Spring is almost upon us

Rich Rodriguez announced last week that Michigan’s Spring Game will be returning to Michigan Stadium. This year’s intrasquad, to be played April 11th, will once again be open to the public. This is obviously a major step forward for the program, after last year’s final practice was closed, and held at nearby Saline High School.

Now that things are on the right path, I humbly offer a few suggestions to the athletic department the ensure this year’s game is a success.

  • Have a real game with normal scoring. None of this “offense v. defense, a sack is 2 points for the defense, a first down is worth half a point…”-type nonsense. A spring game is for the fans, and so let’s not make it confusing to follow. Figure out a way to get it done (I suggest first teams v. second teams, but there are a number of other ways to get this done).
  • If there are going to be activities other than a game, make them interesting. Florida has the players race each other (and students who want to try their hand at beating the likes of Percy Harvin). Michigan has players run through drills that fans don’t get. Which do you think is more interesting to observers?
  • Invite every high school coach in the state, and most from Ohio. Encourage them to bring their teams. Invite every single prospect that has been identified for the classes of 2010 and 2011. I don’t care if they’re from Florida, Hawaii, or Timbuktu. If they want to come, they will. If it’s too far, they won’t. What does it hurt to extend an invitation? Since there’s guaranteed to be less media covering the spring game (regardless of who is invited), allow the recruits to stay on the sidelines during the scrimmage – something they cant do during an actual game.
  • Have a festival-like atmosphere, or at least treat it like a game. Have tailgating, the Victors Walk, contests, concessions. Have the whole band and the whole cheerleading squad in attendance. Bring in forme (or current) NFL players to call plays. Invite College Gameday to Ann Arbor (they were in Gainesville last year) – or at least whatever BTN’s version of GameDay is. Invite all the media that cover the team during the regular season – go out of your way to make sure they know they are welcome.
  • If it’s cold, have a pep rally in Crisler before the game. If not, hold it in the stadium. Have Coach Rod speak to the crowd.
  • Give tours of parts of Michigan Stadium fans have never seen. Considering all the construction, that could just be whatever has been completed since November 15th. Let them in the locker room, or Junge (unless it’s being used for recruiting) or the press box.

As for fans? Well, they just need to show up, have fun (regardless of the weather), and maybe have a tailgate or two. If there’s one thing fans can do to help the team for next season, it’s showing they still care about and love the Michigan Wolverines, and maybe build a little confidence for the players and coaches going into ’09.

What ideas do YOU have to improve the spring game? Leave them in the comments, and I’ll post a roundup/revision post as spring practice begins. Maybe the best suggestion will get a prize… Anybody interested in a DVD set? There’s a copy of The Rivalry Series: Michigan Beats Ohio State up for grabs.

Posted under Football, Recruiting, Spring Coverage
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16 Comments so far

  1. Demetrius Dew says...

    I would suggest a 2 Day event, the first day allow fans to watch the team go through practice at the stadium and the second day have the scrimmage game.

  2. AC1997 says...

    I LOVE the ideas to spice up the spring event.

    I think they should do an NFL Combine type of event as part of it. I know there is a risk of injury, but if you keep it simple and trust in the Barwis mystique then it shouldn’t be a problem:

    — 40-yard dash
    — Shuttle
    — Position drills for the glamor positions (QB, WR, RB, CB)
    — Longest FG
    — Longest throw
    — One-on-one drills for lineman and WR/CB

    I think if you invite all of the recruits you could do a combine type activity for them the day before or before the crowd is allowed in.

  3. Sean Webster says...

    Skills competition. Having the game televised would be huge. Getting alot of people to attend is better. Hand out maize & blue shirts so the crowd will be equally balanced in color.

    Guys from a couple seasons ago like Jake Long, Mike Hart, Chad Henne should all be there along with Coach Carr to speak in front of the Michigan faithful. That team did basically beat the 2009 national champs.

  4. Ann Arbor 1879 says...

    is the Spring Game free to those who attend?

  5. Tim says...

    It has been in the past. With the numbers they get for a free event (sub-10,000), I would assume they won’t start charging any time soon, unless the money goes to a charity or something.

  6. umjgheitma says...

    I say if boosters want to see their team succeed in the future, there needs to be as many recruits there as possible. Have Rich Rod compose a list of recruits he’d really like to see at the game and have whoever wants to Dontate-a-Star. Where someone could sponser a recruit to come in and see the game and hear about Michigan tradition from real fans. Possibly a recruit would feel more obligated to commit if they saw someone actually dipped into their own pockets to have them come out to the school. (or we could just have a general fund raiser to do the same thing but it wouldn’t have the personal touch)

    Another thing would be to have the announcer present so people can hear the names of those making plays.

  7. UofMSnowboarder says...

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure having boosters give money to potential recruits is a big no-no.

    I’d like to see an introduction of all the players, at the very least, of the players that are playing in Michigan Stadium for the first time. Doesn’t have to be just the early enrollees. Anyone who hasn’t had field time yet.

  8. umjgheitma says...

    OK, thought it was just giving them money was a no-no, didn’t know paying for travel was too. I guess that makes sense when you look at why a recruit only gets 5 official visits.

  9. CanadianBlue says...

    Why no incorporate a freshman/sophmore vs. junior/senior game or competition? Have the young fresh guys battle the experienced vets and give fans something to compare the news faces to.

  10. Tim Miller says...

    Great ideas for the Spring Game! I think that most SEC teams and their fans really get into the Spring Game atmosphere. Are these suggestions going to find their way to Rich Rod and Bill Martin?

  11. Evan says...

    Those ideas for making the spring game better are really really good. Is there anything we could do to tell people who can do something about it? Like a petition or anything?

  12. Evan says...

    An online petition, I mean.

  13. Chris says...

    The ideas presented were fantastic –

    I believe regardless what the actual event is, you must show enthusiasm and excitement in order for there to be success.

    I’m from Canada, so our passion is hockey, so regardless if it’s an outdoor game, a scrimage, an exhibition game, you already have the reason why to go, make it that more special so it snowballs into a magical, can’t miss event.

    We’ve decided this year to go to the Spring Game, what I would expect for success is interaction with the fans, build to the fans excitement,(have the the players, RR, other Coaching Staff) speaking and showing the those in attendance why the play worked, didn’t work for those less knowledgable about the game. The Spring Game I hope is interactive and not seen just as a tune up. This is the first time we get to see UM Football 2009, make me want to come back next Spring.

    A Tailgate is absolutely imperative to start the year off right!


  14. David says...

    Just reading the spring game ideas got me excited. I like the idea of a “reminder” in the doldrums in April of the college football atmosphere. The coaches and everyone else know that the practice isn’t nearly as much to get things accomplished as to cap the practice sessions and do something for the fans.

  15. Kevin says...

    I love these suggestions for the Spring Game, especially the one about actually making it a game rather than us some ridiculous point system that no one understands. Anything to get the fans interested and out to the stadium would be helpful.

    Unfortunately the weather here in Michigan is very iffy in early April. I have been to some amazing Spring Games with lots of sunshine and temps in the 60’s, but the last few I have been to have been cold, snowy, cloudy, drizzly, or combinations of all of the above. In the south it is easier to get fans out for the Spring game because, you know, it is actual spring-like weather.

    That being said, rain or shine, I will be there on April 11th with the grill fired up wearing as much maize as I possibly can!

    Go Blue!

  16. RBratton says...

    PLEASE COME PEOPLE!!!!! I havent been since 2002 but I’m bring my buckeye fan girlfriend with me and want to show her how Michigan fans do it up. Us fans can make this spring game as fun as we want. Lets have a giant tail gate before and after the game. Then get a bunch of us to hit the town and get some food and tear it up at some local bars!! Lets not worry about what the school is going to do and do it as fans!

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