Interesting article from Dan Wetzel. He's generally one of the more intelligent national writers out there, and the release of Harbaugh's updated compensation for this year brought about an actually interesting piece. No hot takes about whether Harbaugh is "worth it" or deserves to be the highest paid HC like those from ESPN and other outlets to be found here.
The focus shouldn’t be on Harbaugh, per se. Instead it should center on some or even many of the other 343 of his co-workers in Ann Arbor. Good and talented people, one and all we’re sure, but they represent, in ever growing numbers, the National Collegiate Athletic Industrial Complex that finds ways to spend money on themselves before popular football teams like Harbaugh’s Wolverines can even earn it.
This instead delves into Athletic Department spending and athlete compensation, attacking practices within major college athletics that sound relatively Brandon-esque. Wetzel also dismisses the notion that Harbaugh isn't worth the money spent to the University because OBVIOUSLY he is.
Worth a read: Link.
Tonight's ESPN broadcast of a high school game [California School for the Deaf, Fremont vs. Woodland Christian] mentioned Jim Harbaugh's potential interest in a 14-year-old deaf RB/LB named Calel Aramboles. Aramboles had just scored his 2nd touchdown and had run for over 100 yards by the third quarter. The commentators repeated the Harbaugh mantra about the deaf players "attacking practice with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind."
I'm sure the commentators were being facetious in their Harbaugh reference; however, Aramboles is already 5'10" and 250 and runs well while only 14 years old.
Jim Harbaugh: The original rational fanatic
Jim Harbaugh appears crazy to a lot of people. He seems borderline homicidal on the sidelines after a bad call, even stripping in anger. He can look at reporters with the burning hatred of 1,000 suns after they ask (or worse, repeat) a stupid question.
But there is no denying his genius. While he is, through and through, a football fanatic, he is also a brilliant schemer, motivator, and leader.
This column probably won't be weekly, but it's an ode to Jim's brand of simplicity: quick-hitting facts rooted in more data than opinion...because I'm trying to learn to be a rational fanatic myself. This is coming from a guy who thought Brady Hoke was the next great Michigan coach.
- Actually Aggressive. If you've ever seen an introductory press conference for a Defensive Coordinator, then you have heard a man claim his defense is "aggressive." Don Brown actually means it. Through four games, Michigan has recorded 44 TFLs, 17 of which are sacks. Last year's defense recorded 88 TFLs for the season with 32 sacks. So in four games, we are already at 50% of last year's totals. We never had more than 10 TFLs in a game last year; that is the fewest we have recorded in a game this year (and that was against Hawaii!). Michigan is #1 in the country in TFLs, and #2 in TFLs/game (Miami (YTM)), and we are tied for #1 in sacks and sacks/game. Eleven teams had over 100 TFLs last year; Michigan is a pretty sure bet to join that club this season. Only 7 teams recorded 40 or more sacks, another number I expect us to attain.
- Late Bloomer. Through four games last year, Jehu Chesson had recorded seven receptions and zero TDs. Through four games this year, he's got eight catches (and no TDs). There is still time for him to find that All-American form that puncuated last season.
- The Quest for 1,000. De'Veon Smith recorded 331 rushing yards through four games last season, cresting 125 yards twice. He would only break 100 yards once more (bowl game) and totaled 753 yards for the year. This year he only has 259 yards, but he has done that on 30 fewer attempts, averaging nearly two yards more per carry. But as a team, Michigan has 110 more rushing yards than we had last season at this time, averaging over half-a-yard more per carry. While it doesn't look good to have a 1,000 yard rusher this season, expect the team's rushing attack to outpace last year's. Also, no back (other than Smith) broke 275 yards rushing last year; I expect FOUR to do it this year.
- Buckets of Good. Speaking of our rushing attack, I have been impressed with all four RBs and their progress under second-year coach and Michigan legend Ty Wheatley. While there is no superstar this season, both Higdon and Evans look like potential 1,000 yard guys in the future. And, actually, I am really high on Karan Higdon and was pleased to see him get carries early in last week's game. While Isaac is physically gifted, he seems to lack some of the instincts that make RBs great. But all four are good-to-very good, and greatness might show-up next season. My own assessment of the backs (purely as rushers) thus far ranks them like this:
- Better than Best. Last year's national leader in TFLs was Clemson's Shaq Lawson. He finished the season with 25.5, an average of 1.7/game. Jabrill Peppers has already recorded 9.5 TFLs for a 2.4/game average. And this is without recording a TFL against Penn State. FWIW, Michigan has four players in the top 100 nationally in TFLS (Gedeon, McCray, Gary). Going back to 2007 (as far as cfbstats.com goes), no player has recorded over 30 TFLs in a season, which works out to an average of 2.3/game.
- Right and Wrong. Who would have thought Wisconsin would be coming to the Big House with wins over LSU and MSU? Not me. That said, I think Vegas has this line about right: Michigan by 10 is my prediction. I was right about Hawaii, wrong about UCF (thought we'd have an easier time and a shutout there), right about Colorado (expected a tougher-than-expected game), and right about Penn State (thought we'd win easily). While Michigan State will give us a brutally tough game in E.L., I feel confident we head to Columbus undefeated and don't think Iowa will be too much of a challenge.
Jim Harbaugh will be on The Dan Le Batard Show (ESPN Radio) at 11:30 AM EST this morning. As a daily listener, I'll warn the serious sports radio crowd that Dan and Stugotz will not likely ask Harbaugh much about the team specifically. I'd expect a silly interview with questions about the booger and other Harbaugh stories or personality quirks. If you're into that, here's the link:
The Ringer has quite an article about Harbaugh and his public image. It's pretty good and it's always refreshing to hear an outsider's perspective on him and our program.
This is peak Harbaugh:
Harbaugh from fan about whether he's been anyone in past life (lol) -- "I've never had a sense of being anybody else or anything else"— angelique (@chengelis) September 5, 2016
He's THE BEST