Category Archives: Michigan Football

Where Are The “Fire” Harbaugh Clowns Now?

I’ve taken plenty of heat for my continued belief that Jim Harbaugh would turn around Michigan, but those who called me names and questioned my sanity and knowledge of football are now nowhere to be found.  Why?  Where my spartan dawgs at?

For one, I’ve never turned on Harbaugh, I’ve always believed he was Michigan’s best hope for a resurgence and haven’t wavered, but boy did my enemies have a field day with my belief that Harbaugh was the man for the job in Ann Arbor.  Check out this thread from some Sparties.

I’ve long said 2018 (ask Jim and Drew) was the year Harbaugh would turn it around.  I had high hopes for them to do it a year early in 2017, but that didn’t materialize because Michigan didn’t have a competent QB and the offensive line wasn’t ready.

We are now seeing the fruits of Harbaugh’s labor.  Face it, the program was in awful shape and needed a massive infusion of talent before even a phenomenal coach like Jim Harbaugh could turn it around and compete.  The program was so off the rails before Harbaugh arrived in Ann Arbor that it was obvious he would need some time to massage the roster and return Michigan to prominence.

Michigan’s dominant wins over Wisky and Sparty are a sure fire sign that Harbaugh has Michigan rolling, they aren’t ready to win a National Title yet, but they are certainly ready to be in the conversation and as of last weeks destruction of Sparty, they are right in the middle of the national conversation.

However, I’m perplexed that many national experts are leaving Ohio State for dead, I’m confident they will win out until they play Michigan, but I think Michigan is in the drivers seat heading toward the showdown with the buckeyes.  This game will be great if both teams are 11-1.  I expect Michigan will win, but this is still Ohio State and they are still a great program.  As we all know, anything can and will happen in Columbus.

As of today, Michigan is back, the rivalry with MSU is secure as Harbaugh has now won two of the last three.  Michigan State will no longer be an issue, the worm has turned, Sparty is dead.  Michigan State simply cannot recruit with Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State.  It was fun while is lasted for sparty, but now it is over.

Harbaugh has created and remained steadfast in his belief that outstanding defense and solid offense would win titles, he is being proven correct. He will be at Michigan for years and he will compete and win titles at Michigan.

The Harbaugh critics have fallen silent; most of it was wishful thinking.  Harbaugh was never going to fail at Michigan and everybody is FINALLY figuring that out.


Jim Harbaugh’s evolution noticeable to fans, critical for Michigan

Jim Harbaugh has changed because he had too or risk losing his team.

Following last season’s loss to Ohio State, Harbaugh scheduled “workouts” for his team the week between the last game of the year and the conference championship game (which they Wolverines were not playing in). This isn’t an unprecedented move, but it is unusual given the grind of a twelve game season.

It is common knowledge that Harbaugh is a grinder who looks for an advantage at every opportunity. This was no exception. Certainly an extra week of workouts could only benefit his program.

Little did Harbaugh expect, but it had exactly the opposite effect. To many of his players and their families, they believed practicing the week after the season ended was excessive for a football team physically and mentally spent after a tough 2017 campaign.

One parent of a high-profile player took it upon themselves to reach out to Harbaugh and plead the player’s case. It was only then that Harbaugh realized he was off his game in 2017. He relented and called off the remaining workouts, letting the players rest until bowl practice began.

The pressure cooker that was the 2017 season had taken its toll on Harbaugh and pushed him away from his core; he had become obsessive and overbearing in his zeal to return the Michigan football program back to the top of the Big Ten. It manifested itself in every aspect of the program from his relationships with his players to his interactions with his assistant coaches.

Harbaugh wasn’t himself.

The Michigan Head Coach needed to return to the Jim Harbaugh that the players respected and loved playing for when they committed to the Wolverines. That is what forced his high-profile and public about-face during the off-season.

Harbaugh himself is famous for his off-season comment during an in-home visit with California 4-star offensive tackle Jarrett Patterson, claiming, “I’m a different person coming into this season.”

Harbaugh knew he had to change and the change has been obvious to the people who matter most: his players.

Look for more evolution from Harbaugh. Following the Wolverines’ embarrassing loss to South Carolina, Harbaugh held a team meeting. The players, fresh off another “Camp Christmas,” let him know that the fun was being drained from the game because of his all-business, no fun approach.

According to insiders “Camp Christmas,” Harbaugh’s extremely militaristic approach to bowl practice, is a thing of the past. Harbaugh has told players and insiders that he will allow the players more and more freedom and fun during bowl practice going forward in an effort to bring the team and the coaches closer together.

During the end of the season team meeting, Harbaugh opened up and asked openly, “What do I need to do? What can I do?” The players took that meeting as an opportunity to forge a new relationship with their head coach.

Running Back Karan Higdon believes this is the dawn of an evolved Harbaugh.

“He’s been more personal with the guys and more approachable,” Higdon said. “That’s definitely been helping.

“Coach is a football guru, and he’s been so focused on the game, and (now he’s) taking a step back from that and continuing to build stronger relationships with the players, changed our culture, changed our atmosphere around this facility, and it’s been great.”

Running back Chris Evans said there’s huge difference between spring practice a year ago and now, and it showed in the January team meeting.

“We could tell the light bulb in his head is on,” Evans said.

The light had to go on, or the program couldn’t evolve.


Michigan fans hope Jim Harbaugh has learned from 2017’s hard lessons

Spring football is underway in Ann Arbor and as Michigan begins camp, there are many more questions than answers for Jim Harbaugh and staff.

Following 2017’s disappointing 8-5 finish – including not a single win against a team with a winning record – Harbaugh has learned more about himself and his football team.

Last season was wrought with peril, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. The Wolverines lost to rivals Michigan State and Ohio State – AGAIN. They also got punished by Penn State and Wisconsin before finishing out the season with an embarrassing, mistake-filled bowl loss to South Carolina.

Harbaugh learned that he didn’t have a high-level starting quarterback on the roster following a week four season-ending injury to starter Wilton Speight. Speight wasn’t setting the world on fire prior to his injury, but he certainly was an adequate Big Ten starter when healthy.

After his departure, the Michigan QB picture became fuzzy and frankly cost the Wolverines three wins. That revelation led Harbaugh to pursue Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson, a five-star passer out of high school who chose Mississippi in 2016 over the Wolverines.

Harbaugh is still waiting on Patterson’s eligibility status to be determined by the NCAA as he attempts to become immediately eligible, arguing he was misled by Hugh Freeze during his recruitment about the severity of the NCAA investigation into Ole Miss and the likelihood the team would be placed on probation. Michigan took Patterson even though Harbaugh’s own hand-picked signal callers were ready to take over the program.

Sometimes-starter in 2017, Brandon Peters, redshirt freshman Dylan McCaffrey, and early-enrollee Joe Milton are all on campus and ready to compete, but it appears Patterson is the most ready and will win the job if declared eligible. Patterson, a junior, has what amounts to a year of starting experience under his belt, having thrown for over 3000 yards with 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in that time.

Harbaugh also learned that his offensive coaching staff was a mess. Gone is longtime Harbaugh assistant coach and offensive coordinator Tim Drevno, who presided over an awful Michigan offense last season that ranked 105th nationally in total offense. Last year featured a disconnect between Drevno and passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton; the offense never clicked and there was disagreement over what to do with the QB position.

The offensive line was also a major problem as Drevno refused to relinquish his role with the OL to new offensive line coach Greg Frey who eventually bolted the program for Florida State after one season. Frey, a renowned offensive tackle guru, was hired last year to work his magic on Michigan’s tight ends and tackles. But when fall camp started, Drevno, who was working with the interior lineman, told Frey, in so many words, “I’ll handle the offensive line.”

Drevno was removed as OC, but his successor hasn’t been named. It appears the new faces on the offensive staff – Jim McElwain, the former Florida head coach, Ed Warinner, a former Ohio State OL coach and Sherrone Moore who comes in from Central Michigan to coach tight ends – along with Harbaugh, will run the offense as a collaborative.

It’s a new approach, but will it work?

According to Michigan defensive star Devin Bush, Harbaugh as made changes to the way he coaches on and off the field as well.

I’m told and it’s fairly obvious that the defense wasn’t thrilled with the performance of the offense last season; multiple players have expressed this in private. They now believe the coaching staff is more receptive to feedback and flexibility. The players are not running the show in Ann Arbor, but now at least Harbaugh is willing to give them an ear when they have issues.

Senior defensive end Chase Winovich echoed Bush’s comments when he told the Detroit Free Press, “Basically, we lost last winter” when referring to the team’s off-season work in 2017. The most alarming revelation from Winovich was his belief that the focus on competition last off-season left many players not working hard on days that weren’t recorded or when they weren’t matched up against a teammate while the whole team watched.

“I think this is Coach Harbaugh’s way of trying to combat the idea that he’s a boss,” Winovich said. “Rather, he’s trying to paint this picture … that he’s with us. He wants to win just like we do. He wants us to succeed just as we do. … He’s in there with us. He takes criticism just like we do, if not more.”

Michigan fans will find out very quickly if anything has really changed with the program and if Jim Harbaugh has found answers to question that have plagued the program over the last nine months. The Wolverines open the 2018 season September 1st renewing one of the greatest rivalries in the sport, at Notre Dame.