Making the morning rounds.
• Hey, I remember this guy. Escalating his campaign to absolve the stain of the heathen reign of Rich Rodriguez, Michigan coach Brady Hoke welcomed more than 200 former Wolverines back to campus over the weekend to reintroduce Michigan Stadium to the throbbing glow of Michigan Tradition for the spring game. Players who played under Hoke during his eight seasons as a Lloyd Carr assistant continued to oblige the family theme:
• Former tight end Bennie Joppru: "It's a feeling that's indescribable -- it was missing the past couple years. I know the guy that's here. I know the direction we're in."
• Former wide receiver Braylon Edwards: "(Hoke's message) was just more about the tradition. He appreciates the alums and he wants to get us involved and educate the players who play here now. It's sad to say, a lot of them don't know the tradition at Michigan. Back in the day, the former players knew the tradition."
• Former receiver Ron Bellamy: "The guys are excited a Michigan man is back on the throne. Some of us have been back to some of the practices, and it feels like a Bo Schembechler, Lloyd Carr atmosphere. … The practice tempo is faster, the kids are physical. That's the only way it's going to get better."
• Former running back Mike Hart, who didn't play under Hoke or Rodriguez: "Everybody kind of knows coach Hoke because he was around—coached a lot of guys. I think that's why they feel that way. I think it's always been a welcome-back atmosphere, I think guys just chose not to come back. … I can't tell you why, but I think it's because he didn't value the tradition like coach Hoke does. Rich Rod let you come back, but he never really valued the tradition of Michigan. Coach Hoke is all about tradition."
Indeed. And to prove it further, the AP notes that Hoke makes a point of enthusiastically drilling the team every day on the number of years Michigan has been playing football (132), the number of Big Ten championships Michigan has won (42) and "the team to beat" (Ohio — that is, Ohio State). "We do that all the time, when we break down as a group whether it's a workout or we're out on the field," said defensive tackle Mike Martin. "It's a big part of our program." [Associated Press, Detroit News, [ESPN], Detroit Free Press]
• Meanwhile, in Buckeye country. To the south, Columbus Dispatch beat writer Ken Gordon breaks down the limited scrimmage numbers to date and concludes that redshirt freshman Taylor Graham is hot on the heels of senior Joe Bauserman to open as Ohio State's starting quarterback during Terrelle Pryor's five-game suspension this fall, largely because Graham hasn't turned the ball over in nine possessions. Hyped true freshman Braxton Miller has had the fewest reps of the four candidates, and while he has "obvious talent," he's "not fully in command yet, mentally." [Columbus Dispatch]
Elsewhere in high profile quarterback duels, the Birmingham News' Kevin Scarbinsky speculates on the chances that A.J. McCarron and Phillip Sims will split time this fall as Alabama's starting quarterback, which wouldn't be so bad as long as they don't screw everything up. [Birmingham News]
There he is, in his familiar role as bearer of those crazy sideline placards Oregon used last year to signal in plays. Anyway, Dustin Haines has been suspended indefinitely after being charged with excessive noise, interfering with a police officer and resisting arrest early Saturday morning. Police said Haines "became hostile and scuffled with officers" in the incident, which included a noise citation for former Duck running back Brandon Thurston; Haines, a Eugene native, was taken to a local jail and posted bond later on Saturday. Naturally, he gets his own sign. [The Oregonian]
To quote a YouTube commenter, "OK EVERYBODY, READY? OK START YOUR FLAME WARS…NOW. TROLOLOLOLOLO…" [Associated Press]
Quickly… Both Texas A&M and Missouri sprang for rings to commemorate division championships. … Bob Stoops would rather play on Thanksgiving weekend, if it's all the same. … Gary Patterson is the most outstanding citizen in Fort Worth. … Jack Nicklaus defends Jim Tressel. … Ryan Mallett blasts Albert Breer. … The Iowa-Illinois football rivalry is given its last rites. … The Pac-12 hires a former NFL exec to plan and direct its championship game. … Auburn players sing the praises of holographic patches. … At home with Cam Newton and his prized keepsakes. … Alabama inadvertently disses the "American Caesar." … And Mark Emmert will not be meeting you in public.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.