In Defense of Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by sdogg1m on October 22nd, 2017 at 10:15 PM

In Defense of Jim Harbaugh - (As if the man needs defending)

Despised SEC troll Pete Finebaum is at it again labeling Jim Harbaugh a mediocre coach. Most of what Feinbaum spews concerning Michigan football is to stir up our fanbase and draw attention to his work.  In the manner in which Michigan lost yesterday, I would expect a professional to display mature tact when assessing the game but that is too much to ask of Pete. However, I believe the troll Finebaum is no different from many college football fans today including many Michigan fans and because of that perspective is needed.


The delusionary nature of fans

College football fans including ours have unrealistic expectations of teams and programs. Everyone wants to win and with college football resources are a plenty. No coach is going to win every game not Saban, Swinney, Meyer, Franklin, Fisher, or Harbaugh. A delusional FSU fan decided to taunt Jimbo Fisher after yesterday’s loss to Louisville. Fisher has only won nearly 80% of the games he has coached; achieved four top ten rankings; and won one national championship. Jimbo Fisher is an excellent coach whose sole downfall is that his first string all world quarterback suffered a season ending injury.

We were delighted when Ohio State was crushed by Clemson 31-0 in the national playoff and equally delighted when the same happened to Mark Dantonio the previous year. Oh that same Clemson team beat Saban’s Alabama squad as well. No coach wins every game and even top coaches have teams which are blown out from time-to-time. We are still fans of amateur athletics! Students who have to go to class, make grades, and then find time to play football at the highest level.

Michigan is one of many top programs. We live in a different era in two ways. First, many college football programs have top level coaches and facilities. No longer do you have a handful of major college programs that carry the bulk of the limelight and big games for college football. TCU can field a team to beat USC; Troy can beat LSU; Boise State can beat Oklahoma; Michigan State can lose to Maryland; and I can go on and on. Michigan is not a part of the “big two and little eight division” anymore.

Second, we don’t share division titles any longer. Previously Michigan could lose two conference games and still have the opportunity to win a Big 10 championship. Michigan has 42 of them; how many are shared titles (WD probably knows)? Those days are over and Michigan not only has to win essentially every game in their division which is the toughest in college football but then play in a championship game. We will win a lot more of those titles and we will do so with Coach Harbaugh just not this year.


Harbaugh’s debt

I read a lot of griping about Harbaugh’s offense and how it must be simplified for the college game. No it does not. Jim Harbaugh owes we the fans nothing. He owes his athletes the opportunity to excel beyond college football. Many of those athletes come here to be coached into the next level and that includes running a pro-style offense. Coach Harbaugh will recruit a quarterback (he has two of them) that can run this offense and the offense will be efficient. Implementing an offense that diminishes a player’s opportunity to compete at the next level is not a sacrifice the Michigan program should be making. Michigan’s recruiting advantage for every position is “the opportunity” to have a greater chance of making an NFL roster.

On the same topic, Mike McCray must stay on the field.  McCray may be removed in specific situations but he is the only player with extensive experience to position the others correctly to be able to stop plays. For all of McCray’s deficiencies with his speed, the drop off for successfully defending plays would be far greater if he is off the field. He is staying put and it is in the best interest of the team. He earned his role as captain of the defense.

Same argument could be made for the quarterback position. Don’t expect to see Peters in any game where Michigan has a chance to win this season and don’t blame Harbaugh for putting the team above us. Fans can easily sit back and say “what is the difference between 8-4 and 10-2” as we put in none of the work and all of the Monday morning quarterbacking. Peters or McCaffery will come in at the right time, when needed, and it will be for their best interest from a coaching veteran who has a long track record of developing talent. The same man who gave Jake Rudock great coaching and a possibility at a long NFL career will do the same for Speight, O'Korn, Peters, and McCaffery.

Equally amazing to me is that we the fans post as if we are able to see a deficiency and have a magical solution that will make everything better. Of course this solution is what the coach is unable to see. Fire Drevno, Fire Pep, or Fire them all!!!! Ever ponder the consequences of such a knee jerk reaction? Brian Kelly was applauded by our fans for his coaching changes midseason but most of those same fans would be livid if our team with this talent went 4-8. Kelly’s staff is only in year one and there is no guarantees that they will have a continued high level of success. Jim Harbaugh is surrounded by coaches; all of his family members are coaches; and he is not oblivious to the issues of the team. Harbaugh is not going to fire anyone midseason nor should he.


Harbaugh’s Accomplishments

This is a personal pet peeve of mine. The Jim Harbaugh has “won nothing” statement as if the be all and end all is having a championship which Jim Harbaugh has those as well.

As a college player

Two Big Ten Championships (81,86)

A Fiesta Bowl Championship (85)

An unclaimed National Championship (85, Matthews, Sagarin)

As an NFL player

NFC Central Division Champion (Chicago Bears, 1990)

As a recruiter

2002 I-AA National Champion - Western Kentucky

As an assistant

2002 AFC Champion – Oakland Raiders – QB Coach

As a college coach

Two time pioneer league champion – University of San Diego (2005, 2006)

Orange Bowl Champion – Stanford Cardinals (2010)

As a professional coach

Two time NFC West Champion (2011, 2012)

NFC Champion (2012)


Even without word “champion” next to his name, it is clear to see that Harbaugh excels at his job because of the improved level of play and winning percentage everywhere he has coached. All those big coaching names above had similar records on their way to building elite programs. Michigan is better because of Jim Harbaugh. I hope he coaches Michigan for another 15 years. I hope people will learn to endure the losses and enjoy this man as he coaches Michigan to more championships in the future.


In short, Paul Finebaum is a douche, I would hope Michigan fans are not.


Rudock assessment

Jimbo Fisher mets delusional fan


The Mad Hatter

October 22nd, 2017 at 10:37 PM ^

You posted OP. Harbaugh doesn't owe the fans anything? I'm sure the team would love playing in an empty Michigan Stadium.

I agree with much of what you said, but Christ. Enough already.

Also, negged for mentioning Feinbaum.


October 22nd, 2017 at 10:22 PM ^

You're gonna get blasted for this thread. You have the right mindset, but don't try to convince the lunatics among the fanbase. Just keep it to yourself, and, when we are in the playoffs next winter, don't extend your hand to help them back on to the bandwagon.


October 22nd, 2017 at 10:25 PM ^

There are only so many times that I can make a fart noise after reading a thread. Lately, it's been every thread made. I miss the good ole' days.

Sextus Empiricus

October 23rd, 2017 at 1:00 AM ^

bewbs, halo scan, emo depth charts, it's happening, pictures of WD's room, Herm, NSFW, mgrowold's hot wife ... I'm mean stick figure, the harbaugh pyramid  of greatness, Heiko-Borges-Bubble Screens, the year of infinite pain, ಠ_ಠ, finger guns,the case for ron zook , IBD, The King of Belch, Elno, GERG, Bouje, ...


those days sucked man...

Toby Flenderson

October 22nd, 2017 at 10:27 PM ^

"Brian Kelly was applauded by our fans for his coaching changes midseason but most of those same fans would be livid if our team with this talent went 4-8."

that argument is irrelevant and hypothetical in nature. The point is that Brian Kelly saw clear issues with the team and mad drastic changes to fix clear problems. Now they are likely going for a 10-2 or 11-1 type of season. 

Jim Moorehead was brought in by James Franklin when the offense was clearly stagnant and needed a new identity was simple but effective.

Nick Saban saw his offense becoming uncreative at the end of 2013, and shoved Doug Nussmeier out the door to get Lane Kiffin.

After the 2012 Orange Bowl, Dabo Swinney brought in Brett Venables to fix an atrocious defense. 

 Don't take this personal, but stop being patronizing. The offense is at an anemic level. Michigan's Line play is awful and regardless of experience, should be performing better. People are not being irrational when they see the below-average play calling on offense. Calling PA on 4th and 11 with a shitty O-line is not good. 

Harbaugh needs to get an elite OC after this season. He can go out and get Don Brown, he should be able to hire a quality COLLEGE OC. 

Toby Flenderson

October 22nd, 2017 at 10:34 PM ^

No I'm CLEARLY the irrational one. Haven't you seen college football? Unless your offensive line has all 5th year seniors, your offensive is CLEARLY expected to perform similar to a mediocre MAC team. Who cares if he have TWO offensive line coaches who are regarded as gurus? You need a O-lIne of 5 returning starters and a 3 year starter at QB to have a offense that does not resemble the 2012 Jets Offense. 


Toby Flenderson

October 22nd, 2017 at 10:57 PM ^

It is obvious you did not read my post as well as comprehend my argument. 

In case you don't know, I commented several times last week that I expected a loss this weekend due to our inability to move the ball. However, I expected a decent fight from the team, and that did not occur.

My issues with the offense stem from the coaching staff on offense not putting the players in the best position to win. There are instances where it is 3rd and 6, all 3 of the 4 WR's are running 15+ yard routes. What is the point of that when our OL is below average and cannot hold blocks for so long? Why is Michigan calling a PA on 4th and 11? 

I know you want me to have the position that Michigan should field a championship team. I am sorry to say that was not my original point. I understand it is easy to destroy weak arguments that are a misconstrued version of my original premises, but don't call my position to replace certain staff members with those with college experience as "hot takes". This is a blog, we are here to voice opinions. You are acting holier than thou and acting as if us fans don't understand anything.

Present rebuttals to my arguments, instead of presenting strawmans. 


October 22nd, 2017 at 10:37 PM ^

I don't know that we are yet at a point where we can say that it is definitively coaches and not personnel. I can tell you definitively that Harbaugh is not the problem. I can't tell you whether our WRs suck because they are young or because we don't have a true coach at the position. I can't tell you whether our OL is inconsistent because Drevno is not what he's advertised as or because they have 3 first time starters, two sophomores, an interior lineman playing LT and a hole at RT.


However, if we are going to make a move, I'd like to see us drive hard to the rim on pulling both Mario Cristobal and Michael Johnson from Oregon. Cristobal is Co-OC (and OL coach). We could give him full OC duties, plus Associate Head Coach title, and OL or TE duties (whichever we didn't want Frey on, Cristobal coached OL at Bama and TEs at Miami). He is a dominant recruiter and his OLs are always great. Oregon is 13th in the nation this year in both total offense per game and rushing yards per game. Michael Johnson is a true Wide Receiver coach that we almost hired last January. He knows Harbaugh. I'm not sure if Jim would try to poach from his good friend Taggart, but we could give them the exposure that Oregon can't (and these two men clearly have bigger aspirations).


October 23rd, 2017 at 2:00 AM ^

Nobody thinks Harbaugh should be fired. That's ridiculous. But losing that badly is a concern. Nobody rational thought we would win at Penn State. Nobody rational thought we would be better than a 10-2 team with 9-3 to 8-4 more likely. But it's the way we look doing it! We should be improving as the season goes, and we are not. We should not be ranked in the 100s for total offense. We should not have a worse offensive line than MSU. There's no offensive identity and the playcalling is absolutely head scratching at times, like two runs and a pass to start the first two drives, then deciding to open it up already down 14. Then calling a play action on 4th and 11. And the mental gymnastics people do to justify it are hilarious and borderline nuts.


October 23rd, 2017 at 8:28 AM ^

Jim Moorehead was PSU's OC last year when Harbaugh/Drevno did the same plastering of PSU in AA. 

Harbaugh isn't about to accept losing to protect his OC. But I also don't think its as simple as replacing the OC. The Oline is going to need to be fixed and that's going to take time no matter who sits in the OC office. UM won 20 games in the last two years with a mediocre Oline and was within a few inches of the playoffs. The team has also been snakebitten by injuries since Harbaugh came in and w/o much seasoned depth the impact of those injuries is magnified.


October 22nd, 2017 at 10:34 PM ^

Didn’t read the post but fans like to have extremely high preseason expectations, making excuses and talking themselves into believing that their team is special and can truly compete every year. That is not this case. This team is not experienced or talented enough this year. They just aren’t.

Toby Flenderson

October 22nd, 2017 at 10:40 PM ^

Expecting a competent offensive line when you have a NFL OL coach in Tim Drevno and Greg Frey is not an extremely high expectation. Not calling a draw on 3rd and 5 against MSU is not an extremely high expectation. Expecting a RS freshman who has been on campus since spring of 2016 to beat out a QB who could not pass for 60 yards against Indiana is not an extremely high expectation.

I am happy to have Jim Harbaugh as our HC, but our problems on offense are quite alarming. Changes need to be made to stop the pedestrian nature of our offense, and that starts with his offense staff.