Friday, August 31, 2007

Tri-captain Hart can slip through cracks like "H2O"

Team tri-captain Mike Hart apparently has a nickname that he gave himself. He calls himself "H2O" because he slips through the smallest cracks just like water. Other things I learned from Shawn Windsor's profile of Hart in the Detroit Free Press, included the facts that Hart's two-year old sister drowned when Hart was only eight-years old and that Hart scored a 1280 on his SAT. Hart sports a tattoo on his left arm (see picture, above) of his deceased sister Kaitlyn with the inscription "Never Forgotten" underneath her face. Hart had the tattoo done the summer before arriving in Ann Arbor as a Freshman. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Mike Hart (20) by DAVID P. GILKEY/Detroit Free Press


2007 Michigan Football Yearbook

The 2007 Michigan Football Yearbook (essentially the Fall Media Guide) is out. Due to NCAA restrictions on the number of pages for a Media Guide, Michigan now breaks up its Media Guides into a Spring Guide (containing statistics and historical review) and the Fall Yearbook (which mainly focuses on the current roster and coaches). Below are the sections of the 2007 Fall Yearbook. Make sure to study it well before the first game tomorrow.
  • Recruiting Section

Part 1 (pages 1-25, 3.52 MB)

Part 2 (pages 26-39, 1.84 MB)

Part 3 (pages 40-59, 3.67 MB)

Part 4 (pages 60-96, 4.45 MB)

  • Meet the Wolverines

Part 1 (Adams-Harrison, pages 97-117, 1.10 MB)

Part 2 (Hart-Saigh, pages 118-135, 763 KB)

Part 3 (Savoy-Zirbel and Recruits, pages 136-146, 426 KB)

  • Coaching Staff

Part 1 (Coach Lloyd Carr, pages 147-155, 618 KB)

Part 2 (Assistant Coaches, pages 156-167, 1.58 MB)

  • Support Staff and Services

Part 1 (Support Staff, pages 168-177, 1.02 MB)

Part 2 (Athletic Medicine, pages 178-183, 581 KB)

Part 3 (Academics, pages 184-190, 899 MB)

*Note: Files in PDF

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

MZone implores fans (again) to get loud!

In the timeless Quixotic quest to make the Big House louder, Yost of the MZone has re-posted his impassioned plea to "put away the keys". This time he has none other than Mike Hart on his side backing him up. Pictured at right is one of Yost's shirts that support his movement to make the Big House louder. GO BLUE!!!

Did you know?

Miscellaneous facts culled from the Game Notes (.pdf):

  • Michigan begins its 128th season of gridiron action in 2007.
  • Michigan is 106-18-3 in season openers. They are 90-13-2 in home openers.
  • The opener will mark Coach Carr's 150th game as Head Coach of the Wolverines (113-36).
  • Chad Henne looks to join Rick Leach and John Navarre as the only Michigan quarterbacks to have started four openers.
  • Michigan is 17-2 in games in which Mike Hart has rushed for 100 or more yards.
  • Michigan has won eight straight home openers and 13 of the last 14. The most recent loss came in 1998 when Michigan dropped a game to Syracuse on 9-12-98 by the score of 38-28.

Go Blue!

Big Ten Network prepared to "broadcast" first game this Saturday

The Big Ten Network launches tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET and will carry its first games this Saturday at Noon. The Michigan/Appalachian State game is the lead game and the BTN has assigned its top broadcast crew of Thom Brennaman (play-by-play), Charles Davis (color analyst) and Charissa Thompson (sideline reporter; pictured at right) to the game. The only problem is that other than DirecTV subscribers not many people will see the broadcast. Is it still a "broadcast" if no cable company will carry it? Negotiations with Comcast (my cable company) and the other major cable companies continue to progress slowly. Consequently, the BTN programming will not be broadcast on Comcast this weekend. No word on when the impasse may be broken. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Charissa Thompson from FOX Sports Net


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Around the Big Ten Conference

Game week is here and it is time to take a trip around the Big Ten Conference to check in on how all the conference schools are faring as they each gear up for the start of the 2007 season. In no particular order:
Head Coach: Jim Tressel (7th year)
Fan Blog: Men of the Scarlet and Gray
Link for team info: 2007 team roster
Head Coach: Bret Bielema (2nd year)
Fan Blog: Wisconsin Badger Sports
Link for team info: 2007 Media Info Supplement (.pdf)
Head Coach: Kirk Ferentz (9th year)
Fan Blog: The Hawkeye Compulsion
Link for team info: 2007 Media Fact Book (.pdf)
Head Coach: Joe Paterno (42nd year)
Fan Blog: Black Shoe Diaries
Link for team info: 2007 team roster
Head Coach: Mark Dantonio (1st year)
Fan Blog: A Spartan for all Seasons
Link for team info: 2007 Football Media Guide (.pdf)
Head Coach: Joe Tiller (11th year)
Fan Blog: Off the Tracks
Link for team info: 2007 Football Media Guide (.pdf)
Head Coach: Tim Brewster (1st year)
Fan Blog: Gopher Nation
Link for team info: 2007 Football Media Guide (.pdf)
Head Coach: Pat Fitzgerald (2nd year)
Fan Blog: Lake the Posts
Link for team info: 2007 Football Media Guide (.pdf)
Head Coach: Ron Zook (3rd year)
Fan Blog: Illinitalk
Link for team info: 2007 Illinois Football Guide (.pdf)
Head Coach: Bill Lynch (1st year)
Fan Blog: The Hoosier Report
Link for team info: 2007 Spring Football Media Guide (.pdf)

Go Blue!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Week One: Appalachian State game week

Coach Carr held his Monday press conference earlier today and he provided his thoughts on the upcoming game against Appalachian State as well as updates on the many position battles on the Wolverine team. The first depth chart has been released. Also, the Michigan Athletic Media Relations Dept. published the first of their 2007 weekly football releases. It can be found here in .pdf format. It is a comprehensive guide to this week's game. Also, to learn more about Michigan's opponent, you can find Appalachian State's 2007 Football Media Guide here. Go Blue!


Five players to watch

Michigan is officially in game week preparations and the wait for the start of the 2007 season is finally almost over. Much of the pre-season coverage of the Wolverines focused on the '07 Football Fab Five (i.e., QB Chad Henne, RB Mike Hart, LT Jake Long, WR Mario Manningham, & WR Adrian Arrington). However, Michigan's fortunes do not rest exclusively on the shoulders of those players. The Fab Five will almost assuredly perform in a big time way this season. Nevertheless, the Wolverines' championship hopes will rise and fall with the performances of the new players who are stepping into starring roles in 2007. If the "supporting cast" can adequately fill their roles then Michigan has a chance to go all the way this year. However, if the new players struggle in their roles then Michigan will be hard pressed to challenge for the Big Ten Championship. Following are five key players to watch in 2007:

  • Johnny Sears, CB, Jr./So.: Johnny is the new "lock-down" corner who will also be returning kicks in 2007. Johnny takes the spot of departed All-American Leon Hall. Johnny recorded a career best 4 solo tackles in last year's OSU game while playing CB and on special teams units.
  • Jason Gingell, K, Sr./Jr.: In somewhat of a surprise, Jason beat out Bryan Wright (So./Fr.) for the placekicking duties. Jason is filling the void left by the departed Garrett Rivas who graduated from Michigan as the Wolverines all-time leading scorer with 354 points. Jason has a grand total of one point in his career which he scored when he converted an extra point attempt during last year's CMU game.
  • Brandon Graham, DE, So./So.: He played in 11 games last season and tallied three tackles and shared one sack. Brandon will be putting up much bigger numbers this season as he takes over for the departed Lombardi Award winner LaMarr Woodley. Only a true sophmore, Brandon hopes to make a Woodley-type impact on opposing offenses this season.
  • Steve Schilling, RT, So./Fr.: The 6'5", 297 lb. Schilling battled mononucleosis and a shoulder injury last season and had to redshirt but he is ready to play this season. Schilling is not only big, he is also very athletic. Although he has never played a snap in college, he is already a starter and the Wolverines are counting on him to protect Henne and open big holes for Hart.
  • Steve Brown, S, So./So.: True sophmore Brown will play free safety while returning starter Jamar Adams (Sr./Sr.) will play Strong Safety in 2007. Brown played in all 13 games last year on special teams and saw action at safety in four games. He came out of high school in 2005 ranked as the #5 safety in the country in his class.
If these five players deliver in 2007, then the Wolverines will be the team to beat. Go Blue!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Meet your new field goal kicker: Jason Gingell

Jason Gingell (5'9", 191 lbs., Sr./Jr. from Catholic Central H.S.) beat out the strong-legged but inconsistent Bryan Wright (So./Fr.) for the field goal kicking job for the 2007 Wolverines. Wright will, however, handle the kickoff duties. Gingell has attempted one kick in his college career and that was last season when he converted an extra-point attempt in the Central Michigan game. Gingell will be trying to fill the void left by the departure of Garrett Rivas ('03-'06) who is the Wolverines all-time leading scorer with 354 points. Handling the field goal kicking duties is often a pressure filled responsibility and it is unknown how Gingell will respond to the demands of the position as he is relatively inexperienced in college game situations. It is imperative that Gingell rise to the challenge and kick well under pressure as the Wolverines may need to rely on his leg to pull out a close contest on the march to a championship. Previous Michigan teams have had their respective championship hopes dashed by a missed field goal. If Gingell can come through, the Wolverines will be one step closer to realizing their goal of winning the 2007 National Championship. Go Blue!

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Friday, August 24, 2007

30-year Flashback: 1977 Game Two- Mich 21 Duke 9

Sept. 17, 1977, Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan entered the game ranked #1 in the nation and the Wolverines did not disappoint the hometown faithful as they delivered a convincing win over the Blue Devils in front of 104,072 fans at Michigan Stadium. Quarterback Rick Leach led the way for the Maize and Blue as he ran for two touchdowns and 98 yards while passing for 76 yards. For his efforts, Leach was named the UPI Big Ten Player of the Week.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Wolverines' defense set up two second quarter Michigan touchdowns by intercepting a pass and recovering a fumble. Michigan's first score was a 7-yard run by Rick Leach. Michigan increased its lead to 14-0 on a four-yard run by Russell Davis. Duke cut the lead to 14-6 in the third quarter with a three-yard touchdown run. In the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils hit a 43-yard field goal to pull with within four of the top ranked Wolverines. Michigan immediately responded as Leach led the Wolverines on a 80-yard scoring drive which he capped off with a 1-yard scoring run. Gregg Willner's extra point completed the scoring as Michigan's defense intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble to preserve the win for the Wolverines. Linebacker John Anderson was named Defensive Champion. Go Blue!

Second Qtr
M- Leach, 7-yd. run (Willner)
M- R. Davis, 4-yd. run (Willner)

Third Qtr
D- Dunn, 3-yd. run (Wolcott)

Fourth Qtr
D- Wolcott, 43-yd. FG
M- Leach, 1-yd. run (Willner)

Top Individuals
Rushing: Leach (M) 18-98; R. Davis (M) 20-95; Barney (D) 12-75; Huckleby (M) 17-68
Passing: Dunn (D) 12-16-118; Leach (M) 6-11-76
Receiving: Hall (D) 4-53; Rhett (D) 3-35; Huckleby (M) 3-31; Gonet (D) 3-20

*Note: Photo of Rick Leach (7) from M vs. Duke game of 9-17-77 from the Guts 'n Glue website

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mike Hart featured on cover of SI College Football Preview issue

The run for the 2007 National Championship begins as Mike Hart is featured on the regional cover of Sports Illustrated's College Football Preview issue. Go Blue!


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Jim Harbaugh is a Michigan Man!

Jim Harbaugh continues to be called to task for his comments regarding the academics of the Michigan Football program. This time it was Mike Hart who chastised Stanford Coach Harbaugh for his comments. On day two of the Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, Ill., Hart said, "That’s a guy I have no respect for. When you graduate from the University of Michigan and you’re going to talk about your school like that, a great institution like that we have, to say we’re not true student athletes. It’s coming from a guy who, I don’t know, maybe wants to coach here, and is mad he didn’t get a job here. A guy like that I have no respect for. It’s funny to me, because we don’t let great student-athletes in, but he just accepted one of our transfers. What kind of sense does that make? He obviously wants guys like us at his school and he’s mad he can’t get them. It’s nothing against Stanford. I just have no respect for that guy. I don’t know how you can say that. He’s not a Michigan man. I obviously wish he never played here before." (emphasis added)

Mike Hart is definitely the mouth that roars. However, as spirited as he is and as much as the current Wolverines feed off his enthusiasm, Hart is not the definitive authority on who qualifies as a "Michigan Man." Jim Harbaugh was a true blue Wolverine long before Hart was even born. Harbaugh's connection to the Michigan Football program goes all the way back to when Harbaugh was a kid and he served as a ball boy during the Coach Schembechler-era. Harbaugh, of course, went on to become an All-American quarterback for Coach Schembechler and the Wolverines. Famously, Harbaugh guaranteed a Michigan victory over Ohio State during his senior season. He then went out and delivered. The Michigan faithful lauded Harbaugh for his bravura and he became a legend of the program. Now, Harbaugh is getting skewered by the same fans who once hailed him for the same qualities they once praised him for exhibiting. Harbaugh's brashness and willingness to speak his mind was what made him a Michigan fan favorite. It is those same qualities that now make him enemy #1. Harbaugh is Harbaugh. He is no less of a Michigan Man because of his recent comments. He was raised on the Maize and Blue and he grew up under the tutelage of Coach Bo Schembechler. Jim Harbaugh always has been and always will be a Michigan Man. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Rick Leach (7) and ball boy Jim Harbaugh celebrating a touchdown during the 1977 Northwestern game from the website Guts 'n Glue
*Note 2: Other posts from around the Michigan Blogoshphere on this topic: MGoBlog, Michigan Against the World,, Autumn Thunder, and Michigan Sports Center.

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