Dec. 28, 2011
The University of Michigan football team touched down in New Orleans at 1:34 p.m. CST today (Wednesday, Dec. 28). The Wolverines begin a seven-day stretch in the "Big Easy" preparing for a match-up with Virginia Tech in the 78th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl. The game will kick off at 8:30 p.m. EST from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012.
"We are excited to be in New Orleans and to represent the Big Ten Conference in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against a great Virginia Tech team," said head coach Brady Hoke at the arrival press conference held at the charter terminal. "We appreciate the hospitality and look forward to a great week of preparation mixed with some team functions in this great city."
Five buses left Schembechler Hall this morning at 9:15 a.m. EST after a continental breakfast in the Commons. The Wolverine travel party of 265 people left from Detroit Metro Airport at 11:27 a.m. The Delta A330 plane that the team flew typically runs international flights to Amsterdam and does cross-country flights for NFL teams.
Upon arrival in New Orleans, the Wolverines were greeted off the plane by a six-piece Third Line Band and approximately 25 members of the Sugar Bowl committee.
In addition to the travel party, U-M had 42 players arrive in New Orleans on flights from their hometowns. All of the players arrived at the destination in time for the afternoon activities.
Michigan boarded buses on the tarmac for the official team hotel, the New Orleans Marriott. The travel party arrived at 1:39 p.m. after a brief delay on the highway because of a broken-down team bus. Everyone checked into their rooms and had a light lunch before a team meeting. The players and coaches loaded buses for their first practice after four days off for the holiday season.
Coach Hoke and the Wolverines hit the field at Tulane University for a brisk, unpadded practice. They got acclimated to the Tulane complex and practice fields during a 75-minute workout that ended at 6:02 p.m.
"It's good to back on the field with my teammates," said quarterback Denard Robinson following the team's first practice. "We need to focus on the game plan and doing the things the coaches have stressed over the past two weeks. I'm looking forward to spending time with my teammates, especially the seniors, during this bowl trip."
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NOTE OF THE DAY
Brady Hoke announced during his press conference that Michigan could be without the services of two of its defensive linemen for the Sugar Bowl. Junior/sophomore Nate Brink will be sidelined for the game with a leg injury, and fifth-year senior Will Heininger is listed as day-to-day after suffering a foot injury in last Thursday's practice (Dec. 22).
STAT OF THE DAY
There was a 37-degree temperature difference for Michigan today. The Wolverines left 23-degree temperatures in Ann Arbor and arrived to 60 degrees in New Orleans.