The Wolverine

August 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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AUGUST 2021 THE WOLVERINE 31   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL fense end/outside linebacker Aidan Hutchinson said. "Ohio State has consistently been in the Big Ten Championship … [is] consistently one of the best teams in the Big Ten, in college football. So, if we aim to beat them, no one can beat us." It's about "stacking the good days" together and continuing to raise their individual goals with a purpose, red- shirt junior linebacker Josh Ross added. "It's not about looking too far in the future; it's not about any of that," he said. "It's about stacking today and having a purpose, and our purpose is to beat Ohio State. What are we doing today? … I'm go- ing to have the best workout and the best practice. If we stack the days of that mindset, then we're going to be where we want to be. It's some of our guys' last go. Why not us? Why can't we do it? There's no reason we can't. We've just got to do it every day, and that's what we've been doing, and we've been working towards that." — Chris Balas FOOTBALL BOASTING IMPRESSIVE SEASON TICKET SALES Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh acknowledged during Big Ten Media Days that Ohio State was the team conference squads — including his — were chasing, noting it was up to them to "knock them off their perch." But OSU is looking up to the Wol- verines in one area, and it's significant. Michigan had sold 85,154 season tickets as of the morning of July 23, as- sociate athletics director and program spokesman David Ablauf confirmed. That included 18,289 student tickets to 66,865 for the general population. Per The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio State had only sold 42,373 season tickets to donors, faculty members and the general public by its July 1 re- newal deadline. Non-student season tickets at OSU have declined each year since 2017, when Ohio State sold 53,926 seats. It fell to 53,151 in 2018, 50,868 in 2019 and 44,320 in 2020. Michigan's numbers, meanwhile, continue to rise. "Some additional student ticket orders are expected to come in from freshmen, too," Ablauf said. "The numbers represent a small decline from last year and the previous year, but that's understandable given the pandemic … and the good news is we're continuing to sell tickets every day. The fan interest has been there." The athletics department has also had success selling its family ticket packs. Between those, individual sales and season tickets, both the In- diana (Nov. 6) and Ohio State (Nov. 27) games have already sold out. Only about 5,000 seats remain for each of the other five home games, Ablauf confirmed. "The players and coaches are ex- cited," he said. "Assuming everyone stays healthy, it will be great to be back in front of a loud, fully packed Michigan Stadium this fall." — Chris Balas BIFF POGGI RETURNS TO MICHIGAN FOOTBALL AS ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH The Baltimore Sun was the first to re- port July 10 that Baltimore St. Frances High head coach Biff Poggi was hired to serve as Michigan football's associ- ate head coach, an off-field position. "He said he'll serve as an associate head coach, helping [Jim] Harbaugh mentor younger assistants and work- ing hands-on with the team's offen- sive linemen," the report read. This will be the second stint in Ann Arbor for Poggi, who is the father of former Michigan fullback Henry Poggi. He previously served under Harbaugh with the same title of asso- ciate head coach and special advisor to the head coach in 2016. "It's a younger man's game," Poggi told The Baltimore Sun. "This was a chance to go one last time on a really big stage, to a legendary program." Before he built the program at St. Frances, Poggi coached for 19 years at his alma mater, Baltimore Gilman. His youngest child, Mary, will start school at Michigan in the fall, another reason why the move made sense. "I'm going to Michigan with the idea that I'm going to be there until I fin- ish coaching," he said. "I'll be there, I hope, as long as Jim is there and wants me to stay there. … If he goes some- place else or doesn't want me to stay, then I'd look at other opportunities." Since Poggi will be serving in an off-the-field role, Michigan will not be able to recruit from the St. Frances program for two seasons per NCAA rules. The Wolverines have two cur- rent players — freshman running back Blake Corum and freshman linebacker Nikhai Hill-Green — who are products of the high school. This move comes amidst an off- season in which Harbaugh made significant changes to both his on- field and behind-the-scenes staff. The Wolverines brought in six new assis- tant coaches, revamped their recruit- ing department, replaced multiple graduate assistants and hired new analysts. — Clayton Sayfie The Wolverines' 2017 loss to Ohio State, which came by a final score of 31-20 but was a one- point game going into the fourth quarter, was the last time U-M was competitive in The Game. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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