All time Michigan Offense

Submitted by michiganfanforlife on June 8th, 2009 at 8:58 AM

If you had to field the ultimate Michigan offense, who would start at every position? You can choose anyone from the entire history of UM football, but I will keep mine to players I personally witnessed. I will assume you mean the player at his best, whether that was in college or the pros.

The first choice is at QB, and this is a tough one. If I had to choose one guy to win a game for me it would be Tom Brady. I know his time at Michigan wasn't as prolific as many other Michigan QB's, but the guy's a leader. His accuracy is deadly, and his decision making is fantastic.

My all time favorite tailback is Mike Hart. This guy could take the team on his back and will us to a win. Three consecutive 200 yard games in the Big Ten is no small feat either. If I had to pick a backup for him, it would be Tyrone Wheatley. I almost chose Jaime Morris, but Ty was hard to bring down, and would provide a better change of pace with Mike at the starting spot. For fullback, why not put Anthony Thomas back there? He could block with the best of them, and get tough yards when you need 'em.

The WR spot would be crowded with talent, and there wouldn't be enough time to get everyone the ball. For the sake of this discussion, let's just have an "X" "Y" & a "Z." At the X spot, I would have to put Anthony Carter. This dude was the guy you want to convert big plays for you when you need them desperately. The slot reciever, or "Y" would be David Terrell. Although he didn't do well in the NFL, this guy had amazing hands and used his body to shield defenders away from the ball better than anybody. My Z reciever would be Braylon Edwards. Just throw it deep and let him go get it. He likes to jump out of the stadium to snag TD's.

Tight end is another one that's tough. Jerame Tuman had almost 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns. He wasn't just a pass catching guy either, and that makes him my first choice. Bennie Joppru is my second choice mostly because his stats are more impressive than Jay Riemersma. I liked Jay though, and maybe if he started at TE instead of QB he would have come out with better all time stats. Joppru gets the nod for making the top 25 all time leading recievers list (including WR's).

Now to the big uglies! Jake Long has to be the anchor at left tackle. Just his appearance scared the opponent, and giving up only one sack in college while starting almost every game is awesome. At left guard, I would put David Baas. David was a mauler for a run blocker, and a dancing bear when it came to pass-pro. At Center, Rod Payne seems like a good choice. He started 40 games at Michigan, and dominated OSU every time. Right guard would be Steve Hutchinson. This guy has made every line he played with better, and he even dominates in the NFL. At right Tackle I would play John Jansen. This guy won back to back First team All American at right tackle, and just recently found his way back to Michigan...

So who would you start, and why? Go Blue!!!



June 8th, 2009 at 9:06 AM ^

The quarterback just has to be Friedman. Virtually none of the readers of this blog ever saw him play, but he was at the same level as Red Grange.


June 8th, 2009 at 6:25 PM ^

In 1928, Benny Friedman was playing professional football with the Detroit Wolverines after a brief stint in Cleveland. Benny Oosterban and Friedman became such close friends, that Oosterban would attend all of Friedman's games while in Detroit. Anyway, during a game in Michigan against Tim Mara's NY Giants, Mara became so enamored with the TB/QB/DB that he proposed a trade right after the game.

The Giants, the biggest market team in the league at the time, were struggling and Mara knew that bringing Friedman to NY would skyrocket profits. Detroit said 'no dice', but Tim Mara being Tim Mara eventually bought the whole Detroit Wolverines team following the season. Friedman played 3 or so more seasons of professional ball, the Giants sold out their stadium over the course of that tenure, and Benny Friedman had almost single-handedly saved the NFL.

Funny thing is, you were kind of dead-on with Tebow - he was an immensely physical QB for Michigan in his college days, and eventually played TB in the pros. He'd be an amazing spread QB for RR. Just my e-pinion.


June 9th, 2009 at 2:15 PM ^

Pick up PASSING GAME: BENNY FRIEDMAN AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF FOOTBALL by Murray Greenberg. One tidbit from the book: Friedman thought he was going to become the Head Coach of the Wolverines when they selected Frtiz Crisler. He later wound up coaching CCNY and being the Head Coach and AD of Brandeis.

Braylon Edwards

June 8th, 2009 at 9:26 AM ^

QB- Tom Harmon
RB- Mike Hart
MAX-Obi Oluigbo (One of my favorites don't know why)
WR1- Braylon Edwards
WR2- Anthony Carter
Slot- Desmond Howard
TE- Jerame Tuman
OL- never really paid attention


June 8th, 2009 at 9:55 AM ^

Benny Friedman only changed college football, so all respects due to Mr Brady, his accomplishments at Michigan were not legendary.

You cant write an "All Time Michigan" off the top of your head, unless you are just spouting off.

Have you ever seen Willie Heston's numbers, and the team's record and accomplishments during his years?

Elno Lewis

June 8th, 2009 at 10:09 AM ^

This kind of thread has been done before.

Let's name a team of the absolutely worst Michigan offensive players. Now, that might be interesting.



June 8th, 2009 at 10:55 AM ^

Finally, someone breaks down the rich history of Michigan football and endulges us with the best players to EVER EVER EVER play for Michigan. And they've all played in the past 15 or so years. Whodathunkit? We must have won like 6 championships with these bad boys.

All time Michigan defense:

DE Tim Jamison/James Hall
DT Gabe Watson/Pat Massey
LB June/Harris/Scott McClintock
CB Charles Woodson x2(he was soooooo good)
S Ernest Shazor x2(first round pick? he damn well better! Go Lions!)


June 8th, 2009 at 11:19 AM ^

I've been watching the Wolverines play since fall 1970, when I decided to go to UM.

Rod Payne's a good choice at center, but Steve Everitt did play against Notre Dame with a broken jaw...

Jake Long's the one obvious tackle, but there's Dan Dierdorff to consider, along with Jansen and Runyan. And then there's Bubba Paris.

Hutchinson's the one obvious guard; he and Long are the ones that I'm sure would stick even if we could assess all eras. I would think Reggie McKenzie would be the other. Personally, I loved watching Stefan Humphries play.

How about Friedman at QB and Harmon at halfback, where he earned All American honours twice?

And finally, is there anything out there about the Wistert family? Francis Wistert was an All-American tackle in 1933, Albert in 1942 and Alvin in 1948 and 1949. I never realized that until I checked the list of UM All Americans.


June 8th, 2009 at 11:30 AM ^

Here's a problem I have when picking "all-time" teams:

Players get bigger and faster all the time. So if all the players were in their prime - "Field of Dreams" style - and I had the choice, I WOULD pick offensive linemen from the 1990s and 2000s over players from the 1930s. Tom Harmon was an awesome player, but if they were on the same team, Wheatley would beat him out, no problem.

If Carlos Brown played in the 1920s, he would run past - and maybe even run over - every single guy on defense. If Dan Dierdorf suddenly played in the 2000s, he would get pummeled by modern defensive linemen.


June 8th, 2009 at 11:40 AM ^

How much of an effect do you think the changing strength and conditioning programs have to do with players getting faster and stronger with time? If Dan Dierdorf were to be playing today, do you think Barwis could get him in shape to take on modern defensive lineman?


June 8th, 2009 at 11:42 AM ^

that's why i think these type of things should be based on their relative performances. yeah, brown would run over the yost teams and our defense last year would hold them to 10 yards, but that's obvious. so i just pretend that the physical advantages don't exist and try to judge on how they compared to players in their respective eras.


June 8th, 2009 at 12:19 PM ^

In college, Drew Henson at his prime was better than Tom Brady at his prime ... evidenced by the fact that Tom Brady had to share time with the younger Henson. Henson had the best arm strenght and accuracy of any Michigan QB I've ever watched (since the early 80s). If you think I'm on crack, go back and watch the film. Everyone forgets because Henson started one full season and then left early for baseball (worst decision ever).

I second the "where's Desmond Howard at WR?"

I second that Tyrone Wheatly was vastly superior to Mike Hart. As was Anthony Thomas. As was Tshimanga "Tim" Biakabutuka. As was Jamie Morris. I like Mike Hart, but he was not our best RB of all time. He has impressive stats, but then he played all four years (which probably says as much about the competition around him).

Other Andrew

June 8th, 2009 at 2:36 PM ^

Henson may have had a great arm, but a QB needs more than that. The coaching staff was worried he'd bolt for baseball so they gave him playing time against Brady - pretty much only the second quarter of each game. Michigan only lost two games that year, Michigan State and Illinois. Those losses weren't directly his fault by any means, but if they hadn't played him at all, there was a chance he would have won each of them instead of losing.

Think about it. What's Henson's most memorable play? It was against Wisconsin when he chucked the ball back across the field and got lucky that Terrell was able to outjump two Badger defenders. The guy was better than a freshman John Navarre, for sure, but he just wasn't that good a QB, great arm or not. Jeff George had one of the strongest arms in NFL history, but isn't exactly headed to the Hall of Fame.

Henson never started a full season for Michigan because he was injured for the first 3.5 games. He said he would stick with the team and then bolted for money. In sum, screw him.


June 8th, 2009 at 1:17 PM ^

No love for Jim Harbaugh? That's who I want leading the offense.

RB--Wheatley and A-Train
WR--AC, Braylon, and David Terrell
Oline-Jake Long, Jumbo Elliot, Steve Everitt, Steve Hutchinson, Jon Runyon.

Gary Moeller calling the plays


June 8th, 2009 at 2:39 PM ^

I agree with Brady. I mean, watch the comeback that he engineered AT PSU in the 4th quarter. Or the comeback against Bama in the Orange bowl. In terms of physical talent and numbers, he may not have been on top, but he was definitely a great quarterback an excellent leader.

I was never a big fan of Chris Perry. I feel the same way about him as I do about Javon Ringer. 30 runs for 3 yards and then the 1 run where the defense collapsed and he took it for a TD. I was too young to watch him, but I would have to pick Tyrone Wheatley. I think everyone has pretty much covered Hart.

And How can you have a WR lineup without the Heisman winner in it? Marquise Walker beats David Terrell out anyway.


June 8th, 2009 at 4:51 PM ^

Looking back is kind of nice isn't it. It makes me realize we were once the omphalos of college football. Now, as Borat says,"not so much."

But hey, pass me a beer, cue up some Cougar Mellencamp and let's look back!

Desmond Howard would get a vote from me. He could play in any system.

Although, you almost have to wonder if a lot of the guys you mentioned would have even have played at Michigan given the current offensive system.


June 8th, 2009 at 11:04 PM ^

QB: John Navarre
HB: Chris Perry
FB: Kevin Dudley
TE: Tim Massaquoi
WR: Braylon Edwards, Steve Breaston, Calvin Bell
OL: Stenavich, Baas, Pearson, Lentz, and Elvis Pape

Boom. Navarr'ed.


June 9th, 2009 at 12:28 AM ^

Can't believe no one's at least mentioned him at QB. Add he did as a soph was lead UM to an upset of #1 ranked Miami, FL before injury ended his season.

His next two years UM goes 10-1-1 (finished the season ranked #2) and beats Nebraska in the Fiesta, then 10-2 with an outright big ten title and guarantees a UM victory over OSU. My memory is a little fuzzy but pretty sure OSU jumps out to a nice lead only to see Harbaugh and UM come back to win a close win. His stats probably won't compare to the QB's in the 90's and on, but man, all the guy did was win. His jr and sr years, UM went 20-3-1.

Number 7

June 9th, 2009 at 2:28 PM ^

How can Rick Leach not be part of the discussion 3-time all conference, held NCAA record for total TDS, as well as Big Ten records for career total yardage and passing TDs. 3-1 against Ohio State during the rivalry's Woody vs. Bo heyday.

Tom Brady: Great pro QB; pretty good UM QB
Drew Henson: Great high school QB; pretty good UM QB

Other positions: Wheatley and Tom Harmon at RB; Desmond and AC at WR (I wouldn't dare send out an all-time UM team with 3 WRs!) Ron Kramer and Jerame Tuman at TE; Elliot, Hutchinson, Everitt, Mark Donahue (with Hutch, UM's only other 2-time All American at G (since 1910), and Jake Long on the line.

K -- I don't know. Recent guys rate better statistically, but except for Mike Gillette (I know, not that recent), I don't have great associations with any of them. So I'll go with Ali Haji Shiekh.

P -- The Emperor


June 9th, 2009 at 3:25 PM ^

Great thread - I'd just like to mention some of my favorite Michigan players that I have not seen here yet. How about

Leroy Hoard
Butch Woolfolk
Elvis Grbac
Jon Vaughn
Jon Kolesar
Kurt Becker
Greg Skrepenak
Marquis Walker
John Wangler
Amani Toomer
Mercury Hayes