Unverified Voracity Is About Media Day Comment Count

Brian July 27th, 2016 at 12:24 PM


[Patrick Barron]

Media days takes. Harbaugh showed at a place and said things. In response the media writes somewhat overheated things in response, because Harbaugh. The Sporting News refers to Michigan's "magical, millennial, marketable machine" in an alliteration explosion that engulfed their office:

“Harbaugh to my knowledge has taken no classes in marketing, never mentions the word,” Bacon said. “Yet who has marketed Michigan better then he has in the last year and a half? Not everyone likes it, but as far as getting and the name and the flag up the flag pole … Harbaugh has spread the "M" all over America — and to American Samoa — for crying out loud.”

According to Michigan associate athletic director Kurt Svoboda, the university increased its season ticket sales in 2015 to 89,875, the highest total since 2012. Of those, 72,076 were non-student tickets, the highest total since 2009. Student ticket sales increased from 11,597 in 2014 to 17,899 in 2015. …

"You can say he's 52 going on 25 in some ways,” Bacon said. “He's got more energy than almost anybody. He's in a rap video. As a rapper he's an excellent football coach, but you know the kids love it."

Looks like Bacon just put himself on the list of Uptight White People for the 57th time.

Harbaugh's ability to be the center of attention at all times arises naturally from the fact that he's got no filter and genuinely doesn't care what people say about him. So he'll climb a tree or dab for a recruit or schedule a month-long whirlwind of satellite camps, mostly because he wants to do these things, to win at various things of little to no importance. The marketing aspect is a side effect. It's not quite an accident, but it's not the primary thing.

The primary thing:

To that point, Harbaugh said almost every practice is mapped out for the upcoming season, mapped out on his computer. Fall camp will include a lot more four-hour practices, another concept Butt said might be foreign in an age where less contact is encouraged. Butt even told former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy about those practices this summer.

McElroy’s response? “You lost me at the four-hour practices.”

Harbaugh goes harder and his guys are willing to do the same given his example. Along the way articles are written.

Also this. Harbaugh's just way more interesting than coaches primarily focused on escaping media appearances without saying anything that means anything. Literally. Brian Hamilton:

Around 1:30 p.m. on Monday, James Joseph Harbaugh took the stage and an otherwise lobotomized first day of Big Ten media day festivities got interesting. All he had to do was wear the baseball cap, really: Michigan’s coach later explained his accessorizing was the product of going five weeks without a haircut and his affinity for the skinny ‘M’ logo.

Brian Bennett:

He signed a fan's bicep with a Sharpie, then told the fan to come back for another try Tuesday because he didn't like the way his skin signature looked.

Of his appearance in a recent rap video, Harbaugh insisted that only "uptight white people" didn't like it. He even claimed to have written one of the song's lyrics ("Roughest team in the B-I-G!). At another point, Harbaugh used the word "meritocracy," briefly wondered if he had just invented it, then looked disappointed when he learned it already existed.

He is one of few college football coaches clearly operating his own twitter feed, because he's got something to say on it. Something like "I am Uncle Rico and The Georgia Coach is barking up the wrong tree."

Knock on wood. Harbaugh says Michigan is healthy headed into fall camp:

"There's nothing to report," Harbaugh said of player injuries. "We're pretty darn healthy. We came out of spring ball pretty darn healthy. We didn't get any of the long-term kind, six month injuries. There's always things that people are dealing with and working with. Our goal is to get the healthiest, most in-shape and strongest team we can on August 8th and then we'll take our shot."

Rumors about Chesson's availability have persisted through the offseason; he should be fine:

Asked specifically about All-Big Ten receiver Jehu Chesson, Harbaugh didn't give a definitive answer but did say he thinks he'll be good to go.

"Yes, I believe he will," Harbaugh said.

The only other player who had a long-term injury at the end of spring practice was Moe Ways, who has reportedly been running routes with the QBs for weeks now. Per Webb, Ryan Glasgow put up some impressive bench press numbers himself recently. Since his injury was to his pectoral that is plenty of evidence he's all the way back.

Recruiting is for gentlemen only. James Franklin's comments about negative recruiting from a while back are predictably a hot topic at Big Ten media days, but they're apparently based on an unrepresentative quote:

"All I said was that every kid that we're recruiting is also being recruited by Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Notre Dame and that they don't have the same challenges that we have now," Franklin said. "Then, in a separate quote, I mentioned that right now we're (dealing) with negative recruiting. It was two separate quotes, though, over a 35-minute interview.

"I never said that any of those schools are the ones doing the negative recruiting against us. They're not. There is one other particular school, but I didn't name who that was."

"…although it is blindingly obvious to you and everyone who reads this quote that it is Pitt."

Negative recruiting hubbub is always pretty ridiculous since things as innocuous as pointing out your relatively friendly depth chart will be twisted into "School X is in ISIS" by the time someone mutters about it on the internet. This seems a bit more ridiculous than most.

The Bill C preview. Bill Connelly's big Michigan preview hit SBNation yesterday. Happily, Bill saw through Michigan's roster subterfuge and knows that they get back most of their offense.

S&P+ projects Michigan to win 9.6 games:


If that sounds pessimistic MSU was at 7.8 a few days ago. Combinatorial math is harsh when you add these things up: Michigan has just three games they're not 75%+ to win and yet they're tiny favorites to end up with double digit wins. 9.6 is pretty good in this context.

There are a couple issues of the sort that are inevitable if you have to write 128 of these over the course of the offseason. Connelly strangely tabs the departure of Mario Ojemudia as the beginning of the defense's late slide and worries over the least worrisome bit of the entire team:

Things fell apart for the line right around the time of Mario Ojemudia's injury. There was still play-making potential on the edge, but it seemed to be a tough blow for Michigan's tenuous depth. Ryan Glasgow going down was the knockout punch.

Depth might not be any better this year. When you were only comfortable with seven guys, and two are gone, improvement isn't guaranteed. But when you've got reinforcements like all-world freshman Rashan Gary, it's hard to worry too much.

Ojemudia went down early in the Maryland game, a shutout. The next week they shut out Northwestern, and then they gave up some points. Against MSU and Minnesota they were mostly secondary issues; Rutgers scored just 16 in Glasgow's last game. Ojemudia was playing well but Royce Jenkins-Stone wasn't a huge dropoff. Glasgow was for a ton of reasons.

Anyway. Bryan Mone hype understandably eludes Connelly's take here, as does the somewhat more questionable emergence of Winovich and Marshall.

Peppers scouted. By NFL.com:

He is fluid in his turn, and he has excellent recovery speed down the field. He is instinctive and aware in underneath coverage. He jumped a bubble screen for a near interception in the Minnesota game. He is outstanding as a run defender. He fights through blocks and is a very reliable tackler in space. He shows timing and burst as a blitzer.

Yep. Concerns include an awkwardness in off coverage and a certain grabbiness that he's gotten away with for the most part. It was clear at the beginning of the year that he had a lot of things to work on in coverage; the good news is that he improved a great deal over the course of the year and should continue to do so.

PFF talks Ohio State. Their offense is an enigma now with just a few starters returning and JT Barrett's downfield ability in question:

The passing game is much more of a question mark, as Barrett has not had nearly the same success through the air as he has on the ground. He earned an average passing grade last season after performing marginally better than that in 2014, and he struggled the most on intermediate throws: On passes thrown 10 to 19 yards downfield, Barrett was just 12 of 25 for 211 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, earning a negative grade in that area of the field.

On the other hand he was their #2 running QB last year behind Houston's Greg Ward. MSU shut down the OSU run game and they foundered, as they did for much of the season. (Remember the NIU game?) Michigan did not do anything of the sort and got ripped. Don Brown versus and Urban Meyer offense is going to be the most intriguing tactical matchup of the season.

Etc.: Tough talk about the ACC Network's ability to get carriage. Ann Arbor is the most educated city in the country by a mile. Ian Boyd on Minnesota's three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense. The Black Heart Gold Pants crew is on the move. Barton Simmons catches on to Harbaugh's crazy QB coaching record.



July 27th, 2016 at 2:15 PM ^

but if we should lose, for me it would be aa hard to digest grade on where our program is. We're asking a hell of a lot out of Coach, and admittedly much of it has to do with him, but I wouldn't have it any other way. On this I speak from experience, 25 levels of separation acknowledged. 

After about the third year in coaching, for me at least, you get a sense of the team and you think, despite possibly lacking in a certain area, you can offset that by maximizing the hell out of the areas in which you excel. Pass to the poor ball handler when there is not a defender in sight mentality. Based on a level of success, you feel you can beat everyone on your schedule. Sometimes this was true, other times we  fell a bit short.  However, word spread through school how cool football was and I went from trying to field a two deep to wondering how the hell I was going to play everyone. Of course, the talent level grew at the same rate. 

When this was realized my early season feeling of going undefeated actually became the norm and there was a five year period where we lost one game. That was not lost due to a sup par effort. it was lost due to playing against what, to my team, probably seemed like a BIG player. Some times the other team, with good coaching, is going to be better. 

However, there will come a season - yes, hopefully this one and it appears very doable - that these two obstacles can be overcome. With that said, I think year four will be the season where there won't be much guessing and little hoping about one of those, while the other will always be a struggle, one we win some years, others where we come up short. 

So Hell yes, bring on 2016 and if this season shows a level of improvement I expect to see I will be happy as hell. if I have to be disappointed on a Saturday, even two, so be it. I will be watching what I really want to see. 


July 27th, 2016 at 12:45 PM ^

I think he has to graduate this summer (which is weird because, again, dude has already been on campus for 5 years) for it to even be an option, but I've read the paperwork might be a formallity.  How he is getting a 6th year is beyond me based on all available evidence, but it's also the B1G so what do I know.


July 27th, 2016 at 12:42 PM ^

"Looks like Bacon just put himself on the list of Uptight White People for the 57th time."

Well, no. He just rapped for Sam & Ira on WTKA during his normal slot last Friday. He's cool.


July 27th, 2016 at 12:43 PM ^

I'm very intrigued about Brown's offense vs. Meyer without an Elliott-type back.  Barrett is a very elusive runner but I'd be fine daring him to beat most teams down the field.  OSU obviously has talent at the skill positions, but Weber is going to be a downgrade from Zeke and OSU still has to replace 5 of their top 6 receivers from last year.  It's going to be weird for them.  Of course, UM plays them at the end of the year so I'm sure they'll have figured out a decent amount of it, but it's still not going to be like the offense UM and ND saw to end the year.



July 27th, 2016 at 12:53 PM ^

I can certainly understand why an outsider would think that Michigan's D line may take a step back this year, given the fact that people tend to assume that ANY freshman (even Gary) is completely ineffective until proven otherwise, and nobody believes practice hype at all until they see it on the field, even given Harbaugh's track record for not lying about how players are doing in practice.


July 27th, 2016 at 12:56 PM ^

This might be a stupid question, but if Barrett can't throw downfield, why not put 8 in the box and completely shut down the run game?


July 27th, 2016 at 1:01 PM ^

Given the backfield Brown will have this year, that is probably going to be his game plan.  Why wouldn't it be?  Meyer earns his wins on the ground.  When those wins come through the air its because his opponent sold out to the run without being able to cover deep.  Michigan will not have that problem.


July 28th, 2016 at 10:56 AM ^

I'm obviously oversimplifying here, but every team has tried some variation of this against OSU since Meyer's been there. If OSU has capable deep and intermediate threats (Devin Smith, Jalin Marshall, Michael Thomas), it backfires. If the WRs can't beat single coverage, then OSU loses. Meyer is 50-4 at OSU, so...

JT is more than capable of beating teams that completely stuff the box over the top as he showed against MSU two years ago in East Lansing. Devin Smith destroyed the MSU secondary. If OSU develops similar threats this year, then clogging the box doesn't work. Defenses will have to pull someone out of the box and then OSU pounds the ball. Will UM's secondary be able to handle the OSU skill players? Lewis was beaten a couple times by Thomas last year, can someone like Noah Brown have similar success? Lots of questions to answer before the end of November.

Blue Sharpie

July 27th, 2016 at 12:59 PM ^

Projections on beating each team seem right for preseason projection. The only one i think is a little out of whack is the 67% chance of beating Iowa at Iowa. I think it is closer to around 50/50 mainly because they look as good as last year on paper, they have one of the best quarterbacks, and it's at Iowa late in the season.
Also, Hawaii s&p should be 100% chance of losing. Sept 3rd is 38 days away!!!

Blue Sharpie

July 27th, 2016 at 3:12 PM ^

I can't fully explain the lopsided Rose Bowl loss since Iowa looked equal to MSU in the BIG championship. I think Christian Mcaffrey was superman that day and Pasadena is more like home for Stanford than Iowa. So I lean more towards the reasons i gave vs Bowl game performance. I do believe we will beat Iowa but I would be surprised if it wasn't a close game in the second half. With all the unknows and being an such an early projection, 50% seems more real at this point than 67%. I hope it's more like 80% by the time the actual game arrives.


July 27th, 2016 at 1:00 PM ^

This is a first-world problem to be sure, but how would you feel if M's record after the year is 10-2...but the losses are MSU and OSU, again? 


July 27th, 2016 at 1:59 PM ^

OSU. . . for all the talk about how it's a young team, Meyer's offense is plug-and-play and they're loaded with talent so by November we should count on him finding 11 guys who can execute.  I hate that guy but their success has been so unquestionable that it would take a lot going right to catch up to them in Harbaugh's 2nd year.   I really really WANT to beat them, but they are a top-tier team year in, year out. . . beating OSU means we're basically a national title contender, and I'm a little too beaten down to believe that just yet.

MSU. . . I will honestly feel upset if we don't beat them.  We basically beat them last year if not for horrible officiating and a freaky last play.  Michigan is due.  This program is NOT inferior to MSU anymore, screamed past them even; we just happen to be a win short of proving it.  That it's a road game really shouldn't matter.  Extrapolating from both programs' trajectories (MSU getting exposed by 'Bama and losing their QB-WR combo vs. UM's demolition of Florida), the only way it'll even be competitive is if the same officiating jackasses from last matchup eject half our starters.


July 27th, 2016 at 2:23 PM ^

Bad.  It's a weak schedule over all and the only wins that MIGHT be worthwhile out of those 10 would be Wisconsin or Iowa.  Expectations are a bitch but with our rivals reloading we need to strike while the iron is hot.  B1G or bust.

UofM Die Hard …

July 27th, 2016 at 1:00 PM ^

Any Michigan football player under Harbaugh will think NFL practices are easy compared to those 4 hour practices.  Ok not easy, but very dooable. 

Whoever is NFL ready will be greatly prepared for whatever comes becuase of JH...ya the practices are going to brual but damn these young men will be ready for whatever is next in their lives after college.

2 a days in high school were the freaking worst but it made basketball practices seem like a cake walk.


Get it boys




July 27th, 2016 at 2:48 PM ^

That list is really funny looking. I wonder how far down Ann Arbor would drop if it was lumped in with Flint and Detroit. I mean they lumped SF in with Hayward and Oakland, and Santa Clara with San Jose. Apparently the person who made this list is not highly educated, or they just gerrymandered the thing to get a preferred outcome. 


July 27th, 2016 at 4:52 PM ^

   til I saw the draft ov $5505 , I didnt believe that...my... best friend woz like realy receiving money part-time on their apple labtop. . there moms best frend has been doing this 4 only thirteen months and just now paid for the dept on their cottage and got Infiniti 


July 28th, 2016 at 12:57 PM ^

and misunderstood word in the English language than "marketing"? Harbaugh is not marketing Michigan.  He is promoting Michigan.  Marketing necessarily is done with an eye toward an actual market where achieving profit or financial gain is the goal.  Of course he never mentions marketing. He doesn't care about the financials. That was Brandon. 

Harbaugh loves football and the University of Michigan and just promotes the h*ll out of both because he cares and because he wants to win games.  That's it.