Brian December 16th, 2014 at 10:55 AM


never not funny

IT'S HAPPENING? IS IT HAPPENING? TELL ME IT'S HAPPENING. You go out of pocket for a few hours and you come back and the internet's falling apart. Near as I can tell there were a couple of posts around 8:30 last night on Scout and Rivals, both of the positive variety. Allen Trieu mentioned($) something might happen tomorrow(!). Which is today(!!!). (Side note: GBW has a rumors board that they can report more freely on without guaranteeing total accuracy, so don't get down on 'em if they're off some.)

A few hours later, Jeff Moss and Gregg Henson joined in with highly positive updates. I know, I know, I'm considerably more cautious than those two guys. And in this case there are NFL parties yet to be heard from, things that could change, etc. But they've had things before, so that should affect whatever your Bayesian estimate is to some degree.

The night ended with Steve Lorenz adding his stuff to the GOOD NEWS pile($), with "important Michigan-related figures" incrementing their optimism. He's "cautiously optimistic" now. Oh, and Trieu again($).

The upshot from everyone is a rising tide of optimism.

TODAY?!?! No. Trent Baalke's de rigueur "we evaluate after the season" statement happened late afternoon yesterday. Most targets are still in two weeks. It's highly unlikely we hear anything today. I'm betting we have to endure the full 12 days in limbo here unless it all falls apart.

SOURCES OF SAID TIDE. Moss says that Brandstatter is feeding some of this information to people. Brandstatter says he isn't. I have heard that Jack Harbaugh is a major source for both Rivals and the pile of former players who are increasingly giddy. Jack would know a lot about Jim's intentions, but I am a little worried that Jack wants this to happen so badly that he may be overstating the case.

Then you've got players Harbaugh talks to, guys he might be reaching out to as staff members… there is a lot of chatter.

A RISING TIDE… EXCEPT THIS ONE GUY. Some cold water: got a lengthy note from a source who is second-hand but has had good info during coaching searches past that is basically a re-iteration of the NFL reporter position that Michigan's chances are slim at best. I believe the guy, and believe the NFL reporters to some extent—there is clearly a story out there in which Michigan is the wallflower hoping to get noticed by the prom queen. There was a credible-seeming Cassandra on Rivals offering up a similar story about how this isn't happening and was never happening.

Some of this is from people who swear Harbaugh wants to remain in the NFL. Some of this comes from within the Michigan base. It would look pretty bad for Brandon if Hackett did lock Harbaugh down, and it was mentioned to me that he is hoping it doesn't happen. He could be a negativity vector there. That would  be the best case scenario for this undercurrent of NOPE amongst the cresting wave of euphoria for the same reasons Jack Harbaugh might be overly enthusiastic.

It is hard for me to reconcile the piles of internal optimism with the idea Harbaugh is just stringing Michigan along. There would be a way to approach this without giving everyone the impression it's happening dot gif. On the other hand, this is a credible person. There are people close to Harbaugh who think it's not happening dot gif.

Many someones are about to be very wrong.

ON THE TRAIL. As a counterpoint to that, heard that a Michigan assistant has been pinging kids in his area asking them to hold off on commitments until Harbaugh is in place two weeks from now. A couple of the staffers are hoping to stick… well, most of them probably are, but a couple in particular have higher hopes than others. They're pitching the big kahuna.



EXIT LES. Les Miles had a weird intro to his press conference yesterday, talking to reporters off the record about his interest in the Michigan job: he has none. Cameras off, direct quotes prohibited, gist communicated: weird.

Why he wouldn't just issue the standard press-conference denial is unknown. The explanation that comes to mind is that he was wary of getting a little emotional now that he knows for-sure-for-sure he'll never coach Michigan. Or he could just be weird. That is always on the table with Les.

If you're so inclined, you could read this as evidence that IT'S HAPPENING, as word trickles out to connected Michigan people and Les's slim hopes have just gone to zero. The other option is that all the people swearing up and down that Miles would come back if given the opportunity are wrong. The agreement there within the Michigan insider community is iron-clad, though.

ON ASSISTANTS? Are we talking about assistants already? Seems way ahead of ourselves, but okay. Ty Wheatley has been rumored to be on his way back ever since it looked like Hoke wasn't going to make it. It's obvious why—Michigan Man.

He has also made his interest in returning known, as long as it's some sort of upgrade on his current role as the Bills' RB coach. While Michigan probably wouldn't want to throw him in the deep end as a coordinator right away, something like OSU's recent setup with Tom Herman and Ed Warriner as co-OCs would work.

Sam Webb recently downplayed speculation by saying their hasn't been any contact; even so that seems like it might happen once a hypothetical staff hypothetically starts being assembled.


Durkin also had a minor role in Office Space

Trieu also dropped($) Florida DC DJ Durkin's name. Durkin was the DE/ST coach at Stanford for Harbaugh's first three years there, then moved on to Florida, where he was an LB coach for a bit before taking over as DC for the last two years. The obvious catch is that he was working under Will Muschamp, who is now making more than a lot of head coaches as Auburn's DC.

Durkin is in demand, being courted by UNC and A&M; as a Youngstown guy who went to BGSU he has a ton of those Ohio recruiting connects. There was some chatter that he'd be retained by McElwain but Thayer Evans reports that UF is going to hire Mississippi State DC Geoff Collins—yes, the you're a baller guy—instead*. Interestingly, Durkin was a GA under Urban Meyer for the two years Meyer was there, then moved on to Notre Dame in the same capacity—no doubt on Meyer's recommendation.

*[Exhibit A as to why Mullen would jump at the chance to move to a school with more resources.]

PLAN B. Heard for a second time that Tom Herman was under serious consideration as a backup plan. With Les out for whatever reason, the non-Harbaugh options get slim fast if Michigan cannot poach a Power 5 college HC in a good spot—always hard to do and harder these days when everyone has buckets of cash.

I'm just sayin', Dan Mullen hasn't signed that extension… because now it's real easy to see Michigan burning through candidates until it's looking at wild-ass swings at up-and-comers like Scott Frost (high on CSU's list) or the Schiano-Addazio-tier Life Is A Grim March To The Grave candidates. Mullen told the local media via text he hasn't heard from Michigan, period, and in this case I believe him. If Collins does jump to Florida he's got to be steamed, though.

I wonder if someone at Michigan will reach out to Herman and tell him not to sign anything just yet—Herman already announced he wouldn't be joining Houston until OSU is out of the playoff. He is looking increasingly like Michigan's best will-obviously-come option. Short term sketch? Yes. Worth it if we don't hire Steve Addazio? Yes.

SERIOUSLY. Bo Pelini. Pitt. Make it happen.



December 16th, 2014 at 11:09 AM ^

For me, this is going to hurt more than LeBron's 1st decision if none of this is true.

I sincerely hope that if Jim had zero interest in the job that he would relay that to people that need to know.  The gloating from rival fan bases if we don't get him will be unbearable.


December 16th, 2014 at 11:22 AM ^

The issue is that he may not 0 interest in the job.  He may actually be at 50/50 and still deciding.  For our coaching search a 50% shot at Harbaugh is good enough to wait but that isn't still stringing Michigan along, it is making what could be a really hard decision that he hasn't even really had time to think about until this week.


December 16th, 2014 at 12:01 PM ^

but Harbaugh is what he is -- a professional who needs to finish out his season. He's made no comments that indicates he plans to do anything other than continue working as the 49ers coach for two more weeks, and that is positive for Michighan.

So, what does that mean? It means that Michigan has made a request for a decision and Harbaugh has promised one -- but no one knows whether Harbaugh is coming to AA or staying put in the NFL. If this weren't Michihgan, then he would clearly be moving on to coach somewhere else in the league next year unless he were able to reconnect with Niner management.

I think the reason there is such ambiguity about Harbaugh is because he hasn't fully made up his mind. What has always been clear to me is that Harbaugh keeps his intentions close to the vest. And his father is his primary mentor. However, his dad really can't help him decide here. Brecause this comes down to pro aspirations versus college loyalty.

He doesn't want to disappoint his alma mater, but he really wants to compete at the highest level and show people in the NFL that he can win the big one. This is what makes him a great coach. It is also why some think of him as a flake, because he can get excited about the opportunity to make a change and then think that his greatest pro goal hasn't been achieved: winning a Super Bowl, either as a player or coach. Big Void for him.

Still, he doesn't want to lead Michigan on and he has probably suggested he would move back to Michigan given the end of his pending season. Michigan will therefore wait.

And the reason is simple, because this isn't about salvaging a recruit class, this is about getting the No. 1 coaching target to resurrect the program. So, you wait, and do all your homework on Plan B and get ready to spring with those backup choices, just in case. I thought Michigan might give Harbaugh a Christmas deadline for a final answer. Only he knows for sure.


December 16th, 2014 at 2:43 PM ^

I bleed Maize and Blue since going to my first game in 1975.  Live in Boston and don't understand the negativity toward Addazio.  He's doing a great job with BC, definitely not an easy place to recruit, not a hot bed of talent and tough academics.  Addazio is a force, great recruiter, coach and communicator.  Had FSU beat down there.  I think he'd be a tremendous fit and quickly establish himself as a coaching star at Michigan.  Has some Bo in him.

Now if you really want a Michigan Man from Boston, how about our current HOF to be QB who LLLLLoyd Carr didn't think was good enough.  Just think how successful TB12 would be on the recruiting trail.  Greatest closing line to any 18 year old in the country, "let me introduce you to my wife." 


December 16th, 2014 at 7:45 PM ^

As a Temple alum I had plenty of opportunity to watch Addazio in Philly first with the remander of Al Golden's recruits and then in his following seasons. Addazio is to offensive football what the ice age was to dinosaurs. Hell, he *is* a dinosaur in his offensive play calling. Brutal. He was able to win in year one in Philly but after that (and the departure of Scot Loefler as OC) a complete clusterfcuk on offense. 

I cannot think of a Temple fan who was sad to see him go and most, plainly, were shocked that BC picked him up given he'd taken a program on the rise under Golden and completely screwed it up. Thankfully replacement Matt Rhule has at least brought the team back to .500.

If you want dinosaur football, bad offensive playcalling, probably okay recruiting and 80 k crowds then Addazio is your guy. 

Next year when he goes 5-7 don't be shocked.




December 16th, 2014 at 11:15 AM ^

I almost hope it's not true but that Brian just threw it in there to make us all hate Brandon even more...which would be awesome.  

Also too, if someone could find a way to hack Brandon's cell phone so that its ringtone is Sweet Caroline, I would consider that a most excellent 1st candle gift.


December 16th, 2014 at 11:08 AM ^

Cowherd is trolling on the Michigan candidacy again...His source talked to another source, which said this "guy" would be a great candidate, but Cowherd respects him too much to say who it is...Something been in the works for the last 7-8 days. This is not a re-run of the previous Cowherd claim.  Cowherd probably just wanting some attention


December 16th, 2014 at 11:08 AM ^

So Brandon is hoping that UM doesn't land Harbaugh and may be someone that is feeding the negativity around Harbaugh because he will be butthurt if it happens?? My god, were him and Hoke the worst things to happen to Michigan football over the past 4 years? I'm thinking an unequivocal yes