Monday Presser 10-24-16: Jim Harbaugh Comment Count

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



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]

A play from Saturday that didn’t get talked about in here: Vaughn breaks out, Peppers runs him down and knocks him out, they don’t score on that. Is that kind of a play that you can teach from on effort and the ability it takes to make that play?

“Yeah, it was a great individual play by Jabrill. Really showed his speed. Yeah, there’ll definitely be things to teach off it from.

“I thought you were gonna bring up the spot on third down. I thought that was a play that wasn’t talked about much that…I don’t know if I’ve ever seen—I’ve never seen a worse call in the game of football. That just—after the replay to where you could spot it, that that play could stand. Wasn’t spotted a yard and a half further after it was replayed, I don’t understand. Somebody mentioned something about it after—”

You did.

“I mentioned it? Oh, I mentioned it. Yeah. [laughs] I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more strange replay. I don’t know. Maybe there has been. But somebody said something about that if it doesn’t make the line to gain then—who said that? Wojo said that? Okay. Then they don’t re-spot it? Really. It’d be interesting if—so, you know, if a spot doesn’t make a first down then it stands wherever it was spotted. That doesn’t make sense to me because, okay, what if the official gets the yard lines confused? Maybe he misses it by five yards, or maybe he misses it by ten?”

Plus, obviously you might want to go for it if it’s fourth and inches instead of fourth and--

“Yeah, obviously, I mean just getting the right spot, that is reviewable. So he misses it by five yards but it’s not a first down then they would change and get the correct—? Or two yards? Or one?”

The challenge is is it a first down, not if it’s the proper spot.

“No, we’re challenging the spot. Yeah, it was there. I said, ‘It’s misspotted.’”

That’s the rule.

“That is the rule?”

I think, yeah.

[U-M SID] I’ll check it.

“Official gets confused, thought he went out on the sideline at the 35 but he really went out at the 30 and then you review that, even though it doesn’t make a first down, is that something that can be challenged? Yeah, my understanding of the rules and the review system is that it’s the spot, to get the correct spot. It’ll be interesting to see what the explanation is.”

I think they probably played it based off the score of the game at that point, don’t you think? That they just let it go because of the score of the game?

“Is that in the rulebook?”

Well, no, but that’s what they did.

“I haven’t come across that rule either. Maybe Wojo’s aware of it.”

You said in the spring that Amara Darboh was the best receiver, that he had elevated his game because Jehu gave him that incentive. Where do you think they stand right now, how do they play off each other, and how have you liked Amara’s play specifically so far this season?

“Amara’s been outstanding. He’s been…he’s been top of his game, ever improving, always improving. Just a real football player. Tremendous worker in practice. Jehu’s been the same. Both have been great players for Michigan Football, and is good the way they in a genuine, good-for-the-team way elevate each other’s games.”

Just curious, what are your thoughts on the job Mark [Dantonio] has done in East Lansing, specifically the six years, and then kind of connecting that to where you guys are going, it’s like two programs this season going in opposite directions: they’re struggling, you guys are at your highest point in about ten years. Just kind of curious your thoughts on what Mark’s done and the year that they’re having.

“Was there a question in there? Seemed like you were making a statement.”
What do you think of the job that Mark has done, and when you look at the struggles, it’s uncharacteristic.

“He’s done a great job. One of the best college football coaching jobs in the history of the game. It’s been at the highest level.”

What do you make of the struggles this year that they’re having?

“It doesn’t matter what’s happened before this week for us or for an opponent. It never does. It matters what happens on the gameday. We know the task in front of us. We know the challenge, and it’s up to us to get prepared for that game so we can go out there confident and execute and have a chance to be successful.

“They’re a very good football team. We know we’ll be tough to beat. We know they’ll be tough to beat. But in the meantime, we’ll get prepared for the game.”

Do you guys expect Chris [Evans] to be back this week?

“We’ll see. It’s a little early to know yet.”

Did he have a concussion?

“Yeah, anything like that is ruled a concussion. I think he’s doing good.”

Last year’s last play: you’ve said before you never want to be involved in a game where something crazy like that happens. Do you think about that play at all, that punt thing at the end of the game, or have you moved on completely?

“Yeah, both.”

You do think about it now and again?

“As you said, I was hoping to never be a part of a play at the end of the game, whether it was a Hail Mary or one of those lateralled ten times to beat you on a kickoff or a blocked punt, all those ways where defeat snatches a victory away at the very end. As I said, I was hoping to go my whole career without having that happen. Obviously that didn’t happen. I don’t know what the second part of your question was.”

Have you moved on from it?

“Yeah, I have. So yes to both.”

What makes Jourdan Lewis such a special player and how has he played since he returned from injury?

“So many things make him good. He’s just so on the details. He’s so on his preparation. It’s really important to him. Tremendous athlete. I mean, ridiculous instincts. He’s got speed, he’s got quickness, he’s got great hand-eye coordination, ball skills, physicality, he’s an excellent tackler, just…all those things are at the top of the list.”

And what level is he at since the return?

“He’s at the highest level. He’s continued to be an improving great player.”

You talk a lot about getting better every day and improving. Your defense has been so good. Where can they get better as you move on throughout the season?

“I think—I mean, that’s a great question. They’re playing so good. They’re…I mean, you just really have to give them a pat on the back right now. But it’s not time to take a victory lap. I guess that’d be the [message], just to keep going at the same relentless, intense pace that they have and approach that they’ve had to every game because we’re a little over halfway, at the halfway point. You don’t want to take a victory lap, but you do have to recognize that this defense is playing great football.”

What did you learn from that last-play scenario last year? I don’t know if it’s possible to prepare for every single scenario, like if your punter bobbles, fall on it, but what did you learn, if anything, from that?

“Several things, Larry. Several things.”

Such as?

“Have the punter at the right depth, not be in a spread punt in that situation would be the two that come to mind.”

Maybe this is from when you were playing, but did you notice something different with guys who were in-state? You were coming from California but you had been here before. In this rivalry game, did the guys who were in-state guys approach it differently than guys who came from out of state?

“I mean, I used to think that. I used to think that when I was an in-state guy playing in this game, but then you realized that you approach all big games—or you learn, or you train yourself to approach all big games not differently.”

What’s the status of Grant Perry and the other guys who were suspended?

“They’ll be back practicing today.”

You say treat every game the same, don’t treat them differently. Does that have to be almost a special point of emphasis this week because it is such a rivalry game and such a big game, to not let your players get caught up in it as the week unfolds?

“It’s been an ongoing strategy for our football team to treat every opponent with respect, to treat every game as a big game, as a championship game. Just learned that that’s the best approach, in our opinion. Then when you’re in those tight games, when you’re in those pressure situations, you’ve already been there. You’ve already done it, because you’ve treated every snap that way through the course of the season. Just found it to be the best way to be focused and be loose at the same time in an attempt to have the most success.”

Matt Godin had a play where he got to the quarterback and hit him. Was that the correct interpretation of that rule, and as a quarterback, do you like that rule?

“I thought he was blocked into the player from where I was standing. So no, I didn’t think it was the correct interpretation of the rule.”

We got to see Kareem Walker dressed for the first time this season. Is there still a chance he’s going to play this year?

“Um, no. I think we’ll save the year. He’s practicing, doing a really nice job. You never know for sure. You don’t know what’ll happen with the depth at a certain position. Our intent would be to save the year for Kareem.”

Going back to not necessarily the punt, but Michigan State has and Dantonio has found all kinds of ways to win on the last play of the game. He’s had all kinds of mousetrap stuff, kind of trick plays. When you do prepare for that, how much of an emphasis is that knowing literally one play can decide it?

“Yeah, he’s one of the best. I’ve known him for years. You have to make your preparations accordingly.”



October 24th, 2016 at 6:25 PM ^

"Is that kind of a play that you can teach from on effort and the ability it takes to make that play?"

Is that a question you can ask from on preparation and the stupidity it takes to ask that question?

Ivan Karamazov

October 24th, 2016 at 8:04 PM ^

Is challenging to get a correct spot really frivolous? In some case maybe, but the penalty for loosing a challenge already should take care of wildly challenging any spot you may not like. In this case, overall game situation notwithstanding, I would argue it's not frivolous to challenge the spot because it's the difference between 4th and 2 and fourth and less than a yard.


October 24th, 2016 at 7:34 PM ^

Coming from someone who used to work in the media (not sports media) I can only say that maybe the quality of writing/reporting would be better if they were paid worth a damn.

Media outlets these days expect twice the work for half the pay with almost no job security.  You're not going to get a literary giant to work under those circumstances.


October 24th, 2016 at 9:25 PM ^

The problem is that people don't buy newspapers anymore and ad revenues are drying up.

That's the real problem.  Nowadays the revenue is coming from clicks on websites, which means that writers are far more interested in generating clickbait than real news.

That isn't their fault.  That's the consumer's fault.


October 25th, 2016 at 8:18 AM ^

I think you're misunderstanding the argument.

I'm addressing the grousing about the quality of writing, which is a direct result of the industry not being able to pay good writers to write.

The journalism industry is trying to adjust to the times, mainly by abandoning old media (dead tree) and embracing the new (online), but the revenue streams for online journalism drive the way things are written.

It IS the consumer's fault in this case, because ultimately they have chosen a medium where the most profitable way to generate revenue (page clicks) necessitates a degraded form of the product (clickbait).

Then people bitch about the product being degraded.


October 25th, 2016 at 3:06 PM ^

Wait, please help me understand why quality writing and on-line news have to be mutually exclusive. This is a choice by the media, not the consumer. There have been many polls showing people are frustrated with the quality of news they get regardless of medium. That doesn't support the "consumers fault" argument.


October 24th, 2016 at 10:17 PM ^

Newspaper is only one medium for media. There are others. They also happen to be the primary outlets people use. The quality of reporting is not significantly better on TV, radio, or online. I don't think it is purely the reduced purchase of newspapers that cratered the quality of the news industry.


October 25th, 2016 at 1:09 AM ^

 The time has passed when a persons reputation was considered when writing a story or when asking a stupid question.  We have decided we want all the information quickly and we will figure it out.  Speed over accuracy.  That is why the writers and reporters are paid shit, their job is not hard when you don't have to be sure they are correct and they no longer have to pay for reputation.


October 25th, 2016 at 8:22 AM ^

Newspapers aren't the only form of news media.  They, and other written media, are just the best one since they are generally more able to provide context to the reader than broadcast media.

Broadcast media has degraded because they are more concerned with how many viewers they have than the quality of their reporting.  


October 25th, 2016 at 8:20 AM ^

When you read through JH's pressers, you quickly notice that he doesn't give reporters very much info.  Strategy?  Forget it.   Analysis of opponents strengths and weaknesses?  No way, they're the best team that we will ever play, whoever they are.  Criticism, area of concern or analysis of his own team's performance? Nope, other than to say we did well but we work on everything, all the time and are trying to get better at everything constantly.  Injuries?  Only if they're obvious. 

Pretty much all the media can ask him about and be sure to get answers about are his players and how well they play.  You can always get a stream of him praising his team and its players and their effort, in the game and in practice.  Oh, yeah, he might question a call or two.  

So that's pretty much all they ask him.  I know it makes for dull pressers but JH has been training these reporters since he hired in.  The media doesn't ask him about stuff that he won't give them an answer about.

I'm really not trying to be snarky, but what would you have the media ask JH that you don't already know how he would answer?


October 24th, 2016 at 6:53 PM ^

That spot on the 4th down was terrible to let stand. Even if he was short, that was nearly two yards back. There is a nontrivial difference between 4th & inches and 4th & 2.

Mr. Yost

October 24th, 2016 at 7:30 PM ^

We don't have a spread punter on the roster.

But I bet your ass we would've had Blake to even Kenny in a traditional max protect situation and kick it out of bounds or through the uprights if it happened again.

That said, Brian mentioned something today about a rumor in the spring that coaches felt like they found the secret to the spread punt which is why we're getting so much pressure and it may mean we never go back to it.

In an ideal world, I think I'd like to have both. I'd use a scholarship on a kicker/kickoff guy, a traditional punter/kickoff guy, and a spread punter.

Traditional and spread have their advantages and disadvantages. I think as a coach, you have to understand who to bring on and when.

Remember Carr used to always have a QB who could pooch punt? Not that it was a requirement...but it was something they practiced and we'd break out whenever he wanted to get Ferentz conservative and try to pin someone down inside the 20 with no return man around.

You don't see that as much these days.


October 24th, 2016 at 8:47 PM ^

Well, I don't know how they're doing it but they've been getting four guys at the shield an awful lot, which leaves a free hitter to block the punt.  It's possible they're confident enough in what they're doing that they think other teams imitating it is only a matter of time.

But going back to last year, in that particular situation, I honestly don't know why we punt at all.  Why not go shotgun max protect two-man double post?  Send Chesson 40 yards downfield with Peppers trailing him; Rudock just heaves it when the pressure arrives.  If it's a completion the game is iced.  If it's an incompletion there's like 3 seconds left anyway.  If it's intercepted, Peppers is the best open-field tackler in the game and the guy running it back has to go 80 yards the other way as time expires.

I mean, hindsight's 20/20 but MGoBlog has advocated this before.  There's another option besides going for it or punting, which is the "arm punt".  I get that teams are terrified of interceptions but at least that's way downfield on a Hail Mary; a blocked punt starts way behind the LoS and goes the other way.


October 24th, 2016 at 9:17 PM ^

Should have on 3rd down or even 2nd peppers run a sweep to the far side of the field both times. Just waste time. I remember 3 consecutive dive plays to deveon...hindsight 20/20, hopefully we erase the memory this weekend

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


October 24th, 2016 at 8:30 PM ^

I remember that there were people (including, IIRC, Brian) going berserk on here over Hoke still using the "dinosaur punt formation."  It seemed to come up weekly.  Nobody seems to have a problem with it this year.  Are we in Jurassic Park now, so it is okay?  Or am I just missing the more current complaints?


October 25th, 2016 at 9:54 AM ^

Makes you wonder about Baxter leaving so suddenly, doesn't it? His unit cost us a VERY important game last year, we happen to figure the weakness to his preferred method of punting and all of a sudden he goes back to USC without any fanfare at all?

Could be total coincidence but I'm betting he was not missed at all. 

Mr. Yost

October 24th, 2016 at 7:33 PM ^

From all accounts it sounds like he's passing every day. But I believe he's got to sit out a certain numer of hours/days and then he's monitored daily for awhile.

Not sure where I heard that, but I don't know if he can be ruled to play just yet. Maybe non-contact stuff and then retest him.

Any trainers or anyone with access to the protocol?

That said, Higdon and Peppers can provide his speed and get his carries for one game.

ole luther

October 24th, 2016 at 6:56 PM ^

to ask what coach Harbaugh thinks about the struggling Cleveland Browns. As if he'd answer even if he paid any attention to it. I believe it's obvious that the entire staff is giving all their attention to winning the next game, not trying for headline fodder.