Mailbag: Morris Redshirt, Utah Sense, Legends Practices Comment Count

Brian June 13th, 2012 at 12:40 PM


yep, 6'3".

Morris redshirt.


Looking way off into the future here, but is there any chance Shane Morris gets a redshirt in 2013?  Would he accept one?  Would we be in a position to sit him?

Redshirt or no, he would enter 2013 behind a redshirt junior Devin Gardner (should he actually receive a 5th year himself) and Russell Bellomy.  I just keep thinking it would be nice to enter a 2017 season (told you I was thinking way off) with a senior QB when Notre Dame and Ohio would play us at home.

Your expressions are greatly appreciated.

Pete Saunders

If Gardner wins the job and has a strong season I think you would see Morris redshirted, especially if Gardner gets his redshirt (something about which I've heard conflicting information on). I don't think Morris would have a problem with it—he can see the large upside in 2017 as well as anyone—and with Bellomy an experienced-second stringer the only reason they'd have to put Morris on the field is in the event of a serious injury.

The most likely scenario in which Morris doesn't get the redshirt is the one in which Gardner is not getting his retroactively and Morris is far and away the second-best QB on the roster. In that situation you might see Michigan get Morris some playing time for grooming purposes, much like what everyone expects to see happen with Joe Bolden at MLB this year. I'm still rooting for a redshirt.

Utah road game sense making.


If the Utah series is true, this really makes no sense at all. Brandon has complained about playing @ Uconn in 2013 because "the Rent" only holds 40k (and to be fair to Brandon, this series was scheduled by Bill Martin). Utah's Stadium has a capacity of 46k. Doesn't DB's rationale to move the Uconn game hold no weight now in light of scheduling us to play at a 46k seat stadium on a Thursday night? I really dont believe an extra 6,000 seats makes enough of a difference for us to play this road game versus the Uconn road game.

I get scheduling is difficult, but this one is pretty frustrating. Wish we could have gotten a Pac-12 team we haven't seen recently.

Go Blue!

In Dave Brandon's mind the 46k is okay as long as there is a synergistic marketeing campaign that brings the Wow Factor into the equation. By leveraging the increased mindshare acquired by being top-of-mind at the beginning of the college football season, Michigan can increase its brand awareness amongst decision-makers and trendsetters. By being the first team to play in a college football season, Michigan will find a competitive advantage to grow the digital audience and build brand loyalty. A pearlescent hipster sheen will descend upon the brand, whereupon Michigan will become the Apple of college football.

I think "pearlescent hipster sheen" was a misstep. Too many words people might use in a novel instead of a powerpoint presentation.

Anyway: Brandon's persistent complaints about UConn's desire to have a game against Michigan on their campus aren't really about capacity, they are about Wow Factor. Wow Factor can be acquired by doing something unusual that might get you attention, no matter how good of an idea it is. Flyovers, new uniforms, night games, really loud jet pack guys, full student sections, Special K, legends patches, field hashtags, rescheduling the Horror: these are all sources of Wow Factor. Some are neutral. Some are positive. Some are negative. All provide someone in the athletic department who needs to justify his existence a line in a performance evaluation. This is the heart of Wow Factor: it looks good on a performance evaluation.

The rumored Thursday night opener* provides Wow Factor, therefore playing in a 46k stadium is acceptable. If the on-campus UConn game was modified to provide wow factor—playing underwater, maybe—it would also be acceptable. A regular football game in a regular stadium at a regular time gives Brandon a rash.

*[Still just a rumor. Chris Balas, the source on this information, also mentioned difficulties for Utah in 2015 that could cause the return date to be delayed until 2016. If that happened 2016 would be another weak-looking six-game home slate thanks to the Big Ten's refusal to give Michigan a reasonable home/road split in conference.]

Legends numbers deployment.




Completely agree with you, re: flipping seniors' numbers diminishes their own impact on the program as much, if not more, than it rewards them. The most extreme—and perhaps ludicrous—example is Desmond, who if he returns for his senior year could have been "rewarded" with the 1 jersey. Then there wouldn't be a 21 "Legends Jersey."

If they're really going to do this, it should almost be something that a guy "earns" during his freshman (or even redshirt) year. Then we can see if lives up to it. And guys that don't earn it can use the snub to become determined to make their own a number a future legend. Seems better than diluting (even in a superficial way) the career of guy between his two biggest years in the program.

Anyway, good to have something to discuss in June.


[Editor's note: Yesterday, Michigan officially announced they would un-retire not only Gerald Ford's number but also those of Ron Kramer and Bennie Oosterbaan. 48, 47, and 87 are back on the market and seemingly must be filled.]

The number-flipping thing seems like an extension of the trend with the #1 jersey, which was effectively mothballed once Braylon Edwards sponsored a scholarship requiring that it be earned after enrollment.

Unlike the #1, these legends jerseys seem like they must be filled every year, and if they're not filled they will flip someone to them, thus preventing many players who might turn themselves into legends wearing their own number into… not that. I think I'm having a strong negative reaction to this because DO YOU PEOPLE REALIZE WE HAVE A COMPETENT SAFETY WHO MAY HAVE TO CHANGE HIS NUMBER NO I DON'T THINK YOU DO I DON'T THINK YOU UNDERSTAND THE GRAVITY OF WHAT THIS MEANS TO THE FUTURE LEGACY OF THE #32 JERSEY, WHICH IS ON THE VERGE OF REMINDING ME OF A CRITICAL TACKLE IN SPACE THAT IS NOT MISSED, IS NEVER EVER MISSED.

/considers situation in which Denard Robinson would switch from 16 to 7 or something as a senior


Anyway: I hope Michigan uses them like the #1 used to be deployed, as a carrot to dangle in front of certain recruits. 87 is the tight end version of #1. 47 is the… er… wide receiver version of #1. 48 is… well, it's a roving version of #1 I assume will find itself on linebackers and safeties mostly. (Linemen can no longer wear 48.) Some of the guys you hand the uniforms to won't work out, and that's life. That seems better than moving a handful of seniors annually.

That doesn't get around the fact that Michigan has to give them out now. So… Michigan should hand 48 to Joe Bolden, 87 to AJ Williams or Devin Funchess, and 47 to Amarah Darboh or Jehu Chesson. Leave Britney Kovacs alone, and if a kid with one of those jerseys does something naughty, take it away.

Interesting bits from the Women's Football Academy.


I volunteered at the Women's Football Academy and I asked all the coaches except Borges how they would feel about an early signing period in football.  All except LB coach Mark Smith said they were all for it.  Smith said he didn't like it because that would mean official visits in the summer and then coaches would get no time off, as opposed to the 3-4 weeks they now get in late June and July.

One of the things they pointed out as being a big advantage is that kids from lower economic families could take official visits during the summer.  Mattison said this is very important because kids are committing so early now and by the time the poorer kids have a chance to take the official visits when their senior season starts, it is getting to be "too late."

Mattison specifically talked about kids who want to "put on a hat" at the Under Armour game.  He tells those kids, "Then you won't be committing to Michigan because by that time, we won't have any scholarships left."

Your humble correspondent,
Thom Dartt
Bellbrook, Ohio

I think the official visit timing and an early signing day are separate matters—and still dislike the idea that a kid can sign before his coach might get fired—but I'm not posting this to argue, just to relate the emailed information. Love the hat thing. Down with hats.


French West Indian

June 13th, 2012 at 1:36 PM ^

...but if you add a block M on there somewhere then it might actually be better than the standard issue Adidas (or really any athletic company) coaches gear.

Come to think of it, why can't coaches be better dressed?  You'd think Brandon would get deal for a specially designed sweaters and polos from the likes of Ralph Lauren or Lacoste or someone like that.


June 13th, 2012 at 12:57 PM ^

My take on Brian's take:

  • Shane Morris redshirt: On point
  • Utah/UCONN "Huh?": Wow factor discussion is exactly right. That's the mantra. My departure is that I'm less put off by that focus than is Brian who seems preternaturally unable to adjust. But that's his prerogative. DAB:

...eight guiding principles of our department:

  • We demand integrity;
  • We all work hard to win championships;
  • We are a great place to work;
  • We will grow and remain financially self-supporting;
  • We create 'wow' experiences for our student-athletes, fans and department team members;
  • We respect our traditions while also believing that change is good;
  • We create positive academic and athletic experiences for our student-athletes and prepare them to be successful in life;
  • And, we will always remember what HE taught us: "The Team, The Team, The Team!"
    • Legends jerseys: My guess is that the dangle will be the preferred model going forward, but with three jerseys to give out this year, one or two will go to current players. This would not be the end of the world, IME.
    • Borges' take on hat dances: On point and symptomatic of the tremendous state of Michigan football recruiting. You're in or you're out, boys.


    June 13th, 2012 at 3:03 PM ^

    • Brian's right, it really depends on the status of Devin. Two years RS, one year not.  I mean, yeah, it sounds good in an NCAA '13 sort of way to RS him even if Devin has one year, so he still gets four, but you'd probably rather have one year with some game experience and 3 good years than throw him out there cold for the first year.
    • I think the difference stands out...of course, I don't see what the big deal is about playing a game at U-Conn, if you're actually going to play a road game. If you're turning it into more money for both schools at Yankee Stadium or something, I guess I see where he's coming from, but if the payout is the same, it doesn't bother me that much. One you say "home and home" it doesn't matter how much the Stadium holds. So I can see why Utah being ok is a head-slapper. I mean, a game that far off in the do we know someone else just won't schedule a game before us? What guarantees do we have that it'll even be the first game?
    • I'm completely with Brian on this one. Though I'd be more than happy with the compromise you pose that they might just put someone in them this year (and the year they retire/unretire any number) for the sake of ceremony, then hand them out. But a lot of people seem to object to giving them to freshmen...though only a few directly to Brian.
    • The cost of choosing a hat- I'm not saying anyone who wants to go through that game at the All Star games isn't Michigan material; there's obviously a great many who have done that and been perfect for Michigan...however, if you'd really rather do than than say yes to Michigan early, I'm guessing you probably didn't really want to be here that badly to begin with, and it's probably not a big loss. Anything that makes us less likely to put high school kids on pedestals and star the pressure on them even quicker is a good thing. It's all gone too far.


    June 13th, 2012 at 1:04 PM ^

    For a selfish reason, I was hoping we would schedule UCLA or USC. I live in LA and would love to be able to see the Maize and Blue make it out here. I always keep my fingers crossed that we make it to the Rose Bowl but the last time that happened, I lived on the other side of the country.


    June 13th, 2012 at 1:38 PM ^

    The argument that changing numbers to award a current player a Legends Number means that their original number can never become a Legends Number is crap.

    1. If you give them a Legends Number right out of the gate, then they will NEVER have a unique number that can be recognized in the future as a Legends Number.  The guy will just be another guy who wore the #21, along with Michigan Legend Desmond Howard and a list of freshman who flopped or got arrested.  Way to honor the number/player!

    2. The assertion that you wouldn't be able to use the original number of the player as a future Legends Number is just false.  Why not?  Give me a reason.  In fact, if you award the Legends Number to deserving seniors, then they will have worn an original number long enough (3-4 years) for it to be eventually recognized as a Legends Number as well..  #xx... so and so Michigan Legend's original number before he was awarded the #21 his senior year.

    3. Lastly, I think it's odd to say that a player's impact on the team is significantly diminished by changing their number.  A player's impact has to do with how they perform on and off the field, and has nothing to do with the number that they wear.  Howard or Woodson could have changed their number every year, and it wouldn't have lessened their impact on the field, or our memory of them and their accomplishments.


    M - Flightsci

    June 13th, 2012 at 2:38 PM ^

    I agree with this take, but would argue the last year or so more often defines a player's career and fans' recall.  Despite Braylon Edwards wearing #80 for half of his career at Michigan, no one associates it with him.  Switching numbers as a SR or, more effectively, a junior, will simply push the old number out of a large percentage of people's minds.  I bet half the fanbase doesn't even realize Braylon wore something other than #1. 


    Denard's career has really been something special, and could prove to be a strong counter argument to my view.  However, it may also be the case that if he had switched to say, #7, in honor of Rick Leach, maybe Michigan's most memorable running QB, this past year, people may recall his career as a tale of two halves, where the relative statistical success he enjoyed personally was overshadowed by the demise of the Rodriguez 'era,' and the transition to the new jersey accompanies a new, much more successful period for the football program (and the marketing dept, since apparently jerseys are selling like hotcakes down south), as well as great growth as a leader taking a bonded team to great things, and more well-rounded, valuable quarterback.


    June 13th, 2012 at 1:23 PM ^

    Wouldn't 21 be the "Wide Receiver version of number 1"? I'd think 48 would make the most sense on a FB because that's the closest approximation of a center that could legally wear it. I have no idea what to do with 47.

    M - Flightsci

    June 13th, 2012 at 2:48 PM ^

    #1 is the WR half-cousin of #21, which shall 90% be remembered for the postion of Punt Returner due to The Pose, and only 10% WR recall for The Catch, according to ESPN.


    Since no one knows what I'm talking about, this is a good place for this:


    and this:


    We should strive to post these clips at every opportunity. My day is made significantly more enjoyable everytime I hear Keith Jackson


    June 13th, 2012 at 1:29 PM ^

    First off, for all the reasons he mentioned, I think Brian is right about having kids necessarily get to their Jr. or Sr. years before swapping their numbers to "legends".  That said, sometimes it will be appropriate.  How about they cycle through with no set rules?  Jordan Kovacs has been a fine player who symbolizes what M football has been through these past 4 years, but "32" aint about to be retired for Kovacs any more that it will for Stan Edwards.  My guess is Kovacs would love to wear Ford's number for his last year at Michigan.  If Kalis has a great freshman year then hang #87 on him.  If we want Treadwell and think he's worthy give him #1.  Someday, one of these kids will get one of these numbers and will have a M career worthy of number retirement.  When this happens we just add his name to the patch.  Voila!

    The #1 has been a defacto legends jersey without the name.  It has been "awarded" in a couple of different manners and we've all survived and the value of #1 has not diminished (even though it's not been used).  Lets just keep it up with the now-official jerseys/patches.

    Ed Shuttlesworth

    June 13th, 2012 at 1:25 PM ^

    Two Guiding Principles:

    1.  The Michigan brand doesn't need snazzing up.

    2.  To the extent the Michigan brand does need snazzing up, Dave Brandon's the wrong guy for the job.

    Ed Shuttlesworth

    June 13th, 2012 at 1:31 PM ^

    Is the Legends patch even permitted under B1G and NCAA uniform rules?  If it is, it's easy to envision it not being soon.  It shouldn't be.

    It's one thing to sneak in one guy who's wearing a number you want to retire and have him wear it the last part of his 5th year.  It's another thing altogether to routinely have six or seven guys running around in a uniform with a big patch that the other players dont' have.


    June 13th, 2012 at 1:29 PM ^

    My rambling thoughts on how to keep the Legends Number designation honorific, without diluting the current players' performances and identities should they choose to wear the Legends numbers...

    Regarding the Legends designation to #21 and any number designated going forward, the designation on the jersey should be position and unit specific (similar to how the #1 is dedicated now). This is more or less the case as it stands, I think, but to reiterate: #21 is patched only for the offensive player who wears #21.

    With respect to the retired numbers coming out of retirement, the patch should go on irrespective of the position or unit.

    Re: who gets to wear the Legends jerseys, two opinions:

    (1) Non-retired numbers that are now designated Legends numbers should be offered to players who have exhibited clear leadership, play making ability, etc. at the position played by the Legend honored; and the number should be offered as an alternate. In other words, the current player does not have to change his number (if he identifies with a separate number) to honor a former Wolverine Legend. In this way, the current player can choose what games he wants to honor the Legend, or if he chooses to do so at all.

    (2) Legends number formerly retired are only permitted to be worn by one player on the team irrespective of unit, offense or defense. The number will be provided, again as an alternate, only to a team Captain. The Captain will again be afforded the opportunity to determine if or when he will wear the number to honor the Michigan Legend.

    As a matter of course, this would accomplish the goal of keeping the honored Legends honored in a traditional way, and provide incentive for the current players to be part of that tradition without being forced to dilute their own player identities in the process.

    If I had to set it up, I would demand any player eligible to wear the Legends number to determine before the season what games he will honor a former Legend, and that game will then be designated an Legends game (or something).

    And lastly, with respect to the formerly retired numbers, I would make their designation similar to an award for certain achievement. In other words, The Gerald Ford #48 would be bestowed to a Captain who portrays outstanding leadership. The Oosterbaan #47 would be bestowed to a Captain who's stats reflect he is a clear MVP at his position. Etc.


    June 13th, 2012 at 2:25 PM ^

    I think your idea of wearing it for a limited number of games, as an 'honor' thing, is pretty great.

    However, I don't think it should be restricted to captains. 

    Also, I don't think anyone is being pressured to change their number against their will. If Kovacs or Denard change it'll be because they want to.  Each individual will have to decide for themselves if they want to make their own legacy or receive (and give) respect with the legend number.

    I also don't get where the assumption that these legends numbers have to be used every year comes from (other than being 2/2 with #21).  That notion would take away from the discussed wow-factor.

    It makes sense to give 21 to Hemingway last year and Roundtree (a senior, a leader, a proven performer) this year.  It may not make sense for anyone in 2013 (though Gallon will get a shot.)


    June 13th, 2012 at 1:29 PM ^

    So pardon my naivete, but why can't lineman wear numbers 1-50? I'm assuming there's some type of NCAA rule against it, but I'm curious if there was a particular reason for this rule.


    June 13th, 2012 at 2:29 PM ^

    because (link to the current NCAA rule book)

    1. "At the snap, at least five players wearing jerseys numbered 50 through 79 are on the offensive scrimmage line and no more than four players are in the backfield" (Rule 1, section 1a2)
    2. "When the ball is snapped, the following Team A [offensive] players are eligible:
      1. Each lineman who is on the end of his scrimmage line and who is wearing a number other than 50 through 79.
      2. Each back wearing a number other than 50 through 79" (Rule 7, section 3c)
    So you COULD have an offensive lineman wearing 47, but you'd have to put 5 other offensive lineman on the field whose numbers are 50-79 and would therefore be ineligible receivers. So it doesn't make sense.