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 11-6-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 11-6-17: Jim Harbaugh

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

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[Upchurch]

Cesar [Ruiz] had a couple lapses in pass pro but can you talk about how he run blocked and how he acquitted himself after you saw him on film?

“Yeah, really just the one in pass pro where he didn’t track the 3-technique. Thought the 3-technique was looping wide and got his eyes back inside. Yeah, the rest of the game he acquitted himself very well. Everybody on the offensive line, it was a memorable game for offensive linemen in this game.

“The other thing I was really impressed with with the offensive line and our whole offense was the amount of hustle. There was an early run with Karan [Higdon] and Cesar got up off the ground and was sprinting in pursuit. Mason Cole was sprinting in pursuit. It was a memorable game in terms of the effort and the hustle and the pursuit by the offense.

“The receivers, the way they blocked, Donovan had one of those decleaters in the game. Eddie McDoom had his most physical game in terms of blocking. Nate Schoenle was very effective as well. There was no loafs in the receiver group, you could say. There wasn’t a lot of opportunity to catch passes, but their gray undershirts were still sweaty. They were really working hard to get the team to victory and it showed up in a lot of areas.

“It showed up defensively. The hustle, it showed up on special teams and yeah, really good play that way. Cesar was right in there. Just looked athletic, you know, getting up and chasing our backs down the field and trying to get in on the action and get the block, so very impressive.”

After you got a chance to watch the film and go back and re-evaluate, how do you think Brandon [Peters] handled his first start and everything involved. Obviously wasn’t asked to throw a lot but with everything involved, how do you think he handled that?

“Very well. He was very effective in the first drive and yeah, there was two throws he should have hit that came up short and that was my feeling after the game that we’ve got to keep him more loose during the game. Had a screen pass that could have gone really big. It was the one time we had three offensive linemen that not one of them picked up a block. I think it was a screen to Chris Evans that should have really gone, should have really busted out.

“But yeah, good. Could have hit a couple more, but nothing close to an interception. Nothing close to turning the ball over even though he took some big shots it the pocket. Thought he held onto the ball well and did the things to keep us from losing the ball game. Did the things to help us win the ball game. Know he can execute all throws, so feel good going forward.”

[After THE JUMP: Peters’ progress, Speight update, Ben Mason’s nickname, and the time to bounce]

Monday Presser 9-4-17: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 9-4-17: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 4th, 2017 at 6:00 PM

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[Chris Cook]

Coach, could you talk about how Patrick Kugler did in his first start?

“Yeah, he did outstanding. He graded out the highest of all offensive linemen. Just very effective. Really, really happy with the way the offensive line played. Pat played his best game.”

In addition to the offensive line, what were the things on the offensive side of the ball that jumped out on video that you liked?

“The run game. Liked our pass protections. Liked in the passing game we hit big plays. We executed at times very well. The play action was extremely good. And we moved the ball. We were able to move and score points. Feel like we turned some of those red-zone field goals into touchdowns and you score 40, 45+ points.” 

Obviously every game plays out differently but with the way Isaac succeeded, do you try to get the ball in his hands more going forward?

“Well, we were. I mean, that was the plan going into the game as well. He had a terrific game. He’s going to be our offensive player of the week. Really got us going on some off-schedule third-down runs. He played brilliantly and really happy for him.

“Chris [Evans] as well had good runs and so did Karan Higdon. We really felt good about those three backs in the ball game and we continue to feel good about them coming out of the ball game and going forward.”

Chase said on Saturday that forced fumble for him was a culmination of a lifetime of work. What’s impressed you most about him and his progression there after bouncing around from position to position earlier in his career?

“The motor. His energy, his effort…fast. It’s the speed at which he does it and he’s a strong player. Speed and strength, those are huge in football, as a team and as an individual player. Combine that with his get-up-and-go, his motor, his gung-ho attitude: all is a great combination for a football player.”

[After THE JUMP: running off-schedule, the starting QB, and offensive line…hype?]

Spring Practice Presser 3-29-17: Greg Frey

Spring Practice Presser 3-29-17: Greg Frey

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on March 30th, 2017 at 10:38 AM

Athletics, Dave Ablauf

[via mgoblue.com]

“We starting with questions or…am I breaking into a speech here?”

MGoQuestion: You’re a few practices in now. Are you liking Mason Cole better at tackle or center?

“You really haven’t, uh…just playing hard, seeing who goes where as we go as an offense. As we get through the summer we’ll figure out—the first play of the Florida game, we’ll know who the starters are.”

So is the offensive line kind of a long-term project, long-term development then?

“What do you mean?”

When you say you want to take the summer to evaluate this.

“What’s beautiful about Coach Harbaugh is ever position is being challenged and every position is open and we’ll find out when we get to gametime who the guys are.”

How important is versatility on this offensive line?

“I think it’s important anytime you have players. When you’ve got guys that can do multiple things it helps. It helps alleviate stress. It helps when you can bring players along. You want guys to do a lot of things. As a player you want the versatility going forward when you’re trying to chase that NFL career.”

Have you met and talked to Grant Newsome yet? Obviously he’s got a road that he’s been on to try and get back.

“Yeah, I have met with Grant Newsome, and he’s a wonderful, great person. As far as him as a player, I don’t handle those questions.”

[Hit THE JUMP for an interesting bit about the schemes Frey has coached]

Orange Bowl Teleconference: Jim Harbaugh

Orange Bowl Teleconference: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on December 5th, 2016 at 10:42 AM

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[Bryan Fuller]

Opening Statement:

“Hi, my name is Jim Harbaugh. Thanks, Mr. Wahl [Ed. A-Orange Bowl communications director]. Uh, sorry I wasn’t able to get on the call earlier. I was on a plane. Thanks for coming back at this time. If you have any questions, I’d be glad to answer.”

Being at the ‘86 game against FSU in Ann Arbor—I believe that was your senior year—you won by two. I just remember it being probably one of the worst officiated games I ever saw. What do you remember about that ballgame?

“What was the final score? I don’t remember the final score.”

20-18, you won.

“Oh, it was two points? Okay. I just remember how great Deion Sanders was. That was what stood out in my mind. And Coach Bowden, he was really cool. I remember running and scrambling, I scrambled left and went back to the right toward their bench and ended up having—probably ran almost eighty or ninety yards one way to the one side then all the way back to the other side, and I got thrown out of bounds. I just remember him being cool and giving me a smile, a pat on the back, and he said something. But my coach that year, Bo, and Coach Bowden were coaches in the Hula Bowl, so I got to know him a little bit better at that point, too. Those are the two things that stick out most in my mind from that game.”

You would have been in the NFL, but did you watch that ‘91 game?

“Yeah, I remember not seeing the entire game. I do remember watching it. FSU won that one. Back-and-forth, intense game.”

It was 51-31, I think.

“Yeah.”

We just talked to a few of the players and they were bringing up the Christmas Camp you guys did last year and doing that again this year. Given the fact that you guys were aiming for the playoff spot and came up a little bit short, is there any concern making sure those guys are still motivated and still willing to put in the work here for a few more weeks?

“Um…well, I know I am. I know I’m motivated and ready to put in the work, and looking forward to it.”

[After THE JUMP: Florida State, one last statement on officiating, and great memories of coconuts]

Maryland Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Maryland Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 6th, 2016 at 11:00 AM

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[Upchurch/MGoBlog]

Might be a broken record, but might that have been Wilton Speight’s best game, and could you talk about how he extended plays by sliding around in the pocket when he needed to?

“Yeah, that was…statistically, and just the eyeball, that’s the best half of football I’ve ever seen a Michigan quarterback play. I think the statistics back that up. Yeah, moving and throwing and accuracy and extending plays, all of the above. I don’t know how you play better than Wilton did. I think there was one throw that wasn’t a great throw. That was it. Other than that, it was a perfect game as a quarterback and that’s really tough to do.”

This team continuing to roll. How much more enjoyment do you get out of seeing these guys as the season progresses and you see the execution as it is each and every week?

“I enjoy it a lot. I really felt that the week of practice we had was outstanding, and then you, when you have a week like that where it seems better every week and the practices are really sharp and crisp, then you want to see that again on gameday. You feel like if you’re good in practice you’re going to be good in the game, and I thought our guys were great in practice this week and then they were great in the game, so that, get a lot of enjoyment from that.”

De’Veon Smith went over 100 yards. I know you talk a lot about liking how hard he runs. How’d he look to you today?

“He looked great. He really did. He was one of the big factors in our team’s success. We didn’t punt again in the ballgame. I don’t know if we’ve done that in the season—maybe one or two times. But it was, a big part was him. The yards he got after contact were real eye-opening, and he’s so tough to get down. Three touchdowns, but extending drives and contributing. We had a lot of first downs today, and he contributed to that in a big way.”

Clearly the scoreboard reflected it, but what was it like for you to coach against DJ Durkin, your former defensive coordinator, and what were the emotions that went into it?

“The normal emotions. Definitely a friend. Watch what he’s done at Maryland, he’s doing a fantastic job. And what he did for us, what he did for our football team—he was a great contributor to our ballclub.”

[Hit THE JUMP to find out what offended Harbaugh’s football sensibility and the football gods themselves]

Monday Presser 10-31-16: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 10-31-16: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 31st, 2016 at 6:30 PM

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[Fuller/MGoBlog]

What will it take to keep the guys focused and playing at a high level the rest of the year every week?

“I think it takes a lot of commitment. Hard work. Good goals. Uh…commitment. Good football character. Good human character. I feel like we’ve got those kind of guys.”

You’ve been able to get the ball to four running backs, a couple of wide receivers, Jabrill, fullbacks. Short and long term, how much does that help you whether it’s recruiting, but also to win games because the other team doesn’t quite know who’s going to get the ball and everybody’s fresh?

“I think it helps in all the ways you just said. Helps in all those areas.”

I think Mone went out of the game in the first half? Did he come back in or is he hurt?

“Yeah, he fell down. Fell down on his leg and came off, but he came in yesterday saying he felt good.”

Do you have any expectations whether Grant Perry will play this week or is he still going through whatever he’s going through?

“Yeah, we’ll…to be determined.”

Thoughts on DJ Durkin coming in with Maryland and the job he’s done with them so far this year.

“He’s done a fabulous job. Just always respected DJ as a tremendous competitor at the highest level. Smile thinking about his competitiveness, and also always happy for a friend’s success. I think he’s doing a fabulous job, him and his entire staff and team. You can see the energy. You can see the strength. You can see the competitiveness and execution on the field, et cetera. The flip side of that is we know that this’ll be a big game, a championship game. This will be a real test for our club.”

[After THE JUMP: We’ve got to build some immune systems. More push-ups. More whole milk.]

Monday Presser 10-24-16: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 10-24-16: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 24th, 2016 at 6:00 PM

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[Upchurch/MGoBlog]

News bullets and other items:

  • Chris Evans was concussed, and it’s too early in the week to tell his status for the game
  • Not sure whether Braden at LT and Bredeson at LG will be the starting left side Saturday as Bushell-Beatty is very much in the competition
  • You’re doing yourself a great disservice if you don’t read the whole thing for the discussion of where the refs spotted the ball after a play that left Michigan two yards short of the sticks on third down up 41-8; Harbaugh challenged, and the subsequent call was the worst he said he’s ever seen.

After watching the film, how’d that left side of the line hold up with the two Bens?

“Good. Real good. Yeah. Both played two of their best games. Yeah, good in protection, good in the run game, made the right calls.”

Is that something you think you’ll stick with this week probably?

“Yeah, we’ll see. Juwann Bushell-Beatty also is a huge factor.”

Talk about what Wormley gives you both as a leader and as a player. I think it was Chase Winovich who referred to him as ‘papa.’

“Really consummate…consummate…great football character, great human character. Really good leadership skills. Strong and makes well thought-out decisions. He’s equally as good on the football field. Just always been a rock-solid guy you like being around and somebody that you try to emulate his qualities. He’s a thinker and makes good decisions.”

Reading some of the players’ postgame comments from Saturday, they talked about last year how you kind of let the finish of the game sink in a little bit, but since then you guys have gone 11-1 over two seasons. Is that something where that kind of has fueled them since, or this week is it really going to come out in an aggressive form?

“This is a big game for us. Championship type of ballgame. Our preparations will need to be at their best. I don’t know much more to say about it than that. That says it all.”

[We need a rules expert after THE JUMP]

Recruiting Mailbag With Steve Lorenz: Harbaugh Effect, Sparty Struggles, Safeties

Recruiting Mailbag With Steve Lorenz: Harbaugh Effect, Sparty Struggles, Safeties

Submitted by Steve Lorenz on October 19th, 2016 at 12:11 PM


Jim Harbaugh's NFL connections add to his recruiting appeal. [Bryan Fuller]

Ed-Ace: Recruitnik extraordinaire, regular podcast guest, and noted darts enthusiast Steve Lorenz of Wolverine247, aka The Artist Formerly Known As Aquaman, is back with his weekly recruiting mailbag. If you aren't subscribed to 247 and want to read more from Steve and the gang, they're running a free trial through New Year's Day.

Caesar asks: What makes Michigan under Harbaugh good at recruiting and what does it do to distinguish itself from other programs? 

There are a few noteworthy things Harbaugh has that other programs don't: 

1. He has strapped on the helmet and played at a high level for the program he is coaching at. He's come as close to the top of the mountain as anyone for Michigan has, and with that comes a natural love and desire to bring the program to the top. That's not to say that other coaches aren't super effective in how they recruit and how they pitch their programs, but there's a natural aspect to how Harbaugh specifically can recruit kids because of a love for Michigan that most (if not all) coaches can't replicate for the programs they're currently at. 

2. There isn't another coach in college football who can utilize success and connections in the NFL like Harbaugh can. Early on in Cesar Ruiz's recruitment, he mentioned that going to Michigan would give him a network to the NFL that he wouldn't find at any other program when you consider who Harbaugh knows in the league. I want to say he was on campus sometime around the time Michigan held their Pro Day, and mentioned tons of NFL teams being there despite the fact that they only had a handful of pro prospects last season. On top of that, Michigan utilizes NFL schemes both offensively and defensively so often that it helps acclimate their players to the pros while they're still in college. This stuff is truly valuable on the recruiting trail. 

3. He wins. Obviously Michigan is far from the only program winning, and they haven't done it consistently for a long time, but he's already proven he can do some big things, and that stuff resonates with kids. 

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the mailbag.]

Monday Presser 9-26-16: Jim Harbaugh

Monday Presser 9-26-16: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 26th, 2016 at 5:55 PM

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[Upchurch/MGoBlog]

News bullets and other items:

  • Jeremy Clark is out for the season. They’ll attempt to get him a sixth year. Watson, Long, and Hill will get most of his playing time.
  • Jabrill Peppers is really good at football.
  • Mone might play this week. Have to wait and see if he can practice today.
  • Having multiple backs that deserve playing time is a good thing if, like Harbaugh, you subscribe to the more-is-more philosophy of life.
  • Harbaugh said Newsome was the best O-lineman against Penn State. He also liked the offensive line’s pursuit in this game as backs got downfield.
  • Harbaugh hasn’t contacted Les Miles or Cam Cameron about analyst positions or Les being an honorary captain, but he said he looks forward to talking to them soon.
  • Jabrill has the most helmet stickers. They might release a sticker chart every week since no depth chart has been published this season. (Harbaugh thinks depth charts are irrelevant in an age where tape is readily available, as it can be teased out from watching film, which, like, I get that.)

Your thoughts on Wisconsin, what they’ve done so far, and the challenge they present?

“Big team. I’m wondering if the field’s gonna be wide enough. They play extremely hard. Run effort--I had the pleasure of coaching Chris Borland a few years back, and it’s a team of Chris Borlands. High, high energy, tough, guys that can run, and a big, physical, team. Very impressed.”

Looking at Hornibrook, that was his first start against a very good team defensively. You guys [are] strong defensively. What do you think of that dynamic between the two defenses and two young quarterbacks as well?

“Yeah, that’s very, very interesting from all those perspectives. Alex had a heck of a good ballgame. Really acquitted himself well. Made a name for himself. Very impressed with how he played, the accuracy of his throws, the poise with which he played; it was impressive. Wilton has also been impressive in that regard as well. He’s played with great preparation and confidence and poise. It’s unusual to be that new to playing, really, in big games.

“I think back, you know, when I was the same age as they were, the same kind of experience of playing in your first couple ball games. Both of those guys are doing better in my mind than I did and some other guys did when we were young. Playing with more poise and awareness and preparation and confidence, all those things. Both those guys have been impressive in that regard.”

[After THE JUMP: I mean, sometimes I didn’t get [it out]. It’s, ‘Jabr—’ and he’s, ‘I’m here, Coach! Right here!’ It’s exciting. He’s good at football.”]