Props to Ira!
If Harbaugh turns down the offer is he still loved by the fan base? Is his choice savior or villain?
So, we all know we think he would be a savior or at least the most loved alum at the time if he takes the job. What if he turns it down? Would he become the most hated alum? After all, it's not like he's turning down a middling offer. It makes him the highest paid coach in all of football. Even if the offer he would accept from the NFL is higher, i have to believe this offer aided tremendously in getting him to that stratosphere. I think most people would have thought he was a $6-7 million guy to the NFL without this type of offer from Michigan.
Has anyone seen rumors of some of the other perks included in the Harbaugh offer? Coherd (the little he knows) is saying that use of private jet and accepting JUCO's is part of the Harbaugh offer. Has anyone else heard this?
Nothing too big here. Jim Hackett won't comment on the coaching search until it is complete so he won't confirm or deny the rumor of a large offer being made to Harbaugh.
Thought it would be useful to take a look at the 2010 and 2009 offenses of Stanford in a detailed way to see what sort of offense fans should expect if Jim Harbaugh makes a triumphant return to Ann Arbor. This will be the pass at 2010; I'll see if I have the energy to repeat the work for 2009.
At a 40,000 foot point of view I will cut and paste some data out of my earlier diary "A Statistical Look at Jim Harbaugh's Stanford Years" and then we'll go look at it from a player personnel perspective. I won't delve into the defense because frankly Jim needs a very good DC - he struggled thru 3 bad years on defense until Vic Fangio arrived on a silver platter and made a miraculous turnaround in 2010.
Harbaugh coached from 07 to 10, so I've also listed the data for Stanford in the year before and year after he coached for comparison (please note there was no FEI data in 2006)
Please note Andrew Luck was QB in 09/10/11:
|W/L||Tot Off||oFEI||oS&P+||Tot Def||dFEI||dS&P+|
Here is a deep dig into the data broken down by run / pass
|Rush O||Pass O||Rush D||Pass D|
Key - Total Offense is a simple measure via the NCAA that simply ranks team on total yards per game. Obviously teams in conferences with weaker defenses benefit. I prefer to ignore it and focus on the 2 advanced stats that while not perfect are more comprehensive: (1) Football Outsiders FEI measure and (2) Football Outsiders S&P+ measure. Both of these incorporate various strength of schedule adjustments, garbage time adjustments, blowout adjustments etc to give a more comprehensive view of a unit other than yards gained or yards given up. Read more about them here and here.
As I wrote in that earlier Harbaugh piece the commonly held belief that Stanford offense was all Andrew Luck is just wrong. Luck had a great 2010 and 2011 (post Harbaugh) and a decent 2009. But the Stanford offense of 2009 and 2010 was centered on the run - which did include Luck to a significant degree. The 2010 offense was 14th overall by the simple Total Offense measure and even more impressive via FEI and S&P+ at #5 and #3 respectively. It was also well balanced as it ranked #17 in rushing yards and #29 in passing yards.
Let's look at the players who constructed this offense
Contrary to revisionist belief, Andrew Luck wasn't a "can't miss" #1 overall prospect out of HS. That doesn't mean he wasn't highly touted but to hear people today, "Andrew Luck made Jim Harbaugh and anyone who had him would have done great". Luck was a 4 star, 68th rated player in the country, and #4 at his position. For perspective Shane Morris was a 4 star, 81st rated player in the country, and #4 at his position. Effectively these 2 guys were identical prospects via Rivals. Despite his ranking and being from Texas he did not have a single SEC offer, and only OK State offered in the Big 12. I don't know the specifics - but he committed in June 2007 as a 2008 prospect so that is relatively late in the process, but the point is this was not a guy everyone saw as a can't miss in HS.
Luck went from a solid RS FR year (that was nowhere near what a say a guy like Henne did as a true FR) and exploded on the scene in 2010 as a RS SO. Completion % at an almost unheard of 70%+, 9.0 yards per attempt, and a measly 8 INTs vs 32 TDs. For perspective 9.0 yards per attempt is in the range of a 2014 Cook, Barrett, and Nova.
Obviously QB is the most important position on the field and having an engine revving like this helps make a great offense. Luck's backups barely played in 2010.
Below are the 4 leading rushers for the 17th ranked Stanford rush offense.
I was a bit surprised to see Luck there at #2 in total yards - while a pretty mobile QB at the next level, getting nearly 500 yards at the NCAA level where sacks count against you is quite solid. The prior year Toby Gerhart and his nearly 1900 yards dominated the stat sheet. Four star, #220 rated player (2009) SO Stepfan Taylor took over as the lead back in 2010. (Of note, rushing focused teams like Nebraska, TCU, and Wisconsin also were after Taylor) The 5'11, 210 lb Taylor continued his lead back role post Harbaugh in 2011 and 2012, with 1300+ and 1500+ yards respectively. The Stanford offense actually throws to their RBs, and Taylor had 28 receptions for 266 yards (9.5 average) to go along with his rushing total. For a non RS second year player these are very nice stats.
Tyler Gaffney was a bit player in 2010 who would go on to big things later in his career. He came out of HS as a highly rated fullback. Wilkerson was basically a Thomas Rawls type of Stanford, a guy who never budged from this 2010 level in his career.
Overall, a solid and efficient running game. Taylor was essentially at the age Green/Smith were in 2014 (and less touted but one of the few 4 stars on the Stanford 2 deep) and performed very well with >1000 yards rushing and >250 yards receiving.
Below are the 7 leading receivers for the 29th ranked passing game.
Luck did a good job of spreading the wealth as there was not a primary go to guy per se. These were not also a bevy of high level recruits. Leading receiver (2 star) SR Doug Baldwin was a scant 5'11, 190 lbs. He had very little production until his senior year - and then surged. 6'2 207 lb SR Ryan Whalen had more protypical WR size but little pedigree - he was a walk on. But he was a prime time player for Stanford, in a major role in 2008 thru 2010. So your top 2 guys here were very experienced in terms of age but one was a low production 2 star (until his senior year) and the other was a high production walk on. Michigan has a bevy of 3/4 stars in comparison. JR Chris Owusu was coming off a very exciting SO campaign but looks like he was limited by injury as he only played 7 games in 2010. This was the only really highly rated guy out of the WR/TE set as a 4 star, #240 guy in the country in 2008.
Hey it's Jim Harbaugh so we have to talk TE. You are looking at 6'6 240 lb JR Coby Fleener. Fleener improved on his SO season by 7 catches and nearly 200 more yards as his per attempt jumped from 12.7 to mid 15s. Fleener was a 3 star with an offer sheet that looks like a 3 star. SR Konrad Reuland was the other TE.
All in all nothing like the type of guys UM gets blessed with. But that's the benefit of a cogent offense with a stud QB at the helm.
Hey there are no stats for the big uglies but let's talk a bit about them since one lesson we've learned the past few years is how important the lines are to good teams. 2010 Stanford had the benefit of returning 4 out of 5 starters including 2 future studs, RS SO LT Jonathan Martin and RS SO RG David DeCastro. Both started in 2009 as RS FR and were freshman All Americans in a very good offense. They were paired with 3 seniors, 2 returning SR starters (Phillips/Beeler) and 1 newbie SR starter (Hall).
- LT: 6'6, 304 RS SO Johnathan Martin
- LG: 6'5, 302 RS SR Andrew Phillips
- C: 6'3 285 RS SR Chase Beeler
- RG: 6'5 310 RS SO David DeCastro
- RT: 6'5 303 RS SR Derek Hall
So unlike 2009 where Stanford had two RS FR on the line this was a good mix with 3 seniors, including 2 returning starters and 2 RS SO who would eventually go on to be high level NFL draft picks. By the way that 2009 unit with 2 RS FR on it finished 2nd in the nation in sacks allowed. (no excuses about youth)
One should be very pleased with Harbaugh's eye for HS OL since both DeCastro and Martin were just 3 star west coast dudes in the 2008 class (DeCastro as a center). The other guys were obviously Walt Harris recruits but they formed a pretty well oiled unit.
If curious - and I am sure you are - the OL coach for that unit was named Tim Drevno, who was the OC/OL coach with Harbaugh at San Diego and followed him to Stanford to coach TEs for 2 years and then OL for 2 years. Drevno also followed Harbaugh to the 49ers for 3 years but went to USC last year to join Sark.
So there you have it - other than Luck Taylor and Owusu there were not many highly rated guys playing for what turned out to be one of the better offenses in the country. Obviously Luck helped but again Luck was not OMG LUCK in HS. 8 of the 11 starters were also upperclassmen. This offense looks a lot like the San Fran one (until this year) - run based, solid OL, playmaker at QB.... main difference is some serious playmakers at WR and TE in SF.
Not to end a positive story on a negative note but when you compare this roster with our embarrassment of HS talent riches, well.... it's not good. (Also had to bug the hell out of USC to lose to this type of team) Of course it makes you wonder what Harbaugh could do with classes full of top 150 prospects that the USCs and Michigans get.
No need to wonder anymore Jim. Come home.