Outback Bowl Postgame Presser: Jim Harbaugh Comment Count

Adam Schnepp January 2nd, 2018 at 9:00 AM



“I'd like to thank the Outback Bowl. [Ed. A—And I’d like to thank David Nasternak for being our guy on the ground in Tampa and getting audio of the presser] Great experience. Congratulations to South Carolina on their victory.”

Did you feel it slipping away at any time, or did they get better as the game went along?

“I think they did get better. I think probably a little bit of both those things. They got better as the game went on, no doubt, and made plays to win the football game, and we didn't get the knockout punch when we needed it. We didn't take advantage of the opportunities that were there.”

Can you put your finger on why the defense was having a dominant performance and then it all changed? What did you see in terms of why it changed?

“Yeah, they made a really good throw, really good catch on the touchdown. Made another spectacular throw and catch on the second touchdown pass. Yeah, they executed well, really well, and then our errors, starting with the—really starting with the fumble by Sean McKeon, which was not Sean McKeon’s fault, that was our fault. That was a coaching error. We had the wrong personnel in there, and I should have called time out. And then the other miscues we had.”

Pat Kugler, was he banged up a little bit? Is that why you took him out of the game?

“Yeah, Pat had gotten rolled up on his ankle and gave it a go and was doing fine, but just felt like it was too much to overcome.”

When did you know about that Ben [Bredeson] wasn’t going to be able to play?

“About three weeks ago.”

[After THE JUMP: sifting through what went wrong in search of answers, shooting down NFL rumors (again), evaluating QB play and what it means for 2018]

What kind of adjustments did South Carolina's offense make in the second half that gave you guys trouble?

“I don’t know, I think that might be a better question for Will [Muschamp]. But they hit the inside seam fade. The quarterback threw a really nice ball in the red zone. Were able to create some big plays.”

You mentioned the coaching error on the McKeon play. Were there others that you wish you—were you happy with the playcalling today or was it execution or a little of both?

Always think that just making the play when you've got the other team down, a chance to grow your lead, take advantage of those things, but we weren't able to do that. Kind of let them hang around and they took advantage of it.”

At the beginning of the year you talked about the guys getting experience. Do you feel like that’s what they got this season through a game like this that they can build on for next year?

“Yeah, there will be things to build on. I thought our guys played extremely hard. I thought they really played their guts out, and so did South Carolina. But yeah, we'll—another year of the pursuit of excellence. That's the way we'll be looking at it.”

Coach, you've had a quarterback competition going into every season so far. How heavily do bowl performances weigh into those at the beginning of next year?

I don't know. I really I don't know how much that would weigh into it.”

How would you evaluate Brandon’s [Peters] performance today?

“You know, there's some really good, and there's a few I know he'd like to have back. But he was battling just like the rest of the guys. There was some error there, a little too much at the wrong time.”

Was Khalid [Hill] unable to play? He was in early but he was on the sideline for most of the game.

Yeah, Khalid, he had an injury during bowl prep.”

You guys have lost three straight. Can you put a finger just on one thing or what do you think has been the reason why overall?

Hasn’t been one thing, it's being able to just kind of sustain the momentum, keep the momentum, and then get the knockout punch. That would be what my thought would be right now.”

You talked about your message after the regular season and you talked about wins; what has to change overall for the program to get over this and [inaudible]?

“We’ll look at every aspect of it and make improvements.”

With the opportunities that have opened up today in the NFL, is there any possibility that this is the last game you would coach for Michigan?


Did South Carolina do anything on either side of the ball that you didn't expect today?

“No, I can't think of something different.”



January 2nd, 2018 at 9:10 AM ^

Well, I was pretty um...disappointed after yesterday's debacle...but he's right. If they go in for that touchdown instead of fumbling it away, I don't doubt we'd be feeling a lot better right now.


January 2nd, 2018 at 11:38 AM ^

last 3 games and key opportunities for "KO punches". Instead, guys committed major blunders to not only miss the opportunity but provide momentum to the opposition.

I hope it is youth, because that improves by next year. But the inability to make decisive plays at key moments was the same issue in 2015 and 2016 when youth wasn't the issue. So it seems to be a cultural issue. Harbaugh has to make changes and find a way for the whole program to accept nothing less than excellence. Good luck to Harbaugh because culture change is extremely hard.


January 2nd, 2018 at 5:17 PM ^

The difference between Michigan and Michigan State is that Michigan State recruits on the field killers. Michigan on the other hand is forced to recruit good athletes that just happened to play football. 99.9% of the time the football team that smashes the other football team harder over the course of 4 hours wins the game. Football is won and lost on violence at Michigan recruiting football players first over academics is not allowed. Michigan needs killers on the football field not good athletes pretending to be killers.

One Armed Bandit

January 2nd, 2018 at 9:11 AM ^

Or seethe in front of the media. Seasons over, no reason for that. I wish he would have said "eye opening experience" instead of great. Hopefully, this game starts the corrections for next year. Otherwise, we might fall dangerously close to being the sixth best team in the conference for years to come.

True Blue Grit

January 2nd, 2018 at 11:17 AM ^

call pass interference or holding.  They seemed to only be calling the obvious stuff in this game and ignoring everything else.  If I were Don Brown, at some point, I'd have told the players to hold to your heart's content.  I wouldn't be surprised if Muschamp told SC players to do that since they weren't calling anything.  

Blue in PA

January 2nd, 2018 at 9:13 AM ^

If this was Peter's chance to make a statement...... 

"I want to be the QB at CMU" was his statement of choice.

Can Shea bring magic?   We need magic.



January 2nd, 2018 at 9:31 AM ^

did not impress, but we literally had no offensive line and no running game.  It often times looked also that we had no wide receivers running any routes.  He was also under constant, immediate pressure.  If Michigan and Peters went their seperate ways right now, I am guessing it would be mutual.  The offense we put out there yesterday was actually unfair to the QB, it was that bad.


January 2nd, 2018 at 9:42 AM ^

I don't think the pass pro was that bad honestly, I just think we have two WR's running routes and two TE's running the same routes over and over so no one is open. There was no creativity with this offense. I don't have the answer either, just what I saw from the horrible cameras it is hard to tell what anyone outside of the box is doing. 


January 2nd, 2018 at 10:06 AM ^

Can we stop with this always blaming the offensive line?? They did not play that bad at all yesterday and were rotating guys like crazy. Everyone always wants to point to them. It stopped being their fault about 3 months ago. They've been playing fairly well. Try to come up with something a little more creative that is actually true.


January 2nd, 2018 at 10:25 AM ^

Ask Chris Evans if he thinks the line played well. How many times was he met behind the LOS? The line played well for 2 months when JBB was able to control the backside of the line when we ran power. How many successful power plays did we run yesterday? That play doesn't work when Runyan is getting blown back 2-3 yards.
Pass blocking was meh. Peters didn't have a lot time on many plays, but his pocket awareness was not great either. Instead of forcing the ball to McKeon he should have used the backs more often. He did complete one back shoulder pass, so there is that.


January 2nd, 2018 at 6:05 PM ^

2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 ... were all disappointments based on UM tradition and history

2018 will be better - we have a very good coach

Harbaugh owns some of this mess.

Enjoy 2018 and stay off the board to prevent self loathing and criticizing

We were bad - we sucked - coaches - players - 2017 in general

How many times does it need restated and repeated?!

Go Blue!

True Blue Grit

January 2nd, 2018 at 11:20 AM ^

There were many occasions yesterday where Peters had plenty of time to get the pass off and he still screwed up most of them.  For whatever the reason, the guy has trouble seeing the field and making quick decisions.  


January 2nd, 2018 at 11:25 AM ^

Offensive line looked basically fine on most downs, pass pro usually broke down after two plays with a clean pocket where we threw multiple incompletions because we couldn’t hit an open man (or a man couldn’t get open). The OL this year wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t an absolute tire fire, whereas our WRs and QBs were very much a tire fire.


January 2nd, 2018 at 9:24 AM ^

That presser seems to have gone the way of the bowl prep and game - lackluster.

I was very disappointed in the offense in general, and Peters in particular.  I really thought we'd see a marked improvement from both.  Instead, it was more of the same.  The game plan seemed far more vanilla than it did for either the UW or OSU games, like they didn't even care.  Maybe they didn't?  I kinda hope they didn't...  In any case, I no longer think Peters will win any competition next year.  Based on this game - after 15 bowl practices as the sole #1 QB - I was completely unimpressed.  He looked slow and plodding, and didn't really seem to have any focus.  In general, the offense seemed disconnected and out of focus.

Maybe we're going to see some coaching changes soon, and the 'disconnection' was just a symptom of them?  IDK, man...


January 2nd, 2018 at 9:36 AM ^


This made me laugh!  More disappointed, but not really concerned.  I trust that it'll get fixed.  I think this whole year is a throw-away, but I did expect more from this game.


January 2nd, 2018 at 9:42 AM ^

more than anything, it was just how completely rudderless the team looked toward the end of the game that really stuck with me after it ended.  After Peters slid to bring up 3rd and 1, we had two plays to get one yard and keep a potential game tying drive alive.  Not only did we not pick up the yard, it did not even look like the coaches knew what personnel to put in to try to pick it.  Five step drop with basically all deep routes on 4th and 1. 




January 2nd, 2018 at 9:52 AM ^

At one point earlier in the game there was an extended shot of Drevno looking at his play sheets, and it looked like he had no idea what to do. I know that appearances can be misleading, but holy hell it was far from reassuring looking.


January 2nd, 2018 at 9:57 AM ^

Speaking solely of our "offense," I think we looked rudderless from the beginning of the game. Lethargic. Listless. Without focus.

I don't think Don Brown is beyond criticism, but the contrast in intensity between our offense and our defense is ridiculous.

Given Harbaugh's background on offense, that's particularly nuts.


January 2nd, 2018 at 10:04 AM ^

spent a significant portion of the time we had to prepare for the bowl game recruiting Ole Miss transfers.  I am glad we landed Shae Patterson (it looks like we are going to need him), but as the saga was unfolding, it occured to me "I wonder what South Carolina is doing right now?"  I came to the conclusion that they were probably preparing to beat Michigan.  It did not look like we had prepared much to beat South Carolina.


January 2nd, 2018 at 10:23 AM ^

I'll agree that we didn't look prepared, but it wasn't because of recruiting.  Muschamp was also recruiting - but he doesn't garner a media following like Harbaugh does.  Kirby Smart and Nick Saban were also recruiting.  It's what college coaches do when they're not coaching thier teams.


January 2nd, 2018 at 10:10 AM ^

Wow... that is a pretty amazing comparison.  So, maybe we should hire something like a "Passing Game Coordinator"?  I don't know that we could pay him that much, though.  Maybe an NFL type guy--though he should probably come from somewhere with a tradition of winning and success in developing quarterbacks.  ...  ... Wait... WTF?


January 2nd, 2018 at 9:26 AM ^

Lots of injuries again, but they've got to find a way to overcome some of those.

Really excited to see what happens next year, especially with all those young wide receivers. DPJ, Black, Martin, etc. etc. all with a year+ under their belts, yes please!


January 2nd, 2018 at 9:32 AM ^

OK, I'll bite.

• Was it supposed to be a handoff to a TE, but just not to McKeon?

• Was it supposed to be a handoff to a RB, and for some bizarre reason McKeon was back there instead?

• Why didn't you—or any other coach—recognize that the wrong personnel was in there?

None of these explanations are reassuring. 

Couple this with the spectacle of Mone running onto the field without his fucking helmet on, and it's positively Hokian.


January 2nd, 2018 at 9:36 AM ^

I remember correctly, it was a short yardage situation and they went i-form tight to just try to pick up the first down.  We did not have a fullback in the game so we lined up with McKeon at fullback (perhaps he moonlights there in practice, etc.) and just tried to give it to him to plow forward and pick up a yard or so.  This type of play was also a disaster against OSU when we rushed to the line for a fullback dive on 2nd and 1 and O'Korn tripped over Kugler's feet. 

I got an idea, how about they just slow down, collect themselves and just RUN A PLAY instead of hurrying to the line as though they need "trickeration" and tempo to pick up one yard.  This team has become a true comedy of errors.


January 2nd, 2018 at 10:03 AM ^

That could explain, in part, his sudden panic in securing the ball - that and having run this twice at the end of a bowl practice as the coaches nodded in approval while agreeing, "That'll be something, won't it?"

Hail Harbo

January 2nd, 2018 at 10:16 AM ^

Harbaugh says it was a coaching error, wrong personnel package.  Peters said that the play called was for a handoff, McKeon, who had never once carried the ball at Michigan, wasn't aware the play called for him to take the handoff.  Peters also said he knew that McKeon was the wrong player for that play, but said, WTF.  Harbaugh also said he should have called a timeout, but then had a Hokian moment and said, "WTF" as well.