ANN ARBOR—Last Saturday was supposed to be special for Michigan senior safety Thomas Gordon. What was supposed to be the final season opener in the Maize & Blue, week one didn’t exactly go as planned.
“(I watched it with my family) back home in Detroit,” Gordon said.
“It was definitely tough hearing that you can’t play the first game of your senior year. I mean, that’s a memory that you’re going to have forever. But, it definitely hurts and when I was first told about it, it hurt, but I knew I had to continue my leadership role. I couldn’t let that keep me from doing so.”
Suspended for the Wolverines 59-9 win over Central Michigan due to a violation of team rules, Gordon regrets putting his team in the position he did, forced to start two inexperienced safeties in the secondary to replace Gordon and injured senior Courtney Avery.
“I spoke to the team during camp and they knew what was going to be the out come,” Gordon said. “It was important for me to tell them that so they can learn from my mistakes and they certainly will learn from it and they won’t make the same mistake I would.
“That was a big blow and that was a let down on my behalf. We know the mistake I made and coach Hoke was obviously hurt by it and I was too. It can’t be afforded and it won’t happen again.”
Disappointed to miss a memorable experience, not only for himself, but for his team, Gordon says he understands why Michigan coach Brady Hoke made the decision to suspend him, setting the right precedent for the entire program.
“No matter what type of player is, especially in this program, there’s no player that’s going to be more important than the team. And that’s a message that had to get out and he had to make that decision and I know he had to.”
Starting 27 games throughout his career in Ann Arbor, Gordon is chomping at the bit to get back onto the field for Michigan’s early season showdown with Notre Dame on Saturday night.
Looking back on the first night game in stadium history back in 2011, Gordon can’t wait to run out of the tunnel.
“It was definitely just the atmosphere of the whole day,” Gordon said. “Just being at the hotel pregame and everybody outside the hotel and the whole lead up to the game, it’s something you’re never going to forget all your life.”
The Irish nearly shocked Michigan in the final minute in 2011 as quarterback Tommy Rees found Theo Riddick over the middle in a blown coverage to put Notre Dame up 31-28. Michigan came back to score late, but Gordon and the Wolverine secondary are well aware of the success Rees has had through the air.
“Definitely a real explosive team especially with Tommy Rees behind the helm,” Gordon said. “You watch film over the last couple years, he has hurt us through the air with big passes and we know we have a big test ahead of us as a defensive back group but we’re looking forward to the competition this week.”