Sugar Bowl Notebook: A Day in the Superdome
From left: Ryan Van Bergen, Kevin Koger and Brandon Moore

Dec. 31, 2011

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The Wolverines got their first glimpse at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on New Year's Eve, holding an 80-minute practice inside the home of the New Orleans Saints. The 132nd team in school history held a morning practice that began at approximately 10:10 a.m.

Four buses pulled up to the dome with the players fully dressed for the 13-period practice. The Wolverines focused on getting acclimated to the stadium field and lighting after taking a few minutes to view the visiting locker rooms.

Prior to the team's only practice at the Superdome, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and five defensive players attended a bowl-sponsored press conference. The media opportunity was held at the Marriott Convention Center from 9:15-10 a.m.

"Their quarterback is bigger than most of our defensive linemen," said Mattison during the press deal. "(David) Wilson is a great running back, and their receivers have made some big plays throughout the season. If you look at Virginia Tech's depth chart, you must be a junior or senior to get on the field offensively. This is a veteran team that we are facing."

After a few hours off during the afternoon, the entire Michigan travel party went on a New Year's Eve riverboat cruise. The Creole Queen took the Wolverines down the Mississippi River for a two-hour cruise that included dinner and music. The group was entertained by the on-board musicians and received a special performance from players Jack Kennedy, Joe Reynolds and Will Hagerup. The trio borrowed a guitar and sampled a variety of artists that included Eminem, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Chris Brown, John Mayer and Usher.

"The Superdome is a great venue," said senior tight end and co-captain Kevin Koger. "I've only played in one dome before, so this is pretty nice. When we pumped in the music for practice today it was really loud, so this place will have great energy on Jan. 3."

The Sugar Bowl is aptly named because Louisiana is the nation's birthplace for the sugar industry. In 1795 a plantation owner by the name of Etienne de Bore raised sugarcane and discovered a boiling technique that crystallized the cane juice, thus creating a flourishing trade for the region. The site of the plantation eventually became the location of the original Sugar Bowl Stadium, which was used from 1935-74.

Michigan has compiled a 14-3 record all-time in domes. The Wolverines posted a 12-0 mark against Minnesota at the Metrodome and defeated Syracuse at the Carrier Dome in 1999. U-M has a 1-3 bowl record in domes, winning the 1981 Bluebonnet Bowl in the Houston Astrodome before falling in the 1984 Sugar Bowl at the Superdome and twice in Alamo Bowl played at the Alamodome (1995, 2005).

The Inside Michigan Football Television Show with host Jim Brandstatter and head coach Brady Hoke will be shown on Monday, Jan. 2, at 6:30 p.m. EST, on Fox Sports Detroit. The Sugar Bowl preview show will be rebroadcast twice on game day (Tuesday, Jan. 3), airing first at 8:30 a.m. and again at 6:30 p.m., before the Wolverines face the Hokies in the 78th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl game.

Brady Hoke and sideline reporter Doug Karsch will hold the Inside Michigan Football Radio Show live from New Orleans on New Year's Day night. The Jan. 1 show will be held in the lobby of the New Orleans Marriott from 6-7 p.m. CST. The one-hour radio show will originate on WXYT Radio from 7-8 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on other stations on the Michigan Sports Network. Check local affiliate listings for the time in your market.

»  Learn about ticket packs and individual game tickets for the 2017 Michigan football season.