Submitted by Brian on 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 12:03 PM ^


December 16th, 2014 at 12:04 PM ^

It's HAPPENING. It's not happening. ARGH.

Based on everything out there to date, we can saw we KNOW these things ONLY:

* Harbaugh is Candidate #1A, B, and C for Michigan, and he has a significant offer from us (money/years/control) already on the table

* Harbaugh does have at least SOME interest in the job. There's too much positive chatter from too many people for the "he's not interested AT ALL, he's never leaving The Shield" camp to be 100% right. If he truly had no interest whatsoever, he'd have let Hackett know by now, and Hackett would have found a way to leak that info through Webb or others to get the fanbase to calm down

What worries me is all the loose talk that this is a done deal. I'd sure like to believe it, but I think it's just as likely Harbaugh is very interested but still making up his mind -- hell, his 49ers' season really only ended on Sunday, and if he's the coach and competitor we all think he is, he was focused like a laser on trying to get his guys into the playoffs again ("leaders eat last," etc.). As Brian has been at pains to point out, even Harbaugh is dealing w/imperfect information at this point -- he doesn't know yet how many other NFL teams are interested in his services, and how much money and personnel control they're willing to throw at him, how much they'd have to give the Niners in draft picks in a trade, etc. He might be strongly inclined to come back to A2, yet still want to know exactly what he's turning down before giving Hackett an ironclad "I'm in."

I don't think we learn anything more definitive until Dec. 29th, and I'm almost willing to avoid this board and all other sources until then for the sake of my sanity. (Ah, who am I kidding, right?)


December 16th, 2014 at 12:19 PM ^

Seems to me that this is what happens when there is a metric fuckton of interest in a story, and an equally major lack of any real info. I feel like this entire drama has just become an echo chamber of insiders without much info bouncing around ideas that they heard earlier in the process from other insiders, getting louder the entire time. I wouldn't be surprised if he was 100% in or 100% out at this point. As Brian said, one group is going to look very silly.


December 16th, 2014 at 12:25 PM ^

Hopefully, all this Plan B stuff is purely academic but in the meantime, until our new benevolent dictator takes over, the pre-Harbaugh courts must continue to function...

While the prosection concedes that the defense's Exhibit A may sway some members of the jury, it must point out that assistants come and go and it hasn't affected the status of head coaches like Briles and Patterson, who swat away suiters year after year.

A lateral move from one school to another doesn't look great for MSU, but it doesn't necessarily mean anything as it relates to Mullen. Head coaches don't expect to keep coordinators forever.


December 16th, 2014 at 12:27 PM ^

Again, I'm happy this is bringing money and clicks to Brian, but the fact we have 200+ comment threads every time Gregg Henson feats on Twitter is going to make these next couple of weeks unbearable.

If Harbaugh is coming, it won't be until his contract ends with SF. Anything else you hear about guys thinking X or other targets Y should be viewed through that lens.


December 16th, 2014 at 12:46 PM ^

the fact we have 200+ comment threads every time Gregg Henson feats on Twitter is going to make these next couple of weeks unbearable.

Au contraire, I love the coach-search discussion and speculation. The fact that every morsel of information leads to a monster thread is great. It beats the crap out of our usual topics of conversation, like the never-ending "They're exploited/they're getting a $200K education" argument, the fawning over 16-year-old high school athletes and the various rants at how evil the latest calendar year is.

Right now the face of the Michigan football program is a blank slate.  It could end up being Harbaugh, could be Miles, could be someone else . . . the possibilities are exciting.


December 16th, 2014 at 1:54 PM ^

I guess.  But there's a basketball team that is struggling but could really use some coverage around these parts, the hockey team gets a blurb here or there but that's it, etc.  And maybe we could just have a couple of weeks of downtime in terms of freak-outs around these parts; it's felt like a fire alarm going off constantly basically since midway through the season.

I'm excited about the future of the program, but having to wade through these next couple of weeks just feels like a slog, and I'm not even a person who has to care.  I feel bad for those who have to cover it for their livelihood.

And for the record, I meant "farts" where "feats" is.


December 16th, 2014 at 12:30 PM ^

Having The Raiders as our biggest competition definitely makes me feel better. I don't care how much money and power they offer him, I can't imagine anyone wants to deal with that dumpster fire. It certainly doesn't seem like a job with a long lifespan.


December 16th, 2014 at 12:35 PM ^

I seriously hope Brian's wish that someone is on the phone to Herman telling him "don't sign anything just yet" is also happening. It could be 83 or even 04 seconds before Harbaugh signs the contract, and he isn't our coach then. Herman has enough of an upside that I definitely want him there if (God forbid) the terrible should befall!

219 ][v][ PLEASE let it be happening!


December 16th, 2014 at 1:37 PM ^

In his presser announcing Hoke's dismissal, he said that he was looking for a coach not identified as having a specific offensive system. I took that to mean that he doesn't want anyone coming in who would be throwing out the baby with the bath water in the interest of a religious devotion to "his" system.


December 16th, 2014 at 4:22 PM ^

Reminds me of Michigan fans c1999 who were ridiculously naive about how long we would be able to dominate Ohio State.  "I want them to be good again so we can beat them at their best" and "Harbaugh isn't actually a great coach he just had one year at Stanford" are going to look really stupid in a couple of years if Harbaugh comes. 


December 16th, 2014 at 3:26 PM ^

Hoke/Mich getting destroyed by ND was probably the only thing that kept Kelly's seat from getting red-hot. Playing FSU close also helped, but that game wouldn't have had as much hype if the Irish had already lost a game. I live in South Bend, and there's a lot of chatter that there are issues with Kelly losing the locker room.


December 16th, 2014 at 1:34 PM ^

As alluded to earlier today on, in recent days, Jim Harbaugh sent a text message to Andy Moeller (an offensive line coach on the Browns and the son of Gary Moeller) stating that it looked like they’d be “getting the band back together”

This quotation appeared in a thread at 10:30 pm and was quashed by next morning.

Brian then alluded to it in the obliquest possible way, and people walked around it in the comments.

After all this, Moss makes it sound like he is sourcing this tidbit based on Mgoblog.

Is this Olbermann all over again?


December 16th, 2014 at 1:42 PM ^

that Hackett would not contact a viable 2nd option such as Miles if Harbaugh were only a 50-50 proposition.  Even if it's a 90% done deal it still would be prudent to cover your bases with your #2 or #3 options wouldn't it?


December 16th, 2014 at 2:03 PM ^

My conspiracy theory about this divide between national and local guys: it all goes back to Brady Hoke. Harbaugh was telling people who told sources then, when hoke had the job, that he was not interested in respect to hoke. The local guys are getting the more recent scoop, while the national guys are getting info from sources who Harbaugh hasn't talked to in awhile. Harbaugh is not talking right now to NFL guys, because he doesn't want it to look like him talking to Michigan had something to do with the niners falling off. This is all speculation on my part.

Ty Butterfield

December 16th, 2014 at 2:31 PM ^

This is beyond wierd. Some people are saying it is never happening and others are saying it is a done deal. I don't know what to believe. My gut tells me this ends with Harbaugh somewhere in the NFL and the Michigan fan base getting dong punched again.


December 16th, 2014 at 3:15 PM ^

I'm not so sure myself-- although this is the basic recap:

Donors told to clear this weekend, something at the union was canceled (for space), and back office football guys told to be ready for harbaugh.


Everyone there seemed to respect this tony character who was posting it


That place is a roller coaster though