Harbaugh Instruction Manual- Offense v Defense

Submitted by Rdog on October 9th, 2017 at 5:16 PM

Written and posted back in 2015, this quote is very relevant:

▪ Your Harbaugh has been designed for offense and will require many high-end parts to run said offense. Yet his defense will be better than his offense. This paradox has not been explained.

I think this is very true which is why we were able to create a dominant defense right away but the offense is taking longer.

Here is the whole article for anyone who missed it the first time:




October 10th, 2017 at 6:21 AM ^

totally. i think about this article just about every time there is a press conference write-up.

appreciate the repost. glad to give credit to this Matt Burrows character because in my mind it was so clever I decided it must have been Kawakami.


October 9th, 2017 at 8:34 PM ^

If 2014 is the very distant past to you, you must have a lifespan of about 5 years. Which makes sense given your avatar is Curious George, who died at the age of 5 years and three months when he attempted to bitch-slap Bryan Mone during a Polynesian coming-of-age ritual.

Everyone Murders

October 9th, 2017 at 6:09 PM ^

FFS, man.  Michigan was ranked No. 7 just last week, has had consecutive 10 win seasons for the first time in years, and had their No.1 QB knocked out by a late hit just two weeks ago.  And lost double digit players to the NFL (most of which would not have been drafted so high, and some not at all, but for this coaching staff).  And with a shit-ton of young players who are still finding their way.

We also have the best possible head coach Michigan could have, and a terrific staff underneath him.  Are there problems and growing pains?  Of course.

But man this board has had a lot of whining given where the program is overall. 


October 9th, 2017 at 6:27 PM ^

Long version: some people can't differentiate between the results and the process. You'll recognize these people as the "we're 3-0, so everything is fine" crowd. You can't blame them for high expectations, but as soon as their expectations are met, they are pushed higher. 10 win season? Should have been 11, etc.

Short version: some people are knee-jerk fools who can't tell the difference between a setback and a fundamental flaw.


October 9th, 2017 at 6:41 PM ^

Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting fire Harbaugh, if anything the opposite and pointing out how stupid York was. At least in SF he was winning.

The facts are clear, if you care to admit it or not, Michigan is in year 3 of Harbaugh I would say each year has slightly regressed as far as an overall program. And while I thought 2018 was going to be a rough year, and 2019 was going to be "the year" I highly doubt that. The OL will still be awful. The QB play will be "interesting" and I have no faith in RB play. Add all of those things up and mix in that the schedule is in the "tough year" 2018 is not "the year" either.

So that's my point. York was a dumbass he had a winning team, at the highest level. Wolverines are not that. Not this year, probably not the next either.

While I was originally attacking York, you made me now call out Harbaugh.


October 9th, 2017 at 9:19 PM ^

losing at home to a Spartan team that went 3-9 last year, at home no less, is what? You lose your starting QB and cant even put a suitable replacement in there? And I dont wanna hear about being young, MSU is just as young or younger. UM constantly out recruits them and cant beat them. Both games UM lost to MSU in the Harbaugh era we were out coached. With all the recruits we get we have no down field passing game. The best passing play we can call is an out of bounds fade pass. Why would any team worry about pressing our wide outs when we dont have a passing game, hell just blitz all day like MSU did and then blame it on a shitty offensive line, that’ll work. And if McCaffrey or Peters isnt better than O’Korn, we’re in deep shit. We’re paying coaches millions of dollars to put that kind of offensive play calling on the field? When Dave Warner can dial up plays that make UM’s defense look stupid for about 1/4 of the salary Drevno makes, UM is in trouble. Tell me your definition of “ regression “ again Snarling, please.


October 9th, 2017 at 7:48 PM ^

Were you in a coma for the OSU game that year? I would say last year's offense improved a little compared to Harbaugh's first year. That's taking into account an injured Speight. I'm pretty sure our defense has gotten faster and better each year.

The offense needs fixed, but you can not argue the defense and special teams have regressed.

snarling wolverine

October 9th, 2017 at 7:47 PM ^

Nine games into last season, the question was asked: Is Wilton Speight elite?

In the 10th game (Iowa) he got hurt.  

So no, your claim that he got worse as the season went on is not airtight, unless you're specifically talking about his play after the shoulder injury, which is kind of pointless (how many guys play better when they're gimpy?).


October 9th, 2017 at 11:34 PM ^

How did they regress each year? Year 2 was certainly better than year 1.

Then we lost almost every starter to graduation and the Draft. Michigan isn’t going to straight up compete every year when they lose everyone. We aren’t Alabama. Even Ohio State looks like they’re going to lose at least one other game. Penn State next year will be the same way after losing Barkley and McSorley, where Michigan brings everyone back except Hurst, Cole and Kugler(Speight May also be done with that back injury).

Ruiz when he knows all the calls will be an upgrade over Kugler. Solomon will replace Hurst just fine and eventually be better than him. Fillings or Steuber will be an upgrade over Ulizio/JBB. Only serious downgrade may be Cole, IF Newsome isn’t ready to play.

Other than that, I believe Peters will be better than Wilton or JOK, and Crawford/Black/DPJ/Perry/Nico will all be better, with Oliver Martin waiting in the wings to contribute.

This year may be down, which honestly, everyone expected until they dominated Florida again, but really, FLORIDA ISNT THAT GOOD.


October 10th, 2017 at 9:40 AM ^

Development has been lacking for sure. But look at what was left here on offense when Harbaugh got here.. Brian went over it in the last podcast. Long story short, basically nothing was in the offensive cupboard especially on OL... and the timing of his hire, because of the NFL season, resulted in the 2015 class was basically just taking fliers on kids and the ones that Hoke left behind.

One of the bigger problems I see is people are trying to project the defense's success to the offense. They lost almost everyone and reloaded and are maybe even better. But look at the OL recruiting under Hoke and then Harbaugh in 2015/16.. no one decent was left and they botched the Swenson kid and didn't replace him and then the Devery Hamilton flip happened and they didn't replace him either.

OL typically need a couple years to learn and develop so while some kids can come in and be good, most are usually not. Yes, some blame absolutely falls to the staff but to expect to hit on every single OL recruit and expect them to all hit immediately is crazy.

Harbaugh exceeded most expectations by having back to back 10-win seasons to start and now we're acting like we've been rolling for a decade, it's been two and a half seasons. I hate to bring it up but Urban Meyer can do what he's done at OSU because they were in a FAR better position prior to his arrival than we were prior to JH's. 

So yeah, it sucks that we lost on a botched punt to Sparty in '15 and we turned it over 5 times and barely lost to them again this year. And it sucks that we lost by an INCH to OSU in Columbus last year.. but the sky is not falling. Offensive development hasn't been what we had hoped but I see no reason to freak out.

Harbaugh is a hyper competitive person (to put it lightly) and I'm sure he hates losing more than we hate watching them lose. But the reality is that Rome was not built in a day. At least we have a defense that can keep us in any game against any team, even when the offense coughs it up FIVE times. 

I'm fully confident Harbaugh is heading in the right direction and I'm also confident he WILL have Michigan winning Big Ten titles and contending for National Championships in the near future. 

The Fan in Fargo

October 9th, 2017 at 9:59 PM ^

I dont look at it as whining but your type in this world will call it what they will as always. Same clowns different messenger and nothing new under the fucking sun. I myself happen to look at it as us individuals throwing out our ideas and areas that we see problematic into the present so maybe a message is relayed and understood. Whatever lines it takes to reach it's target or targets. Whether right or wrong and dumb as it may seem to you know it alls, it is your thinking that leads to no change. You make all good points but don't call it whining. If people never spoke up about pain and pathetic things, nothing or no improvement would ever get done. Chew on that for awhile fuzz head. Please don't murder me either you fricking wack job.


October 9th, 2017 at 10:08 PM ^

Peters was supposed to be a revelation and isn't good enough to sniff replacing JOK yet?

Where are the high end OL parts?

At least there is evident hope for the future at WR and TE

But it is not at all encouraging that we are trying to run NFL routes and make NFL throws with the current cast, such as it is.

It's almost like we are just trying to follow the process,then throw up our hands when we lose as if it couldn't have been helped.

We have a game plan on defense. Wish I could say the same for the offense.


October 10th, 2017 at 9:44 AM ^

By all accounts Brandon Peters is the most PHYSICALLY talented QB on the roster.. However, if you don't know the playbook you're not as good as a less physically talented QB who DOES know the playbook.. I take 'command of the offense' to mean knowledge of the playbook. I may be wrong but whatever. Regardless, Peters is a redshirt freshman still it's not time to panic because a kid in his second year hasn't passed a 5th year senior who had over a season of starts under his belt. 


October 9th, 2017 at 5:27 PM ^

1. Add one QB with Howitzer arm, decent wheels and high football IQ

2. Add one battering ram fullback. Better yet, have two

3. Add three to four TEs 6'4" plus 260 lbs to 290 lbs.

4. Add gargantuan offensive line, avg 317lbs across the board.

And you're done.

Forget fast or elusive tailbacks. Forget your future NFL level wideouts and flankers.

It's a fucking beef stew.

Not a goddamned French souffle.



October 10th, 2017 at 9:48 AM ^

Peters or McCaffery may fill #1 next year. And we DO have those types of OL now in Bredeson, Onwenu, Filiaga and Ruiz. But OL take time to develop. AND we may even get Grant Newsome back next year, so it's very possible that 2018 is the year the offense looks like we expected.. but even if not it's not like it will never happen. Unfortunately this hasn't been a complete 180 on offense in two and a half years. 

Not saying you are saying this, but too many people I know are looking to Columbus to see what Urbs did in his first three years. Problem with that is the situation he walked into was FAR better than what Harbaugh did..

So no, we won't win a Big Ten title in year 3, and maybe not even in year 4 but it will happen and when this team is fully Stanford-ized we'll all forget about any "slow" start to Harbaugh's career. As it is, back to back 10-win seasons and a chance to do it for a third straight year will have to suffice for now. 


October 9th, 2017 at 5:37 PM ^

I disagree, it is not inexplicable that the defense is better than the offense. It is pretty obvious that the offense might never be as good as the defense because of Don Brown.


October 9th, 2017 at 6:28 PM ^

That was probably more due to the weather. Hell they were driving with a chance to make it 21-3 before the half. Thank god their receiver dropped a easy catch. Woulda put them at the 18 yard line 1st and 10.


Lets not sugar coat that we were the inferior team to a team that went 3-9. Its time Wolverine fans accept we are not what we are billed as to why the rest of the country laughs at us.