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September 03, 2013 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-09-03

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4B - September 3, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Scrambling brings crossed fingers
By ZACH HELFAND improvises, Gardner says, he
Daily Sports Editor i keeps a straight face. His team-
mates see that, he said, and
Every time Devin Gardner sthey're calm too.
improvises, Brady Hoke says, "I'm not really chaotic, my
the Michigan coach crosses his J heads not spinning or anything,"
fingers. On Saturday, Gardner he said. "It's probably refreshing
improvised often. for them. And then when they get
Of all the attributes possessed open, I get an opportunity to hit
by the redshirt junior quarter- them. And if they don't I'll just
back - size, speed, arm strength run."
-his best might be his creativity. Gardner is so confident that
Gardner thrives amid confusion. coaches must remind him that
His confidence and athleticism it is okay to throw the ball away.
extend plays and converts third Gardner switched fields and pir-
and fourth downs. This is a skill ouetted without looking Satur-
that infuriates defenses and wins day. That didn't hurt him against
games. Think Johnny Manziel's Central Michigan. Against a bet-
broken play artistry (or for morea- ter defense, forcing the issue is
familiar, more painful examples more dangerous.
for Michigan fans, think Vince Gardner's mistakes Saturday
Young in the 2005 Rose Bowl or came in the pocket. Both were
Troy Smith for three years). balls he shouldn't have forced
When left un-spied in Sat- but did. His second pass attempt
urday's 59-9 victory, Gardner on Michigan's second offensive
gashed Central Michigan with his ' play was an interception deep
legs. He rushed seven times for in Michigan's own territory. He
52 yards. Only one was designed. stared down senior receiver Drew
Three converted a third or fourth Dileo on an out route. The corner-
down. Two scored touchdowns. back read it from the start.
But Hoke crosses his fingers "A decent pass," Gardner said,
for a reason. "But it was a bad read."
"It's a blessing and a curse," He forced the issue againinthe
Hoke said. second quarter when both receiv-
For Michigan coaches, Gard- ers ran streaks. Both were cov-
ner can make any play call look ered. He tried to find fifth-year
smart. In coming games, defenses senior Jeremy Gallon anyway. He
will use a defender as a spy, or was hit when he threw, and Cen-
Gardner will run wild. But the tral Michigan had another easy
coaching staff also worries that interception.
he'll expose himself to hits or Gardner finished 10-of-15 with
force the issue. For players, block- the two interceptions. He scored
ing or running routes becomes a touchdown through the air and
an adventure. Every time Gard- two on the ground.
ner improvises, fifth year senior "He had a good game," Hoke
offensive tackle Michael Scho- PAULSHERMAN/Daily said. "I wouldn'tcsayelite orexcel-
field says, he doesn't even try to Redshirtjunior quarterback Devin Gardner ran seven times for 52 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday. Only one was a designed running play. lent or anything. But I thought he
guess where Gardner's headed. had a good game."
First Schofield feels the defender front of your guy as much as you then, finally, tucked and breezed, coordinator Al Borges called a down and beatcdefenses with pure Against Notre Dame and
move one direction, so he adjusts. can," Schofield said. with long-legged grace, into the designed quarterback run. Gard- speed. Robinson rarely scrambled beyond, when more than good
Then the defender runs the On Michigan's first offensive end zone. In all, he danced in the ner converted easily, directing effectively. Gardner, Schofield is needed, Gardner's balance
other direction. Then switches touchdown, Gardner took the pocket for six seconds and cov- his blockers before ducking out said, keeps his headup. Hechang- between creative and conserva-
again. Gardner, he said, is "shifty, shotgun snap and waited. He ered the 22 yards to the end zone of bounds past a defender like a es direction often. When Gardner tive will be crucial. Gardner will
shifty." waited and pumped. He pumped in another four, matador. runs, his long strides make run- scramble. That will make plays
"So you have no really clue and waited. He waited and Later, facing a fourth and one When Denard Robinson ran, ninglook easy, calm. and turnovers. Fingers will be
where he is, you just cry to stay in dropped back and stepped up and in the second quarter, offensive Schofield said, he put his head That's by design. When he crossed.

General Admission: Take one
Online Editor

It started with a trickle.
At 7:20 a.m., there were 16. At
9:20 a.m. there were 41. Around
100 by 11 a.m. All standing or sit-
ting, talking or napping, play-
ing cards or watching ESPN on
an 18-foot TV in a line of mostly
empty gated spaces. All waiting to
enter the Big House and be in the
front rows for the Michigan foot-
ball season opener against Central
For the first game of general-
admission student tickets in Mich-
igan football history, no one knew
what to expect. Was it the end
of Football Saturday pregames?
Would students not buy tickets?
Would hundreds camp out over-
night like they did when President
Barack Obama came to speak?
The Athletic Department over-
estimated the number of students
who would show up very early.
The gates were too long, the pri-
vate security guards were too
many - 20 as of 7 a.m. - and too
much free Pizza House pizza was
given out to the small group of
waiting students.
A private security guard said he
thought there would be more peo-
ple. "It's 10 o'clock, man," he said.
"Where is everyone?"
Very few students arrived
before noon. But soon, they start-
ed comingin droves.
The four chutes labeled H, O, K
and E were opened at 11:45 a.m.,
and the stadium student gates
were opened at 12:35 p.m. Students
were given a wristband (complete
with a bank advertisement) to be
granted access to the first 22 rows.
Once those rows were filled,
the newly arriving students were
given a general-admission ticket.
The growing crowd was easy-
going and no one seemed drunk -
very different than the lower bowl
at games in prior years. Radio-
friendly songs were played, some
students danced on their seats
and simple contests were held:
a tricycle race across the field, a
guess the Michigan legend on the
billboard and a field-goal contest
for an iPad. Simple things kept the
crowd from going crazy during
the wait.

Army veteran is
first student in line
By MATT SLOVIN months without football."
ManagingEditor Doug dragged them here, out
of bed early on a Saturday morn-
The first Michigan student ing, when even some of the most
arriving to sit in the first row of overzealous pregamers had yet
Michigan Stadium on Saturday to stir. He didn't introduce them
wasn't a wide-eyed freshman. to football without a little deceit,
Nor was it a senior who showed though it wasn't intentional. The
up at dawn to ensure a close seat three women had believed the
to the opener against Central game would start at 8 a.m. They
Michigan despite the switch to had no way ofknowing the mara-
general-admission seating. thon day that lay ahead of them,
Instead, it was a father. A hus- nor the history they'd soon be
band. A 10-year military veteran making as the firstguinea pigs of
with tours in Iraq and Afghani- the Athletic Department's new
stan. blueprint.
Doug Krusell, technically an Lochmann said Saturday that
Engineering junior by credit the main intention of the general
hours, turned 31 on Sunday and admission policy was to fill the
his first football game as a Uni- seats, after plenty of them had
versity student was a perfect gift. been left open well after kick-
The celebration, about an off in recent seasons. The move
11-hour ordeal altogether, began proved to be a smash hit - barely
at 7 a.m. when he became the any room remained by the time
first to walk through the roped kickoff rolled around.
lines outside the Big House, The shocking turnaround
securing his place in the front from years past - a near-full
row. His party had a disc jockey student section for a non-mar-
(hired by the Athletic Depart- quis opponent - surprised even
ment to provide entertainment Doug, who began his studies at
while students waited for entry), Grand Valley State University
plenty of guests (112,618 of them, knowing all along he wanted to
to be exact) and a pizza lunch end up in Ann Arbor.
(hand delivered to the waiting "I don't want to make enemies
area by Chief Marketing Officer with the Athletic Department,"
Hunter Lochmann). he said. "But the people they're
Along with other early ris- trying to encourage to show up
ers, Doug got a first look at the early ... this won't do anything."
Athletic Department's new gen- Later, sitting in his long-
eral admission policy. He waited sought-after prize, the concreted
patiently in the shadow of the Big Row 1 of Section 26 at Michi-
House until 12:30 p.m., when the gan Stadium, Doug changed his
hundreds of students were final- mind.
ly able to enter the stadium. First "I may be eating my words,"
come, first served, and Doug was he said. "If general admission is
the first to arrive. responsible (for the increased
But he didn't come alone. early attendance), then maybe it
Beside him sat three more stu- is a good thing."
dents who would've been wide- Some students might be sat-
eyed had it not been for their isfied with a one-week spot at
exhaustion. This was their first the front of the sea of maize,
time at the Big House. This was near where the Wolverines sang
their first time attending a foot- 'The Victors' after the 59-9 vic-
ball game - they had transferred tory. Once isn't enough for Doug,
from China's Shanghai Jiao though. This week was merely
Tong University, which doesn't practice. The Notre Dame game,
have a team. And this was their under the lights at the Big House
first couple weeks in the United next weekend, is where his focus
States. has been since he found out
"They think I'm crazy, but about the new ticketing system.
you've got to be crazy to do this," "That's the big one," Doug
Dougsaid. "It'sbeen a long seven said.


Some of the students who waited in the general admission line for good seats get some company after Saturday's win.

As of 1:20 p.m., only the first
14 rows of student seating were
filled, so superb seats were still
up for grabs. The first rows were
filled with a younger crowd - lots
of freshmen and sophomores - in
a space previously held by upper-
An hour before kickoff, the
student bowl was more than half
full. The general-admission policy
seemed to be a success. They had
convinced students to show up
to a game not only before kickoff,
but an entire hour before. The few
students at 7 a.m. had turned into
a horde of fans by 2:30 p.m.
Athletic Department Chief
Marketing Officer Hunter Loch-
mann said Saturday morning that

one reason for general admission
was to "create an atmosphere" for
coach Brady Hoke by kickoff. That
had certainly been accomplished.
After the game, Hoke men-
tioned how cool it was to have the
section full during warmups and
how much he appreciated that
from the students.
However, everything wasn't
The normally packed or beyond
capacity lower bowl was filled but
not crazily so. From a faraway
camera, it looked complete, but
on the ground there were empty
seats and everyone had plenty of
room - certainly not the norm in
previous games.
The traditional hierarchy of

seniors in the front, freshman
at the back has been destroyed.
Classes were mixed together and
some traditions were certainly
lacking in the front rows: students
were not thrown up in the air
after a Michigan score. This only
occurred in the back.
Traditions will still get passed
downfrom class to class,but it will
be more complicated.
About an hour before kickoff a
group of younger students tried to
start a wave. Other students start-
ed to join the effort, even though
the non-student sections of the
stadium were not filled.
An older student yelled, "The
wave is for the third quarter."
The others stopped.


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