There are a lot of message board rumors swirling that Michigan football is in disarray!
Here is a tweet I received today about the subject.
@gregghenson some supposedly “connected” poster on Rivals apparently put some long post up that there is a negative atmosphere in the program, lack of leadership and the like. I tend to think this is a guy looking for followers. Have you heard anything?
— Adam DiBartolomeo (@adamdibart) January 10, 2018
There is no truth to the rumors that Jim Harbaugh is “burned out” or that the program is lacking leadership. Look, Harbaugh didn’t all of a sudden forget how to run a football program, he didn’t all of a sudden forget how to put together a coaching staff and he certainly didn’t suddenly run out of stream.
This is simply what happens when you don’t win enough games, people talk and opponents look for opportunities to take shots at your program.
I’ll admit, these rumors didn’t seem far fetched to me given the fact that Harbaugh has been running a sprint since he set foot in Ann Arbor trying to revitalize a slumbering brand, so I made calls to my sources within the football program to check it out and I came up with zero evidence that the Michigan program has major issues.
Three separate sources inside and close to the program laughed at me when I asked them if the program is in disarray or if Harbaugh is “burnt out.” “The words Jim Harbaugh and “burn out” should never be used in the same sentence,” according to one well places source.
While “disarray” and ” burn out” aren’t evident, frustration is very apparent. “There is no doubt that the coach is not happy with the results and will take whatever measures are necessary to fix it,” was the answer when I asked if the program was lacking leadership. This reply is a direct quote from one of my sources who has been most realistic about the program since Harbaugh took over three years ago. He isn’t the type to blow smoke or predict sunshine.
Some insiders have opined that Harbaugh looked “disconnected” and “disinterested” on the sideline this year as oppose to the first two years as coach; that may be true, but it also doesn’t indicate there is anything wrong in the program. Some close to the program think it’s a two fold evolution, one, Harbaugh is learning from his mistakes (think throwing papers in the air at Ohio State) and two, he understood his team was young and inexperienced and wasn’t going to put more pressure on them by raising the teams profile in 2018. I tend to agree with this assessment and think you’ll see a different Harbaugh in 2018, but not one that will take dumb 15 yard penalties.
I cannot stress this enough, these are the types of rumors and stories that people create when a program hasn’t win enough football games and not reached or exceeded expectation. Look at Mark Dantonio last off-season when there were rumors of NCAA sanction and of a coaching change, NONE of it was true and MSU rebounded to have a fine season in 2017. If Michigan wants these rumors to stop they must start winning, they must beat their rivals and the best teams on their schedule, it’s that simple.
In the message board era there will always be “anonymous” insiders and “sources,” I would caution anybody who is interested in the program to only pay attention to what somebody who is willing to put their name on their work is reporting.
In the end, I think Michigan is building something to last, on a strong foundation. There won’t be any shortcuts and the process won’t always be pleasant, but in the end the program will benefit and be stronger for it.