Monday Presser 9-18-17: Jim Harbaugh

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



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?


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]

It’s not everything that always jumps off the stat sheet, too, with those guys. Devin’s [inaudible] around a lot, but Rashan and Chase are up there?

“Oh, way up there.”

With Mason, how hard is it for a guy to go from the inside to the outside? Is it different steps or what has he done that’s impressed you?

“Uh, well, he started as a tackle as a freshman and transitioned to center. How hard is that? I don’t know, I’ve never made that transition. Talent and intelligence; he’s proven he can play any position on the offensive line.”

What did you like about the game on Saturday?

“Uh, we won. That’s our number one job. Took care of the football. Made some courageous throws from the pocket, accurate throws in tight windows. A lot of things.”

How do you guys prepare going from an offense that ran the ball 49 times, only threw nine times, to Purdue, which is probably going to be much more balanced. How do you guys go from that week to week, the contrast?

“You just do. Change the channel from one scheme to another. Change our scheme to adapt, improvise, adjust.”

Chris Evans lost a fumble early and didn’t play again until early in the fourth. This seems kind of similar with what you’ve done with both Wilton and even Donovan Peoples-Jones; they make a mistake, it’s a learning session, it’s not really a punishment. Is that how you handled it the other day with Chris and how do you think he responded?

“No, I don’t agree with that it’s like the others.”

Why not?

[shakes head, stares]

I’m just won—

“Why do you?”

Why don’t you think it’s the same as the others?


With Chris.

“Chris is a…this is—”


“He played in the game.”

Yeah, at the game. He had fumbled—

“It’s not the same. It’s a position where we have three players. We do a rotation. We try to get the freshest back in there and go with the guy who’s got the hot hand. You’ve seen us, that’s what we do at that position. Ty’s the starter, Chris and Karan [Higdon] are gonna play in every single game. I just don’t see it as the same as the quarterback position or the punt returner position.”

From watching him on film, what is David Blough doing better this year and what do you have to do to defend him?

“Well, we’ve got our hands full. That’s mainly what we’re focusing on now [is] coming up with that plan and implementing it today in meetings and in practice. It’ll be a challenge for us. Whole team’s playing really good.”

Tarik [Black] went off the field on a cart. What is his status?

“He’s gonna be out. He needed surgery. He’s got a crack in his foot. Well, outside of his foot.”

Will he be back this season, do you think?

“I… I don’t know. I don’t know.”

And Ty Isaac? Looked like he had some kind of abdominal or maybe rib issue?

“Yeah, think he’s going to be okay.”

As you said, you won the game. You’ve talked about no error repeats with the offense , that they’re not the same mistakes and it’s a young football team. How’s the progress week to week. You’ve won the game and you move on, but what’s your feel as a coach right now with how things are progressing?

“Well, right now I’m getting prepared for conference play. Getting prepared for a good Purdue team and formulating a plan at the beginning of the week that’s going to put our players in a position to be successful on Saturday. So, working diligently at that and we’ll work at it, practice it, and hope to have a great week of practice in preparation leading up to the game.”

Was there something that stood out to you that you liked from last week in terms of maybe it wasn’t there the week before?

“Yeah, there were things. Like I said, you know, I’m sure you can understand we’re facing a very good opponent. All our focus is on what to do to be successful this week and to get another win.”

A lot of focus on the red zone, but what are some of the positives that you’ve seen from this offense through the first three games?

“As I’ve just said, there’s quite a few. Detailed them before. Right now we’re doing our job and that’s getting prepared for Purdue. They’re a very good football team. We’re doing the same thing defensively and on special teams. As I’ve said a couple times, they have a heck of a good football team. Respect that, respect the process of getting prepared for the game.”

With the defense, we talked earlier in the season about how they flew around to the football as well as you’d seen, thought they’d be good and they’re good, etc. Last week was such a change with mental discipline. Did you learn about their football IQ a little bit more in terms of their ability to go from one thing that’s totally different to this?

“Yeah, we talked about it. We’re plowing the same ground. I was really happy with the way our ball club played in this past game. Felt resilient. Felt tough coming out of that ball game. Felt we won it defensively, offensively, and on special teams. Numerous good things offensively, defensively, and special teams, and now it’s onward to Purdue. Getting our team ready for that ball game.”

This is kind of a broader question but I noticed [Saturday] you brought out an Air Force hat and put it on the table. You’ve always had an appreciation for the military. Could you describe not only your appreciation for the military but also the influence—are you trying to institute kind of a military style here?

“Uh, no, but I have great respect for the military. The hat was a hat from the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford.”



September 19th, 2017 at 9:09 AM ^

think it is more palpable frustration with the offensive execution.  Harbaugh looked like he was really close to going on an all out rampage after Speight's attempted pass-fumble when he came back to the sidelines.  My guess is that most of the offensive personnel are having an unpleasant week of practice.

Da Fino

September 19th, 2017 at 6:50 AM ^

One of the many legitimate criticisms of Dave Brandon was his inability to differentiate legitimate criticism from disloyalty and treason. This "either you're for us or against us" attitude is not only wrong, it's the type of thinking that prevents self-reflection and evolution. Now, I'm nowhere near some of the fan base with their cataclysmic predictions for the football program, but people have a right--no a responsibility--to ask questions and not be labeled a "fucking idiot."


September 19th, 2017 at 8:23 AM ^

1. Booing the team you are there to cheer on is distasteful and disrespectful to a bunch of kids who owe you jack shit

2. It's laughable that you think YOUR questioning or any questioning by any other "fan" will bring "self-reflection" or evolution to the football team.  That is just plain idiotic.  

3. Not only do you NOT have a right but you definitely do NOT have a responsibility in this whatsoever.  Are you on the staff?  Do you get paid? 

This is the main problem with "fans".  They think the team owes them something.  They think we as fans are somehow a part of something we should have control over.  Straight up delusions.  I was waiting for a /s at the end...and it never came.  


September 19th, 2017 at 8:53 AM ^

I can agree with about half of what you said there, but this idea that the fan should have no expectations or responsibility seems questionable.

Michigan has a 100+ year tradition of the fans being heavily into the game and providing both support and criticism. Obviously, we're obviously on the outside looking in and our opinon is generally uninformed, but it's absurd to claim we aren't involved in any way, shape or form... if we're not, why are there 100,000+ people there every week. Would the team play the same if it was empty?

Complaining about the team is as old as the fan base itself.... let the fans be fans.


September 19th, 2017 at 2:26 PM ^

w/o the fans there's no harbaugh, no fancy facilities, no tv contract, no million dollar assistants, no jumpmarn, and hence, no 4-5 star recruits, and hence, no wins.  

fans should not run the show, but harbaugh and the rest should remember where their paychecks come from.  that's why i'd like to see him be a little more agreeable on these pressers.  the media is his conduit to talk to the fanbase.

that said, these are college students, so booing their performance on the field is not something i'd like to see.  if the staff is making bad calls (like putting a concussed player on the field), then have at it.  but in general I would like us not to boo the players.

Da Fino

September 19th, 2017 at 9:32 AM ^

Where's this outrage coming from?  You're looking for problems where none exist.  I was simply arguing that the binary for/against mindset is not helpful.  Sheesh.  Try to make a nuanced argument and people blow up on you.  Ironically it kinda proves my point.

1) I never said anything about booing players, or that it was ok to boo the players.  On the contrary, I agree with you that booing them is distasteful and disrespectful.

2) I didn't say anything about MY questioning.  I made a general statement about the fanbase as a whole.  Of course I'm inconsquential, just as you are.  Just as any individual fan is.  But a collective is differrent, and when more people start asking the same questions, self-reflection and evolution can happen.  Ask Dave Brandon, Brady Hoke, or Rich Rodriguez if you don't believe me.

3) By your logic, under what conditions can fans express dissatisfaction?  Only if they're on the payroll?

Nobody owes me anything.  Never said they did.  I'm a fan of M sports and I enjoy the thrill of victory and the bitter taste of defeat.  It's a game, for amusement, and I'm not entitled to anything.  Never said I was, and I don't know how or why you interpreted my post that way.

At this point I'm not critical of this team, or Harbaugh, or the athletic department.  Just the opposite actually.  The best days for M fans are ahead.  But I reserve the right to be critical if the situation changes, and certainly don't deserve to be called a "fucking idiot" because you incorrectly think I don't support the troops.

Honk if Ufer M…

September 20th, 2017 at 1:47 AM ^

Godwin's law is fascist propaganda meant to make it impossible to critizice or prevent fascism. The concept is literally the stupidist and most self destructive idea there is.

It's the very fact that non fascist politicians and candidates and the corporate PR calling itself news will never use the F word or explain what it really means or even question or debate or even refute the evidence or any claims  that we have varying degrees of it, nor that it's getting worse, nor that it's the goal and aim of our ruling classes and parties. 

The very point of knowing history is so you're not doomed to repeat it, your fake news "law" not only enables fascism but it positively assures that it will keep cropping up because you're disarming people from being able to recognize it or stop it when they can't talk about it, make comparisons, investigate it, examine it, study it or talk, plan or organize against it.

Anyone who promotes or invokes or accepts this garbage and considers it a valid "law" is wittingly or unwittingly enabling, and participating in ushering it in or paving the way or perpetuating it


September 19th, 2017 at 10:05 AM ^

My advice to you is to be careful which comments your are responding to and with what tone you are responding to them.  You attached your statement against a comment discussing the negative of booing fans.  

I also think you do not understand the meaning behind coach Harbaugh's statement.  It doesn't mean that you cannot have negative reactions to plays, playcalling, mistakes, or any other part of the game.  That's being an involved fan.  It does mean that you support the team and the players even when those negative events happen.  Booing our players is not supporting the team or constructive in any way.  Speaking negatively about young kids trying their best is not supporting the team.  I'm not saying you do either of these, just stating my piece toward the fanbase in general.

Also, my wrath was directed to your post because it had that feeling of entitlement that I find so infuriating, not only in sports, but in other forums as well.  So my pent up rage came out in this one comment.  My apologies.  



September 19th, 2017 at 10:03 AM ^

I think everybody is welcome to their opinion, and I like to see a well argued opinion that challenges what I believe.

On the other hand, i don't think there's ever a reason to boo your players or to tweet players.

I guess to be consistent, I need to be open to a well argued opinion arguing FOR booing they players on a team you support or tweeting them, but I have a hard time imagining one.


September 18th, 2017 at 5:56 PM ^

I wouldn't say they've looked like shit, this isn't Hoke level incompetence where they're not even moving the ball. They're moving the ball, just seem to have a new screwup in the RZ by one of the young guys and/or Speight not seeing wide open dudes that isn't going to cut it against better teams. 

No easy answers is definitely possible. Bound to happen when half the guys out there are 1st or 2nd year players on any given play, can only do so much with that to get them over the hump. I can see how that would be frustrating at times.


September 18th, 2017 at 8:22 PM ^

They look like they are close but keep shooting themselves in the feet (and certainly not just Speight). Inexperience is certainly not helping. I'm not expecting a top 25 offense, but I think improvement throughout the season is the most probable outcome.

father fisch

September 19th, 2017 at 12:59 PM ^

They are moving the ball, that's true.

One of these days, it will click and King Kong will get off their backs.  Then things will be better.  Not a flood gate of RZ touchdowns (!) but things will improve due to the taste of some success.


September 18th, 2017 at 5:47 PM ^

He seemed to really want to move on from Air Force questions. Almost felt like he was thinking the press was being disrespectful to Michigan's next opponent by talking about the previous game during game week. Those stupid questions probably set the mood for him and he didn't really want to talk about much else. I don't think it's really any more than that. 


September 18th, 2017 at 7:07 PM ^

Honestly, I think him doing a few interviews with the guys from Pardon My Take was the worst thing that could happen to the regular media.

He was more than pleasant and seemed to be having a great time during their interview last week. They balance legitimate football questions and light-hearted fun very well.

I think he's just annoyed with lazy journalists now. Especially ones that like to attack his quarterback.


September 18th, 2017 at 10:24 PM ^

going to be on the Harbaugh Podcast this week?  Or maybe it was one of the next couple of episodes? Should be fun. I have been pleasantly surprised at how much I've enjoyed the first couple of Harbaugh podcasts.  Not that I thought they'd be bad, but my expectations weren't that high.  That family likes to laugh together.  Good stuff.     


September 18th, 2017 at 5:27 PM ^

Harbaugh almost never bites on the "given that my premise is true,what do you think about [X]?" questions. That is a man who clearly doesn't like to be told what he thinks. Just ask a damn football question; don't tell Jim why he does the things that he does. 


September 18th, 2017 at 5:47 PM ^

Do you read the questions each week?  They're piss poor, and that's being kind.  Talk about this, talk about that.  Then they ask the same terrible questions worded differently at least four or five times.  The difference between well written blogs and the press is that the blogs find material in endless supply without the presser, while journalists typically are looking for a narrative.  In the after game presser Saturday, Harbaugh mentioned them running an RPO, which I haven't noticed in my untrained viewing, and which also might have added another angle to the lack of offensive success if someone bothered to ask an informed question......


September 18th, 2017 at 6:29 PM ^

Blogs have readers like us who salivate over gap maintenance and whatnot whereas the press guys have readers who would get bored with that.  You can tell that a couple of the writers are working up mid-week softball features on, "Mason Cole is the anchor in a young line," and "Winovich and Gary make people forget how good last year's terrific line was." They're playing to their base, pulling a political phrase, and seeing if they can get Jim to wax poetic about their featured player.  He wasn't in the mood today.

The Dean

September 19th, 2017 at 5:04 PM ^

These are garbage questions each and every week. If I were a football expert and asked these types of questions each week, I'd hate pressers as well. This is why Tony Romo is getting such good press as an analyst right now. He's not dumbing down information for the masses. If you want to watch/read about football, maybe learning a bit about it would be good. Do better reporters.

That being said, I watch the pressers each week and when Jim is in a bad mood, he makes it as uncomfortable as possible. You can see this from the very first question. I am guessing this is the reason he has the reputation of rubbing people the wrong way because his style of answering is often condescending and dismissive.