Mailbag: Morris Redshirt, Utah Sense, Legends Practices

Submitted by Brian on 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.



June 13th, 2012 at 2:02 PM ^

These numbers should be awarded to upperclassmen who've earned them.  You think Jordan Kovacs wouldn't be honored to wear a former President's number?  How many Presidential uniform numbers are there in college football?  One.  It'd be a great reward.  I mean, it's nice that he's worn #32 (or whatever) for a couple of years, but 20 years from now I probably won't remember much about Jordan Kovacs, and certainly won't remember what number he wore.

They shouldn't go to freshman.  Ever.  I don't think sophomores either, unless someone had an unbelievable first year.  If there's someone who's been playing so great that he's on a pre-season Heisman watch, and you want to preserve the ability to turn his uniform into a Legends number in the future, then don't switch him.  But I don't understand the bellyaching about Kovacs', or any other player's, number switching as an honorific.  You can recruit with them if you like, by saying to a wide receiver, if you earn it, you can wear Desmond Howard's number as a junior or a senior.  But don't give them away to lure this year's 4-star, or even 5-star.  

My biggest objection to Legends numbers is there's nothing to honor linemen with.  But I'm sure DB will try to find someone to endow one, a la #1.


June 13th, 2012 at 2:08 PM ^

but I'm going to restate it here.

I think the legend jerseys should ONLY go to seniors that have proven themselves.

Martin, Molk, VanBergen, those guys were known entities that if not guarenteed all-americans were at least at minimal risk to embarass the football team.  

Freshmen, recruits!?  You've got to be kidding.  

the fall out from busts, transfers, drop-outs, arrests are just too much to risk on unknown quantities.  It might even keep the odd player around for a senior season instead of graduating early.

I don't know how the incoming freshman are going to perform on & off the field this year, but I have a pretty good idea about Denard, Kovacs, & Lewan.

If Denard were to wear 98 this year (I know) and win the Heisman, we could still add a #16 Legends patch 10 years from now.  

Oh, & just to provide a underclassman disaster example.   If this system had been in place years ago, there's a good chance that Justin Boren could/would have transfered to Ohio while wearing a legends Jersey.

We'd still be hearing Ohio laugh about it.


June 13th, 2012 at 2:13 PM ^

Genuine Question:

What was the last thing Brandon said or did that this blog approved of?

I will expand:

What was the last thing, outside a recruit signing or specific game result that made this blog happy?


June 13th, 2012 at 6:23 PM ^

What was the last thing that Dave Brandon said or did that deserved approval? The guy's got a pretty bad record going now, all in the name of The Brand.

Incidentally, I find it interesting (perhaps even ironic) that the guy we have in charge of taking care of one of the classiest and most well-known brands in sports originally made his name remaking the brand of a chain selling shitty pizza.


June 13th, 2012 at 10:06 PM ^

Forty years ago Dominos made a pretty good pizza, not the best in Ann Arbor, but pretty good, and probably the best that would deliver to the dorms. They were just a local pizza place with a small number ot stores. We would call them and negotiate pizzas not on the menu. One Wednesday night around midnight three of us ordered an extra large pizza with double onions and quadruple cheese. We talked to the guys in the kitchen to be sure they'd actually make it that way. That pizza damn near killed us, but it was good.  Of course by the time they looked to Bradon to save their brand their product was crap, but back in the day Dominos provided a quality product. 



June 14th, 2012 at 9:22 AM ^

Personally, I think Brandon is doing a great job.

Most of the things that people are complaining about are either small detail things that get blown completely out of proportion and overshadow the big decisions that Brandon has handled so well or never come to pass.

Most of the stuff that Brandon is being skewered for in this post will never happen. It is all made up.

What music is played at the football stadium is completely inconsequential relative to the excellent way that Brandon has handled the NCAA infractions, the coaching change, and cleaning out the athletic department. I'm also a big fan of the capital improvements Brandon has made and the way he has supported the non-rev sports. All of those things are so much more important than minor aesthetic differences regarding jersey details.

I do think Brandon can be a bit of spotlight hogging blowhard but as long as he does his job well I can live with that.


June 14th, 2012 at 2:03 PM ^

He's done a lot of little annoying things but gotten most of the big ones right.  But one thing that keeps coming up is the music, and I guess you can blame Brandon for continuing it, or not stomping it out...but it's not hardly his fault. We've played a little opening warm up music over the speakers for a lot of years, and the in game stuff started with Martin and Rich.

And certainly some marketing guys in the AD too.  But most of that started going into the 2009 season. Blame Rich for wanting it more like other stadiums, and Martin for doing it, and I guess Brandon for continuing it.


June 14th, 2012 at 9:48 PM ^

I'm not talking about this post. I'm talking about the Alabama game and Appalachian State. I'm talking about the ridiculous uniforms. I'm talking about the stupid stadium music that's the same as in every other stadium at every other sporting event in the world (seriously: they played "Seven Nation Army" after Italy scored the first goal in its match against Spain in the Euro championships). This trendification of Michigan is what bothers me, and that's all on Brandon.

Sure, it looks like Hoke was a good hire, and I'm confident that his success will continue, but it's not like he was an unknown contender that Brandon unearthed. He was the institutional favorite the last time around.

As for cleaning out the Athletic Department, okay. He's cluttered the department with people bringing on these ridiculous changes, though, and that's not exactly an improvement. Not to mention that profitability happened under Martin, and Brandon is enjoying the fruits of that.

Of course, this is all irrelevant because he's not going anywhere, but it's not unreasonable to dislike the job the guy has done.


June 13th, 2012 at 6:53 PM ^

On the latter question, the things that came immediately to my head were 1. the improvement of the secondary over the course of the season, 2. Hoke's calculated risktaking on 4th down, and 3. Brian's first hand experience of the charisma of Hoke and Mattison at the coaching clinic.


June 13th, 2012 at 2:16 PM ^

this brian v dave brandon thing has the feel of the first 30 mintues of a romantic comedy, where the protagonists sort of "hate" each other because they are sooo different in their cores. one, the fringey, grungey outsider with a beard that espouses tradition at every turn, the other, the corporate suit, the captian of the ship constantly grasping for ways to make his voice heard. but some night, perhaps at the football bust, in a tent strung with paper lanterns, they will realize that no only are they cut from the same cloth, but that the other represents the one part of their life that has been lacking.



June 13th, 2012 at 3:46 PM ^

For one of those "Tale through movie posters" type diaries. like this one Calling BronxBlue!!

C'mon people we can photoshop Brian and DB into these...


June 13th, 2012 at 2:35 PM ^

Early signing period: Boo.  Of course coaches like it because they could wrap up their recruiting classes earlier.  This is one place where the coaches should be ignored.  Basketball has made it plainly obvious that the "early signing period" is basically just "the signing period."  Who signs during the regular one any more?

Coaches will push recruits hard to sign during the early period, and it'll just bump the recruiting timeline up further.  Anyone who pretends neither of those things will happen is either delusional or working for the NCAA.  The early signing period is pushed by coaches who want to be able to lock up their recruiting class and fans who are butthurt about decommitments.


June 13th, 2012 at 2:40 PM ^

As we get deeper into the off season, these posts become more hysterical and full of fantasy. Most of the stuff being complained about in this post hasn't happened nor has anyone with any knowledge suggested they might.

There has been no suggestion that Denard is switching numbers.

Same with Kovacs. Two years ago Kovacs was the posterboy for all that ailed Michigan. Now his number is sacred and we tremble at the very notion that it might change.

The only suggestion that the Legends numbers must be given out every season was a thowaway quote from Hoke who is hardly that precise with his words.Judging by Hoke's actions rather than parsing one sentence with a microscope would suggest that he understands and has deep reverence for Michigans tradition and wouldn't give Fords number to some schmoe just because it has to be that way.

Then, as we have become accustomed, we get a very insightful view into Brandon's brain in which we see his real motives are to destroy all that is good about Michigan. Fortunately, Brandon is so very terrible at pulling this off despite all of his best efforts.

MI Expat NY

June 13th, 2012 at 2:44 PM ^

Has anyone considered that players may not want the legends numbers?  21 still has some chache because Desmond is still around, and his heisman pose is still shown constantly.  But are players going to be jumping to wear 48 or 47?  What if a TE comes in, has always worn 82, plays great for three years, identifies with the number, it's part of his twitter handle, etc. and then we force him to wear the number of a player who nobody on this board ever watched play.  Is he necessarily going to be excited about that?  

To me the Legends Patch thing should just go with the jersey, and the jersey doesn't necessarily have to be handed out for any particular criteria.  Let freshman have it.  If it's open, and a contribuitng junior/senior wants it to honor one of the past greats, let him have it.

To me its more about the fans anyway.  Instead of trying to create some new tradition, can't it simply be a patch that when one's son/friend/significant other/etc. asks about it, you can say, "it signifies that the jersey was once worn by the great Bennie Osterbaan/Gerald Ford/Ron Kramer/Tom Harmon/Wistert Brothers/Desmond/etc."

MI Expat NY

June 13th, 2012 at 2:49 PM ^

Not saying it to be fear mongering... rather the opposite.  What if the jerseys are never handed out because seniors don't want to change numbers to something that's not desirable, and we're not allowed to give it to freshman, as has been proposed on this board?  How pointless will this whole thing be, if we never see the patches because we're trying to artificially create some new tradition.

Edit:  Replace "force" with "ask" in my first paragraph of the OP.  Really don't want to make it sound like someone will have no choice in the matter.


June 13th, 2012 at 2:52 PM ^

I'm not saying your intention was to be fear-mongering, I'm saying it was the result.

Has someone from the AD said these would be handed out annually? No, Brian did.

Has someone from the AD said these would only go to upper-classmen? No, Brian and board did.

Has ANYONE suggested that a player would be FORCED to wear a number? No.

How would they even get forced? Is Hoke going to cut Kenny Demens if he doesn't take #47?

The legacy patch thing seems, to me, to be an elegant way of honoring players, given that once you retire more than 5 or 6 players, you start running out of numbers for your team to wear.

MI Expat NY

June 13th, 2012 at 3:01 PM ^

How many people on this board have floated ideas of how the legends numbers be handled in just the last two days?  Brian proposed an idea, lots of people agreed, lots of people disagreed.

My post was just something to consider for those talking about the subject.  It was not a directive to the AD.  It wasn't even a criticism of the AD (not everything on this board is, not even something that largely agrees with one of Brian's positions).  Just a suggestion that before everyone goes and proposes all these "rules" for who gets a number and why (this includes Brian), we consider that not all these numbers may be desirable and that by creating rules, we might be limiting what is otherwise a good idea.  I think its a great idea to have patches on numbers honoring the greats that wore that uniform.  To me that makes more sense than retirement.  Now I'd just like to see them on the field, and I don't really care how they get there.

Hardware Sushi

June 13th, 2012 at 2:58 PM ^

I was anti-Utah game but now that I think about it, I don't mind getting exposure to those Samoan guys in Utah. I know Sione Houma's teammate, Brian Mone, was one of the earliest 2014 offers.

Utah does very well with d-line prospects for not (previously) being in a BCS conference.


June 13th, 2012 at 4:33 PM ^

I know I will be accused of "get off my lawn" -ness, but why can't we just leave the retired numbers retired? We have been doing fine for the last 50+ years without them in rotation. In fact, I wouldn't mind of #2 and #21 were retired too. I know, 100+ players on modern teams, etc. but it is only two more. How many Heisman's do you think we are getting in the future here? By the time we run out of numbers there should be robots playing football for us anyway.

Also, notice that this idea is only coming out now that all the players behind those retired numbers are no longer with us.


June 14th, 2012 at 12:15 AM ^

I have heard Brandon mention the UCONN game one time in the context of not wanting to do more non-conference road games because of lost revenue. I haven't seen persistent complaints and if you look at the context, his point had nothing to do with UCONN. It had to do with the having Notre Dame on the road every other year and your league road games is plenty.

This Pac/Big contract is a different animal and presumably the arrangement is so economically beneficial for everyone, playing at Utah isn't doing any harm. 

Playing at UCONN on the other hand is a huge waste from a dollars and sense perspective.

Sons of Louis Elbel

June 14th, 2012 at 7:52 AM ^

Of course, UConn's "on campus" stadium isn't really on campus at all - it's about 20 miles away. The reason DB should stop complaining about the game is that we have a huge east coast alumni base who should get a game on their turf every now and then. One of the few bad things about the PAC-12 agreement is it means we'll almost never play in the east again.


June 14th, 2012 at 8:03 AM ^

Flipping numbers seems like a bad idea for the truly great players. i.e. If Roundtree has such a tremendous year that he earns the Heisman wouldn't it be better to have # 12 also honored rather than 21 honored twice. and who would we be thinking about when we talk 21? Just sayin'