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December 27, 2012
The Flow - the long hairstyle made popular by defensive players like Ryan Van Bergen last season - is, sadly, all but gone from the Michigan football roster.
This year, a few Wolverines still decided to sport the long-hair look, notably redshirt junior Brendan Gibbons, who added a scruffy beard to accent The Flow. But no more - Gibbons has undergone a stylistic transformation.
"I was sitting in my room and just wanted to change it up a little bit, go back to the way I used to look," Gibbons said. "Just clean it up a little bit."
So, two weeks ago, he chopped his long hair off.
"I had been thinking about it [for a while]," Gibbons said. "Long hair is hard to keep up, spending all your money on condition and stuff. I didn't want to do that any more. ? I'm better off."
Redshirt sophomore Jake Ryan - who some Michigan fans have taken to calling "Thor" because of his long blonde hair - is now the last bastion of The Flow mentality.
But there are more important matters to attend to than hairstyles: the looming Outback Bowl.
Facing a South Carolina defense that has surrendered just 24 total touchdowns all season and ranks 15th nationally in opponent red zone conversion percentage (71.8 percent), the Michigan offense will have its hands full.
Points will be at a premium Jan. 1 - and that's where Gibbons will come in.
Since he came up short on a 44-yard try into a driving wind during the Purdue game, Gibbons had connected on 11 consecutive field goal attempts, which ranks as the second-longest such streak in program history (Remy Hamilton hit 14 straight in 1996).
If - and when - the Wolverines stall on a drive, Gibbons' sturdy leg could be the difference in what will almost surely be a defensive battle.
Wednesday, the Wolverines were forced to practice indoors due to inclement weather, but Gibbons says that will not alter his preparation.
"I got out there and kicked a few balls, but I couldn't really kick inside the gym," he said."I just watched and cheered on the team.
"It won't affect me. I'm just doing my thing. I can run through steps in my head and run through them on the court. It doesn't matter."
Gibbons, a native Floridian, is excited to kick in his home state, especially in the stadium of his favorite NFL team.
"Kicking here will be cool," Gibbons said. "I'm a big Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, so I think it will be fun to kick in Raymond James Stadium. It's easy for my family and friends to travel, so that's always fun."
Note: Losing Weight:
Gibbons had a list of goals he wanted to accomplish this season - and trimming down was one of them.
"I wanted to lose some weight, so I did that," he said. "I wanted to come back even better than last year, and I want to do the same thing next year. But I want to end this year on a good note, with a win over the Gamecocks.
"I lost like 15 pounds. I wouldn't say it affected my kicking. I just wanted to be in better shape and be ready."