Football Practice Report August 9

Here are my observations from our brief opportunity (20 minutes) to view Michigan football practice.


Brady Hoke is definitely a hands-on coach. He spent time running drills and working with defensive lineman on techniques and was quick with instruction, criticism, and occasional praise.

He also spent time working with lineman to refine blocking technique during punting. During spring practice, I asked special teams coordinator Dan Ferrigno how he would motivate players to players to do the many thankless jobs critical to successful special teams play. He said that with a head coach like Brady who understood how important these aspects of the game are that wouldn’t be a problem. Seeing Hoke instructing the finer points of blocking for the interior lineman on the punt team reinforced this.

Continue reading “Football Practice Report August 9”

2011 Michigan Wolverine Football Visitor’s Guide

This is the time of year when I get questions from people who are coming to Ann Arbor to see a Michigan football game.  These are my personal recommendations.  Your mileage may vary…

How do I get tickets?

It’s easy to get tickets for most games.  The question is how much are you willing to pay?  For the bulk of the games against minor opponents you can usually find tickets around the stadium on the day of the game far below face value.  It’s simple supply and demand.  There are 109,901 tickets available for every game.  There are literally thousands of tickets bought and sold in the hours before the game outside the stadium and in the adjacent parking lots.  It’s not unusual for tickets to be sold for far less than face value for a minor opponent.  The best prices are usually found on game day right outside the stadium by people who line the streets on the way to the stadium.

Your best bet is to find season ticket holder just outside the stadium who is dumping extra tickets prior to entering.

Usually tickets are sold in pairs or singles.  Getting more than two together is more difficult.  For the big games this season (Notre Dame, Nebraska, Ohio State) get ready to pay. If you want tickets in advance you’ll need to check the athletic web site, Stub-Hub, get them from a season ticket holder, or look on E-Bay.

Prior to game day you can usually find ticket scalpers outside the Michigan Union.  Another place to look is check the window of the Coach & Four Barber shop on State Street by Mr. Spots.  They have tickets in the window for most games.


How do I get there?

Michigan Stadium is located off of Interstate 94.  Exit at Ann Arbor-Saline Road.  There are signs and you’ll see LOTS of cars and sometimes a blimp or two circling the stadium.

Google Maps- Michigan Stadium


 Where do I park?

Adjacent to Michigan Stadium on Ann Arbor-Saline Road is Pioneer High School.  Plenty of parking is available.  You can also park at the golf courses across the street. Many homeowners offer up their lawns as makeshift parking lots on game days.

As you cross the street to the stadium listen for the traffic officer as he or she harasses fans from the opposing school.

Costs Range from $20-$50 depending on proximity to the stadium.

WARNING-  In cases of extremely bad weather (I.E. after days and days of rain or sleet/snow) both of these places may close to protect the grounds. In this case parking becomes nightmare.  Park at Briarwood Mall and take the shuttle bus to the game.  The shuttle also runs from many of the local hotels.  Shuttle Info


What about camping?

RV owners can purchase a permit to camp in a designated area at Pioneer High School.  The permit allows you to stay from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.


What about tailgating?

Tailgating is allowed in the parking areas around the stadium.  Fans should note that upon departing for the game it highly recommended that you secure any belongings in your trunk.  Looting of coolers and other items is known to occur.


What should I see while in Ann Arbor?

If you get into town a day before the game or stay after there are number of sights to see.

You can visit:

Michigan Stadium- it’s usually open 9-4:30 during the week (NOTE- since 9/11 the stadium is locked down 2-3 days before games.)

Stop by Schembechler Hall (AKA Fort Schembechler).  This is where the Wolverines practice.  Here’s a map of the area.  Much of the tall brink wall that surrounded the outdoor practice field has been removed to make way for the constructon of the new indoor practice field.  It’s directly adjacent to Schembechler Hall- you can’t miss it.

Dwarfing Schembecher Hall is the Al Glick Field House, one of the largest indoor practice facilities in the country.

If the team is practicing outdoors you might catch a glimpse of them from the overpass on Stadium street.

Yost Ice Arena (Web Page) named for Michigan Immortal Fielding Yost has a number of displays of Wolverine hockey memorabilia and is open practically all of the time.

Behind Schembechler Hall is Oosterbaan Field House (Web Page) an indoor football field.  Sometimes you can sneak a peek of the field but football practices are closed.

Behind the Ticket office is the outdoor track where Jesse Owens once ran at the Big Ten Track Championships.  Adjacent to the outdoor track in Revelli Hall where you might be able to catch the marching band practice.

Michigan Central Campus has a number of places to visit.  Start at the Michigan Union (Web Site).  Check out the place where President John F. Kennedy announced the formation of the Peace Corps marked on the front steps.  Stop by and spin the Cube in the courtyard outside.  A little ways down from the Union is the Kelsey Museum of Archeology which houses some nice artifacts.  Across the street is the Angell Hall an impressive looking building whose design is reminiscent of a Greek temple.  Behind Angell Hall, is the Michigan Diag.  Note the Block ‘M’ engraved in the center, legend has it that if a freshman steps on the Block M they will fail their first exam.  The Diag is home to all kinds of demonstrations and can be quite entertaining, especially on days when speaker will lecture passersby from the cement benches that surround the Diag.  Adjacent to the Diag is the UGLI (undergraduate library) and also visible is the Michigan Bell Tower.  The best museum on central campus is the Natural Science Museum which has a great a collection of dinosaur skeletons and even a stuffed Wolverine!  Drive down Washtenaw away from campus and look for the Rock.  It is a campus tradition for students to ‘paint the rock’.  Legend says that it actually started out as a small pebble but has grown to its enormous size from the millions of layers of paint that have been applied over the years!


Ann Arbor Nightlife

If you’re looking to sample Ann Arbor nightlife Thursday night is the big bar night on campus.  There are a number of bars and restaurants to sample.

Scorekeepers is a large sports bar and grill with music, multiple televisions, and pool tables.  While you’re there take note of the large window in the front, former Wolverine Brian Griese threw a beer bottle through it after being kicked out of the establishment one night prior to the 1997 season.

Dominick’s (812 Monroe/734-662-5414) is a campus tradition located across from the Law School.  Another campus favorite is Ashley’s (338 South State Street/734-996-9191).

Another campus haunt is Rick’s American Cafe  Frankly, it’s a pit but don’t let that deter you- it features live music and sticky floors that will remind you of your college days.  Outside of Rick’s is where former Wolverine captain Bennie Joppru allegedly got into a knock-down drag out fight with a member of the Wolverine wrestling team.

After a evening of carousing you may end up at the Brown Jug (1204 South University/761-3355) which is open until 2 AM.  Yes, it takes its name from the trophy that Michigan and Minnesota play for every season.  Rick’s and the Brown Jug are all within a block (and stumbling distance) of each other.


Where should I eat before the game?

Many people tailgate before games but if you want to grab some food these are some popular choices:

  • Maize and Blue Deli– $ 1329 S. University/734-996-0009.
  • Dimo’s Deli– $ 2030 West Stadium Boulevard/734-662-7944.  My personal recommendation.  Get the burger!!
  • Angelo’s– $ 1100 East Catherine at Glen/734-761-8996.  Order anything that’s made with the homemade bread.
  • Weber’s Inn– $$ 3050 Jackson Road/734-769-2500.  Offers an all-you-can-eat brunch.  You can also park there and grab the shuttle over to the stadium.
  • Dibella’s– $ 904 West Eisenhower Parkway/734-997-9011.  My new favorite sub place.  Stop in and eat or grab these for your tailgate.

$= $5-$10 Entrees  $$= $10-$15 Entrees  $$$= $15 and Above Entrees


What radio stations cover Michigan Football in the area?

Many stations carry the games but the local Ann Arbor sports station is WTKA AM 1050 which talks about Michigan sports pretty much all the time.


What should I do on Game Day?

On Game day you have a few options.  Decide if you want to see the band take the field.  A truly awesome sight.  If not you can follow the band as they march to the stadium also very cool.  if you get to the Stadium a few hours early you can greet the teams as they arrive for the game (the stadium tunnel by Crisler Arena).  Also note that since 9/11 the items that you can take into the stadium has been reduced.

Also note that due to the stadium upgrade project the athletic department strongly recommends that fans try to enter the stadium an hour before the game.

If you want to see the band take the field you need to be inside the stadium about 30 minutes before game time.  You can also the see the Wolverines warm up sans shoulder pads. As the band takes the field look for the Drum Major.  Traditionally, to prove their mettle they must perform the following stunt.  The really good Drum Majors will touch the top of their hat to the ground (not just the plume).  Another thing you may see is this.  The tradition of showing all 4’s on the scoreboard has become to stand as a reminder that the team must play 4 strong quarters to insure victory.  At least that’s how it was explained to former Athletic Director Tom Goss when he enquired about the practice. According to interviews with the scoreboard operator, it really began as a prank to see if anyone was paying attention to the scoreboard minutes before the game.

Hopefully you’ll sing the Victors A LOT. Know the words and remember to raise your arm whenever you sing the word ‘Hail’.


What about a game program?

The athletic department sells some really cool program that cost $5.  Unfortunately there is no way that you will be able to keep it from being messed after you purchase it and after the game the vendors are long gone.  If you want a keepsake I would recommend ordering the program from the athletic department media relations office and having it mailed to your house.


What should I eat at the game?

The concessions are plentiful: hot dogs, pizza, kielbasa, etc.  My personal favorite are the Mr. Spots Subs (philly cheesesteak sandwiches). I also like the Italian sausages with peppers.  Michigan Stadium serves Coke products.  No alcohol is served at the stadium.

What if I need cash?

There are ATM’s available inside the stadium.


Where should I eat after game?

Most people leaving Michigan Stadium will travel back to the interstate using State or Ann Arbor-Saline Road.  Think about that- 100,000 people are driving by- everything you see on that route (mostly chain restaurants) will be PACKED.  Restaurants along those routes include Bennigan’s, Damon’s, Max & Erma’s, The Outback, TGI Fridays, and Joe’s Crab Shack.  Come to think of it just about everything in Ann Arbor is packed after a football game.  Here are some places that are off-the-beaten path but well worth the wait (I’ll list by specialty):

  • Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger– $ Hamburgers- 551 S. Division/ 734-663-3103.
  • Banfield’s East-$ Hamburgers- 3140 Packard Street/ 734-971-3300.
  • Argiero’s– $$ Italian- 300 North Detroit/ 734-665-0444.
  • Mr. Spots– $ Philly Cheese steak sandwiches- 810 South State/ 734-747-7768.
  • Wings Pizza N Things– $$ American- 6877 State Street/ 734-429-7700.
  • Real Seafood Co.– $$$ Seafood, duh!- 341 S. Main/ 734-769-7738.
  • Palio– $$$ Italian- 347 S. Main/ 734-930-6156.
  • Original Cottage Inn Restaurant– $$ Pizza, Italian-  512 East William/ 734-663-3379.
  • China Chef– $ Chinese 2870 Washtenaw Avenue/ 734-434-8877.  Good food, large portions, cheap prices.  A little out of the way but worth the trip.
  • Ichiban– $$$ Japanese Steak House/sushi 4641 Washtenaw Avenue/ 734-975-0589.
  • Frita Batidos– $ Cuban 117 W. Washington/ 734-761-2882.
  • Pizza House– $$ American cuisine 618 Church Street/ 734-995-4995.
  • Carlyle Grill $$$ American cuisine 3660 Jackson Road/ 734-213-9800.

$= $5-$10 Entrees  $$= $10-$15 Entrees  $$$= $15 and Above Entrees

Hyped but overrated- think Drew Henson 🙂  These are the places that many people will always ask you if you’ve eaten upon hearing that you went to Ann Arbor…

  • Gratzi– $$$ 326 South Main/ 734-663-6387.
  • Gandy Dancer– $$$ 401 North Depot/ 734-769-0592.
  • Zingerman’s– $$ 422 Detroit Street/ 734-663-3354.  New York deli- GOOD, New York Prices, OUCH


Where should I get my Michigan Gear?

No pilgrimage to the Big House would be complete without purchasing tokens of your devotion.  There are numerous vendors selling stuff in and around the stadium.

M Football 2010- New Years Day Gator Bowl Invite; Football Banquet; Coaching Speculation Carousel

2011 Gator Bowl Information From The Big Ten Media Release



Michigan (7-5, 3-5) returns to a bowl for the first time since the conclusion of the 2007 season and will play in the Gator Bowl, one of the Big Tens newest bowl partners. The Wolverines were the last Big Ten team to take part in the Gator Bowl, defeating Mississippi in 1991. Michigan will take on Mississippi State (8-4, 4-4 SEC) of the SEC on Saturday, Jan. 1, at 1:30 p.m. ET in Jacksonville, Fla. Head coach Rich Rodriguez will take part in the sixth bowl game of his career and his first at the helm of the Wolverines. The school will participate in its 40th bowl contest, which ranks second among conference teams behind only Ohio State, and is tied with the Buckeyes for the Big Ten lead with 19 bowl wins. Michigan was victorious in its last postseason outing, defeating Florida in the 2008 Capital One Bowl. The Big Ten has posted a 1-4 mark in the Gator Bowl, including a 1-1 record for the Wolverines.




2010 Football Bust



The 90th Annual University of Michigan Greater Detroit Alumni Club Football Bust was held on the evening of December 2 in Livonia at the Laurel Manor.



The purpose of the event is to view highlights from the 2010 season, observe the presentation of the coveted M rings to the seniors, and to honor players for outstanding academic and athletic achievements.



Besides a great meal, fans can get a look at the players, put a face and personality with the number, get to know them a little, and say thank you.  Although at times I have thought the proceedings a little lengthy, it is a fine opportunity for a Wolverine fan to show his/her appreciation.



This year?s event, by circumstance not design, recalled the 1985 team, which manhandled Nebraska in the 1986 Fiesta Bowl.  Those Number 2 ranked Wolverines laid defensive hit after hit, causing turn over after turn over, in as fine a Bowl defensive performance as produced by any Bo Schembechler team.  They embarrassed the Huskers.  Offensively they were potent under the guidance of QB Jim Harbaugh, the hands and elusiveness of John Kolesar, and with the wheels of Jamie Morse.  Gerald White attended, but Jum Harbaugh did not.



A ton of speculation before the event swirled abound whether Harbaugh would be there.   ESPN reported he was considering the trip up until last Saturday, but scheduled a Stanford practice which prevented attendance.  His attendance would have entertained the media. among others.



To the surprise of no one this side of Timbuktu, Denard Robinson won the Bo Schembechler MVP award, and well earned and deserved it was.  His accomplishments are worth listing again in these pages.



That Robinson is the nation?s top dual threat QB has been proved.  Also recently named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, he set the NCAA season rushing record for QBs with 245 carries for 1,643-yards and 14 TDs this season.  He is the first QB to run and pass for plus 1,500-yards in NCAA history in a single season.  He was 155/253 passing for 2,316-yards for16 TDs.  He also set a UM mark for total offense by amassing 3,858-yards and accounting for 30 TDs.

Zac Ciullo won the Dr. Arthur D. Robinson Scholarship Award.  A psychology major and football walk on he has been accepted to Michigan?s Law School.

The Hugh R. Rader Memorial Award went to David Molk and Steven Schilling.  These were the top offensive linemen.  Molk was voted all Big Ten by the coaches.  Schilling has received the Rader Memorial award three years in a row. 

The Roger Zatkoff Award went to Jonas Mouton.  With 111 tackles and 11 starts, and hampered at times by injuries, he was the season?s best defensive player.  He earned 2nd team All Big Ten media honors.

The Robert P. Ufer Bequest was given to Mark Moundous.  Moundrous demonstrated remarkable love and enthusiasm for Michigan and is a team co-captain.



The Richard Kratcher Award went to Mike Martin, as Michigan?s top defensive lineman.  He certainly is, and whether he returns in the fall will mean a lot to next year?s team.  Really expect that he will.  Had 36-tackles and suffered multiple injuries.  Voted all conference 2nd team honors by the coaches.



2010 Coaching Speculation Carousel



The coaching change speculation carousel is a merry-go-round that keeps spinning faster and faster,  lights blinking faster and faster, horns blaring louder and louder, drums pounding in louder syncopation, with segments of its rider-ship growing more and more dissatisfied, and mad at just about everything.



At Coach Rodriguez for significant handicaps that were of his making, for significant handicaps that were not of his making, for not being able to win in the Big Ten, for more and more looking defeated, for not providing a successful defense in three years, for the ?drama? and public ridicule that the program is continuously subject to on a national, local media, and recruiting level.



At Bill Martin for his convoluted coaching search, at every defensive coach including the Defensive coordinator, at no Les Miles, at no Jim Harbaugh, at no firing of the defensive coordinator, and/or his entire staff, and at the 3-3-5 scheme.  And most of all, at just one win in three years over a quality Big Ten team. 



Aye, there?s the rub, the real irritation.  Fix that and the divisiveness is squelched.  The loud mouths everywhere but in East Lansing and Columbus would be slammed shut.  Lack of wins is the problem, but even worse than losing, it is the inability to compete that glares and grates.



The fact of the matter is that Coach Rodriguez has been unable to provide that signature win that that other notable outsider, Bo Schembechler, provided in his first season upset of the Buckeyes.  To be sure Bo inherited a better team with players suited to his schemes.



In RR?s third unsuccessful combat against a decent, but only a moderately great OSU team (as OSU team?s go), the Wolverines were sadly not competitive on either side of the ball and were especially inept on special teams.  A respectable outing in Columbus would have saved some Rodriguez coaching reputation.  It didn’t happen.



There is a growing chorus of dissatisfaction with the timing of David Brandon? decision regarding RR’s status, although many more seem to think Brandon capable of doing things exactly right.



Some question why AD Brandon has not come out in support of Coach Rod, or pulled the trigger to replace him now, thinking that the uncertainty is bad for the program, especially recruiting.



Uncertainty certainly does hurt recruiting. There is no doubt of that, as the rumors of the impending de-commitment of highly regarded RB recruit, D Hart are sprouting.  Stay tuned on that one, and maybe the coaching uncertainty is the cause, but the transfer of running back Justice Hayes from an Irish commitment to the Wolverines might be as big a factor.  Recruiting should not be a driving force in this instance.  Granted de-commitments and/or a smaller class would not be optimal, and is a great concern, even if it should not be a primary coach change consideration.



I am beginning to believe that it will be a tough and highly criticized decision no matter what Branson decides, or when he decides it.  I am still letting my bets ride on him.



Events since the OSU game are leading me to believe that it appears less and less likely that Coach Rodriguez will return.  He gave a teary, very emotional address in his own defense at the Bust. Had a ?spiritual quality? some objected to, and featured a reading of a portion of a Josh Groban song: ?Raise Me Up?, and a playing of it with AD, team members, RR and moderator Beckman all holding hands on stage with right hands held to ceiling. 




This performance was enjoyed by many, but grated on some who said RR made the evening about himself and not about the players, and some saw it as begging for his job.  He ended saying that he truly wanted to be a Michigan man.



It is certainly easy to see why he was teary and emotional regarding his future. Obviously he has not had smooth sailing on Lake ?Michigan? waters.  There has been one crises after another.  There has been more mud slung at him then one could find in a pottery factory.  Again, some earned mud and some unearned mud.



It is certainly not easy to see how he is going to hang onto his position, with the accumulating Big Ten losses, the inability to prove his system will work against the better teams in the Big Ten, being again at the bottom of Big Ten defensive statistics, the appalling special teams boo-boos, and the over all lack of progress, except on offense.



His pluses are two more wins every year, a Denard Robinson Offense, and a team that seems to be ?All In ? for him.



As to David Brandon?s waiting until after the Bowl to make a decision, perhaps it is because of the buy out reduction after the 1st of the year.  Perhaps not.  Eventually we will know.



I sincerely want Coach RR to succeed in Ann Arbor because it is good for the school for him to succeed.  Always have wanted the program to succeed.  But the handwriting on the wall is reading as if that is a genuine question mark.  We will live with whatever David Brandon decides is good for Michigan Football.



At the bust, AD Brandon indicated that it might not be the Insight Bowl for the Wolverines as nearly everyone thinks, but the Gator Bowl in Florida.  Or maybe the Outback.  We will know for sure next Sunday evening.  (It turned out to be the Gator Bowl as in the first paragraph update.)



Thanks for reading this far.  If you have lost my email address I can be reached at  If you already have a different cablespeed address it will still work.


Also I want to issue a blanket apology for my failings on face book.  In that regard I know how the Special Teams feel.



Go Blue!