Three Days. That's all that remains until opening Saturday in Ann Arbor. All the off season hi jinx, NCAA tomfoolery, hit pieces, scandals, and replays of painful losses will just float away come sunrise on that day. Michigan Stadium has sat dormant for too long, the sidelines empty, clamoring for the rumble of band, team and fans. Our countdown series continues down the home stretch, honoring the players and games of Michigan lore.
Before Michigan had kick return giants like Desmond Howard and Steve Breaston, Tripp Welbourne did double duty as a star strong safety and punt returner. His name is in the Michigan record books for single-season punt return yards (455), but he is only half of what was a lethal deep cover backfield for three Big Ten championship teams. Vada Murray, who is no longer with us, was on the other side of the field at free safety. He died of cancer in 2011 at the age of 44, but he and Welbourne are the reason Michigan conquered the conference those three years.
Jump to 5:16 in the second video, and watch Welbourne and Murray fly higher than Superman to assist in giving John Cooper his first loss to Michigan.