Thursday, May 01, 2008

Off-Season Musing

So, I am stealing an idea from Sports Talk Radio, but it's a fun one and since there's not a whole lot to talk about during the off-season, I thought I would have some fun.

On WDFN, SportsRadio 1130 here in Detroit, the drive time hosts Stoney and Wojo were "celebrating" the Detroit Lions' resigning of Artose Pinner by asking the question "Which average to mediocre Detroit athlete would you most like see to come back?" So, I am going to tweak it a little, and ask the readership this question:

"Which average to middling Michigan athlete from the past would you count among your favorites?"

(College sort of precludes the whole "returning" part of the question.)

Now, obviously, this means no Heisman winners, no All-Americans, no superstars, but rather, a guy who you miss because of what he brought to the table, even if they were not the most athletically gifted.

My answer after the jump. Yours in the comments, please.

My selection for football is Scott Dreisbach. This is largely a sentimental pick for the fact that it was his pass to Mercury Hayes that beat Virginia in the Pigskin Classic, but I remember writing about him as a high school senior, about how he showed flashes of brilliance.

But, thanks to some injuries, he Brian Griese got the call for the latter part of 1995 and when Dreisbach struggled, Griese rode to the rescue against Ohio State in Columbus in 1996.

Griese never relinquished the job in 1997, and when Dreisbach was a senior, he couldn't beat out some guy named Tom Brady for the starting job. But I always liked Scott, and mostly wanted to send him some love.

(Thanks to WolverineHistorian for allowing me to illustrate those points a little more readily.)

For hockey, it's Scott Matzka. Wait, wait, don't hit me! Matzka's inability to finish on breakaways was maddening in part because we saw him do it a number of times. He had six shorthanded goals his junior year, so we know it could be done. His eight career shorties are Michigan's all-time mark. He hustled, he was quick, and even if he could be frustrating, I always liked him.

So, that's me, what about you?


Charles said...

my two favorite non-stars in Michigan football history in the past were probably Clarence Williams and Jermaine Gonzales. I remember Williams because i felt bad for him when he got injured in the Minnesota game in 97 and missed the rest of the season then lost his starting job to the A-Train. I remember Gonzales because he caught (what should've been) the game winnning TD against MSU in 2001, i screamed non stop for several minutes after that game as a 14 year old.

Jeremy said...

Jermaine Gonzales' senior year of high school: 32 TDs, 0 INTs.

Can I pick Hayden Epstein? I remember we trotted him out to try a 59 yarder just for the hell of it, and he made it.

Aram said...

With Dreisbach, he kept getting hurt in the most unlucky ways... As I recall, that injury in '95 was a result of him getting his thumb stuck in a running back's jersey on a handoff, which proved to be a recurring problem that kept him from ever being successful at Michigan. I also recall that Griese was less than stellar for the remainder of that '95 season, including a horrific loss at MSU...

As for my picks...

Football: Cory Sargent. Originally a quarterback. Moved to punter. So much potential, and sucked at both. Honorable mentions to James Whitley and Max Pollack.

Basketball: I know he sucked, and this was a well-known suck, but I have always had a softs spot in my heart for Jason Bossard, the human victory cigar of the Fab Five teams. He was chunky, he looked like the guy who fixes your car, and it was great to wait for the Fab Five to blow a team out by about 30 points so you could see Bossard get in the game and launch a 3-pointer over the backboard.

Hockey: While my current choice is Danny Fardig, from the past, it has to be Chris Frescoln. 4 years at Michigan, 1 National Championship, 3 career goals. And he played most every game his last two years. While racking up like a year of penalty minutes.

Jeff said...

Gavin Groninger - He shot 100% in warmups...and 10% in the games.

Jay Riemersma - QB turned TE back in the early-mid 90s. Looking back, he reminds me a lot of John Navarre, only better.

Douglas said...

Leroy Hoard. I think this quote says it all: "Hoard reportedly once said to his coach, "Coach, if you need one yard, I'll get you three yards. If you need five yards, I'll get you three yards."

noelenergy said...

Marcus Ray, because he was a badass...and he laid the smackdown on David Boston which made the SI cover. Even if he did suffer from Pippen's Protomorphosis Syndrome.

B.A.M. said...

I have to go with 1994 Michigan co-captain and senior Walter Smith who broke his leg early in the 94 season, only to come back and dress for his final home game against Minnesota and actually play one down.

I was at the stadium that day. One of my favorite Michigan moments. The crowd was chanting "Walter, Walter, Walter...". Moeller sent him out as the flanker. He limped his way onto the field, crowd going crazy...they snapped the ball, Smith turned quickly, caught a 2 yard pass and fell softly out of bounds.

It was only a two yard completion, but at the time, to Walter Smith, it was everything. What a memory.

Anonymous said...

football: Anyone with a cool name like Glen Steele or Sam Sword

hockey:. I will also go with Danny Fardig. You have to love a blue collar player that loves to throw his body out in front of slap shots for blocks. Danny has become a master at the block shot in his three years so far.

LudaChristian said...

What about Maceo Baston from the '97 NIT championship team? Wasn't the most polished, but the dude had mad ups & the longest arms on the floor.

There's a highlight reel of his European days set to R.Kelly's "World's Greatest"...kinda funny. Check it out:

David said...

did everyone forget tim miller? he goes out there every friday and saturday night and skates his ass off. while he doesn't produce the star power of his teammates, he put in some clutch goals, especially in the ccha championships. he's best on the penalty kill, where he seemingly does absolutely nothing, yet gets cheered wildly by the yost crowd as the opposing team can barely advance past their own blue line. he may have failed to live up to his freshman hype as a goal scorer, but he's a hell of a player.