On Numbers

Submitted by Seth on April 14th, 2015 at 10:33 AM

If you were to sort everything in the world by a factor of how much I pay attention to it vs. actual importance, what jersey numbers Michigan players wear is probably just below and to the left of Alan Trammell's snub.


His career was merely "average" for a Hall of Fame shortstop

If you don't care, I respect that; here's a report from BBC news on the rising nuclear tensions in South Asia that probably matters a lot to the long-term stability of the region and the horrifying possibility that our species might some day wipe out the better portion of the lifeforms we know of. If you do care who wears the numeral we associate with Woodson, maybe read up enough on the arms deal first so people will know you've got your priorities straight. All set? Alright here's what I think we should do with the Legends numbers.

The Legends Question


Earn it, Keith

I don't think anybody knows what they'll do with the program now. Hackett seems earnest in this evaluation period. I also have an idea where some of the pushback is coming from, since former players—in email groups, in private, and some publically—are a key demographic against them. Part of that's a get-off-my-lawn attitude among older guys regarding the over-attention paid to jersey numbers by kids these days. Part of it's the same jarring fan sensation of having long associations undone—the Kovacs Principle—and part of it's a new guy wearing sacrosanct numbers every year. I saw more complaints about Funchess wearing 87 while not blocking than Moore wearing it while not playing.

I wish they would keep this program, but only for underclassmen. The Seth Plan:

  • Establish a set of attainable criteria for each number. Past Legends have input but this shouldn't be the Braylon gauntlet—that worked for Braylon because Carr tailored it specifically to Braylon.
  • Establish a set of higher criteria for getting added to the patch.
  • Underclassmen interested in wearing a Legends number apply to their coaches
  • Number must be earned before a player either starts his 15th game, or reaches the end of his sophomore season of eligibility, whichever comes first.
  • Back-elevate past Michigan greats based on Legends criteria.
  • Add 2 (for Woodson, defensive backs), 77 (for OTs: Lewan, Long, Jansen, Jenkins), 46 (Harry Newman, for special teams players), and 27 (Benny Friedman, for quarterbacks) to the program. Make 98 for running backs.
  • Establish a set of criteria for having a new number Legendsized (so future HSPs can hope to wear #5)

I imagine if more than one young player wants the same number Harbaugh won't mind competition.

Projecting the Fall Arrivals

I used to try this every year: attempt to predict numbers for the new guys to wear. Before MGoBlog it was an annual rite of rostering the new NCAA game. Last year I missed it; in 2013 I went 12 for 22 with the scholarship guys, but that was in June when some guys already knew their numbers. This year I'm gonna try to do it early and honestly.

[My methodology and sure-to-be-incorrect predictions, after the jump]


The numbers I'm avoiding:

Residual Legends: I'm guessing for now they will re-retire. Let's just figure that 1, 11, 21, 47, 87, and 98 are out of circulation for incoming players, and 48 will be once Morgan moves on.

Walk-On Rules: Typically a walk-on doesn't get to hold onto his number if a scholarship guy comes along, but upperclassmen who've worked their way into the two-deep and preferred walk-ons are usually exempt from this. Other than the Holy Order of St. Kovacs, this includes running back Antonio Whitfield, receiver Bo Dever, fullbacks Joe Kerridge and Bobby Henderson, offensive lineman Greg Froelich, linebacker Dan Liesman, cornerback AJ Pearson, and kickers/punters Kenny Allen, Kyle Seychel, and Ryan Tice.

Already Filled: These numbers have a guy on both units already. Hoke didn't like this very much so there's not very many of them anymore. They are 7 (Morris and Poggi), 12 (Malzone and Gant), 18 (Whitfield and Pearson), 19 (Speight and Jared Wangler), 33 (Shallman and Taco), 44 (Winovich and Delano Hill), 52 (Mason Cole and RJS), and 73 (Fox and Hurst). Also I've counted 29 and 23 out because Ross Taylor-Douglas and Dennis Norfleet may play either unit.

Available to Offensive Players Only: I've noted (in maize) the numbers of defensive players who are likely to be on special teams. Receivers, fullbacks, and other guys planning to try out for kickoff and punt coverage/return duties should avoid these.

2, 5, 8, 9, 13, 15, 22, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31, 34, 35, 41, 42, 43, 50, 53, 56, 59, 66, 69, 90, 91, 93, 96, 99

Available to Defensive Players Only: 3, 4, 10, 14, 17, 20, 27, 32, 36, 37, 39, 45, 51, 55, 57, 61, 62, 67, 71, 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 88, 94

Open Numbers: 6, 16, 24, 38, 40, 46, 49, 54, 58, 60, 63, 64, 65, 68, 70, 75, 77, 79, 89, 92, 95, 97


Player Pos # YMRMFSPA Reason
Jake Rudock QB 15 Grbac Wore it at Iowa and was his high school number. Apologies to Garrett Moores
John O'Korn QB 5 Tate, Wangler Wore it at Houston and Aquinas before that (WR Ken Sloss is a sr.)
Zach Gentry QB 16 Navarre, Denard, Reimersma Was 11 in high school, but said that was just assigned.
Karan Higdon RB 22 Gerald White His varsity jacket reads "deuce-deuce."
Tyrone Wheatley Jr. TE 99 Lots of DE/OLB types Dad's 6 is open, but he wears 9. Our TEs wear 90s now.
Grant Perry WR 13 Greg Mathews Puts his locker next to fmr Rice teammate Malzone.
Grant Newsome OT 77 Also Tony Pape LTT has 72, but the Mich OT number is open
Nolan Ulizio OG 70 Doherty, Erhardt It's open.
Jon Runyan Jr. OC 69 Jon Runyan Sr. His 75 is open but doesn't seem to shy away from Dad.
Shelton Johnson SDE 97 Beyer Poggi is wearing his #7. This works.
Reuben Jones WDE 55 B.Graham Unless Delano Hill gives up 44.
Tyree Kinnel S 24 Bobby Abrams Wears 2 for Woodson now so...
Wayne Lyons CB 3 Marlin, TH, Tripp Countess is sittin on his # too.
Keith Washington CB 6 Taylor, Warren Lowest digit available. Wore 2 in HS
Andrew David K 38 Rivas Is a kicker
Blake O'Neill P 39 DeLong, Finley Houma isn't on punt coverage so okay to keep his #



April 14th, 2015 at 10:39 AM ^

Are you honestly saying you believe Obi Wan and Amidala should have been lovers? I mean, yeah, there's no way she should have gotten together with a child, but still. You go too far.


April 14th, 2015 at 11:46 AM ^

ABSOLUTELY! The love triangle Lucas left out of the movies was one of the biggest oversights in a film that will go down as a textbook study of them. There was a deep pool of psychological and thematic characterization in that love triangle and i'll never forgive George Lucas for passing that up in favor of Jar Jar poop jokes.

FIrst of all Anakin should be older, a snotty teenager, when we meet him. It would make it more palatable that he's already got podracing skills, and also understandable why he'd be down with leaving his slave mom to go off planet with some monkish dudes with laser swords.

The age gap between him and Amidala should have been equal to that of her and Obi Wan to emphasize the dynamic--say 5 years each so they're 13, 18, and 23. That allows Anakin's nasty side to come out right away but also to be dismissed as teen-itude. It also makes it obvious why Amidala/Padme would be all up on the older soon-to-be-Jedi Knight who does heroic things and dismissive of the kid with a crush on her. This sets up a second film (when they're 18, 23, and 28 respectively) when we contrast Obi Wan spurning the relationship with Padme he desired because that's what Jedis are supposed to do, and Anakin being like "Eff that; Jedi should be the ones deciding what Jedi do."

The love triangle would have thus driven the moral subtext of all three films. Anakin is turned off the Jedi by their unreasonable doctrinal demands--the celibacy thing chief among them--and Padme may serve as the audience's moral conduit as she fights with Obi Wan over the subject, then hooks up with Anakin in part to demonstrate Obi Wan and the Jedi that their priestly otherness is wrong and only separates them from human(oid)istic concerns. But that turns to horror as step-by-step Anakin walks down his path to fascism. In the end of the 2nd film she discovers she's pregnant, and tells Obi Wan not Anakin because she's starting to see Anakin is carrying a shit ton of psychological baggage from 13 years as a slave.

In the last film, the babies are born and hidden early on, and Obi Wan breaks his Jedi vows by finally sleeping with her and is cast out of the Jedi Order ("I was once a Jedi Knight the same as your father.) This explains why Obi Wan became kind of a free agent instead of one of the Jedi, and therefore rose to the rank of General under Bail Organa in the Clone Wars under the organization that would become the Rebel Alliance, as opposed to the Jedi Order which was wiped out except for Yoda.

As the 3rd story nears its conclusion, Anakin discovers all this, goes to track down Obi Wan, and finds Amidalah, at which point he's so overcome by rage he kills her--Not "from a broken heart" but from going RAGE on her with blue lightning over this betrayal. This raises the stakes of the final lightsaber duel between him and Obi Wan to epic proportions. They fight to a draw--the lava thing works but I'd have it so Anakin is cajoling Obi Wan into a dual-suicide finale and Obi Wan walks away instead, leaving Anakin to try to survive on a lava island or whatever. Obi Wan finds redemption for his "crime" by taking up hermitage on Tatooine to watch over his lover's baby son (along with mutual war buddy Owen Lars). Anakin crawls through lava, survives, and finally accepts the Emperor's offer to train him to control and channel his anger lest it consume him again.

It would also conveniently explain why Darth Vader won't use the dark side power of blue lightning (badly explained in canon as having to do with length of time served in the dark or whatever), preferring to duel Obi Wan and Luke with lightsabers in IV, V, and VI. When Vader ultimately turns on the Emperor for blue lightning-ing Luke, it's the ultimate redemption. Look at Vader's "face" here, and then imagine if he's literally watching the worst sin he ever committed being played out again:

...and having a chance to change it.


April 14th, 2015 at 3:05 PM ^

Have you READ MGoBlog? I do a fair enough job of keeping my rant on Alan Trammell to BlessYouBoys but surely you've noticed a rather hefty number of mentions of a certain slot receiver/cornerback/returner who gets like six snaps per game.


April 14th, 2015 at 6:26 PM ^

You asked for it.


1.  All of the teenagers should be super high-achieving in all aspects of their life, like the seemingly endless amount of 4-star QBs who are also valedictorian.  There shouldn't be an unathletic one or a dumb one, because why would Zordon pick someone like that to begin with?  This doesn't mean they need to be 100% mentally healthy or happy, otherwise they wont be interesting.  This would also make it more interesting when Rangering starts to interfere with their lives, as detailed below.

2. Each of the teenagers should fight differently.  The most interesting fighter on the original show was Zack because he danced, but everyone else was boring.  Keep the fights acrobatic and visually interesting, but give everyone their own style, have a wrestler, a boxer, capoeira if that's your thing.  Give one of them some tonfas or something, mix it up.

3. It doesn't make sense for the Rangers to be teenagers to begin with, but if they are, make it realistic.  Being a Power Ranger would probably ruin your life, missing school, family engagements, and/or work to fight without being able to reveal your identity, this conflict should be explored regularly.  Also, there should be a ton of dumb kid drama as well.  I think it would be really compelling to see volatile, self-involved teenagers trying to balance a heavy responsibility they barely understand with petty squabbles that kids feel mean everything.

4.  Power Rangers has always done fighting right.  It doesn't treat violence with kid gloves like the Superfriends cartoon(9 seasons, 0 punches thrown), but it also completely omits gore in any form.  This is an aspect I'd see continue.  Lasers, not bullets.  Sparks, not blood(except in cases of extreme injury in a dramatic moment, maybe). The show can be interesting for adults while remaining appropriate for kids.

5.The MegaZord doing karate is always going to look pretty goofy, even with the highest level of CGI(or practical) effects.  Make the Zords more like traditional combat vehicles, and lessen their presence on the show to make their appearance more special.  This also avoids having to explain who keeps building these empty skyskrapers that keep getting kicked over.

6. The villains always had to be incompetent, and the heroes merciful toward them, so that the show could continue the monster-of-the-day format endlessly.  I say work this into a plot point.  Create some tension between the Rangers(who want to permantly eliminate the threat because it, obviously, threatens them and their families) and Zordon(who wants to keep the conflict active, but small-scale for some reason, perhaps to prevent attention from the villain's superiors?).

7.  Make the fights end in interesting ways.  The original series always ended in stock footage of the big attacks, because that was the reason the show existed.  Here, the Rangers should always be coming up with novel ways to win fights that are exciting, emotional, and dramatic.  A bystander gets injured and a Ranger just loses his/her shit and goes ballistic on the monster.  A Ranger tricks an overconfident monster into flying into the sun or something. Avoid "reverse the polarity" style, flip-a-switch-and-now-we-can-blow-it-up solutions.


That's all I can think of right now.


April 14th, 2015 at 9:32 PM ^

I could just never get over the absurdity of the monster of the week premise. It was always "Power Rangers fight hand to hand with monster and beat it up. monster grows to huge size! Power Rangers get in zords. It's ineffective! form MegaZord! It's super effective!"

Why were the monsters anything other than huge? Why did the Rangers ever fight outside their Zords? Why did the National Guard never show up in Bradleys?

Basically the core premise just isn't there for a "serious" reboot. The closest you can come is probably Pacific Rim.

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April 14th, 2015 at 10:51 AM ^

I care about this way too much as well, but with a different take.

Legends jerseys have to go.  Get rid of 'em.  Kaput.  

Woodson didn't have earn #2 (except that he was highly touted coming out of high school) and David Terrell didn't need to earn #1 (same reasoning).  

If you want to honor legends, put their numbers on the pressbox/luxury box area.  Period.


April 14th, 2015 at 12:55 PM ^

Agreed. All the earning BS since Braylon has only made it so people can bitch about how so-and-so doesn't deserve that number.

Also, why would a player need to earn it early? If anything it should more often be given to the underclassmen.


April 14th, 2015 at 10:57 AM ^

It's cool to be reminded of the feats of former players, and to provide fans with some of the lore/establish continuity. This is part of the university's working capital, and the legends connection brings our history back to life. Whether the players live up to such former heroes is part of the drama we then attend to. Griping is part of fans' job--in fact, they love to do it--so that in itself shouldn't decide the issue. Aesthetically, the patches were in my view okay, too.

Now don't get me going about helmet stickers. . .

Crisler 71

April 14th, 2015 at 10:59 AM ^

With O'Bannon coming the legends numbers would be a good set to sell.  Nobody wear them and if they only sold two numbers per year some people would keep buying them until they had a full set. 

Slightly off topic, but related, I have thought for a few years that the back of each locker should have a plate, or series of plates, listing the All-Americans or All-Conference players who have worn that number.  And, if there are none for a given number, put is a player from before numbers were worn (Willie Heston for example) who played the same position.  Here is what you have to live up to, kid.


April 14th, 2015 at 11:00 AM ^

I refuse to believe you've never heard of Drake. Can't name a Drake song? Fine. But you're on Twitter too much to simply have never heard of Drake. You probably saw some version of the "If You're Reading This Its Too Late" meme, or have seen someone make fun of him for liking every good sports team, or something. But just having never heard of him at all seems unlikely.


April 14th, 2015 at 11:53 AM ^

I've never heard of Drake. I swear. I had no idea until your post that was the name of the rapper, because I didn't even read that far in the article. I just typed in "music news" in google this morning hoping to find something of zero importance that I have never thought about to go in the chart, and right near the top was a thing about Madonna, whom I have heard of and can name many songs from.


April 14th, 2015 at 11:07 AM ^

Photographic evidence exists (sorry I can't track it down) of Ulizio wearing 70 and Runyan 75 – one of those official visit locker room photos. That's not a lock, but a solid indicator.


April 14th, 2015 at 11:09 AM ^

I often think of Devin's game against ND where he wore the 98 for the first time.  I would have rather seen that been a one game event to honor the legend and Devin, but then seen Devin wear his old number after that game (an honor for both the Legend and the player).


April 14th, 2015 at 11:17 AM ^

I'm not so concerned about the numbers players wear, as long as I can find them on the field.  But your grid!  It's so great!  Two things concern me:  you think far too much about the metric system, and what the hell?  Where is HARBAUGH?  A Harbaugh-themed thought has to float through your mind at least once a day, right?

Zak Lord

April 14th, 2015 at 11:37 AM ^

my roomate's step-mother makes $65 every hour on the internet . She has been without a job for eight months but last month her pay check was $14641 just working on the internet for a few hours.


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Away Goal

April 14th, 2015 at 11:39 AM ^

I don't like changing a player's number permently.  My preference has always been to honor one of the legends maybe once or twice a year and have a deserving player wear that number just for that game.  They could do a video tribute before the game and it might even be a good history lesson for fans.

For 1, 2, and 77 I'd like to see them give those to highly touted freshman who earn it with their practice efforts.


April 14th, 2015 at 11:48 AM ^

Always hated the Legends jerseys. Precluded creating new "legends" and implies that the current guys just aren't as good as the former guys.

I mean, credit to Gerald Ford for being a solid player and even in the 1940s making team MVP as the center was pretty impressive, but say Desmond Morgan has a Butkus Award-quality season or something. We'll never look at 48 on the field and think "Aw yeah, remember that great Morgan season when he decapitated Cardale Jones at the goal line?" Instead, it'll be "Pardoned Nixon. Decent guy. Lost to a peanut farmer."

Ron Utah

April 14th, 2015 at 12:08 PM ^

I don't think we need applications and the formality proposed here.

In my opinion, the biggest problem with the Legends jerseys was that there were too many of them.  Dudes that were most certainly not close to being legends were wearing them, and that watered-down the mystique.

Basically, we should only retire numbers of dudes who are legends (Heisman or some other equally amazing feat) and if those jerseys are brought back into circulation, it should only be for players that have already demonstrated they have a realistic shot at repeating those amazing feats, and that would be at the HC's discretion.

The problem with the Legends jerseys, and even the #2 jersey, during the Hoke era is that it was WAY too easy to get one.  Not one of the players wearing a "Legends" jersey turned out to be anything close to a legend, perhaps save Jeremy Gallon--but even that is a stretch.


April 14th, 2015 at 3:42 PM ^

I thought it was disrespectful to Harmon to have Gardner wearing the #98 to "honor" him when all he was doing was running for his life his entire career. There were too many Legends numbers and therefore they were given to undeserving players.


April 14th, 2015 at 5:05 PM ^

Gallon wore #21 proud. He was the reason our offense had a pulse in 2013. Gallon signified to me what a Michigan Legend signified (not calling Gallon a legend, but a great player in his own right) he represented playing above expectations, playing 110%, and being a difference maker.

They IMO botched the #98. It would have been great to see it on the field that one night and seeing it on Devin that night was special. Seeing it on him when we got thrown around like a rag doll vs Sparty that year made it look like a complete joke.

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