12A - Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
AD Brandon reacts to newer, "Bigger"
House, game day rededication festivities
By TIM 1iOHAN
Daily Sports Writer
Moments after Michigan wrapped up
a 30-10 win over Connecticut to begin the
2010 season on Saturday, Michigan Athletic
Director Dave Brandon praised the pre-
game festivities as well as the play on the
In front of the largest crowd ever to
watch a football game - 113,090 people -
ed the Big House and First seen on
putcon quite the show d m
before the game. -hegm
"We wanted this
to be special," Brandon said after the game.
"It was 1927 the last time we had a dedica-
tion ceremony here. So my challenge to the
marketing team was, and we've been plan-
ning this for months, if one flyover is good,
let's have two. And let's not just cut the rib-
boo, let'sblow off some fireworks. We really
wanted to showcase the history of the sta-
dium with that video and obviously Brock.
Bfrock is an inspiration to this team. He's got
to share this victory today too."
Brock Mealer, the brother of Michigan
offensive lineman Elliott Mealer, was told
he had a one-percent chance of walking
again after a car crash left him paralyzed
and his father and brother's girlfriend dead.
Healer led the team out of the tunnel and
was the first to touch the banner.
"I held it together pretty well until that
moment (when he touched the banner) and
I'll tell you why," Brandon said. "I sat with
him, we planned this wholecthing. I told him
how we need to make this whole thing hap-
pen. He was great about it. And I'm getting
ready to leave and he kinda called me over
Brock Mealer leads the Michigan football team out of the tunnel before Saturday's game.
and said, 'Mr. Brandon, would it be okay if
I touched the banner?' And that's what he
wanted to do - that's what he did."
The festivities also included a video mon-
tage in tribute to the new Michigan Stadi-
um, with the voice-over recorded by Keith
When the game began, it was the Denard
Robinson show. Brandon was among those
impressed by the sophomore quarterback's
performance. Robinson threw for 186 yards
and ran for 197 more - setting a school
record for rushing yardsoby a quarterback in
a single game.
"He's got that speed," Brandon said. "You
notice several times, guys, you think you've
got the angle on him and he just leaves them
behind. He just has that afterburner kind
of speed that just gives him that break-
away threat every time he has the ball in
his hands. It was a big game for Denard.
And don'tforget, go look at his passing stats,
his completion percentage. If you think too
much about the run, he's going to burn you."
The win over the Huskies could set the
tone for the rest of the season. Brandon
always said that the team was working
hard to get back to Michigan's winning
"I've been to enough football practices,
been in a few of them, to know when a team
is practicing for a purpose," Brandon said.
"This is a team that has been practicing for
a purpose. You can just tell with the hustle.
You can tell with the attitude. And the way
they push one another and the way the
coaches were pushing them. We're off to a
good start - long season ahead."
Athletic Director David Brandon yreyares to cut the ribbon at the lie House rededication ceremony.
From Page 10
defense features two seniors in Chase
Tennant and Jeff Quijano. In their final
season as Wolverines, these defenders
know that without last year's defensive
MVP Julian Robles, the job of locking
down the backside of the field and help-
ing Blais is left to them.
But Blais, Tennant, Quijano and the
other Michigan defenders have already
shown their ability to stifle opponents'
attacks, as they held the 14th-ranked
Drake Bulldogs to only four shots on goal
and one goa1 in Friday's contest.
Two of Michigan's cop three scorers
from last season - senior forward Justin
Meram and sophomore midfielder Ham-
oody Saad - return but have their work
cut out for them, as leading scorer Mourn
Fuzetti is now playing professional soc-
But the duo hasn't given fans any rea-
son to worry about a lack of offensive
flair, as Hamoody Saad has one of Michi-
gan's two goals already this season - his
overtime goal led the Wolverines to their
first victory over Detroit. Meram had
nine shots in Friday's loss to Drake, and
led the team with four shots on goal.
"I think you're almays looking to make
sure there are those spiritual leaders on
the field and Justin is one of those guys,"
Burns said. "He can get his team moti-
vated, heroan be dynamic on the field. He
involves his teammates really well."
Despite losing former stars Rubles
and Fuzetti, this year's group is headed
by a strong senior class, which leads as a
group. Those upperclassmen know what
the playoffs feel like, as Michigan last
made an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in
2008 during their sophomore year.
Itlis the seasoned Wolverines who
know they will need the entire team -
not just certain pieces of puzzle - to step
up and make big plays to keep them in Big
Ten contention, and that means getting
solid production out of their high-profile,
highly recruited freshmen starters.
Michigan's freshmen have been
described as "fresh legs" for the team -
as they have continually provided a burst
of offensive energy thus far in the season,.
Freshman forward Soony Saad and
midfielder Fabio Pereria have combined
for 10 shots on goal in Michigan's two
games, and already it's clear that these
true freshmen will create legitimate scor-
ing opportunities for their team.
Burns combines a group that has
proven its ability to score and block shots
in the net with rookies who are eager to
get their names on the stat sheet. While
the season is young and only time will tell
what'this group can accomplish, Michi-
gao fields a balanced, fundamentally
sound team with a solid senior class as its
The pieces ore in place, and only time
will tell what picture the puzzle will
But for the record, don't be surprised
if this group of Wolverines light up their
brand new stadium this year.
Pagni can be reached at
join= FOLLOW @MICHDAILYSPORTS