Former Michigan linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary made a puzzling comment on Monday about the atmosphere at Michigan Stadium.
Jean-Mary is currently Tennessee’s linebackers coach and was asked to compare the difference between Neyland Stadium and The Big House. Jean-Mary’s analysis will not sit well with MIchigan fans, the team, and UM coaches.
“I think the University of Michigan crowd — which is a good crowd, I am not going to say it is a bad crowd — it is more of a tennis crowd,” Jean-Mary told reporters. “We have more of a gladiator stadium crowd at the University of Tennessee.”
While everyone is entitled to their opinion, Jean-Mary coached at Michigan during a pandemic in 2020, a year when there were no fans in the stands at Michigan Stadium. There were some friends and family of players allowed in the building, but that’s it.
“The University of Michigan, it is more of a bowl that sits a little lower,” Jean-Mary said. “Our stadium, it rises and it almost feels like it is on top of you, which obviously makes it a lot louder. It makes you feel like you are in a coliseum like in the movie ‘Gladiator.’”
Michigan consistently gets well over 107,000 fans in the stands, pushing north of 110,000 for premier matchups. A prime example of this was a night game against Washington in Week 2, a ‘maize out’ that was incredibly loud on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
Michigan Maize Out > Penn St White Out pic.twitter.com/p9atzKGRcf— Troy Vandy (@troy_vanderson) September 12, 2021
“In terms of environment, it was, what more can you do? What better way for the University of Michigan to represent themselves ... great job by all, I’ll put it that way,” Harbaugh said after the win over Washington. “What a phenomenal show that was put on Saturday night. Those images blow me away. The band, the halftime performance, pregame performance, the enthusiasm, the school spirit. First and foremost, the student section that is just wrapping now around the whole south west corner and into the south end zone and creeping toward the 50 yard line and growing and loud. It was as evident as it could be on the first play of the game with the Washington delay of game penalty.”
Jean-Mary has a right to be wrong, Michigan Stadium is no tennis crowd no matter how you slice it and dice it.