Spring Practice Presser 3-23-17: Jim Harbaugh

Spring Practice Presser 3-23-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on March 24th, 2018 at 9:14 AM

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[Eric Upchurch]

What are your impressions after day one?

“Uh, good. Good day. The team is…it’s a rejuvenated team. And I like the way they’ve really trained over the last two-and-a-half months and getting back on the field was great today.”

Rejuvenated in what way?

“Just attitude, confidence, there was a bounce in their step, and it’s been good. It’s been good over the last weeks, months, and great to get back started on the field.”

I know it’s only been one day, but what did you think of Shea [Patterson]?

“Um, did good. Did a good job. As did a lot of guys, you know. And for a first day, I mean, it was…guys had studied. Guys, you know, it wasn’t the first time they’d thought about the plays or the defensive calls or the punt protections. Guys came out and had a high level of understanding and there was good execution [for a] first day.”

Do you have an update on Shea’s timeline with regard to eligibility or when you might hear something from the NCAA?

“No.”

Are you hopeful or what do you think?

“I don’t have an update.”

When you go through, because you don’t have an update and you don’t know, do you go through just a normal progression with him and say ‘You’re going to get these reps’ and then the other guys the same way? Do you just go with it thinking that okay, yeah, we will have him?

“Uh, the reps are being evenly distributed amongst the quarterbacks.”

Is Grant Newsome able to practice yet?

“No.”

He can do anything with the team right now?

“He’s working out, he’s conditioning, but he’s not at the point to come back and practice with the team.”

I think you said Grant Perry’s also limited on the radio. Is there anybody else besides those two that’s not going to be full go by spring ball?

“Yeah. Luiji [Vilain], Jameson Offerdahl, there’s a few. And then Ty Wheatley, looks like he fractured the metacarpal [Ed. A- metatarsal] in his foot today, so he’ll be out for all of spring ball but back for the season.”

[After THE JUMP: out-of-the-gate leaders, some O-line clarity, and RPOh no]

Monday Presser 11-13-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 11-13-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 13th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Paul Sherman]

Can you tell us what you’ve seen from Wisconsin on film on both sides of the ball?

“Very physical team. Number one defense in the country right now. Very, very physical on offense. Very good quarterback, very good running back. Really good in the lines on both sides, and skill positions as well. Talented players and very tough schemes to prepare for.”

Do you have an update on Karan [Higdon] and his status?

“We’ll get more today but seems good. Seems like positive news and update.”

You talked about Wilton [Speight] last week. Is he getting closer? Do you think he’s going to be cleared this week for contact is that still up in the air?

“Right now he’s cleared to practice, and we won’t—we’ll avoid contact again this week.”

So Brandon will be your guy again this week?

“Yes.”

Update on Grant Newsome? How’s he doing?

“Been progressing well.”

Is Wilton probably going to sit out the last two? Have you made a determination on that?

“Don’t know. Don’t know. I don’t make that determination, that’ll be made by the doctors.”

[We don’t talk about injuries except when we do, and we do after THE JUMP]

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Rutgers

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Rutgers

Submitted by Brian on November 1st, 2017 at 5:27 PM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. Man, it feels good to get something out of the way, like a Rutgers linebacker, or a Rutgers defensive end, or a Rutgers defensive back, or that mortgage refi you've been thinking about. HomeSure Lending can get that out of the way for you, and then it's smooth sailing until the endzone, or at least a safety.

FORMATION NOTES. Hello, manball. Michigan's approach in this game was downright neolithic, featuring 32 snaps with one or zero WRs. Feel the Harbaugh goodness as Michigan goes with a goal line set on first and ten on their own 34 (the "WR" is Gentry and he will motion to a TE spot presnap):

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Michigan did suffer to allow two wide receivers on the field 22 times; three WRs managed to get out there on 14 snaps.

Note that Michigan's formations were slightly less neolithic than the personnel: Michigan was happy to spread their TEs out as WRs for a half-dozen or so 2 WR snaps.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES. OL was the usual until Onwenu got dinged late. Runyan got 7-8 plays in his place. Peters replaced O'Korn about halfway through the second. TE was the usual: mostly Gentry and McKeon with Wheatley emerging into a more prominent role but still third; Bunting snaps were scanty. Michigan did use a version of Spanellis wearing 97 as a bonus OL on a number of snaps.

WR was mostly nobody, but when it wasn't nobody it was Schoenle or DPJ on one-WR plays. Perry was always in when there were multiple WRs. Collins got a little run and a catch. Crawford was out after being spotted in a boot this week.

RB was a Higdon-Isaac-Evans-Walker production, in order of declining carries. Samuels burned his redshirt for good in the last few plays. I try to not get peeved about RB redshirts.

[After THE JUMP: hundreds of pounds of ground cable subscriber]

Monday Presser 10-2-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 10-2-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 2nd, 2017 at 5:51 PM

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[Fuller]

Talk about the season Mike McCray’s having and really the career after having to bounce back from an injury-riddled start and really be one of your key players. Just talk about what he means to this team and this program.

“Elected captain by his teammates. Playing good ball. Been a sure tackler and been the quarterback of the defense—I hear it sometimes referred to a linebacker that way, signal-caller, et cetera. Just been steady. Been a real good football player.”

Opponents are averaging 3.5 points per games in the second halves of games against your defense. Talk about your staff in terms of the adjustments that they’re making in terms of what’s being thrown at them.

“Yeah, our defensive staff, led by Don Brown, they’re at the highest level in all phases, not just making adjustments at halftime. Game planning, teaching, all areas of coaching.”

What is Wilton’s status this week?

“He won’t be able to compete this week or for multiple weeks.”

Can you divulge what the nature of the injury is?

“Um…I think you can talk to Wilton about that or the doctors but yeah, he’s going to be out. John O’Korn will be the starter.”

[Hit THE JUMP to see which of Jim Harbaugh’s lists he forgot to bring to the presser]

Monday Presser 9-18-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 9-18-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 18th, 2017 at 5:00 PM

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[Upchurch]

Can you talk about what you get from Eddie McDoom on special teams and on offense?

“He’s been a contributor this year, last year. Fast, smart, fundamentally-sound football player.”

Purdue’s off to a good start. Can you talk about what you see out of them that has your attention?

“Yeah, the team’s done a tremendous job. Coaching staff would be an early favorite for coach of the year. They’re doing a nice job. The entire team is.”

With Mason Cole, to know that you’ve got a dependable left tackle with a starting streak and production, what kind of comfort does that give you as a coach?

“I would say he’s our most valuable offensive lineman.”

Does Quinn Nordin have sort of an unusual mentality for a kicker? Seems like a pretty confident and outspoken kid.

“Uh, no. I find nothing unusual about Quinn.”

WIth Rashan and Chase and those guys up front, did you see their presence and with Rashan especially, did you see him making impact plays in his first couple weeks here?

“Yes.”

What about him has stood out to you?

“Running to the football, playing physical, tackling very well. High effort, high talent.”

[Injury updates after THE JUMP]

Cincinnati Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Cincinnati Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 10th, 2017 at 11:59 AM

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[Upchurch]

First Evans last week, now Isaac today. How big is it for you guys to gain more depth at the running back position with all the guys you lost from last season?

“I thought Ty had a heck of a game. Career high for him and he keeps ascending, so feel good. Fullbacks are doing a nice job. I think most of our veteran players are playing good and kind of the theme is we’ve got to get experience. We’ve got to get experience playing. It’s guys’ first time playing here in the Big House, first time going through a week of school, and got to be patient. We’re going to coach ‘em up and long road ahead but can’t get experience without playing, so that’s kind of the theme.”

If you could talk about two plays: the first one the 36-yard reception by Zach Gentry that kind of got things going for the offense and then the decision to go for it on fourth-and-eight.

“Yeah, that was a nice job by Zach. Wilt threw a good ball on the crossing route. Yeah, we needed that to flip some field position where we had a couple previous punts, so that was good.

“The decision to go for it on fourth-and-eight, we were around the 33-yard line, would have been a 50-yard, 51-yard field goal. Punting it could have gained you only eight yards, so decided to take the chance there. I think, I believe—who made that catch? Was it Grant? Kekoa.

“There was a lot of good. There was a lot of good and a lot of times where the screen’s going a little fuzzy and we’re not doing our assignments. Then the fumbles, those hurt. And the ball handling. We’ll just keep going. Wins are tough to come by and we’re glad to have this one.”

Started strong in terms of the score and the final score was lopsided but what happened in between to maybe make it closer than expected?

“You saw the game.”

[After THE JUMP: “I’m dead in here. It’s like burnt wood in terms of nervousness and butterflies and emotions that way.”]

MGoPodcast 8.6: The Chart Says Win With Cruelty

MGoPodcast 8.6: The Chart Says Win With Cruelty

1 hour 6 minutes, somehow

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You too might look like this against Rutgers! [Patrick Barron]

Sponsors

A big thanks to our sponsors. The show is presented by UGP & Moe's and frankly would not be happening without them; Rishi and company have been on board here from almost the beginning. Shopping with them helps us and supports good dudes. Check out the new Bo Store on Main.

Our other sponsors are also key in the expanding empire: thanks to Homesure Lending, Ann Arbor Elder Law, Liz Crowe, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Michigan Law Grad, Defensive Drivers Group, and Tailgater Concierge.

Defense:

starts at 1:00

Lol.

Offense:

starts at 13:23

Lol Peppers. Darius Hamilton almost absent from the box score=win. Speight’s inaccuracy was worrisome, probably weather-related. Upset that Rutgers didn’t have the dignity to defend draws. Bredeson started; Braden resumed his job shortly thereafter. Chris Evans started breaking tackles. A lot of OL rotation showed contingency plans. Mad about putting the way-out fullback trap on film.

Special Teams and Game Theory

starts at 27:24

What the chart says. What Jabrill Peppers’s Mom and MGoBlog have in common. Mr. Kelly’s Irish + hurricane game = comedy gold. Don’t pitch it to nobody on the 2 yard line.

Talking Big Ten with Jamie Mac

starts at 36:14

Rock fight: Leidner and Beathard both looked like less than 1st round quarterbacks. Iowa is still very much Iowa. Is Penn State decent (when not playing Michigan) and Franklin isn’t punting on 4th and 4 from inside the 35, and stuff? Ohio State looks mortal in bad weather; Indiana’s defense is probably…okay? Is that a real sentence? Ter-ry! Ter-ry! Ter-ry! Chase Crouch might be accidentally a better QB option for Illinois.

MUSIC:

  • “Cruel”—St. Vincent
  • “Character”—Van Hunt
  • “Don’t Be Cruel”—Cheap Trick
  • “Across 110th Street”

THE USUAL LINKS

Michigan 49, Penn State 10

Michigan 49, Penn State 10

Submitted by Ace on September 24th, 2016 at 8:04 PM


[Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog]

Karan Higdon ran in for a touchdown from two yards out. The Michigan Stadium crowd responded with a polite golf clap.

The first half wasn't over.

The same couldn't be said for the competitive portion of the game. Higdon's run gave the Wolverines a 28-0 lead heading into halftime. At that point, they'd outgained Penn State by 209 yards; star running back Saquon Barkley had 66 of PSU's 50 total yards. That is not a typo.

The two teams didn't look like they belonged on the same field, and apparently James Franklin agreed. PSU opened the second half by forcing a three-and-out, then mounting their only sustained drive of the game thus far, getting deep into Michigan territory before facing a fourth-and-goal from the two. Franklin sent out the field goal unit to turn a four-score game into a four-score game. He sent them back out after calling a timeout to avoid a delay-of-game penalty. The kick was good; it was also a white flag.

Jim Harbaugh did not share that mindset. Michigan's opening touchdown came on a fourth-and-goal plunge by Khalid Hill, and a nine-yard Wilton Speight scramble(!) on a fourth-and-seven set up Higdon's half-ending score; Michigan would go for two more and come up short, but they didn't take the foot off the gas until the game's final minutes.

"It's just cool that he knows we'll pick it up," said Speight. "We know that his mindset is to smash it in for a touchdown, too. It's cool that we're all on the same page."

"Especially the one way where we were going into the wind, we thought the odds were better going for fourth downs," said Harbaugh.

One team played to win. The other played to survive.


[Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]

Michigan dominated from the outset. They sacked PSU QB Trace McSorley twice on the first drive. Jabrill Peppers nearly housed the ensuing punt; after a sideline infraction moved the offense back to the Penn State 24-yard line, Wilton Speight completed three straight passes to get the team in a goal-to-go situation before Hill ultimately squeezed his way into the end zone. Michigan would finish with six rushing touchdown by five backs; five came from three yards out or fewer, with the only exception a 40-yard sprint draw to Higdon in the fourth quarter.

"I was really impressed with the running backs. All of them contributed in big ways," said Harbaugh, before naming all five backs—Higdon, Hill, De'Veon Smith, Ty Isaac, and Chris Evans—who crossed the goal line. "Moving the chains and breaking some big runs—it was a good way to move the ball."

It was indeed. Michigan bounced back from a couple sub-par rushing performances between the tackles and made Penn State's banged-up front look completely outmatched. The Wolverines covered 326 yards at 6.7 per carry, and in a big change from the first three games, only five of those yards came from a receiver. Smith led the way with 107 yards on only 12 carries; Higdon, Isaac, and Evans each had over 50 yards, and all the backs looked sharp.

It was no coincidence the offensive line had their best performance of the year, opening big holes up front and not allowing a sack. Speight mentioned in the postgame presser that Michigan ran the same run play eight or nine times in a row, with the only variation being whether they ran left or right. That third-quarter drive culminated in a three-yard TD by Evans to put Michigan up 35-3 and remove any shred of doubt about the outcome.

"I started laughing," Speight said of seeing the same call signaled in from the sideline so many times in a row.

"I thought our team was prepared and confident. There was some communication out there, especially from the offensive linemen, of what they thought they could do well," said Harbaugh. "We listened to them and repeated the call a few times. It was simply that."

Speight wasn't asked to do much through the air, but he was capable when called upon, going 21-for-34 for 189 yards and a short TD pass to freshman TE Devin Asiasi. He didn't look worse for wear after a rough outing against Colorado.

On the other side of the ball, the defense was unrelenting after welcoming Jourdan Lewis and Taco Charlton back to the lineup. Barkley had a couple moments, but he had little in the way of help.

"That's a good back. Saquon Barkley is really good." said Harbaugh. "But our guys were there and they were swarming."

Nine defenders combined for 13 tackles for loss; five were responsible for the six sacks. Mo Hurst, looking quite healthy, led the way with three TFLs and a sack.

The only downer came when Jeremy Clark suffered an apparent non-contact knee injury on a fourth-quarter kickoff. He required a cart to get to the locker room, and Harbaugh didn't mince words after the game, saying "we think it's a season-ender."

That will be something to overcome next week, when Michigan will host a top-ten matchup with Wisconsin, which is coming off a blowout of Michigan State. The Wolverines will enter that game as the winningest program in the country after today's win coupled with a Notre Dame loss to Duke—I'll pause here for laughter—gave the good guys the edge in win percentage again.

The Badgers will provide a stiffer contest. It would be difficult for them not to do so.

Jim Harbaugh Is Not A Food Critic

Jim Harbaugh Is Not A Food Critic

Submitted by Ace on August 30th, 2016 at 3:28 PM


[Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog]

Jim Harbaugh is the first person to admit he's obsessed with football. Everything else is secondary. This is a man who traveled to Paris with his wife, went to a Mexican restaurant that appears to be decent but by no means world-renowned, and declared it the best restaurant while also boiling down his personality into a damn near perfect tweet.

Harbaugh is a blunt instrument. He doesn't get sick. He doesn't take holidays. He's a jackhammer. We know this.

Harbaugh also has strong ties to the military. One of his oldest, closest friends is retired Marine colonel Jim Minick, who now serves at Michigan's director of football operations. He has a well-documented history of bringing in military officers to speak to his teams. He stops by Omaha Beach while on vacation. He welcomes servicemen into his office and genuinely looks more excited to take a photo with them than vice versa.

Which brings us to yesterday. Harbaugh emerged from the fall camp submarine—his term; he's also referred to it as a "bunker"—to address the media for the first game-week press conference of the season. Harbaugh is well-known for his unpredictable, off-the-cuff answers in pressers (not to mention on Twitter). We have a "jim harbaugh says things he probably shouldn't" tag, and the proprietor of this site has described him as "being himself at maximum volume at all times" on multiple occasions.

The odds that Harbaugh had the time or inclination to seriously ponder Colin Kaepernick's protest of the national anthem before the press conference are exceedingly low. This is a football coach known for being way more football-obsessed than even the average football-obsessed football coach. He's briefly emerging from three weeks of fall camp and its four-hour practices and endless film study to talk about the Hawaii game. He's probably aware of the basic details of Kaepernick's protest, but that's not anywhere close to his primary focus. He's thinking about his team, preparing for Hawaii, and not letting on anything about the ongoing quarterback competition.

[Hit THE JUMP.]