Searchbits VI: Panic! Panic Even More!

Submitted by Brian on December 2nd, 2014 at 12:18 PM

RATS. You're no fun, N582CJ.



HARBAUGH HARBAUGH HARBAUGH. First, this is completely false:

Multiple sources I spoke with told me Jim Harbaugh has already told Michigan that he is not a candidate.

I know from people who have talked directly to Harbaugh that he has interest in the job and is telling Michigan that. The concern previously was that Michigan was not reaching out in any sort of semi-official manner. 247 reported earlier this week that bridge-mending was going on between Carr and Harbaugh.

This may be a he-said-she-said battle of the sources, but look at it from Harbaugh's perspective (or possibly his agent's). Harbaugh is under contract; the 49ers may try to trade him; any trade necessarily hampers his ability to win at the new place; the possibility of leaving for Michigan brings the price down and improves his leverage. Even if Harbaugh had 0.0% interest in returning to college he would not be telling people that.

And unless he's flat out lying to multiple former teammates that's not the case. If so, this is the appropriate GIF.

With that in mind, I'm not inclined to take the rest of Scott Roussel's alarming post seriously. His previous report about Hackett informing the regents he had not found anyone who could do the AD job at Michigan was 90% crap. It is a funhouse mirror version of the truth in which Michigan has decided that they should use Hackett for a transitional period specifically because football has a hiring season and they don't want to throw a guy in right now and expect him to get the thing right. Hackett's timeframe here is not likely to last past the summer.

But, FWIW:

The feedback I heard isn’t going to excite many at Michigan; in fact, one source was very blunt, saying “Michigan is struggling to find their next head coach.”

Michigan athletic director Jim Hackett and senior assistant athletic director Mike DeBord have spoken with a number of potential candidates is the what I’m told; and the reception thus far hasn’t been positive. We are told that the Michigan administration was hoping to have largely have their man identified by now and that does not appear to be the case as calls were ongoing yesterday.

This is how coaching searches go, and this year was particularly likely to end up with a lot of thanks-but-no-thanks calls as Michigan checks on Stoops, Patterson, Gundy, and maybe Shaw or Richt just in case. Florida got a head start and has already passed through this phase. Check out the names for Gainesville later in this post; they are not exactly A-listers for a job that's at least on par with Michigan.

After this period Michigan will get down to identifying a real set of candidates that are not ensconced at stable programs. Roussel does say that Michigan check on Butch Jones and he "won't be a candidate," and I believe that. It is a specific piece of information that I have not had directly refuted to me multiple times.


ON LES MILES. That story also has a bit on Les Miles. It is correct that there's a great divide in the program alumni about Miles, but it also asserts that Michigan would avoid him because of the chance they get turned down humiliatingly. That would not happen. If Miles is offered the job he would come.

Personally, I'm not enthralled with a 61-year-old who's been the subject of an OTL episode about cutting players, coming off a meh year and possibly the downside. But he'd come. Assertions to the contrary are from the camp that doesn't like Miles because of the way he and Carr have butted heads over the years.

THINK OF THE THE SCION IN CHARGE. Last week's deflating loss against Seattle caused the 49ers' owner to tweet something about how it was "unacceptable," leading to a veritable e-kerfuffle. Jed York was seen talking to the GM! A teenage girl said something nasty about Greg Roman! Dark days. Speculation about an immediate firing was faintly ridiculous then and more so a few days later.

In the aftermath Adam Schefter reported that Harbaugh's fate would be determined after the season and that the Raiders and Jets were the favorites to land him.In general, NFL sources are swearing up and down that nobody leaves the NFL on purpose. Historically, they're correct. But I roll my eyes when they start making those assertions about Harbaugh staying on the West Coast because his wife likes In And Out.

There is a large complicating factory with talk about the Raiders that national guys completely overlook. Tim Kawakami:

I doubt York wants to see Harbaugh coaching the Raiders, wherever they end up playing in 2015–and remember, there is a possibility the Raiders play in Santa Clara for a few years.

Harbaugh coaching the Raiders in Santa Clara? That is NOT what Jed York wants, though who knows, he might Tweet something to clarify all this.

Underestimating the petulance of the extremely rich is never wise. Where would York prefer Harbaugh to be: Oakland or Michigan?

PLAN B? With Harbaugh uncertain, Michigan is going to need to do groundwork to have a set of alternate candidates in place to prevent a repeat of the 2007 search, in which ideas after Les Miles ranged from "uhhhhhhh" to "wellllllll". Oh, and the 2011 search, in which ideas after Jim Harbaugh ranged from "welllllll" to "welllllll". Who might those guys be?

I think you can strike everyone who may or may not be available. Early returns from not only the Michigan search but the Florida search indicate that the Petersen will-he-or-won't-he types are firmly in the NOPE camp. So who might Michigan look at after you excise the Gundy/Patterson types? I have no idea. I hope Jim Hackett does.

I don't think Les Miles is going to be the guy. There is a ton of opposition to him that would be difficult to overcome. After that you're outside the realm of guys who got yelled at by Bo.

Obviously, Dan Mullen is a guy you have to kick the tires on. The recent issue with a QB getting his offer pulled looks bad; you have to get Mullen's side of that, as he's prevented by NCAA rule from offering it publicly. Lloyd Carr had a few incidents in which he got blasted by recruits that I don't think were entirely, or even mostly, on him. In this case Mullen asked the guy to grayshirt out of the blue, which is not kosher but isn't as bad as a total kiss-off.

After Mullen it's down to flier types and coordinators. And extremely angry unemployed guys. You know me: I prefer the coordinator/innovator route to a guy with veins permanently etched on his forehead.

WHAT'S GOING ON AT FLORIDA? A reported 4 million dollar offer to Ole Miss's Hugh Freeze resulted in a raise and extension for—surprise!—another Jimmy Sexton client. Florida sources are chalking that up to Ole Miss getting Sexton'd; the SBNation reporter who broke the news is standing by the report since these days a coaching 'offer' is only definitively given to the guy that gets the job. And I see his point.

But whatever, Freeze seems off the table. The current names are:

New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is a consideration, according to one source, confirming a report by Football Scoop, although there is concern regarding McDaniels' availability to join Florida immediately upon his hire. The Ohio native and longtime Bill Belichick assistant has not coached in college since a stint as a graduate assistant at Nick Saban's Michigan State, and his only head coaching experience came in 2009 and 2010 with the Denver Broncos.

Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde reports Colorado State's Jim McElwain is a "leading candidate," and the Gainesville Sun's Pat Dooley says TCU's Gary Patterson shouldn't be ruled out.

This is good news from our perspective since none of those names seem like they would become prominent here in the event M strikes out on Harbaugh. I'd be shocked if Patterson was available for anyone; McElwain's reported $7.5 million buyout is offputting when there are guys with better track records who would require less outlay.

And then there's Josh McDaniels. That is particularly bats. He's barely coached in college and has made his name coaching Tom Brady from 2004 on, after the point at which Tom Brady's QB coach was himself. His brief foray as the Broncos head coach ended before two years were up; he had one year as the Rams' OC, and now he's back under Belicheck's wing. He is 1000% flier.

Etc.: Mike Gundy and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle of coaching. Mike Hart, now at WMU, has a highly successful first-year back.



December 2nd, 2014 at 12:28 PM ^

Unlike some I am giving some credibility to the Football Outsiders report that due to personal grievences (alleged) the Carr inside man (DeBord) is pushing back on landing one of the top 12 coaches in the country.   Which is just about everything we need to know about what is wrong with UM football.  It's a fiefdom.

Try to make a top 12 list of college coaches without listing Miles - you can't.  It is hilarious the pushback internally on this guy who bleeds for the school.…


December 2nd, 2014 at 1:06 PM ^

I am also amazed how this is happening in michigan AD. Carr retired 8-9 years, his influence is still there, and strong!

The nepotism is the biggest issue in Michigan's AD. We should find a new AD first, then fire all assistant ADs, and rebuild the administrative. Otherwise, doesn't matter who come in, the HC will have hard time to do his job in his own way.


December 2nd, 2014 at 1:56 PM ^

the AD is a fiefdom that wants blowing up--even that Hackett looks suspiciously like more of the same. . .

we can all ALSO admit that there may be a place where stubborn opposition to Miles, including due to historical enmity, overlaps with a Miles we really do not want: guy who has exhibited questionable morality on both the interpersonal and recruiting front.

I'm not saying that a guilty verdict has been rendered on those counts, claiming to know the whole story. But if there's something to them then he's probably not coming on SCHLISSEL's watch, let alone Hackett's.


December 2nd, 2014 at 12:26 PM ^

In my opinion, Harbaugh's not coming. As I've said multiple times, I don't buy the bullshit Brandon PR spin that Jim was never offered in 2011. The only way he was never offered is on the technicality that he preemptively turned down the job. I think if Harbaugh wanted to be our coach he would already be our coach.

Regardless, Michigan needs to conduct and actual coaching search for once. I mean, is that really so much to ask? Putting out feelers/talking to multiple people about the job? 

I could be 100% wrong, but it feels like AD is putting all of their eggs in the Harbaugh basket. That's understandable for the fans and media, but it just seems like if you're all in on one guy who seems far less than a 50-50 proposition at best, you're already in trouble.

Call me a chicken little if you wish, but the AD has lost all benefit of the doubt given the unmitigated disasters that were the previous coaching searches.


December 2nd, 2014 at 12:41 PM ^

He may have wanted to try out the NFL and not liked what he found, or he didn't like Brandon, or his wife won the we are staying in California argument.  Doesn't mean he can't change his mind or realize the NFL isn't for him.  And that doesn't mean he's definitely coming to Michigan, but him turning down the job 4 years ago doesn't mean he's an impossibility.


December 2nd, 2014 at 12:55 PM ^

All of that is reasonable and could be absolutely true. I just don't believe it.

I know people are necessarily going to be averse to that opinion because no one wants to hear from a guy who thinks that Harbaugh will not be Michigan's next coach. The majority of fans have the heart set on him.

I just hope they don't turn into raging assholes when, IMO the inevitable happens, and we don't land Harbaugh.

There are plenty of great candidates out there, and I hope the AD's position doesn't mirror the fans (Harbaugh or bust....or...errr...maybe a 61 year old Les Miles, and beyond that: PANIC).

Sadly, based on everything that has come out about the Michigan AD over the past decade they no longer deserve the benefit of the doubt and I'm primed to believe that they'll find a way to screw things up as far as football in concerned.


December 2nd, 2014 at 12:30 PM ^

If Les Miles would come if we asked... WHY WOULD WE NOT ASK?

Because of some allegiance to Carr who left the program a wounded animal next to a dumpster?

Blue In NC

December 2nd, 2014 at 1:00 PM ^

If that's true and Miles is a viable candidate (from the Michigan perspective), that's great news because it allows Michigan to conduct a complete search (even wait for Harbaugh possibly) and yet still have a very good candidate in Miles as your Plan B (assuming Miles would only leave LSU for Michigan).

Now, is he is not a possible candidate, then I am a bit more worried.


December 2nd, 2014 at 1:02 PM ^

he is a full on SEC coach who plays the full SEC recruiting game.  I'm guessing it's a little less ugly in Baton Rouge than at Aub or Miss St., but only a little.

Also, somethin' happened all those years ago with Moeller/Les and, if not a disqualification, it's a consideration.

Also, the bullshit recruiting moves he used to pull on Carr (and, therefore, against us) are a consideration.

The SI hit piece on OSU was bullshit reporting.  Doesn't mean it isn't largely true.  If it is true, it's a LARGE consideration.

Les is 61

Les is kinda crazy when it comes to things like clock management.



December 2nd, 2014 at 1:07 PM ^

I'm with you on clock management, but 61 isn't that old. I think Saban is also 61, and we would take him in a heartbeat...

I'm not sure what you mean by bullshit recruiting moves? Do you mean negative recruiting or actually something illegal?


December 2nd, 2014 at 12:32 PM ^

"But I roll my eyes when they start making those assertions about Harbaugh staying on the West Coast because his wife likes In And Out."

You are referring to burgers - right?


December 2nd, 2014 at 12:49 PM ^

I know auburn has 4 losses but in another conference they'd probably be a top 10-12 team.  It is almost unheard of for 1 blue blood to lose their coach near their height to another. 

I did a piece asking readers here for examples of any major coach leaving 1 major program to go directly for another in the past 10-15 years and the best ones we could think of was Beilemna from Wiscy to Arkansas, and Rich Rod from WVA to UM.  And neither Wiscy or WVA is Auburn.

Texas tried this last year with Saban.  It's just nearly impossible - Auburn is not Boise State or hell Wisconsin.  It's religion down there - look at what Ole Miss, a traditiona nobody in the SEC< just did with Hugh Freeze the minute Florida even sniffed in that direction.


December 2nd, 2014 at 1:17 PM ^

I think it's certainly possible for us to make him an offer he can't refuse. It would probably take a great deal of assurances of his job security on the Michigan side of things beyond just pay, but I think he should be on the top tier of candidates we contact.


December 2nd, 2014 at 12:39 PM ^

The inclusion of Hoke's verbal ticks, throwing a little shot at him once again. Way to keep it classy Brian, you must really enjoy Hoke. I'd be happy to see him back, just to watch the meltdowns here.