Unverified Voracity Was On The Other Side

Unverified Voracity Was On The Other Side Comment Count

Brian August 24th, 2015 at 3:59 PM

Rudock versus M. I missed this in April when it was posted; let me repair that omission now. Wolverine Devotee put together an every snap video of Jake Rudock playing Michigan in 2013:

Rudock threw three interceptions, but only one of those was really his fault. On the other two he got obliterated as he threw; one of them deflected to Brennen Beyer for a Rather Fit Guy Touchdown and the other required Raymon Taylor to make a great play to dig out a play that was otherwise open. The third was real bad, a Blake Countess bait and switch job that went directly to him.

For the day Rudock was 19/30 for 8 YPA and 2 TDs and the three INTs. Of note: every pass Rudock is actually trying to complete is dead on the money except a flea flicker that hung up in a 25 MPH wind. The long Tevaun Smith touchdown was greatly facilitated by Rudock locating the pass where Smith could catch it and keep running without so much as breaking stride—something that is a consistent strength of his.

The interceptions are not much of a worry since he just went through a season in which he had five against 16 TDs. I think he's pretty good.

More ENDZONE Brandon's Lasting Lessons excerpts. From Michigan Today on Hackett:

“I was retired,” Hackett recalls, “sitting at our home on Spring Lake, convalescing from my hip replacement on my right side. Already had the left one done. And the idleness hit me—and I realized something that I didn’t realize before: I don’t like to be idle. I’m wired to be busy. Serving on boards is good, but they only meet once a quarter. I have a lot of energy, and particularly like solving problems,” a central part of the CEO mindset.

Schlissel refrained from telling Hackett that Brandon had just resigned. Instead, Hackett recalls Schlissel saying, “I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I just need to know if you’re interested. And I need to know tonight.”

From ESPN on the 2011 coaching search:

And that's what it came down to. Not money. Not power. Not fame -- but love. And Michigan, under Brandon, wasn't offering it to Harbaugh.

"I will never know what Brandon's motivations were," Anson told me, "but it seems clear to me that Dave was so insecure that he needed to be the big deal and could not countenance a strong personality as Michigan's head football coach.

"The 49ers swooped in and grabbed Jim, while Michigan stood on the sidelines. In my mind, Michigan should have had Jim locked down a month before that, and could have. I can only conclude that Dave Brandon is the sole reason Jim did not become our football coach in 2010."

Now it can be told (because it's in the book) that Anson is the gentleman who bought Jim Harbaugh those ties.

The Hoover Street Rag has a review and Bacon talks with ESPN as well.

Well, yeah. Beilein, nation's top offensive coach:

Beilein, entering his ninth year as Michigan head coach, was voted as the best offensive coach in the country in CBS Sport's annual "Candid Coaches" series, an anonymous polling of nearly 100 Division I basketball coaches at all levels.

Unfortunately this poll doesn't come with the set of anonymous comments it has in the past. Those were always interesting and, in the case of Beilein, highly complementary.

Hiding in the hidey-hole. OH YEAH THAT GUY

John Beilein can take a good joke every once in awhile. Chalk it up to those Irish-German roots.

That's why he cracked his familiar wry grin last week. It was suggested that, should the 62-year-old Michigan basketball coach have any skeletons in his closet, now would be the time to air them out.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"No one is paying attention, John," he was told.

"Oh man, I'm loving it," Beilein said, laughing. "I absolutely love that part of it. I have no problem with that."

John Beilein can start a world war or eliminate snakes from an island every once in a while. Chalk it up to those roots.

Not that bad. Joel Klatt visited Michigan practice and came away relatively impressed:

"They're not even in the same sentence right now in their own division with Michigan State and Ohio State, but here's the misconception," Klatt began, speaking on The Rich Eisen Show. "The misconception is that they're down talent-wise. I like Brady Hoke, but Brady Hoke underachieved to an enormous level with the talent he had. ... When I went yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to see the type of talent they had.

"I don't think nine wins is out of the question. I could see nine wins this year."

Since they only play two teams in the preseason top 25 that is certainly within the realm of possibility. Michigan's schedule has many winnable games… and many losable ones. Many outcomes are plausible.

Etc.: Michigan's director of social media on the hacking incident. I do like this. I do love the Big Ten. BYU loses a starting TE. 1977 player intros. Cometh the Doylepocalypse.


Unverified Voracity Sells A Work

Unverified Voracity Sells A Work Comment Count

Brian August 14th, 2015 at 12:17 PM


[Eric Upchurch]

"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.'"

And then:

"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:

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:

Should have asked for some airstrikes, too.

On Maize. "Distinctly golden."

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.




Brian December 27th, 2014 at 4:04 PM


via Jon Malone

HOLDING STEADY. I haven't gotten anything that would change my stance her\e since yesterday. That, of course, is this:


I did get a terrifyingly titled email ("John Harbaugh –> Jim To Oakland = $5 million") that turned out to be a third hand report that if Jim wanted to go to the Raiders the 49ers were planning on extracting the full freight of his contract from him. I have lectured this person on titling emails.

Other than that it's just more of the same. I can't quite say it's a done deal but I would be shocked if this did not happen.

THEY'RE OUT THERE. Feldman reports that Michigan officials are going to be in San Francisco today and tomorrow.

I've heard this is not so much a negotiation as just picking him up. Terms are settled.

ANOTHER MOVE. In the last couple days, even Rivals—the most cautious of the three paysites—has moved off their 50/50 and declared things to be 85% likely, and then said they'd call it if it was election day, and then that "this is happening" which HEY BUDDY THAT'S OUR PHRASE TO FLOG INTO THE GROUND. Balas now says it would be "beyond surreal"—squared!—if it did not happen.

In any case: the most conservative set of Michigan insiders has the lampshade on its head and is trying to drink shots through it.

INCREMENTS. Webb to 90. Lorenz says it would take "something catastrophic" for it not to happen.

ANOTHER REPORT? It's unclear whether this report from Harbaugh's (currently) local ABC station is independent or not. It uses SOURCES in its title (#sources) but the text is may only be referencing Joe Pequeno, the Arizona sportscaster who is this search's most random insider. This may be actual SOURCES, though:

Friday night, the unconfirmed reports began surfacing that Harbaugh will meet with representatives from the University of Michigan and one source says that a deal is already done.

The phrasing there makes it hard to tell if they're actually talking to people or just taking other stuff and not mentioning or linking it because BLOGS. Take it FWIW. Local news is not often the kind of place that breaks these things, but if San Francisco-based folks are hearing the same things Michigan-oriented ones are that's another quality sign.

Meanwhile, Pequeno:

That was just a few minutes ago and did not spur the ABC report.

THEY DON'T WANT TO GO ON THE CART. Rapoport raporeports that the Raiders are going to try.

(Rapoport knows the Raiders are always in the Bay Area. Also, check the extensive reply lists on those tweets for a quick compare/contrast with the La Canforas and Kawakamis of the world. Rapoport doesn't seem to have the best sources here but at least he's a professional.)

I don't think that's going to change much of anything. While the Raiders have been restricted by NFL tampering rules it's not like Harbaugh doesn't know they're interested and prepared to hand him full control. I don't buy the random tweet claiming a Sirius XM report that the 49ers have given the Raiders permission to contact Harbaugh, since it hasn't been replicated anywhere credible. Radio is always the worst for breaking news. Half of it is bunk and the other half is misheard. In this case, that would be tampering.

If Michigan wasn't already operating like their guy was in the bag I'd be more concerned, but with the entire department and folks like DJ Durkin acting like it's a fait accompli this looks like the Raiders trying to save face with their fanbase. Or just doing the usual Raiders stuff and having no idea what the score is.

STAFF STUFF. I'm pretty confident that Greg Mattison is indeed going to be part of the new staff. I've got multiple reports that he's planning on staying in town and would like to continue, and Mattison has a long history with various Harbaughs. DJ Durkin seems all but assured as well given what we've heard about him, but I don't have anything that's been shared with me privately to add to the obvious. Scout has a freebie with some pretty strong indications that Durkin's on his way:

Word from a rival SEC assistant is that scenario [Durkin to M] is much more than rumor.

“He is waiting for Harbaugh to call him within the next 24 hours to make him the defensive coordinator at Michigan,” the assistant said.

I'd also bet a dollar that Ty Wheatley joins the staff as a RB coach with something like "run game coordinator" or "co-OC" tacked on and a salary bump from generic assistant coach.

[NOTE: Last time I bet a dollar in searchbits (on Mullen being plan B) a number of people thought this was a coy way to say "this is a lock"—it's not. It just means I bet a dollar. I have reason to think that thing is happening but would not bet, say, the MGoWife on it.]

Past that I don't have any names that I think are particularly likely. Mattison sticking might be bad news for Roy Manning, who is a LB coach by trade. Mattison and Durkin are both capable of handling LBs, and Mattison fills the ace recruiter and holdover the guys trust roles. I still think Manning's got a shot since every staff needs a guy on it who knows what this means…

…but I haven't heard much about him sticking.

247 brings up an interesting name($): Vince Marrow, currently the tight ends coach at Kentucky. Marrow's had a deeply weird career, with a few years as a fringe NFL player followed by short stints in NFL Europe as a player and coach, a year in the Arena league, a year as Toledo's TE coach, a singe year as a HS head coach, a TE coach job with the Omaha Nighthawks(?!), two years as a GA at Nebraska, and finally his three years at Kentucky under Mark Stoops as the TE coach/recruiting coordinator.

Why is a guy like this on the radar? Kentucky's Ohio recruiting. Kentucky has been killing it in the state under Marrow, beating out Big Ten teams not named Michigan or Ohio State for prospect after prospect. With Harbaugh likely to be the QB coach Michigan has a spot to play with for a guy like Marrow.

Rivals just brought up Stanford DC Lance Anderson as a likely staff member, but getting both Durkin and Anderson seems extremely far-fetched. Anderson's unit kept Stanford afloat this year, so he's not getting a demotion. Durkin seems all but certain, so is he really coming for a co-DC slot? Is Durkin? Are we not even handing Mattison title frippery appropriate to his station? There are obviously a number of connections between Anderson and Harbaugh, but unless Durkin's waiting on a DC spot that's not guaranteed to be his—highly unlikely—that fails common sense checks.

WHY. The NFL doesn't understand this.

That's why it's happening.

ETC.: Utah's coaching staff has been raided over the past week or so and now a local radio guy says it's "highly unlikely" Whittingham returns. Weird stuff, though radio disclaimer applies.

Colin Cowherd tweets out Seth's Harbaugh photoshop, hopefully teaching Seth to watermark things in the future. Iman Marshall interested? Stability a good thing, and a thing the Raiders aren't into offering.

Harbaugh on Brisco County Jr., because we all need to be reminded of these things.




Brian December 26th, 2014 at 4:44 PM


80% might be low

IT IS HAPPENING. Okay. I don't have a picture of a signed contract, or word from Harbaugh himself that it's happening.

But it's happening. I have not put a number on Harbaugh to Michigan yet, preferring words since it's impossible to put a number on something like this. I'll do this now: 99%.

I have gotten so much independent stuff from so many different sources; 247 and Scout and Bacon are all on board, with Rivals only lagging seemingly because they buy the 2011 story that Harbaugh backed out "at the last minute," something that just can't be true given the timelines. I would be utterly shocked if Jim Harbaugh was not announced as Michigan's coach by December 30th.

It's all over but the pointless rush to be the first to report that water is wet.

HAPPENING BITS.I've heard word that there's a large event on Tuesday night that the catering staff has been asked to keep secret—something that they've never been asked about before.

A son of a current coach is telling co-workers that it's happening and his dad is being retained.

1201 South State Street is getting mail addressed like this from NFL compounds:


I checked the tracking number; it's legit.

If I had to guess I'd bet that's a young-go-getter overnighting his resume and interest. Blind hope? Maybe. Probably not.

More numbers: Webb increments to 80, pending today's 85. Lorenz says it's "when, not if" and puts it at 85%. Pequeno doesn't have a number but does say Michigan boots are on the ground in San Francisco.

THE DURKIN PROPHECY. Harbaugh to Michigan is now unofficially official enough that a coaching staff seems to be in the process of being assembled in earnest. Further confirmation of DJ Durkin's presence on the new staff comes from the message board:

So, I am from Youngstown, OH. This morning, I went to my gym for a little early morning workout, and another member of my gym is the father of Chris Durkin … they are close cousins with D.J. Durkin. … he said he would starting rooting for Michigan football next season (after giving me shit for wearing Michigan shirts in the past). I asked why, and he said he has a cousin who would be coaching there next season, and when I asked if it was D.J. Durkin, he said it was.

Conversation stopped there, but basically we can infer from this that Harbaugh is coming, and D.J. Durkin knows it and will be joining him.

That's a user with only 214 points but he is a guy who signed up over a year ago, FWIW. If it wasn't obvious already since Durkin didn't take the A&M job that could have been his a week ago, it should be now.

ANOTHER NFL PERSON SAYS MICHIGAN IS A TINY FAVORITE. SI's Don Banks runs down the NFL coaching carousel, touching on Harbaugh during the Oakland section:

Most league sources I talked to believe it’s down to either Oakland or Michigan for Harbaugh, and while his preference is to stay in the NFL, the lure of Ann Arbor and being able to resurrect the struggling program at his alma mater might be too tempting an opportunity to say no to. If there’s a possession arrow at the moment, indications are it has begun to slightly point in the direction of the Wolverines.

Or as one source told me: “He can go there and be God, and never get fired. That’s a home he can live in and stay at. It’ll be like [Nick] Saban in Alabama. He’ll do whatever he wants there. I’d call that the logical place for him.’’  

The Raiders will try, but they're still the Raiders—perpetually moribund and possibly on the move.

Banks later dismisses Harbaugh as an option in Chicago, saying if he's leaving the West Coast it's for Michigan. That seems like a flimsy assumption to me, but local reporters continually say that Harbaugh's too pricey for the penny-pinching Bears owners. There's been little indication that Chicago will step in.

WHY IS THIS XXIX? Searchbits XXVIII was this for anyone who just had to check to see if anything was happening on Christmas.

I regret nothing, even the old meme. That's what you get for obsessively checking this webs…

…actually this may have been a bad idea.

I'M NOT SURE YOU CAN SPEAK FOR EVERBODY. John Harbaugh denies the Schefter report that Jim's family is encouraging him to take the Michigan job:

"The report that says that his family is encouraging him to go to Michigan by Adam Schefter is absolutely incorrect," John Harbaugh said. "There's been no family that I know of that has given him any advice at all. That's a personal decision, that's his to make. And that's just absolutely false."

I think that's not entirely true; even if it is, Schefter's report seemed to be addressing the wife-won't-leave meme, not John and Jack. And as I mentioned before I'm confident that Jack has been a major part of the Harbaugh acquisition process. It's Jim's decision of course, it's just that your mom and I have always dreamed… etc etc etc.

ETC.: Matt Pargoff has an extensive list of potential assistants. Licensed twitter troll TIm Kawakami's Harbaugh-49ers postmortem is on point.




Brian December 24th, 2014 at 2:26 PM

All right, there's enough stuff. We're all degenerates.

INCREMENT. Webb goes to 75%. Drew Hallett notes that at this rate he will be at 100% on December 29th.

THE CONFERENCE CALL. It happened, it was coy and positive. Not much of substance was related except an expectation that the next call might be unnecessary. There was a brief flutter of positive tweets from players, most of which were vague and quickly deleted. It was made clear that things are not signed($); the overall feeling from the meeting was highly positive.


Durkin is holding off on his plans

THIS IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL. Texas A&M has been trying to name a new defensive coordinator for a couple weeks now, and DJ Durkin is a—the—prime contender. He's not going to stay at Florida after McElwain poached the Mississippi State YOU'RE A BALLER guy, so why isn't he going for a good job in the SEC?

Texas A&M’s slow movement toward hiring a defensive coordinator appears to be tied to Jim Harbaugh.

One of the Aggies’ candidates, Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin, is waiting to see whether Harbaugh takes the open Michigan head coaching job, according to a source close to the situation. If Harbaugh, currently at odds with the San Francisco 49ers, were to go back to coach his alma mater, Durkin could get reunited with his former Stanford boss.

If Durkin is willing to stall on a job as good as A&M DC, that "could" is almost certainly a "would." And Harbaugh's arrival at Michigan seems highly probable as well. Nobody's going to keep a job like that waiting based on a vague hope.

Interestingly, Greg Mattison was also a part of these rumors. Sometimes he's mentioned as a possible "co-DC"; sometimes his potential role is unlisted. With current speculation leaning towards a Mattison/Durkin partnership at Michigan, that also signals a shift. Mattison reportedly cleared out his office with authority when Hoke was axed.

NUSSMEIER OUT. Doug Nussmeier takes the Florida OC job as the first half of a potential coordinator trade. There had been a little chatter that Michigan might keep him on that's obviously done now.

HACKETT'S APPROACH. Heard from someone close to the search that Hackett's first approach to Harbaugh was to ask him what were the five things that he needed if he was going to come back to Michigan. These included top-five college money and disciplinary autonomy. A lot of it seemed like reassurances he wasn't going to have a Baalke or Brandon in his life.

Hackett is very tight-lipped. Even folks on the regent level aren't getting every detail; Hackett prefers to keep people informed on a high level but keep details private so that things don't get screwed up. He's been impressive to everyone I've heard who has come in contact with him.

THE JETS ARE NOT IMPRESSED. Okay, Jets owner, that's cool.

With the Dolphins out and the Jets apparently not enthralled, NFL options appear to come down to the cheapskate Bears and basket-case Raiders, with the potential addition of the Falcons if they don't make the playoffs.

I THINK WE HAVE FORGOTTEN SOMETHING ABOUT THE RAIDERS. Hey, look, Football Scoop is bringing up something a lot of people seem to have forgotten when talk turns to Harbaugh with the Oakland Raiders:

If he were to leave for another NFL job, however, the 49ers would supposedly ask for "a king's ransom" in exchange for releasing him, as the potential for embarrassment is much higher if Harbaugh remains in the NFL, especially if it's with the Oakland Raiders.

Harbaugh is under contract. York and Baalke would be reviled in the Bay Area if Harbaugh went to the disaster zone that is the Raiders and turned them around, especially if the 49ers struggled. (They're already moving towards reviled if the comment sections of 49ers articles are any indication.) It is unlikely they are going to let that happen unless the Raiders pay an exorbitant fee in draft picks, which makes the Raiders job even sketchier.

Congratulations to FS for finally saying something reasonable about this search. It was something I mentioned on December second(!) in the same post bombing their ridiculous "Harbaugh is not a candidate and Michigan is struggling" post, but better three weeks late and after a pile of complete bollocks than never at all.

ROONEY RULIN'. Another thing that makes Michigan a good bet as a landing spot: if the 49ers do cut ties with Harbaugh within 48 hours of the season's end that heavily implies Michigan: NFL teams have to comply with the Rooney Rule, which might be tough when hypothetical black candidates feel they're wasting their time. They would have to figure out a trade and a contract. Michigan has a big head start, and can act quicker.

ACT LIKE A CLOWN, GET TREATED LIKE A CLOWN PART II. Greg Gabriel, the fringe NFL writer who called Michigan's search "embarrassing" on December 12th and followed that up with gems such as "just laughing at you" and "if you want to dream go to Disneyland" amongst a number of other tweets he's deleted, has thrown a hissy on the National Football Post.

My fondness for the school ended this week through no fault of the University, but rather their asinine fans.

Two weeks ago I tweeted that in all likelihood, Jim Harbaugh would not become the next head coach at Michigan. Two weeks ago that was a very true statement, as Harbaugh wanted to coach nowhere but in the NFL. That was reported in various places by some very credible people. Harbaugh was done with the college game and wanted to coach only in the professional ranks.

Soon after my tweet, I started receiving several threatening, vulgar and obscene tweets from Michigan fans. In simple words, they said I didn’t know what I was talking about and that my sources were worthless.

The few replies he got to his tweet include an assertion he's a senile idiot… and that's it. Behold the asinine Michigan fanbase.

I get worse than that from random LSU fans without even talking about LSU. And of course Gabriel didn't know what he was talking about and his sources were useless. Meanwhile he approached the inherently unknowable fiasco that is a coaching search with a supremely unwarranted arrogance.

That's been par for the course for a bunch of supposed NFL insiders who have been cocky and wrong—bad combination—while the Michigan side of things has consistently said things like "Michigan is in this," not "Michigan is a lock" (until recently, as Harbaugh moves close enough to being a lock that even previously dismissive NFL people are admitting that it's probably happening).

There are ways to communicate your point of view without bringing the wrath of the internet down on you. Step one is not being an asshat, something Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport understand. Kawakami and this guy not so much.

MEANWHILE. Gabriel's sources remain useless. He asserts that the thing that makes Michigan an option is the money that's easily matched by NFL teams flush with cash and asserts that Harbaugh will be fired by the 49ers. More "heart in the NFL" stuff from people who promised up and down that Michigan was never happening.

PLAN B. I don't think we'll need one. Continue hearing that Dan Mullen is a strong possibility if things go pear-shaped. He may not be the #2 option outright, but he or Miles is the #1 guy they know would take the job. Depending on who you talk to, Miles is the #2 option or way down the board. I think it's the latter but can't be sure.





Brian December 23rd, 2014 at 11:36 AM


This seems in poor taste. I mean, the Cowboys? [Dustin Johnston/UMHoops]

TICK TOCK. Sam goes to 70% and says he'd be at 99% if San Francisco's season ended today. Joe Pequeno says it's Harbaugh barring one of them last minute change of heart things. Bacon says 85%, also citing last minute change of heart. Bacon also says that Michigan made a pass at Harbaugh last time, "but a weak one."

Heck, even Adam Schefter continued inching towards "it's happening," twice saying that "the pendulum has swung to Michigan" on ESPN's mid-day NFL shows on ESPN2.

WHY? Webb reports that Hackett was "in the Pacific Time Zone($)" yesterday, with the possibility of major movement today. Those Who Stay reported movement on the agent side of things, with Harbaugh/Dunn meeting at which things are just about hammered out but not quite signed. Clearly something happened yesterday to create another wave of IT'S HAPPENING, and that's a plausible reason.

DONE DEAL? I don't think it's quite that, but I think it's just about pen-to-paper time. Reports filtering down from the big baller donors certainly think it is done—we had one on the site yesterday that we had to scrub because the poster made an unwise decision to spill, and the inbox has a couple more. This is very much a situation in which the game of telephone would turn "it's about to be done" into "it's done," though.

WHEN? Still hearing that things won't be official until the 49ers are done. Michigan appears to be assembling a press conference on or around the 30th. That certainly implies they think it's done.

A CATCH? Did get a report that at least some people in the 49ers organization think the pendulum is swinging back to the NFL; hard to square that with everything else I've heard. FWIW; that would be a potential reason the NFL insider types are so dismissive.

WELL, THAT'S ALL OUT IN THE OPEN THEN. 49ers GM Trent Baalke was on the radio yesterday, and when asked about Harbaugh he confirmed that Michigan had reached out to the 49ers directly:

"I don't know that it's been offered to him. I don't know that it's been offered at all," Baalke said on his weekly segment on 95.7 The Game. "I haven't seen a report that the contract has been handed to him and he's mulling it over." …

Fox Sports reported Sunday that Michigan relayed its interest to the 49ers, and he reportedly told them he was undecided on his future.

"I think the University of Michigan, in reaching out, did handle it correctly," Baalke said. "As I look at it, guys, it's very simple: He's the head football coach of the San Francisco 49ers."

So that helps confirm the chatter that Michigan was trying to work out the details with the 49ers because they were so confident they'd locked down Harbaugh their attention was turning to details like extracting him from his contract. Somewhat odd that Baalke says he hasn't "seen a report" that he's been considering a contract when he is capable of walking into Harbaugh's office and asking, but maybe the two guys don't talk much anymore.

MAYBE IT'S ALL IN RUBLES. Sam says he's got an unconfirmed number($) for the assistant pool that is just about about on par with LSU and amongst the tops in the country. I am hearing some rumblings that Sam's weird suggestion (Mattison might stay on as a LB or DL coach with additional title frippery to be determined) is on point, which would explain some of that pool.

HOW NOT TO BACKTRACK. Adam Schefter has been walking his no-way stance back gradually, and that's fine. I think he got some bad information early, but he's reporting what he hears and moving away from Protect The Shield more than most other people in his profession.

On the other hand, you could pretend that you're defending Schefter when you opened your coverage of this coaching search with "Harbaugh turned Michigan down" and tripled-down on that assertion when it became clear it wasn't anywhere near true. If you guessed Scott Roussel was that guy, you get a cookie:


HOW TO CORPO-TWITTER. Well done, whoever:

#BUTTHOLE. Former Jack Harbaugh QB and Jim staff member Willie Taggart on the man:

"A lot of people think he's a butthole," Taggart says, matter-of-factly. "But he's not. Some people want things the easy way, sometimes people want others to bow down and just give in and do things the easy way. It's never like that with Jim.

"He's going to give it to you how he sees it. It's not to demean anyone, but it's how he sees it. He always does what he thinks is right. And, nine times out of 10, he is."

If Taggart doesn't make it at USF (he's gone 2-10 and 4-8 in his first two seasons) I wouldn't be surprised to see him join a hypothetical Michigan staff in the event of an opening.

CHRISTMAS SCHEDULE. Normally we take a week off around this time of year, but with Michigan's coaching search still ongoing I'll be around more. I'm going to get in a car right now and be in it for most of the rest of the day. I don't plan on posting anything the 24th or 25th unless it is literally happening. If there is enough stuff there may be a searchbits or two on the 26th and/or 27th.

The 28th is when things will start rolling in earnest as the 49ers finish up their season.

ETC.: Narduzzi the favorite at Pitt. John Harbaugh says some boilerplate stuff about his brother. Harbaugh with photoshopped bread? Okay. Wetzel on why getting rid of Harbaugh is a bad idea. Brian Dohn on possible contractual trip-ups.




Brian December 22nd, 2014 at 1:32 PM


never not funny

ANOTHER DAY FULL OF TREAD. Status quo after the Dolphins news yesterday. May get some leaks tomorrow if the players get some info; I am guessing Hackett doesn't put anything definitive in that call because he knows anything he says is going to get out. Hoping we get a coy but confident read from that.

Insiders now settling in: most are saying they are cautiously optimistic, think Harbaugh has told people it's happening, but are wary of NFL offers. Steve Lorenz pulled the trigger on a 247 Crystal Ball pick, so there's that. He's been on the verge of one for a while, and a couple things pushed him over the line($), including "'strong rumblings' from the agent side of things"—again information that does not seem to be part of the Michigan echo chamber.

UNLESS…? There are some rumblings this could be the done deal day. Those Who Stay says there's an agent meeting today; Mysterious Insider GFunk has been positive before and just went to 100% on Rivals; some rando who likes My Name Is Earl on twitter says it's done. I've got a couple of similar reports.

Individually I'd shrug those off, but a lot of them coming in quick succession may be a real thing.

MORE POSITIVE BITS. Another day, more confidence from within the echo chamber. Gregg Henson has a couple former players who are on board now and weren't before. Meanwhile the NFL reporter moonwalk continues:

Pretty much the same number and level of NFL jobs will come open as everyone was expecting earlier this year. That's some spin right there.

TELEPHONE EXEMPLAR. Jay Glazer is reporting that the 49ers and Harbaugh are going to part ways within 48 hours of the season's end; he appears to be the only one doing so. It's tough to tell these days as any piece of news is replicated across a dozen platforms with REPORT tacked on the front of it, but I think it's just Glazer in a brief TV segment. Kawakami tweeted something similar, but he's not being passed around as a REPORT.

I bet Glazer's right; I also think that people are reading too much into his statement. He picked an intentionally vague phrase to communicate what's going down: "end that relationship." SI transformed that into "fired." Rivals asserts that Glazer is reporting the 49ers "will not seek a trade for compensation." Glazer did no such thing. He just said expect the two parties to move quickly after the season.

This obviously has implications for Michigan. If the 49ers are going to fire Harbaugh that potentially saves them some money; if they've given up on the idea of trading him at all that's a big hint as to where things are going. Unfortunately, Glazer said no such thing.

That's a good example of how things get twisted as they get passed along, at least. Why I'm more cautious than might be warranted.

PLAN B. This isn't directly about Michigan, but Adam Schefter reports that David Shaw isn't even thinking about leaving Stanford for the NFL:

Any NFL team hoping to make a major run at Stanford head coach David Shaw will, in all probability, come away disappointed, sources tell ESPN. …But those who know the 42-year-old Shaw now believe he will not leave Stanford, no matter how much the NFL wants him.

This is the opposite of the usual play for a coach coming off a meh year. Agents will float their guy as a possibility here or there in an effort to get an extension or at least some patience; this is not a guy who thinks he's under any threat saying stay away. That almost certainly means he won't be responsive to Michigan inquiries.

I didn't want to punt from the opponent 29 anyway.

ALSO IN PLAN B. Michigan is covering all their bases. They had a meeting Friday about Plan B, C, and D options. No names came out of that, unfortunately. They are checking out NFL coordinators, which is disappointing but sensible given the landscape post-Harbaugh. If Mullen and Miles aren't real candidates for whatever reason, the next option is…? I honestly don't know.

Don't panic—Michigan remains confident they'll get their guy. They are doing due diligence so they can move quickly even if Harbaugh doesn't come. This means it is not a "done deal"… as of a few days ago.

I'M NOT SURE THAT'S WHO YOU WANT TO RIDE WITH. That Rivals report also addresses that La Canfora article scoffed at around here yesterday:

For the record, he's right about Harbaugh briefly accepting the Michigan job [in 2011], U-M coveting his brother and John Harbaugh making it clear he wants to stay at Baltimore, and we've reported that in the last month. We also reported Michigan's interest in Payton, at which point reporters like Fletcher Mackel out of New Orleans dismissed it as "embarrassing."

I've heard a lot of different things about Harbaugh "briefly accepting" the job in 2011, and they're all semantics. Mostly those assertions are used to make the insider feel good about being wrong or paint Harbaugh in a negative light. I don't buy them, and I've heard as much stuff about how Brandon scared Harbaugh off as stuff about how it almost happened.

We know that The Process didn't end up firing Rodriguez until January 5th, the same day Harbaugh met with the 49ers for five hours. The Michigan job is open for all of a day before Harbaugh is hired. Either Michigan was actively undermining the guy who was supposedly still their head coach or the brief acceptance thing is a joke. It is certain that there was no point at which Harbaugh agreed to coach Michigan while the job was actually open. If he verbally assented to coach Michigan in December, it is on Dave Brandon for not locking that down by maintaining the fiction that Rich Rodriguez had a shot to keep his job.

Meanwhile, trying to buttress your argument that Sean Payton was really an option with an article that mentions Doug Marrone and Jason Garrett…

ETC.: Pat Narduzzi a prime candidate at Pitt. Doug Marrone has "nothing to do" with the Michigan job.




Brian December 21st, 2014 at 6:07 PM


Harbaugh in a light moment with Michigan State offensive coordinator Jim Bollman

NOT MUCH MOVEMENT TODAY. Been waiting to see if anything major would come in, either publicly or privately. Nothing has. At this point that's a good thing: the closer we get to the 28th without a major shift in how things are going, the better. Everyone thinks it's happening.

BUT A COUPLE OF MEATY TIPS. A couple of additional circumstantial bits I've got:

  • The wife of a current 49ers assistant coach stating that Michigan fans are going to be "real happy about something as soon as the season's over."
  • John Elway, who tried to hire Harbaugh in 2011, telling some business associates that Harbaugh to Michigan is "pretty much" a done deal.
  • More player grapevine stuff indicating that Harbaugh will announce for Michigan as soon as the 49ers season is over.

I enjoy the first two bits a lot because they have nothing to do with a potential echo chamber amongst the Michigan side of things. Neither of these sources is direct or established with me, but both had specifically credible paths to the people in the know. There's been positive stuff I've heard that I appreciate but doesn't move the needle much; these two tips are substantial ones.

NO PHIN ZONE. Miami Herald reporter David Neal:

(His account isn't verified but he's legit.) The Dolphins sticking with Philbin is good news for Michigan; announcing it now is better. Ross could well wait to make that determination until after the season, when Harbaugh is loose. Saying it now preserves our canary. It also implies that there's no reason to wait to see if he's available.

ANOTHER NFL GUY REVISING HIS POSITION. Like Adam Schefter before him, Ian Rapoport continued walking back his previously dismissive take on Harbaugh to Michigan:

"He is conflicted about Michigan," Rapoport said Saturday on NFL Network's NFL Total Access. "He is a little surprised, talking to people close to him, about how hard the Maize and Blue have pulled at him. But he also knows he wants to be an NFL coach. He does not want to leave the area and the Oakland Raiders do seem to be the top suitor for him."

The bit about how he's "surprised" at how hard the block M pulls at him feels like a bit of CYA. The Michigan end of this is not surprised at all, so doubtful Harbaugh is. In any case: Rapoport moves from NFL true believer to apostate.

TIMELINE. This will happen or not happen quickly after the 49ers season ends—Jay Glazer says within 48 hours. He also mentions the Bears as a possible landing spot.

THIS WAS PHOTOSHOPPED. It got me, so I tweeted it. I then noticed a lot more RTs of the original than my correction, so a reminder that this did not actually happen:


block M on playcard is not real

Well played, anonymous internet photoshop bandit.

PLAN C, FOR CUMONG. As a football guy who makes forays into soccer writing for the USMNT I've had a hard time taking Jason La Canfora seriously after he moonlighted as a World Cup guy for CBS. Guy described the USA's smash-and-grab win against Ghana as a new thing for the States instead of what they'd been doing for much of their existence. I realize now that I needed the Kermit sipping tea meme to exist last summer.

But anyway, La Canfora is one of the NFL reporters who has been claiming that the idea of Harbaugh to Michigan is ridiculous, because The Shield rules all, etc. This morning he put out an article about their non-Harbaugh options. The names:

Michigan has maintained a desire to land Harbaugh's brother, John, as well, sources said, but the Ravens coach has made it clear he has no interest in leaving Baltimore. Other NFL coaches on the school's radar include New Orleans' Sean Payton, Buffalo's Doug Marrone and Dallas' Jason Garrett (who is expected to sign an extension with the Cowboys shortly after the season).

That list could not be more transparently calculated to make agent friends. You have a guy with a massive contract who's missing the playoffs (Payton), a second-year guy who has seen considerable improvement but remains on the hot seat (Marrone), and a guy literally negotiating an extension right now (Garrett). Oh and John Harbaugh, who is included because Harbaugh.

La Canfora maintains that Michigan has little shot at Jim Harbaugh, a program alum with a dedication to Michigan that verges on insane, and then drops the names of three sitting NFL coaches with exactly zero connection to Michigan. This fails basic sanity checks. Relegate La Canfora to the ranks of those who witlessly parrot anything an agent tells them.

PLAN B. Nobody's talking about Gundy anymore as even a plan B, but there continue to be indications his working environment is unpleasant:

My football coach doesn’t want to play anybody any good, definitely, but jiminy Christmas, we looked pretty good against Florida State,” Holder said of the 2014 season opener, which the Cowboys lost 37-31. “Until we beat OU, that was the highlight of our season.”

I very seriously doubt we get to the point where this is relevant, but slow day.

HERE'S A WEIRD QUOTE. The SF Gate tracked down Jerry Hanlon:

"Would he be a good coach? Heck, Jimmy’s already proven himself,” said Hanlon, a Michigan assistant from 1969-91. “Would they like him around here? I’ve said, 'As far as I know, he’ll be welcome when he first comes in. How long it’s going to stay that way, I don’t know.’ But, really, I know a lot of people would like to see it.”

Says a lot about the recent history of the program that Hanlon would be wary about how long Harbaugh's honeymoon would last even before he's locked down.

ON MEETINGS. Rapoport reports that Michigan and Harbaugh have not yet met face to face, which I also think is true. True in an official sense, anyway. Harbaugh meets Michigan face to face whenever Charles Woodson's on the opposite sideline or he gets a phone call. Hackett not so much.

Rivals is buzzing about a seemingly unnecessary step to make that meeting happen, with high tech whatnot going back and forth on planes to set up a "face to face" meeting that doesn't require anyone to leave town. Have you heard of Face Time, guys? I hope the sophisticated HD camera setup is really just an intern with an iPad. But anyway: some form of official face to face meeting is happening in the near future, possibly tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a clarification on an earlier statement: I said that the 23rd and 30th were potentially important days because they were dates Hackett was scheduled to meet with the players. Those "meetings" are conference calls; the team is obviously scattered to the four winds until January.

BEST GIFT EVER. Eight dollar khakis FTW.

ETC.: Pro wrestlers hope Harbaugh stays in San Francisco. So there's that. Harbaugh postgame presser. John Kryk on the search.




Brian December 20th, 2014 at 2:32 PM



Via MGoUser Red_Lee

A BRIEF FOLLOW-UP ON "IT'S DONE." Ace debunked it yesterday; let me add my voice to the chorus of No Way. I am sure Marcellus Wiley does have serious people telling him it's a done deal. I have that. Many other people have that. There are many people saying it. That does not mean it's true. Done means pen to paper, press conference scheduled. That does not describe Harbaugh's situation.

I would triple that skepticism in re: Paul Finebaum's report of same. It's not done.

This is why it's a coaching fiasco—no matter the outcome. It's a circus and will always be a circus.

FWIW. Alejandro Zuniga compiled the full text of Wiley's assertion:


BUT IT SOUNDS PRETTY GOOD YOU GUYS. I continue to get stuff too vague to Report but seemingly credible that indicates Michigan's AD is extremely confident this is getting done, with the current focus on handling buyout issues with San Francisco and an announcement by December 30th.

I fully believe many people in the AD and a big community of Harbaugh friends and acquaintances think it's all over but the shouting. I don't know if I believe they're 100%right, if you get my drift. Someone can always come in with a Godfather NFL offer. Going to be a long 8-10 days coming up.

SCHEFT SHIFT PART II. In the meantime I'd rather have randos coming out of the woodwork to say it's happening instead of it's not happening. It is also good when previously-adamant NFL guys are beginning to say it's possible. Ace mentioned Adam Schefter's apparent shift from "no way" in a lengthy Facebook post. First:

49ers HC Jim Harbaugh’s family and friends have been encouraging him to take the Michigan HC job, but he is torn because his heart is in the NFL, per sources close to the situation.

That's pretty good news, especially since I find the idea that Harbaugh's heart is in the NFL to be questionable at best. This is a guy who can't help quoting Bo about every press conference.

The rest of Schefter's post is a mixture of obvious bunk and interesting bits. Schefter asserts Michigan might not be able to wait, which is nuts. They are fully prepared to wait on Harbaugh until the 28th. They told their players they should expect a coach when they come back on January 4th. It is a a recruiting dead period (you can call but no face to face meetings) until then and if they have a good shot at Harbaugh—they do—they'd be insane to move on before he responds to an offer. Schefter also makes the bonkers assertion that "some have pointed out that recruiting would be a challenge," which may stand as the nuttiest thing said about this coaching search.

On the other hand, Schefter reports that:

  • Harbaugh's agent "has a good sense of realistic NFL options already," though this directly contradicts an assertion earlier in the post.
  • Harbaugh's wife is okay with a return to An Arbor.

So I don't know how seriously to take anything specific in there. The overall thrust is a guy going from utterly dismissive to serious, though, and that's a big move.

In smaller moves, Sam Webb incremented his current percentage($) from 60% to 65%, and Joe Pequeno, the reporter in Arizona who put the 49 million number on twitter, has it at 70%.



WHERE THE EXTREME SKEPTICISM MAY BE COMING FROM. NFL guys talk to agents, mostly. They've been adamant it isn't happening. Therefore: agent probably the reason NFL guys are so adamant. (That and NFL-level arrogance.) Agent likely has a vested interest in being adamant because he wasn't Harbaugh's agent when he was in college and might not be if he returns there. Dunn does not represent college coaches.

This isn't necessarily to say he's acting in bad faith, but he may be inclined to tilt towards something personally beneficial to him, and also to make NFL teams snap at the bait.

NO. Mike Florio reports that Harbaugh turned down a larger offer from Michigan than he got from the 49ers back in 2011—$5.2 million a year in fact. That is false. Negotiations with Harbaugh never got that far. That number was drawn up out of thin air by an agent: you can tell because the great and powerful NFL didn't pay him more than Michigan was offering when that's chump change to them.

A FOLLOWUP ON THE ROSS BIT. Yesterday I mentioned the Miami Herald reporting that the Dolphins were not suitors in the Harbaugh sweepstakes. I forgot to remind you that that's one of our main canaries here: if Ross gets involved with the Dolphins that's a sign the dream is dead. So far so good on that front.

PLAN B? Sam says that the ever-fluctuating Les Miles Realism Monitor is at low ebb($). IE: he doesn't seem like a realistic option. Up next would probably be swings at Stoops and Mora and then it's Mullen or a wild card with dubious qualifications.


MATTISON RETURNS? We've heard DJ Durkin's name as a possible DC before, and now Sam mentions Greg Mattison as a possible… linebackers coach($)?

It sounds nutty, but Michigan did sign Mattison to a contract that lasts through 2016 last March. For Michigan the cost of not keeping Mattison is whatever the buyout is plus whoever the new coach is—close enough to Mattison's current deal that you may as well keep him. Meanwhile Mattison was planning on retiring in Ann Arbor before Hoke got axed and if Michigan's amenable he may still want to follow through on that plan. At this point in his career, I doubt he gives a crap about job titles, and Michigan could name him associate head coach or whatever. Would be good for continuity, recruiting, and Swag Mattison memes.

A BRIEF NOTE ON TIES. A clarifying note on the lead bit from yesterday: it doesn't mean anything—it was just a friend of the Harbaughs sending him some ties as a wink-wink joke. Somehow the receipt got loose and several people sent it to me, which I thought was funny. I thought it was clear this was just a "look at us we're crazy people" joke; if that was not clear it should be now.

One thing it's not: a "complete fabrication($)." That's what Tom Beaver called it, which is rich from a guy who spent the duration of TomVH's career at this blog implying that Tom was stealing his scoops from Beaver. Probably thinks he's stealing from him at ESPN now. Anyway, I have multiple independent pictures of the receipt, which I won't post because it has personal information on it and this is fundamentally trivial. But just ask yourself: when's the last time Beaver had anything checkable?

Beaver should stick to mangling the English language beyond recognizability and let the people with sources who exist outside their own head handle things.

ETC.: Wheatley on coaching in the pros versus college. Harbaugh's probably worth the money. Niners Nation poll on Harbaugh's future has Michigan as most likely option… and contract extension with 49ers #2. May not be scientific. Jamie Morris says his gut tells him Michigan will get Harbaugh.