Monday, October 1, 2007

The "All-Michigan-Man" Team.

Since it’s a bye week (ha!), a friend of mine and I decided to name our All-Michigan-Man team, consisting of guys that fit the description of “Michigan Man,” whatever the heck that means.  My first step was to try (and fail) to define what a Michigan Man is.  My list:

  • Since Bo arrived.
  • Guys that maybe weren’t expected to be stars but turned out great – David Harris might be in, Woodson might not.
  • Guys who played stayed for their full eligibility are preferred.  But that’s not a yes / no thing – Woodson left early, but you could hardly blame him.
  • If there’s a picture of the player with a smashed, scratched, gouged helmet, or bloody limbs, that’s a plus.
  • Getting in trouble doesn’t necessarily keep you out, as long as you later distinguish yourself as a good guy (yes, i’m looking at you, Brian Griese)
  • We still want a good team, so we start with the great players and ask if they fit the profile, rather than starting with the premed guys who never saw the field.

Someone like Chuck Winters might actually make it – for as much as I despised him on the field, he was a good guy of some reputation who had come from a truly horrific background and stayed around for four years without getting in trouble.  That’s something to be proud of, I think, whether he COST US THE COLORADO GAME OR NOT! 


Your results may vary.  But without further ado:



A long list of possibilities:

  • Harbaugh is dead to me.  DEAD!
  • Todd Collins was a good player, and carried his teams on some level (the stretch with Jason Carr – yes, that “Carr” - playing for an injured Collins was brutal) but his longterm impact has been minimal.
  • Drew Henson…sigh…what could have been.
  • Tom Brady has had as much impact on the program as anyone simply by being a spectacular pro (nobody every talked about us being a Quarterback U for the NFL until that happened), and seems to always be proud of his pedigree.  But he wasn’t…oh, how should I say this?...he wasn’t all that highly regarded while he was here.  A terrific player, yes, and was clearly the best QB we had while he started, but my memory is that we couldn’t wait to get him out of here and move on to the next guy.
  • Chad Henne could be the guy, too, but he’s yet to truly be “the guy.”  Part of that is who has been around him – Braylon, Mike Hart, even Jason Avant and Stevie Breaston have been the go-to guys.  He just doesn’t have the aura about him.
  • Elvis Grbac.  Nope, even though he WAS the guy for a couple years there.
  • Brian Griese won a national championship and was a standup guy once he got his head screwed on straight.  He learned his lessons and stuck it out, plus he was a walk-on.  That’s gotta count for something, but he’s not quite to the top level.

Which leaves us with…

  • Rick Leach.  Now HERE’S a guy with an aura.  The face of the program while he was here, he’s still talked about with a reverence that few others get.  The game has changed and these days we judge QBs on touchdown passes and yardage, so it’s hard to remember how good he was and how important to the program, but he was the guy.
  • Dennis Franklin.  See Leach, Rick, although he was a notch below him in production and in impact beyond Ann Arbor.  Still, he was “the guy,” as well.

And my total wildcard, Michael Taylor.  Yeah, there’s some “pick an obscure guy” attitude at work here, but…well, he just seems like a good fit to me.  Franklin and Leach probably would have been stars anywhere, but Taylor always seemed to be succeeding on the basis of guts and smarts.  That, to me, is what we’re talking about here.  So he’s my guy.



Mike Hart is clearly in the rotation – a great, great player and a credit to the program.  Small and not a burner, he’s transformed from a jitterbug high school megastar into a tough, get-every-last-inch piledriver who blocks as well as anyone I’ve ever seen, catches passes, leads by example AND by fiery disposition, and demands 110% from every player on the field.  An obvious choice.

And Rob Lytle, if only for this picture:


Also Jamie Morris (see Hart, Mike) and Tshimunga Biakubutuka, for the Ohio State game.  Still get shivers on that one.



Life awaits, more to come.

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