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Outback Bowl journal: Michigan players show their colors with pediatric cancer fundraiser

ALESSANDRA DA PRA   |   Times Michigan Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh speaks during an Outback Bowl Week media event at the Holiday Inn Tampa Westshore-Airport Area on Thursday, December 28, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.
ALESSANDRA DA PRA | Times Michigan Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh speaks during an Outback Bowl Week media event at the Holiday Inn Tampa Westshore-Airport Area on Thursday, December 28, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.
Published Dec. 28, 2017

TAMPA — DT Chase Winovich is used to suiting up in maize and blue. But in Monday's Outback Bowl, he will be adding bright orange to the mix.

About a week ago, Winovich promised via social media that he would dye his long, golden locks orange if a fundraiser for pediatric brain cancer raised $15,000. The ChadTough Foundation honors Chad Carr, grandson of former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr and son of former Michigan QB Jason Carr, who died at the age of 5 in 2015 from a rare form of pediatric brain cancer.

Winovich reached his goal within hours, so teammates got involved, committing to dye their hair, too.

As of Thursday, the campaign had raised more than $155,000, and a handful of Wolverines — including DT Maurice Hurst and T Grant Newsome — will be fulfilling their promises. A hairstylist is flying in from New Jersey on his own dime, Winovich said, to help complete the look. "I knew the Michigan community was strong, and I knew people cared," Winovich said. "I just didn't know to that extent."

And they won't be the only ones sporting a new look. Winovich said players were talking about the campaign in a meeting when they began to challenge defensive coordinator Don Brown to join. He agreed to dye his mustache orange but only if they hit the $125,000 mark.

"At that point we were at $25,000, so it was pretty daunting to get to that point, but I was like, 'All right, let's do it. This thing is really going to blow up now,'?" Winovich said. "That just says a lot of things about Coach Brown's character. … He's one of the best men I know."

He, aren't you …?

Long before Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and South Carolina coach Will Muschamp battled for blue-chippers, they battled for bluegrass supremacy.

Eastern Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky.

Muschamp recalled his one-year tenure as an EKU defensive backs coach in 1999, when he first encountered Harbaugh.

"His dad (Jack) was at Western Kentucky when I was at Eastern Kentucky," Muschamp said. "And I remember recruiting in Bradenton, and Jim was an NFL quarterback with a Western Kentucky warm-up suit on, recruiting for Western Kentucky. I don't know how legal that was, and there's a statute of limitations, so I'm sure he couldn't get in trouble for me saying this, but it was unusual."

Actually, it was totally legal. Jim, who had an offseason home in Orlando, became an NCAA-certified volunteer assistant, which allowed him to recruit.

Not bowled over

Neither coach had much to say about the Skirmish at Splitsville, where Gamecocks and Wolverines players exchanged words and had to be separated during a bowl function Wednesday. At least two Michigan reporters attended the event in the Channelside district and captured footage of the altercation. No punches or serious shoves were traded. "A little gamesmanship, that's all," Muschamp said. Did it tell him anything about his team's intensity? "Running your mouth at a bowling alley doesn't do a lot for me," he said.

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Odds and ends

Harbaugh said RG Mike Onwenu, sidelined most of November with a lower-leg injury, is healthy and practicing, but it hasn't been determined if he will play. … Muschamp said RB Rico Dowdle, recovering from a fractured fibula, probably won't play. RB A.J. Turner, the team's top rusher (517 yards) and primary kick returner, has recovered from a high-ankle sprain, Muschamp said.

Times staff writer Joey Knight contributed to this report.


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