Movie about Spartans inspires Wolverines

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
“It’s actually funny, we picked '300,' the Spartans,” Tyree Kinnel said of last week's movie choice. “That was last week. We definitely won’t watch that this week."

Ann Arbor — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh gave his four captains — Ben Bredeson, Karan Higdon, Tyree Kinnel and Devin Bush Jr. — the opportunity to choose the team’s movie to watch the night before last Saturday’s game against Wisconsin.

Kinnel said the captains met to decide and came up with an interesting choice — “300” — the fictionalized and stylized telling of the famous ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas led 300 Spartans to battle the Persians, sacrificing themselves but ultimately saving Greece.

Of course what’s amusing is that the Wolverines chose a movie about Spartans and play the Michigan State Spartans on Saturday in Spartan Stadium.

“It’s actually funny, we picked '300,' the Spartans,” Kinnel said Tuesday night. “That was last week. We definitely won’t watch that this week.

More: Michigan receiver Tarik Black to return on Saturday, or maybe not

“We thought that was a good movie to watch, a good war movie, a good fighting movie. Thought it would be a good movie to watch before a game. We didn’t really realize the Spartan thing until it was on that we played them the next week. We won’t be watching it this Friday.”

He said the captains at first didn’t realize the humor, that they had chosen a movie depicting the great Spartan warriors.

Kinnel said he thinks the team will watch “Friday Night Lights” on Friday.

The night before games, the players gather and watch a film together.

“It’s chill, it’s relaxed,” Kinnel said. “You practice all week so hard and you finally get to Friday and just kind of relax and focus on the game plan and you come together as a team and watch a movie together. It’s a cool thing to do to get your mind ready for the game.”

Feeling better

Against Wisconsin, Kinnel had to leave with severe cramping. He was being escorted off the field when he had to sit down in a chair along the end zone wall because he was in considerable pain.

“I had whole lower body cramps,” he said. “The first time I went down it was my right hamstring and then the second time it was both my calves and my hip just locked up on me. It was a terrible feeling.

“I’m good now. Talked to my doctors and nutritionist and everything and we’re going to fix that, so hopefully I won’t go down again cramping.”

Kinnel said he was well-hydrated but wasn’t hungry during the day before the night game and didn’t eat much.

“Been talking to the nutritionist and they got me on a couple things I’m taking,” he said. “Hopefully I don’t have to go through that again.”

Patterson arrived to his media session with his left hand wrapped holding ice. Patterson had five stitches on the top of his hand after the game after hitting a helmet.

He said it has not limited him.

What’s the QB hierarchy?

When freshman quarterback Joe Milton made a couple appearances in the Wisconsin game last Saturday, some might have started wondering about Brandon Peters. Peters, a redshirt sophomore, was the starting quarterback late last season for Michigan but has been relegated to third string behind redshirt freshman Dylan McCaffrey.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was asked during the Big Ten call on Tuesday whether this means Milton has moved into the third spot.

“Joe had some opportunities to play in the game,” Harbaugh said. “Everybody that we have on the roster has a possibility to play. That doesn’t mean there was a depth chart change, though.”

It seemed like curious timing when Milton entered the game during the Wolverines’ first drive against Wisconsin, because there was strong momentum with starter Shea Patterson. Milton was quickly thrown for a 1-yard loss — Michigan eventually settled for a  field goal. He came in again late in the game and went 23 yards.

“He handled the ball well,” Harbaugh said. “Made a big run. Good to see him get out there, mix it up and play. I think he felt good about the play he executed, the couple that he was in on.”

Michigan-Wisconsin gets eyeballs

The Wolverines’ prime-time game against Wisconsin last Saturday night was the most watched sporting event that day, according to an ESPN release. The game aired on ABC.

It was one of the most viewed games of the college football season. The game delivered a total live audience of 6,103,000 viewers, placing it in the top five of most-watched games this season.


Twitter @chengelis