"When did you sign a contract?" /looks at Hackett… "YESTERDAY". The WSJ has the first shot at an excerpt from John Bacon's upcoming book, and they go with the courtship of one Jim Harbaugh:
In December, after Michigan finished a miserable 5-7 season that resulted in coach Brady Hoke’s firing, Hackett and Harbaugh had long talks on Saturday nights, developing a good rapport. (To avoid anything leaking to the media, Hackett always referred to Harbaugh internally as “Unicorn,” which reflected Hackett’s belief that Harbaugh was a one-of-a-kind candidate.)
“The interesting thing is,” Hackett later told me, “we never talked specifically about Jim being head coach. We talked about what Michigan needed. After a few weeks of this, we’re going back and forth and getting really excited about the possibilities, and Jim says, ‘We’re getting excited about this, aren’t we?’
“Yes we are,” Hackett said.
“You didn’t offer me the job, did you?” Harbaugh asked.
“No, I haven’t.”
“I didn’t accept, did I?”
“No, you didn’t.”
It wasn’t an agreement, by design, Hackett says, “But that gave me the confidence, no matter what pressure the media was putting on me, I could stick to my guns.”
Hackett was truly the right guy at the right time.
"So unlike him." The Indy Star remembers when Jim Harbaugh punched a guy, specifically one Jim Kelly, then a broadcaster:
"Even though Kelly certainly earned it for publicly questioning Harbaugh's pain threshold, it was costly and so unlike No. 4.
"But, obviously, even a coach's son and the ultimate team player had a breaking point.
"'I don't think you can use this season as an excuse for what I did,' Harbaugh said, refusing to provide any play-by-play on the altercation. "I've never been a fighter, but it happened and it's over.'"
"I regret throwing the punch, but I felt I had to do something since my toughness was being questioned," Harbaugh said. "I regret that I have a crack in one of my bones in my hand."
A truly disturbing incident, one that had a great impact on his future aspirations.
Mother said we can go to Six Flags now. Mother says we can buy timeshare in a Segway. Mother says I have done good and my sleepwalk murders have been redeemed. I still think I never done no sleepwalking.
Sadly, interested buyers, it turns out that you're already out of luck, too. The $1,500 piece of ... art ... has already been purchased by a 1965 Michigan grad and season ticket-holder.
The buyer, Roger Mayerson, told Putnam he simply knows what he likes.
"I think it's going to be quite a conversation piece," he said.
But I do want to ride a Segway.
Bring your Champion-type substances. BYCTOM previews the Northwestern schedule this year. On Michigan:
I can't wait to hate Jim Harbaugh. He comports himself like a nineteenth-century military officer just returned from some colonial posting no longer able to function in the West where he has to answer to a doddering hierarchy of muttonchopped generals with disastrous plans. Even by the insane standards of football coaches, whose lives revolve around yelling and watching film and taking fanboats to the east end of nowhere to convince a 300-pound 16-year-old to allow himself to be yelled at by them for the next four years, Harbaugh is intense. He seems to strive to exist in a world of wide-eyed zeal, where humans only communicate in elaborate football play argots, where discourse is limited to talking about how determined you are, and where the punishments for variation in pants style are unspeakably draconian. He is also a very good football coach and that is intolerable.
I will get you to read this blog if it is the last thing I do.
While I love this quote… OSU has a depressingly likable team this year, a fact that was emphasized by this quote from Josh Perry:
Favorite CFB preseason quote so far... pic.twitter.com/uIPBgp7ier
— Scott Carter (@GatorsScott) August 12, 2015
However, it is in fact very much like it went to crap and dilapidated and then some hipsters…
…moved in and renovated it.
OSU-Michigan, 1977. Specifically, Ufer going bonkers at the end:
Sigh. Anonymous Big Ten coach quotes from Athlon have dropped this year, and like most things they will make you upset about the coaching over the last few years:
"I think Devin Gardner was better than people gave him credit for. He is a unique athlete who was capable of throwing the ball. He could have been a great college football player in the right system.”
“They had one of the most dangerous receivers in the league in Devin Funchess. They had two or three five-star running backs. They had a slot receiver (Dennis Norfleet) who could make some plays. So I don’t think it was a lack of skill.”
“They lacked confidence. That was a big problem.”
“It’s not like they were horrible. By no means did I think they lacked talent.”
There are a couple mentions that the talent level was down "a bit" and the like, but the overall picture painted is one of Big Ten coaches marveling at how absurdly bad Michigan was despite having good players last year.
There are exceptions. I am generally opposed to police militarization, but in some circumstances they need all the help they can get:
"The Ohio State University Police Department asked for an armored vehicle to assist with 'football missions.'" http://t.co/xc5hn2NDjc
— Suzy Khimm (@SuzyKhimm) August 10, 2015
Should have asked for some airstrikes, too.
On Maize. "Distinctly golden."
Origins of maize: "..the yellow was decidedly golden. Never has there been any warrant for the sickly yellow.." pic.twitter.com/Wu4zIWlXNE
— MVictors (@MVictors) August 14, 2015
Etc.: The Lions are going full Brandon. Cordell Broadus made it about as long as Tony Posada. More from Stagg vs Yost. I talked to Concentrate about the reduced stadium capacity. Jordan thing. I'm confused. Hooray Jordan thing, say recruits. Okay, I guess.
In the town where I was born
Lived a man who wore khakis
And he told us of his life
In the land of wine and cheese.
So we sailed, and left this son
While we wallowed in red and green.
And we lived in ennui
Till we found our wolverine.
[artwork by our own Six Zero]
As we live a life of ease
Every one of us has all we need.
Sky of blue and floor of spleen.
Who's got it better than us? Nobody!
DJ Durkin inherits a Michigan defense that’s both experienced and talented, with good depth in most position groups. Durkin has promised to mix up the fronts we’ll see this season, and he expanded on that while also talking about his pass rushers, linebackers, and more at Media Day.
[I jumped in while Durkin was in the middle of an answer]
“The thought is now we get into camp [and] a lot of it is now they’re hearing it for the second, the third, the fourth time of what we’re installing so you can master it and play fast.”
You talked at the beginning of spring about how you didn’t really know your team. What do you know about your personnel now?
“Yeah, I feel we know them much better. We had four-hour practices in the spring [so] we got a lot of reps with those guys. We saw them do a lot, so that’s a good thing. There’s not a lot of angst from me or our staff of ‘What’s this guy going to do in a game?’ or ‘[How will he] respond?’ We have, number one, experienced guys on defense for the most part. And then, like I said, we had really competitive practices in the spring where we put those guys in a lot of situations that they had to show what they could do so I feel like we have a good evaluation and awareness of where they’re at.
“And now it becomes let’s go into fall camp and see what guys come in with that right mindset and what they did over the summer, see how they prepared and go through it all over again and re-evaluate everyone and get ready for the first game.”
What are you most excited about for tomorrow and then fast-forwarding to September 3rd?
“Tomorrow, just getting out there. I mean, it’s one of those things that there’s a build up of it and when you finally get out there and hit that first period and start moving, it’s always…I don’t know. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. You just get that feeling like ‘Alright, we’re back out on the field.’ All this stuff is fun and everything but talking about it is not the same as going and doing it, so that’s what I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
And then the opener?
“Yeah, the opener. I mean, wow, what a great test as an opener on the road in an environment that’s really loud. They’re into it; they’ve had great success there, especially recently, with their football program. So we’ll be tested right there, week one. Our guys know that, they understand that and we’re going to keep working towards that as we get through camp.”
[The rest after THE JUMP]
Rumors that sophomore DT Bryan Mone had suffered a serious injury in Tuesday's practice first hit The Fort yesterday, and unfortunately they've been corroborated by multiple sources, including a Scout writer based out of Mone's home state of Utah:
Michigan's starting defensive tackle Bryan Mone broke his ankle in practice yesterday. Likely out all of 2015. Mone is from Salt Lake City.
— Andrew Gorringe (@AGorringeScout) August 13, 2015
Michigan isn't commenting on the matter, which comes as little surprise.
This would be a major blow to depth on the interior of the defensive line. Ryan Glasgow, Willie Henry, and Maurice Hurst are going to have to play a lot of snaps, and Mone's absence likely means larger roles than expected for Matt Godin and Brady Pallante, as well. Chris Wormley should also be able to fold inside on occasion, though that will in turn test Michigan's already lacking depth at end.
With Mone looking poised for a breakthrough season, there's no question this is a significant loss, even at a position of relative strength for the program. Here's hoping for a speedy and full recovery.
The #32 overall prospect in the 2017 class, behemoth Ft. Lauderdale (FL) American Heritage OT Tedarrell Slaton, unexpectedly named Michigan his leader last week to 247's Ryan Bartow. Steve Lorenz caught up with Slaton this week to get some more detail ($):
"Michigan is at the top," he said. "I had some interest in Michigan originally, but when they hired Coach Harbaugh, it went to a different level. I want to play for a coach like him who knows how to win not just in college, but in the pros. How much better prepared can you get than to play for someone who knows what it takes at all levels of the game? They have a lot of NFL experience on their staff overall and Coach Harbaugh was one of my favorite NFL coaches to begin with because I've always liked the 49ers."
Slaton is looking to visit for a game this fall along with fellow 2017 Heritage OT Kai-Leon Herbert, who also holds a Michigan offer. There's a long way to go, but since Slaton already holds offers from the likes of Florida State, Florida, LSU, and Alabama, it's encouraging to hear Michigan is in contention at this juncture, let alone out in front.
The Wolverines have also taken the lead for three-star 2017 GA RB Kurt Taylor, who visited earlier this month, picked up an offer, and gave his reaction to Scout's Chad Simmons:
"Michigan is definitely No. 1 so far," Taylor said shortly after he got the offer. "I loved it [at Michigan] and coach [Jim] Harbaugh spent a lot of time with me."
Harbaugh told Taylor that he reminded him of Frank Gore and Walter Payton.
Fred Jackson may no longer be on the staff, but his spirit remains.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Fuller – MGoBlog
For all intents and purposes, last season was pretty much a disaster. Following the back-to-back upsets at the hands of NJIT and Eastern Michigan, the team went into free fall: starting with that first shocking upset (by what turned out to be a surprisingly adequate NJIT team), the Wolverines finished the year with a 10-15 record, recorded only one Top 50 win, and didn’t even make the NIT.
After the mercurial highs of a two-year run that will go down as one of Michigan’s best ever, this was a sobering crash back to earth. While the disappointment of the season was mitigated somewhat by a feisty group of underdogs who usually acquitted themselves well, even in defeat, against a brutal Big Ten schedule, the absence of the Wolverines’ star – preseason All-America Caris LeVert – loomed large.
Right or wrong, the focus usually falls on the star player when a team underachieves (or, in football, the quarterback is often credited with success or failure regardless of any other variables). Naturally, LeVert received plenty of blame for Michigan’s struggles before his injury, and even though there really aren’t very many useful data points – 18 games, some of which were against cupcakes – he really didn’t play too badly: 14.9 points, 3.7 assists, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game. That he had an offensive rating of 101.1 was disappointing in the context of his 111.7 number as a sophomore, though his usage jumped from 21.4% to 25.9%.
* * *
Two games before LeVert was sidelined for the season, I basically wrote a Leave Caris Alone post (and fully expected him to leave for the NBA at the time):
To state the obvious, this season has been a disappointment. Michigan’s customarily blistering offense has looked stagnant and has been prone to bouts of cold shooting; Kam Chatman hasn’t been able to fill Glenn Robinson’s vacancy at the four; Michigan’s corps of big men have been underwhelming as a whole (even if Ricky Doyle has shown good things); Spike Albrecht and Derrick Walton have been injured and Michigan’s struggled to get consistent production from the point guard spot.
In all fairness, Caris has contributed to the disappointment as well – although, notably, he still leads the team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals. Against NJIT, he put the team on his back to the tune of 32 points (on just 18 FGA) and Michigan still lost; but in other losses against Eastern Michigan, Arizona, SMU, and Purdue, he scored ten points or fewer, often inefficiently. It’s too reductive to place those losses squarely on Caris, but still, better performances (particularly against Eastern and SMU) might have made all the difference.
With what we know now, there were some little things from Caris that led to Michigan’s struggles. He too frequently locked in to one-on-one matchups and though he’s an elite isolation player, his ball-stopping tendencies were noticeable and detrimental. He shot far too much from the mid-range at a poor percentage (33%) as Michigan’s late shot clock offense far too frequently devolved into “Caris, go do something” and the something was often a tough shot off the dribble. It’s not easy to suss out blame for Michigan’s pick-and-roll struggles, but Caris wasn’t successful in what became Michigan’s bread-and-butter with Burke and Stauskas. Passivity was often a fair criticism, as LeVert shot the ball 12 or fewer times in six of Michigan’s seven losses. All of that’s fair, and it’s safe to say that we all expected more out of the Wolverines – and, by extension, LeVert – than what we saw.
[AFTER THE JUMP: nice(r) things!]