Outback Bowl Teleconference: Jim Harbaugh

Outback Bowl Teleconference: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on December 4th, 2017 at 10:00 AM

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[Fuller]

“Yeah, on behalf of the 2017 Michigan Wolverines football team and the University of Michigan, we’re excited as heck to be coming down to the Outback Bowl. We all have—most of us, anyway, on the team—friends and family in Florida. We are excited about the competition in South Carolina and… hard football team. Been watching them a little bit and they’re tough. They’re really well coached.

“We’re excited about the New Year’s Day game on January 1st. I think it’s gonna be one of the most exciting January 1st lineup of bowl games that I’ve ever seen, so excited to be part of it and can’t wait. Know it’s going to be a lot of preparation our team will take up, get underway here this week.

“We know we’ve got to be better and that starts today and having a great matchup against South Carolina really helps motivate us to do that.”

What’s your reaction to the Big Ten getting shut out of the playoff this year and the decision to go with Alabama over Ohio State?

“My reaction is there should be more than four teams in the playoffs. Again, just to reiterate, eight teams, 12 teams, 16 teams—16 would ideal to be in the playoffs. It would make us more like every other spot, every other collegiate sport that has a playoff, every league in sports that has a playoff and a championship that does it through a playoff format.
“FCS, I mean, they have that format. It’s been in place. I think it’s up to 24 teams now and at that level I think it’s the ideal way to do it, so that’s my first reaction.”

I know you always talk about bowl practices as a way to catapult the team into next season but how much are you guys looking at this bowl game as more of maybe a way to validate the season for yourselves? There were a lot of variables this year: some injuries, three quarterbacks. How much are you looking at this game as kind of more just a validation of this season rather so much than catapulting into next season?

“I’d say both, Adam. Really building and attacking at the same time. This season and next season all at the same time. It’s both.”

If I could follow up real quick, just a few weeks or actually about a month or so of bowl preparation. How much more are you looking to see out of you team going into this bowl game. Is there another level that you feel you can reach that you haven’t reached in the regular season?

“Absolutely. We look at it right now, we’re not good enough. Not good enough to win all our games and we need to be better. We need to be good enough, and that starts now. That starts now, today. That started—well, really started last week, you know, as we go forward building and attacking, using our meeting time, using our training time, using our practice time, [and] this next ball game all to motivate us and improve as a football team.”

[After THE JUMP: Peters’ status (wrt the concussion and otherwise), Speight’s transfer, a Tarik Black update, and a discussion about better redshirt rules]

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]

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]

Wisconsin Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Wisconsin Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 2nd, 2016 at 12:00 PM

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[Upchurch/MGoBlog]

News bullets and other items:

  • Grant Newsome’s injury will likely require surgery
  • Quinn Nordin is injured
  • There will be a kicking competition this week, and Ryan Tice will have the chance to lessen the burden on Kenny Allen; Harbaugh said he always thought it was too much to have to use Kenny for field goal, punt, and kickoff duties.
  • The defense got an A++
  • Speight’s decision making got an A
  • A couple of the penalties came from Wisconsin simulating the offensive and punt team cadence, which you’re not allowed to do.

You guys left a lot of points on the board with the three missed field goals. You guys also kind of uncharacteristically had a mistake filled game with a lot of penalties. I was wondering, was that a source of frustration for you and what message did you give your team to get them back on track?

“Well, first of all, talking to the team, we were celebrating a win. Great win for our team. Thought there was a lot of things we did really well. Obviously we left nine points off the scoreboard. You've got to put those points on the board. Points on the board really matter. So, we'll have a little kicking competition this week, and it'll be an opportunity for Ryan Tice. And, uh, yeah. See if we can't make them next time.”

Can you talk about your perspective on Jourdan Lewis’ interception? Ever seen anything quite like that?

“Yeah, I've seen Odell Beckham Junior do that. Looked like that kind of play. Really, most impressive thing about it was, you know, he jumped a little early and I was a little nervous that he was going to come down and the ball was just going to go over his fingertips but he was able to hang in the air and he made a spectacular play. Then I was thinking, well, it was fourth down. Probably would have been better had he not intercepted it. I'm really glad he did. It was a spectacular, spectacular football play, Athletic play. Really unbelievable.

“I thought Channing Stribling did a great job as well. And Jourdan had a tremendous tackle in the open field. Thought the secondary was really good. Our defensive line was lights out. It was a game-ball for Don Brown kind of a game. Very impressed with our defense, our defense of coaches, and the character of our defense of players and their talents. A++.”

First off, what was your vantage point on Wilton's downfield throw for the touchdown? Looked right on the money. And also, are you itching to get this team a good road test next week?

“Yeah, we were under center, play action pass, really the play is designed to go to Jake Butt, but then I saw Wilton wheel and throw it to Amara and I saw Amara had a step on him or two. Just kind of hold your breath through the last split seconds of the play to see that it doesn't get deflected, but I really felt good when the ball was in the air.

“Wilton has been extremely good throwing the deep ball, extremely accurate throwing the deep ball, so we all have a lot of confidence. And he has a lot of confidence in throwing it and it was a tremendous play. The slant a couple plays before that, also to Amara, was another excellent throw. We didn't get Wilton the pass protection today that we would like and he deserves, But when he had protection and was able to set his feet and throw the football, I thought he did it very effectively.”

[After THE JUMP: ice cream time!]

Spring Practice Bits

Spring Practice Bits

Submitted by Brian on March 1st, 2016 at 11:24 AM

Mission accomplished. They spent fifteen frickin' minutes talking about practice (practice!) on Sportscenter.

I mean, there are many missions. But this is one mission.

Also, Dick Vitale is there, I guess? He's putting it on periscope? This makes as much sense as anything else Harbaugh-related, which is complete sense and no sense all at once?

Also in brilliant moves that someone will try to ban. Player hours are limited. Coach hours are not. So why not maximize your ability to instruct by taking advantage of the latter:

That is twice the individual attention for each player. That might not be practical for every practice but when they're not in pads it's an obvious win, except I haven't heard of anyone else doing this so it's apparently not that obvious.

Roster items. Blake Bars and Damario Jones are off the roster and have left the program. Per Rivals, Bars is off to law school. Not sure what Jones's next stop is, but he announced he would grad transfer on Twitter. Pretty sure that the only player to leave the program without a degree this offseason is Brian Cole.

With those departures Michigan stands at 86 scholarships accounted for, plus walk-ons-you-really-expect-to-get-scholarships Kenny Allen and Ryan Glasgow. If Dytarious Johnson does end up enrolling they'd be at 87. I think that's pretty unlikely, as I can't remember a player who couldn't sign a letter of intent who managed to get to Michigan without a pit stop at a prep school. So Michigan needs to lose one more guy before fall.

There were a number of position switches and number changes:

  • John O'Korn is wearing #8, so he doesn't conflict with Peppers.
  • Chase Winovich is now listed as a defensive end(?!) because his career is designed to be that of an itinerant laborer. That may be a misprint or misunderstanding; Sam Webb tweeted that he was playing SAM. More on that in a bit.
  • Freddy Canteen spent all his time at WR. This kind of bouncing back and forth without seeing the field is usually not a good sign for a player's future playing time. See: Ross Taylor-Douglas.
  • Mason Cole took the first snaps as a center, with Newsome at LT.
  • As Harbaugh mentioned earlier, Khalid Hill is playing FB and Zach Gentry is playing TE.
  • Ty Wheatley Jr. is still a tight end. He is less enormous.
  • Ahmir Mitchell is starting as a WR.

A coach roster item. Harbaugh confirmed the Brian Smith hire and said he'd coach safeties with Zordich remaining with cornerbacks. I was kind of hoping for that Viney dude but you have to let Don Brown make that call.

Cease ringing the Drake Harris injury klaxons. He missed practice today… with norovirus. He should be good to go for the next one. Webb says he's up to 185; was listed at 174 last year. (The roster as a whole has not been updated with new weights, thus the absence of a "phonebooks are here!" post.)

What is a linebacker, anyway? I'll be really interested to see how the defense configures itself during the spring game. Reports that Winovich is playing SAM don't mesh with the expectation that Taco Charlton will play WDE and Peppers will still be a nickel. Or, you know, something else:

Those in possession of MGoCookies for remembering stuff will remember that a recent recruiting roundup pointed out that MI LB Antjuan Simmons was told he was being recruited as a SAM and then compared to, yes, Jabrill Peppers.

To me this implies that Michigan will be altering its defense to look more like the OSUs and MSUs and PSUs of the world. Those teams mostly run "quarters", which means they have two deep safeties. Varieties of this defense that roll the safeties close to the line of scrimmage often have a coverage-oriented linebacker called "star" who walks out over the slot. That's usually the strong side, thus he is a SAM linebacker… but not the kind of SAM linebacker Jake Ryan was. Same hybrid space player, different system around him?

O'Korn hype unabated. But first let's just marvel at this:

Ken Mastrole, a quarterback coach who has worked with Rudock and O’Korn, has described O’Korn as having “off-the-chart physical intangibles"

There is a reason the "intangibles" section of every preview is a picture of a cat.

Anyway, that's from an Angelique Chengelis article featuring O'Korn's parents:

“He’s been chomping at the bit, there’s no doubt,” his father, Gary O’Korn, said this week. “He had the right attitude coming in — ‘This isn’t taking a year off, this is a year to prepare.’ He’s done well and Michigan demands that. That’s not something you really have a choice, but mentally this was where you decide, ‘Am I going to go through the motions or put myself in position to get serious?’”

By all accounts it is the latter.

Important hair update. Reuben Jones is coming for De'Veon Smith's crown:

Etc.: Dan Murphy article comes with Nick Baumgardner picture that captures his soul.