On Tuesday, before the Michigan football team practiced, head coach Brady Hoke called his players into the team meeting room.
He called out seven names: redshirt junior defensive tackle Nathan Brink, redshirt sophomore left guard Joey Burzynski, redshirt junior long snapper Jareth Glanda, fifth-year senior fullback Paul Gyarmati, fifth-year senior tight end Mike Kwiatkowski, redshirt junior wide receiver Joe Reynolds and fifth-year senior quarterback Steve Wilson.
Hoke instructed them to stand in front of the room, and he announced that each would be receiving a scholarship for the semester initially, and possibly for the year upon re-evaluation before winter term.
“He did it in the team meeting room, and the meeting room went absolutely crazy,” said fifth-year senior cornerback J.T. Floyd. “I promise you, man, guys were jumping up and down. Those guys are an instrumental part of our team. They help us out in every facet of the game, whether it’s special teams, offense, defense, scout team — those guys are great guys and guys that we all just love to compete with.”
The news was apparently a surprise to both those that received the scholarships, and to their teammates.
“He just called those guys to the front, and we were all looking around like, ‘Man, what’s going on?’ ” Floyd said. “Then he announced the news, and that’s when the team meeting room erupted. It was bananas.
“All those guys — we’re a family. Everybody was just high-fiving each other, smiling. The whole team poured down in front, so it was great.”
Some of the new scholarship recipients have made significant contributions to Michigan’s successes last season. Most notably, Glanda found himself in the right place at the right time in the 2012 Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech when he caught a deflected pass from junior wide receiver Drew Dileo on a fake field goal attempt before the half.
The play registered a first down, and the Wolverines were able to tack on a field goal before heading into the locker room. In a game decided by just three points, Glanda’s catch may have been the difference maker.
Burzynski also made contributions last season, appearing in four games as a left guard reserve. Coaches also noted in spring ball that he’s been making notable strides in his game.
“We were all excited for Joey,” said fifth-year senior right guard Patrick Omameh. “He was one of the ones that we all ran up to first. We’ve seen him coming in, working day-in and day-out. We’re just happy that all his hard work has finally paid off.”
LASTING TRADITIONS: Hoke has been around the Wolverines since he initially joined the coaching staff in 1995 as the defensive ends coach. He knows as much about the program’s football history and tradition as anybody.
On Wednesday, when asked if he could name one team tradition as being particularly special, he mentioned the marching band practicing in front of the team on the Thursday before games.
“You know what’s going to be neat today is the band’s coming to practice,” Hoke said. “There’s nothing like the Michigan band coming to practice.”
Added Omameh: “It’s different hearing the band coming and actually experiencing it. Probably the most significant experience was actually my freshman year, because I was like (in) high school, we had our marching band, but I heard this marching band right in front of us. And I was like, ‘This is a great band.’ … It kind of blew my mind.
Floyd’s favorite tradition, on the other hand, is a bit more related to the football program’s play on the field over the years.
“My personal favorite has to be when (Hoke) comes in the meeting room and he gives out the championship years,” Floyd said. “When he does that, it kind of reminds you of the tradition and the legacy you have here at Michigan.”
Notes: Hoke still has not made a decision regarding whether redshirt junior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and sophomore defensive end Frank Clark will play against Alabama on Saturday. He said he will probably make the decision before the game. Freshman defensive end Chris Wormley underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL on Tuesday, and Hoke said, “Everything went well.” Wormley will redshirt this season due to the injury.