared Wangler

NOTHING wrong with seeing that name roam the west sideline

25. August 2014 · Comments Off on Brandyman Can Do Play-by-Play | Jim Brandstatter Interview · Categories: 2014 · Tags: , , , ,

Brandstatter and Dierdorf (1969)Brandy and Dierdorf in the Summer of ‘69  [Bentley]

You certainly know by now that this season longtime U-M color analyst Jim Brandstatter shifts over one chair, replacing Frank Beckmann as the play-by-play man.  Next to him will be Brandy’s former teammate and pal, longtime NFL broadcaster & Hall of Famer Dan Dierdorf.   I spoke to both men this summer for a piece you can find all season in the home game program.   For you – I posted the full Dierdorf interview last week.   Like Dan D., Brandstatter is just an outstanding guy – incredibly kind.  File under FWIW – as a pee wee I grew up in East Lansing a few houses down from Brandy’s older brother (and Spartan) Art and his great family.

Here’s the balance of my chat with Brandy:


MVictors: All right, so when did you decide you to go for the play-by-play gig?

Jim Brandstatter: I really didn’t decide, it was kind of decided for me. This whole thing, when Frank announced his retirement they had gone out and they were looking for people and they were, nothing really fit the bill. As I understand it they really wanted a guy who had Michigan background–someone who brought Michigan with him to the broadcasts. Then it wasn’t until the third week in January that I was asked if I ever did play-by-play and I said, ‘Yeah, I did a game back in 2003, actually.’

MVictors: Northwestern, right?

Jim Brandstatter: Yeah, Northwestern. When Frank had back surgery. Steve Courtney and I did the game at Northwestern and I have a copy of it and I was able to get it to Dave Brandon and the people at IMG. I said, ‘Here it is if you want to listen. I just want to do what you guys think is in the best interest of the broadcast. I want to stay on board. I want to continue to broadcast the games. If it’s in this capacity, fine but if it’s not I just want to stay doing color.’ They said, ‘Okay we’ll let you know.’ Then I forgot about it.

Because I still thought they were looking for a play-by-play guy then about late February, early March, they called me and said, ‘You know what? Your tape’s pretty good.’ I said, “Well, thank you.” They said, ‘Would you consider really being the play-by-play guy?’ I said, ‘Heck yeah. If that’s what you think is going to work.’

They also said that the opportunity to find a color guy with a similar criteria that they wanted in a play-by-play guy was going to open up the category, if you will, for more people. Because there’s a lot of people that probably were available to do color as opposed that there were fewer able to do the play-by-play thing with the same Michigan background they were looking for.

It was about two weeks later, Dierdorf showed up and that’s a no brainer, you know?  Dan Dierdorf. There’s a Hall of Fame broadcaster. Michigan Hall of Honor winner. Former All-American. How in the world can you not use Dan? He had been on our radar back in January but he had had horrific back surgery that he needed. It was one of those things where he’d be in rehab for a year. He did not think that he was going to be available because of the rehab and the surgery.

In April it turned out that the rehab was coming along better than he had imagined. He really wanted to return to Michigan. He loves Michigan football, it’s his passion. For him it’s a homecoming and he lives in northern Michigan most of the summer. He just liked the idea and thought it would be great to work with me since he and I were teammates and we’ve been friends since we were 17 years old. That’s how it worked.

MVictors: Has Frank given you any advice on the role?   Just being next to him for so long, what have you learned from him?

Jim Brandstatter: I’ve learned tons of stuff. Not just from Frank but from Dan Miller and Mark Champion. If I haven’t learned a little bit of play-by-play from those 3 guys then shame on me. Because those guys are top of the class in their ability to do play-by-play and as a color guy you listen and you learn and you try to fit to their play-by-play calls. They rub off on you.

Normally Frank would give me advice from a standpoint where it was the same advice he got when he took over for Bob Ufer. It’s really simple, he says, ‘Be yourself. Don’t try to be somebody else. Don’t try to be Ufer.’ I take that to heart.  I can’t be Frank Beckmann. He was a unique, special play-by-play broadcaster for Michigan but Frank did it Frank’s way and that was the only way you can do it.

The only really advice he had was he said, ‘Okay, look. You know the ins and outs, you know how to do it and it’s just a matter of you being you. Don’t be me.’  That’s really the only advice that he had ever given him and that was the same advice that he got 30 years ago–and it still stands true.

MVictors: One of the nice things I think about doing play-by-play is that your voice will be immortalized on great plays. Of course we all know the great Ufer calls, and of course Frank’s everywhere over and over again. Is that something you’re looking forward to?

Jim Brandstatter: I’m looking forward to it but I’m not planning anything. I truly believe that stuff just happens. It’s got to be instinctive, it’s got to be off-the-cuff, and it’s got to just happen. From my perspective, it doesn’t even hit my radar that my touchdown call is going to be on SportsCenter or on film because that’s not what I’m worried about.

I know from Frank’s perspective and watching other guys, none of them have planned great play-by-play calls. When Woodson intercepted that ball against Ohio State [in 1997] in the end zone it was the best I’d ever heard Frank, he was standing up, he was pointing in the end zone and this stuff was just flowing. You know, ‘Clear off the mantel, make way for the Heisman Trophy, Charles Woodson has just intercepted….’ He went on, I stood back, I looked at him and I clapped. I applauded because you can’t make that up.

You can’t write that stuff. It just happened and he was there to capture that moment and he did it beautifully. I don’t even think about it. I just want to do it right.

MVictors: What’s the biggest challenge is going to be for you in your new seat here in the broadcast booth?

Jim Brandstatter: I think to get a nice flow and get a relationship established with Dan that translates to the audience. He and I, we’ll call the game and I know that we’ll do a nice job of it and the Xs and Os but I think the beauty of what I’ve found over the years is that the relationship between the play-by-play guy and the color guy is kind of what holds the needle for most of the listeners.

That’s another one of those things that I think is going to happen. Dan and I have to do our job but in between there, that relationship between us as friends, as football guys, as football players has got to kind of come out and say hello to all the fans every now and again. That relationship is real and people feel comfortable with us. Listening to us in their car or on their lawnmower or in their fans with their transistor radio or whatever.

From a difficulty standpoint, nothing to me is ever difficult. It’s a challenge but I’d pick the line from Lloyd Carr he used to tell his team, ‘Where else would you rather be?’ There is absolutely no place I’d rather be than right up there doing those games with Dan Dierdorf.

MVictors: Speaking of Dierdorf, is there anything unique you think he’ll bring to the color broadcast that may be different from how you handled it?

Jim Brandstatter: You know what he brings? He brings an NFL Hall of Fame career with him. He brings a tremendous amount of wit. He’s one of the best speakers you’ll ever hear. I think he’ll bring a perspective as to what it’s like at the next level and is that next-level type of play. Do you know what I’m saying?
I think that he brings that credibility automatically with him. That he’s played the game at the highest level. Has been elected to the National Football League Hall of Fame and he is able to analyze and see things during the game that he is uniquely qualified to talk about. He’s got the vocabulary and the experience and the wit to say it in an entertaining way.

That’s Dan Dierdorf and I think that that’s his great strength. Some guys are relatively dry and really Xs and Os-ey. Dan will have the ability to make it entertaining along with being authoritative and that’s a difficult thing to do. He was at the pinnacle, he was at the franchise of television–there’s no greater broadcast spot than Monday Night Football. He was there for a long time and when you reach that level, you know what? You got some pretty good juice to bring with you wherever you go.

MVictors: Is there anything about Dan Dierdorf that Michigan fans don’t know about him but perhaps should?

Jim Brandstatter: He’s a terrific public speaker. He loves Michigan and Michigan football. Being from Canton Ohio, he’s a guy that has adopted Michigan and Michigan has adopted him and he lives here 5 to 6 months of the year. He loves Northern Michigan, some of his best friends are in Ann Arbor. Like I said, he’s unabashedly a Michigan guy.

Even when he was broadcasting NFL football, he was the guy they would kid when Michigan did well or Michigan got beat or something like that people would go to him and kid him about it because they knew how much he bled maize and blue. All the other announcers everywhere around him would tell him, ‘What happened to your guys yesterday?’ They’d give him a little needle because they knew how much he wore Michigan on his sleeve.

That’s one of the things that’s unique about him, having played here and he loves Ann Arbor. He’s very quick-witted, just really very intelligent and he’s a hell of a good guy.

MVictors: Are you guys going to do any kind of dry run or practice or anything like that?

Jim Brandstatter I don’t know. We may, we may not. Dan and I—we’ve got 60 years of experience just doing games so I know that we’re going come and we’re going to watch practice together before the season. I know there’s a scrimmage the Saturday prior to the first game. Both of us I know want to be there. We may just sit together and talk as opposed to do a mock broadcast.

For Dan and I, this isn’t our first rodeo. He and I know where we’re supposed to be and what we’re supposed to do. I think the biggest adjustment we’ll have to make maybe is part of the necessary broadcast type-things within the broadcast like the little advertising one-liners, you know?

That when the tape is rolling, when the camera goes on and it’s live, that’s when everything ramps up. Your senses get their highest and you’re pumping your best stuff out. I think that’s the way both of us feel about that first game against Appalachian State.

MVictors: Should fans expect any special visitors in the booth? You guys do have a lot of friends.

Jim Brandstatter: I don’t know. That would be fun. I would love it if, who-knows-who comes up there?  If Greg Gumbel for instance decided he wanted to take in a college football game. He worked with Dan the last 5 or 6 or 7 years at CBS. I’d say, ‘Come on in! Call a play-by-play thing with Dierdorf, here!’ I’d absolutely would love that but again, I don’t know.

You know, that’s one of those things that happens at the moment if it does. I’m one of those guys that loves to have the non-traditional thing happen. It’s like we had Mark Harmon up in the booth when they put his dad’s jersey in the Legends program. So he came up and talked to us, it was great. We were talking football and this and that, and finally I looked over and said, ‘Hey Mark here’s a big question. What’s happening with Ziva on NCIS?’ [laughs]

He looked at me like, ‘What are you talking about?’ But that to me was fun and I think everybody who was a fan of NCIS and his career as an actor wanted to hear that question.
Completely out of the context of football so from my perspective, I would love it if somebody came up who was a friend of Dan’s or one of those broadcast guys who wants to come up and say hello. We’ll grab ’em! I’m sure Dave Brandon will come up and we’ll give him a microphone.

MVictors: Having been to so many stadiums—college and pro–is there anything unique about the experience at Michigan Stadium?

Jim Brandstatter: There’s no question about it, because it’s so huge. You don’t realize how big it is and then you go to some other places where there’s 50,000 seats there and you go, ‘That’s a big place!’  50,000 people but it pales in comparison. The other thing I think that is unique and interesting about Michigan Stadium is this place was built in 1927. Yost figured enough about it so that you could put an extra deck on top of it with the foundation on it and here a guy is literally nearly 100 years ago with the foresight to build a place that could handle what is today modern college football.

That historic aspect of the Stadium in my judgment anyway, sets it apart and the fact that the same place has housed so many great, great names and traditional players. Michigan is the winningest College football program in history so with all of those things kind of going to making that place really hallowed ground.

To me it’s unique, not just because it’s Michigan but because of what Michigan has meant to college football nationally and what Michigan has meant to college football historically.


MVictors: What do you think Bo would tell you two if he saw you heading up to the stadium to call your first game?

Jim Brandstatter: I think that Bo would look at us and he would say, “I can’t believe they’re putting you two guys behind microphones to call Michigan football! What a colossal mistake!!” [laughs]  That’s what Schembechler would say to us. [laughs]


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In 1924 WWJ’s Ty Tyson and Doc Holland called the Michigan-Wisconsin game at Ferry Field and delivered what is believed to be the first live radio broadcast from a football stadium. Since that day nine decades ago, for many of y9u radio remains the preferred method to consume Michigan football each Saturday – especially for road games :)

You probably know that this season longtime U-M color analyst Jim Brandstatter shifts over one chair, replacing Frank Beckmann as the play-by-play man.  Next to him will be Brandy’s former teammate and pal, longtime NFL broadcaster & Hall of Famer Dan Dierdorf.

Before the season I got to chat with these guys for a piece for the game program–so look for that each Saturday.  

For you – here’s the entire transcript of my chat with Dan Dierdorf.  [P.S. Between us girls Dan D. doesn’t know me from Adam yet was off-the-charts kind and accommodating.  File under FWIW.]


MVictors: The great Bob Ufer was unabashedly biased when he called Michigan games, and you certainly knew who Brandstatter and Beckmann were rooting for. Will it be a tough transition knowing you’ll clearly have a rooting interest with Michigan?

Dan Dierdorf: It’s going to be tough because for 30 years I’ve only ever done it one way, and that’s completely unbiased and neutral. You have to completely straddle that line. You have one foot in one team’s camp, one foot in the other team’s camp and you’ve got to really be neutral. I mean that is one of the things that not only is expected of you, it’s demanded of you as a network analyst. If the audience thinks you have a bias, which of course the two whole markets think you do.

The reality is you just can’t. I never cared about anything when I was doing network television other than hoping that the game was tied 28-28 at the start of the fourth quarter. You just wanted a good game. It’s going to take me awhile to show that I’m leaning towards the maize & blue, which of course I will be. That’s going to be a luxury, I think I’m going to enjoy it.

MVictors: So that’s one challenge. Does doing radio in particular, bring any unique challenges to what you were used to over the last several years doing TV?

Dan Dierdorf: Well I’ve done radio games before. When I first broke into the business, I started doing radio. I did the University of Missouri for an entire season back in 1984. I did about 10 or so games with the CBS Radio Network, working with guys like Lindsey Nelson and Ray Scott and Dick Stockton and people like that. I cut my teeth on radio.

There is a freedom in doing radio that doesn’t exist in television. When you do a game on television, you are a slave to the picture. You’ve got to service the viewer at home by referencing what he can see on his television screen.

To do anything outside of that, you’re really doing a disservice to the viewer, because you’re talking about something they can’t see. Everything you do in television, it orbits around the picture that’s on the screen.

When you’re doing radio, you can be more conversational. You can take longer to tell a story. You can paint the picture yourself. There’s a freedom in doing radio that doesn’t exist in doing television, and I’m looking forward to that. That will be fun.

MVictors: You’ve been so busy since leaving Michigan and you’ve had such a decorated career. Had you ever, maybe early in your career, considered coming back to Michigan in one capacity or another?

Dan Dierdorf: I’ve always lamented the fact that I haven’t gotten to spend much time in Ann Arbor on a football weekend. Because I was either playing in the NFL, or I was working in the NFL. The NFL season started before college football, and didn’t end until after college football. I just rarely ever got to a game in Ann Arbor, because I was working. I was always in Boston or New York or Miami or Oakland or Denver. It was just the nature of my life.

I always dreamed about when I retired, going back and just tailgating with my teammates and hanging out. Actually going to a game and sitting in the stands. Or sitting upstairs in the press box and whatever. That’s the way I saw it. I never saw myself coming back to Ann Arbor as a part of the radio team. I never imagined that.

MVictors: At what point after that did you see this job really as something you’d consider? Did it come down to knowing that you might be sitting next to Jim Brandstatter?

Dan Dierdorf: Well, yeah. How could my comfort level be any higher? Dave Brandon and I were teammates. Jim Brandstatter and I were teammates.  I mean if I’m not comfortable around those two guys…! [laughs] Jim Brandstatter and I played the same position. I have known Jim Brandstatter my entire adult life. We stay in contact, we’re friends. I’ve been friends with Jim Brandstatter since I met him in 1968. That was a long time ago.

How many people get an opportunity to do what I’m getting to do? I retired from network television. I thought I had completely retired. I had no intention of going back to work. Quite frankly, I don’t really view this as work.  They are going to pay me but what a scam. I probably would have done it for nothing.

MVictors: Is there anything about Jim Brandstatter that maybe fans wouldn’t know about him, but maybe should?

Dan Dierdorf: That’s a great question. I think they sense this, but I can offer confirmation that Jim is absolutely one of the most decent, honest human beings I’ve ever known in my entire life. They don’t need me to tell them that he is Michigan through-and-through—and what a luxury it is to have a guy like that associated with the program.

He is a walking library of the University of Michigan. Not just its football program, but its athletic programs across the board. Every university should have someone who has been there, done that, seen everything, and experienced it the way Jim Brandstatter has.

A lot of people are really successful in this business, but Jim Brandstatter is an even better person than he is a broadcaster. He’s also really funny. He also makes me feel good about myself, because he weighs more than I do. I actually get to play the thin man when we’re together. [laughs]

The only thing I need to do before the season starts—and I’ll pay for this myself. I’m going to have a structural engineer take a look at the broadcast booth. I just want to make sure there are enough steel beams underneath that thing when we both get in there together [laughs]

I don’t expect the university to pay for that; I’m willing to do it myself. I would like some confirmation that there’s a big enough I-beam underneath that booth that’s going to hold both of us in there. [laughs]

MVictors: Have you got to know Jon Jansen and Doug Karsch [the new Tailgate Show crew] at all?

Dan Dierdorf: I don’t know Doug.  My house [in Petoskey, MI] is about a mile and a quarter from Jon Jansen’s house. Seriously, Jon and I live maybe live a mile and a quarter apart all summer long in Northern Michigan. That’s his year-round residence up there. I’m just there from May to October. Yeah, I see Jon with some regularity.

MVictors: It sounds like you’re going to try to get a chance to hang out with some of your old buddies and tailgate when the opportunity permits?

Dan Dierdorf: Oh yeah. You know I see them during the course of the year, at different things. Yes, oh absolutely. I just have to be up in the booth about an hour, hour-and-a-half before the game. Before that, you’ll find me over on the parking lot by Crisler, where Dick Caldarazzo his tailgate. I’ve got the promise of a golf cart so I can go over there and tailgate for a while before I have to go to work.

MVictors: Are there any game day traditions or rituals that you hold to each week? Anything that you do as part of habit, before you broadcast?

Dan Dierdorf: Not really. I always get up early the day of a game and just prepare. I’m reading every newspaper article I can read. I just like to feel that I’m really prepared when the game starts.

I’m not one of those guys that refers to a lot of notes during the game. I figure if I don’t know it, it can’t be all that important. For me, I’m going to have to … I love the game. I love the traditions of the game. Whether that’s being at Pittsburgh when three minutes before kick-off they’re waving the terrible towels. Or it’s in Baltimore, where they play the theme from Gladiator and the stadium goes nuts.

That period of time that probably starts about 10 minutes before kick-off, right up to kick-off, I’ve never not savored every moment of that when I’m at a football game. My problem is going to be at least for the first couple of games, not getting totally swept away by the emotion that’s going to be coursing through my veins at Michigan Stadium.

I’m going to have to fasten the seatbelt and try to weather that storm, because it’s going to be very emotional for me. It’s going to be tough, because I’m going to realize how much I’ve missed this and how lucky I am to get a chance to go home again.

MVictors: I believe on CBS you wore a couple of Hall of Fame rings during your broadcast commonly, is that right?

Dan Dierdorf: I wear my college football Hall of Fame ring, and I wear my pro football Hall of Fame ring.Dan Dierdorf ring

MVictors:  Are you going to slap on a Michigan ring during your broadcast?  Or is that to be determined?

Dan Dierdorf:  Well my college football Hall of Fame ring says Michigan on it. It’s got my school on the college football Hall of Fame ring. Will I wear my M ring? Probably not. But that’s the nice thing about it, I always had to wear a coat and tie. I always had to wear a coat and tie, and I always had to wear a CBS blazer. Now I get to just wear Michigan stuff, and I don’t have to wear a tie. What a wonderful thing.

I can view the game in a Michigan sweatshirt and a Michigan baseball hat. I’ll channel my inner Bo Schembechler.

I’m telling you. I’m like a trained monkey; I won’t know how to talk without wearing a tie. That might be a struggle for me. I always wonder, “Why am I the only guy? Why am I the only guy wearing a coat and tie? Because it’s me and the guy next to me, my play-by-play guy. We’re the only two people in the entire stadium wearing coats and ties.”

MVictors: In the industry you have a lot of friends at Michigan. You both do. Might we expect a few visitors up in the radio booth during the year?

Dan Dierdorf: I would hope so. Yeah. Who knows who might stop by. I know I’ve extended an invite or two to some of the guys. Bob Seger has a home up by me in Northern Michigan. I know I have reached out to Bob, said “Hey, anytime you want to come to a game, feel free to stop by.” We’ll put him on the air for a while. He’s got a little bit of a following in Michigan.

MVictors: How’s Bob as a person?

Dan Dierdorf: What a great guy. Just a wonderful guy. I’m not going to lie, I’m semi-starstruck around him. I’ve just been a fan of his for so long. He’s the most down to earth guy. If you didn’t know what Bob Seger looked like, you wouldn’t realize you’re in the presence of such a star by the way he acts. You’d think this is a guy that just drove up in a truck and wanted to hang out and talk for a while. Great guy.

MVictors: So if he were here, what would Bo tell you and Brandstatter if he saw you walking up to the booth to call your first game?

Dan Dierdorf: The first thing he would do would be to tell us both that we were both that we were overweight and out of shape and report to him after the game to run some laps.
Jim and I would both know how immensely proud he would be of the two of us for doing that. As silly as this sounds, one of the reason I’m doing this is I know he would be happy. I know he would be thrilled at this. He would be over the moon and that brings a smile to my face.

MVictors: Anything you’re trying to get through to them through this broadcast this year? It has been a challenging stretch for fans and I know folks are really excited to have you here.

Dan Dierdorf:  Let me tell you something. One of the things the fans are going to figure out really quickly is I bleed Michigan football and I always have. When things aren’t going well, I have a hard time containing it. My crews at ABC and CBS over the years have had to suffer with me on Saturday afternoons when things didn’t go well. Everybody knew how much it mattered to me so they would get after me, whether it was find me an Appalachian State T-shirt. Of all times, we lost of Minnesota one time when we’re doing an Indianapolis Colts game. Honest to God within 20 minutes of the game being over, into our meeting room walked Tony Dungy, the coach of the Colts who of course is a Minnesota grad. I have to get down on one knee and kiss his ring.

Fans are going to figure out that it really means a lot to me. What I want, what I hope happens is that I get to watch Michigan football turn the corner and head back up to where it needs to be. That’s important to me and I plan on being there to watch it happen.

MVictors: Outstanding. Thank you so much for the time.

Dan Dierdorf: You’re welcome. Anytime, thanks.


I’ll post the full interview with Jim Brandstatter in the coming days..

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08. August 2014 · Comments Off on Getting Stuck with Krash · Categories: 2014 · Tags: , , , , ,

This season longtime local sports radio voice, M sideline reporter, & mgo-misc. host Doug Karsch will co-anchor the Michigan radio network Tailgate Show with former U-M All-American Jon Jansen.  Karsch will also continue his sideline reporting duties as part of the play-by-play broadcast.  I’m pulling together a piece on the new show and recently chatted with Karsch. 

Listeners of the radio broadcast know that Beckmann & Brandy referred to Karsch as “Krash”.   I never knew why, admittedly never asked, but either way, I never really cared for it.  I’m not sure why – I figured it obviously had something to do with Doug’s last name and I guess I assumed Frank or Brandy just thought it was funny to call him Krash.  Meh.

Anyway, when I chatted with Doug recently I asked him about the nickname and if ‘Krash’ was going to endure in Frank’s absence.  Here’s what Doug told me:

“I’ll tell you how it started and what’s funny is that I’ve been broadcasting since 1993 and I get asked more about that than anything else.  It was my first year doing sideline, it was 2006 and Michigan had a game at Minnesota.  The whole team arrives [at the hotel] and I was the last to check in. I was a rookie and I’m just waiting.  The team checked in, all the support people checked in and finally I go to check in but they don’t have a room under my name.   Now I’ve seen every misspelling of my name you can imagine. They kept looking through and found nothing. I said, ‘Try spelling it this way, try spelling it that way…”

“Eventually the manager reviewed the team list and said, ‘Is your first name Doug?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He goes, ‘We have it under Doug Krash.’  So at the Minnesota game at the team hotel I’m under Krash.   Frank hears all this and says, ‘Well that’s going to stick.’”

I’m like, ‘OK, I’ll go with it, whatever [laughs]..they can call me whatever they want..’  I was just happy to have the job!  And of course it stuck.

So I’m going to guess that Brandstatter will continue using it. And I don’t mind at all. [laughs] To this day more people ask me about that than anything else.”


So there you go — and after hearing the real story I’ve instantly warmed up to the ‘Krash’ nickname – Go Blue!


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20. April 2014 · Comments Off on Man Down in the Press Box | Brandy Does Play-by-Play (1980) · Categories: 2014 · Tags: , , , , , ,


Last week we learned that the new radio broadcast team will be former U-M teammates Jim Brandstatter and Dan Dierdorf.  The big news is that Brandy is shifting over a seat to do the play-by-play, with DD handling the color commentary.  I confirmed with Doug Karsch that he will remain is his previous role handling the on-field duties.  I kinda hope Karsch would get the nod to be in the booth (in one role or another) but it’s hard to argue with the Brandy-DD team.  Heck, I didn’t even know Dierdorf was an option.

You might know that Brandy stepped in to handle the radio play-by-play back in 2003 for the Northwestern game, but that’s not actually the first time he performed those duties during a Michigan football game.  It turns out that was way back in 1980…on TV.  Recently Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis shared with me the details of Brandstatter’s first shot calling the game:

In 1980, Larry Adderley and Jim Brandstatter were all set to call the Michigan-Notre Dame football game from South Bend, Indiana for a local cable TV outlet.  Adderley, who had just finished 5 years as the host of Michigan Replay with coach Bo Schembechler, would unfortunately come down with laryngitis just before kickoff.  He made a valiant effort to do the play-by-play, but his voice just couldn’t hold up (see clip #1 below).

Brandstatter, having been a former UM offensive lineman knew the drill: when one man goes down, the next one has to step up. It has been the creed of Michigan Football since Bo arrived in 1969.  While he was planning on doing the color commentary for the cable telecast, Brandy manned up and took over for Adderley in the 2nd half. He recruited UM Hoopster Steve Grote to do the color commentary (see clip #2).  Obviously Brando got a little excited and you can tell he was “watching” the game in some spots instead of describing the action.  In his defense you have to remember that he was doing this game on TV, not radio.  He recovered nicely, and his call of Craig Dunaway’s last minute TD (see clip #3).

Not bad for his first gig as a play-by-play guy, especially when you consider he was prepping to do the game as the color commentary man.

Not too shabby indeed.  Here are the clips:

I heard back in January through my deep network of #1000SSS spies that Brandstatter was indeed going after the play-by-play gig…and it prompted this tweet exchange:

Brady MVictors tweets

We know now that Jim sought out clips from his first time doing radio play-by-play (2003 Northwestern) to help make his case to IMG and our friends on State Street.   Radio legend Art Vuolo, the man with an ultimate set of U-M audio in his archives, confirmed the story on his site last week:

Perhaps the reason I am personally so excited to see this happen is due, in part, to the fact that it was my pleasure to help out via my extensive archive of U of M games. In 2003, when back surgery prevented Frank Beckmann from making the trip to Evanston, IL for the UM-Northwestern game, Jim was pressed into service calling the game, with Steve Courtney doing the color commentary. Brandy called me and asked if I had that game? I said I have just about all of them.

After checking, that game was still on the original video cassette (a Beta tape none the less!) So, I copied it, with Jim on the audio, onto a DVD and watched it at the same time. I thought “wow he’s damn good at actually calling a game!” When he came over to pick up the disc he was truly amazed at the library of Michigan video I’ve accumulated over the past 35+ years.

A copy of that DVD was given to Michigan Athletic Director, Dave Brandon and the rest…is now history. In an e-mail I received from Jim Brandstatter on Thursday he said, “Thank the Lord you still had a copy of that Northwestern game when my copy didn’t work so well…that was big…I had no idea at the time, but it turned out large.”

My pleasure Brando.

Nice work Art.  Nice work Sap.  Looking forward to hearing the new crew.


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