Michigan State Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on October 8th, 2017 at 12:00 PM



It’s a hard game to put in words. What are your impressions of what happened tonight?

“Too many turnovers. We got momentum going, then we turned it over. You can’t expect to win when you turn it over five times.”

Replacing Nolan [Ulizio] with Juwann [Bushell-Beatty]: what went into that and how long were you guys planning on leaving Nolan in there before switching him out at that right tackle spot?

“It wasn’t a plan. Coaches decided to make the switch.”

How far along was it?

“At what point? I can’t remember exactly what point it was in the game.”

There was a stretch there with the three interceptions and you guys throwing the ball around. Did you consider running the ball more and what went into the playcalling during that stretch?

“Yeah, I mean, you can criticize that. We were trying to run the ball. We were trying to piece drives together. We really were. That was—we needed to score points and we needed to piece drives together and that’s what we were trying to do.”

There was a lot that went wrong on offense tonight but what can you hang your hat on the most in this game? What made you most proud of the offense even through all the faults tonight?

“Just not enough good things. There were good things. Opening drive was good; sixteen plays. We get the ball back, we started to do it again then three plays then we had a fumble. That two-minute drive before the half, that was materializing and looked like we would get points and we stopped ourselves there.

“Then we had the interception. It was hard to tell from where I was standing whether John was throwing the crossing route. Think he was expecting the receiver, Kekoa, to keep coming on the move. It was one of those things, weren’t on the same page there. I think the one ball, to your points, didn’t have a good grip on it. Overthrew the receiver. But yeah, there was good things. Not enough good things. Stopped ourselves. In the course of piecing drives together we turned the ball over. That’s what I saw.”

[Hit THE JUMP for more]

After a game like this with the way the offense struggled, do you take a hard look and reevaluate some things on offense or do you look at it as a bizarre game, a rain game, and you don’t think you need many changes?

“We’ll evaluate, like we always do after every game. Always take a hard look after every single game.”

You’re 1-4 against the two biggest rivals. What should be the reaction midway through year three?

“I don’t know, Dennis. We’re bowing our heads getting ready for the next game. That’s our reaction.”

Can you talk about the defense in the second half especially and what they did to keep you in it?

“Yeah, they were getting stops and even with the five turnovers they did well. The one we fumbled at midfield, they did score a touchdown on that but I think that’s the only points that came off of those turnovers. That was outstanding. Kept us in the ballgame.”

Offensively, has it been a situation where it’s not one thing in particular? Seems like it’s a bunch of little things. Is it just a case of you’re not getting 11-man football out there or is there something underlying as to why it’s not consistent?

“Best I can tell you right now is what I’ve already said. Turned the ball over too many times offensively.”

Despite the turnovers, do you feel like there’s maybe one or two plays or anything that you left out there that could change the outcome of the game despite the rain?

“Yeah, yeah. We had our opportunities.”



October 8th, 2017 at 1:08 PM ^

But I don’t think it’s really giving away strategy before the 6th game of the season. Everyone has 5 weeks of film and if we were going to pull something out I would have thought it would have been last night. We are missing the Vince Lombardi “bread and butter” play that gets us 3 yards and that’s pretty obvious to anyone who has seen us play.

UofM Die Hard …

October 8th, 2017 at 2:14 PM ^

We need an actual RB coach who has played RB. I like jay but clearly something needs to change. That hold on higdon was freakin stupid. That was a td and a game changer. No reason to hold that guy O’Korn was already passed him. Jeez man

We are 1-3 against MSU under JH. Ya we could be very easily 3-0 but cmon man. Wtf we doing. Better fuckin beat osu. That’s a must win


October 8th, 2017 at 9:01 PM ^

Having all 3 our RBs taking turns making huge mistakes does not shine a positive light on the RB coach. Higdon was clearly that hot hand 2nd half against msu yet we still rotated. And at least one of them needs to become a good blocker. Remember Vincent Smith? 5'6" and 170lbs but damn he could block.


October 8th, 2017 at 12:41 PM ^

seems detached, and he has all year. He seems like he is doing an impression of himself instead of being truly engaged. We have all dismissed the Colts job as something that would never happen but this does not seem to be the same coach we had for the first two years and I have to question where he is at mentally with this job. Our entire team seems distracted and unfocused. There seems to be little passion or energy and when there is it appears forced. For a while the last two weeks I thought he was trying to "play down" the MSU game but now I am honestly questioning whether it was genuine disinterest. It is also odd that he has little interest in playing young talented QBs to get early experience for future success. The 2018 recruiting class is not blowing any minds so far either. I am beginning to question some assumptions that I made about him. For me as a fan I want to start hearing less about Rome, satellite camps and diving boards and start seeing our players get better and improve.

Woodstock Wolverine

October 8th, 2017 at 2:26 PM ^

Sounds like you're pouting man. You really think Harbaugh is disinterested? He has an extremely young team and high expectations. He is extremely competitive and wants to win more than any of us. Come on man!


October 8th, 2017 at 5:34 PM ^

Owe you nothing. I think we have wounded egos whose reliance on UM Football is childishly manifesting in crying to a great coach. As if he does any have enough on his plate, do you really think JH is going to change everything because of a four point loss? He took OSU to overtime. We will challenge any team from top five down. Alabama is better. Clemson is better than UM this year. PSU is winnable but we have to punch above our weight class. I'm not afraid to play anyone on our schedule. This was not true in 2014.

I understand the bitterness of defeat, but find some sweet vermouth and whiskey and move on.

Lastly, thank you to the student athletes and coaches who give everything to my Saturday hobby. Go Blue.


October 8th, 2017 at 9:06 PM ^

Did you intend to respond to someone else? Your post has nothing to do with that guys opinion. Harbaugh's sideline mannerisms are very neutral this season compared to what we've seen the last two. I hope the theory is wrong but I can see why it exist.


October 8th, 2017 at 6:11 PM ^

I agree, ever since he got that unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the Ohio State game he's been very reserved quiet and unemotional on the sidelines, I don't get what's happened with him!!


October 8th, 2017 at 8:08 PM ^

MSM and Sparty critiques too often. I generally respect your takes even when I disagree, but I can't go along with this one.

To be clear, criticism of JH is warranted, and he got outcoached by Dantonio. But I don't think this is warranted criticism. 


October 8th, 2017 at 5:34 PM ^

He sees these guys in practice all the time. I remember when he came to Michigan he specifically looked at tape of Hoke players and starting assigning grades on who was a "football" player. I think he knows this is a young team and is being patient, unlike many of us. Still I am constantly shocked by how dantonuo seems to rally walk ins and beat us; very frustrating - he finds playmaker QBs and good RBs and WRs who can catch. I want the same. Let's see how this offense develops but knowing Harbaugh of we don't make progress he is gojng to make changes - too competitive not to.


October 8th, 2017 at 5:49 PM ^

There was a reason we won last year. Their QB was not good. This year they have a QB who played quite a bit. We started a backup QB. Dantonio is not a miracle worker. He just had a better personnel at the most important position than us.


October 9th, 2017 at 11:54 AM ^

Yeah, logged in just to upvote this. I think people spend too much time watching sports center and not watching other teams' games. The last 2 years our QB play has been pretty good comparitively. We don't have Deshaun Watson or Lamar Jackson but Wilton Speight came in the top 25 of most metrics last year. People keep expecting a Heisman candidate and video game numbers. We had video game numbers in 2010 at the QB position. Doesn't necessarily win you a championship. 

Ghost of Fritz…

October 8th, 2017 at 10:56 PM ^

o.k. but nothing more.  His OC gave him a few plays where he could run, at least one really well designed.

He is an average passer. 

While he did not throw any picks, there are at least three of his passes that were very very close to being intercepted.

Also, Lewerke did take a sack.  I'll give you that he avoided a few by throwing it out of boubds, which O"korn needs to do more often.

Ghost of Fritz…

October 8th, 2017 at 12:51 PM ^

it is hard after a loss, but this is not really true and not really the problem.

They are making an officiating emphasis this year on coaches going on the field and/or blowing up on the refs.  JH has intentionally toned that down.

Yeah, there are serious coaching problems on the offensive side, but JH 'checking out' or being half there is not one of them.  

micheal honcho

October 8th, 2017 at 12:10 PM ^

How about you walk into that locker room, pick up one of those beautiful helmets we love so much, and use it to smash everything in sight into splinters!! Then say only one thing. "I hope you bums enjoy running wind sprints".

We don't need more/better game planning, we don't need more meetings. What we need is to show some fucking HEART!!


October 8th, 2017 at 12:25 PM ^

Saying it’s a passion or heart issue really whitewashes the actual issues. Also we don’t know what happens inside that locker room anyway. And Harbaugh going nuts on the sideline doesn’t move the ball, nor probably help young players gain confidence.

micheal honcho

October 8th, 2017 at 12:51 PM ^

You eventually have to put it on the guys. You are a highly recruited D1 player. Coaches cannot block for you. You are going against guys we passed over(for the most part) and being BEAT!! Are the beating you because of schematics? NO!! They are beating you because they WANT IT MORE!!. Eventually the excuses must stop. Fucking BLOCK!! football at its essence comes down to a man on man battle and Sparty's men bring the whole house of emotion to every play vs. M. Schematics will not overcome that most times. You have to match their will and we consistently fail at that. Time to own your piece or GTF out of the way and let this walk on who will at least match the Sparty's in will & intensity.


October 8th, 2017 at 12:16 PM ^

I wouldn't want anyone else as our coach but where has his fire gone? Where is the competitiveness out of Jim? He seems so blah.

He was a player and I find it very hard to believe he doesn't understand these rivalries. I'm just literally confused as hell about the whole situation.


October 8th, 2017 at 12:39 PM ^

worry that Harbaugh may view himself as a commodity who is "sold out" in this market, if that makes sense. I see him as a person and a coach who wants to be courted and pursued. He seems bored. I'm not trying to be a concern troll but it honestly is starting to look like this is not doing it for him anymore.