Where Did Jim Harbaugh Go??

Submitted by JWG Wolverine on October 8th, 2017 at 3:45 PM

Disclaimer: To be completely clear, I think anyone even thinking about Jim Harbaugh's job status is beyond insane. He is our coach, and no one could be better than him. This is just a post with a small concern that I think is emotionally hindering this team and need to be solved.

In December 2014, when rebuilding our program from an absolutely catostrophic scenario, our interim Athletic Director Jim Hackett did the impossible and made IT H4PPEN.

What followed that was the reignition of our program by the wildest and gif-yiest head coach in College Football who attacked each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind, and certainly showed that every week on the sideline.

I could go on forever, you should get the point by now.

I don't know if you guys have noticed, but this version of Jim Harbaugh that we've known and loved has become almost non-existant this year. Instead, we find him pacing the sidelines, with a very stable amount of enthusiasm, not even close to enthusiasm unknown to mankind.

Michigan players have always (and sincerely) loved playing under such a coach, and I think that his activity on the sideline keeps a spark under the team and is a factor in their performance, as well as their positive opinion on him.

So where has he gone? Where is this Jim Harbaugh that we love? Where is the QB that guaranteed a win over OSU? Where is the coach who has a more honest and meaningful press conference, unlike his Hoke-like bland coachspeak we saw out of him last night? Where is his attacking of each day with an enthusiasm unkown to mankind?

I thought that this loss would be a breaking point and a huge wake-up call for him, where he realizes (and says) that this game was unacceptable, that at Michigan, you can't have such a losing record to your rivals. Followed by improvement back to the old, active, enthusistic sideline Harbaugh. Amazingly, we didn't see this. Instead, we heard the infamous "We're on to Cincinnati" approach.

Now, I've realized that he has still kept up his enthusiasm on the recruiting trail, and from what we've seen in practice, and that this seems to be strictly a sideline problem.

I have two ideas what the cause of this may be:

Number One: Tim Drevno needs to be on the sideline. Having a coaches in the press box decreases the ability to manage your team on a personal level. Our offense has sucked, and Drevno has been in the press box, our defense has flourished, and Don Brown has not only been on the sideline, but has looked more Harbaugh-like than Harbaugh has.

Number Two: Fear that the refs may call less favorably due to his antics. After the "technical in basketball" incident at OSU last year, I think he may have a fear that if he reacts too much to bad calls, the refs will tend to have calls go Michigan's way less.

Obviously, we have other problems that should be on our mind, and this isn't a direct factor to winning and losing games, but I think it does have an affect on how these guys play on the field, and if they show energy, passion, hope and care or not. With Don Brown pumping up the defense, they have stepped up, faced adversity, and delivered. With Harbaugh pacing the sideline and talking to Drevno up in the box, our offense has showed less emotion, and as a result, less success.

Has anyone else noticed this? Any thoughts? What needs to be done?



October 8th, 2017 at 3:50 PM ^

And say perhaps he knows this team is super young. Perhaps he knew this season would be a struggle. Perhaps he is trying to be as positive as possible for these guys? Idk? That’s my guess. I get what you’re saying, and I miss that fire he had, and like you I have noticed it not there for whatever reason. Regardless, he is paid a ton of money to turn things around and he better start figuring things out offensively... or there are gonna be some very angry people. Wasting another championship defense because our offense can’t score 14 points. Embarrassing.


October 8th, 2017 at 4:45 PM ^

MSU is young, and their coach was on the hot seat coming into the year off a 3-9 season. We have to stop with the failed previous regime stuff as an excuse. The previous regime setup this staff with national title level talent last year that they benefitted from. They have to coach better plain and simple. Hoke and Rodriguez had no effect on the playcalling yesterday.


October 8th, 2017 at 6:30 PM ^

importance of a good offensive line and how hard it is to put one together.

Coach Harbaugh had basically no time to recruit 2015.

Here's a look at how Hoke recruited on the O-line:

2011: Chris Bryant (med retirement), Jack Miller (retired with 1 year left), Tony Posada (left team)

2012: Kyle Kalis (undrafted), Erik Magnuson (undrafted), Ben Braden (undrafted), Blake Bars (left team)

2013: Patrick Kugler (starter), Kyle Bosch (left team), Logan Tulley-Tillman (kicked off team), Dan Samuelson (left team), David Dawson (left team), Chris Fox (medical retirement)

2014: Mason Cole (starter), Juwann Bushell-Beatty (starter?).


That's a disaster of epic proportions and it takes time to recruit/develop O-lineman (generally 2-3 years). Not saying current coaches bear no responsibility, but Hoke, Funk & Borgers are more responsible for the current offensive quagmire than most people realize. Magnus is obviously more qualified to talk about this but I imagine he would have similar thoughts.

Also, Dantonio is in his 11th year, he had 1 really bad year, that's not the same as trying to recover from Rodriguez (spread offense, horrible defense) & Hoke (terrible offense, good defense).


October 8th, 2017 at 6:54 PM ^

Except Kalis, Magnusson, and Braden played together for 5 years if you include their red shirt year.  And they are all on NFL practice squads.

Throw in Cole and the four of them had played together for 3 years and still looked lost last season.  


Dantonio just recovered from the Bobby Williams and John L Smith disasters and by year 4 began a six year run of greatness.  Hopefully Harbaugh can replicate, but it looks dim right now, but to be fair Dantonio went 6-7 in year 3 so I have patience.


October 8th, 2017 at 7:00 PM ^

James Franklin came into a situation where he didn’t even have scholarship guys on his OL due to the sanctions...yet he responded by winning the conference and has looked pretty good this year as well, with a relatively young team. We can sit here and think of every excuse in the book, or the coaches can do something about it. No squad out there has a perfect roster(Maybe Bama), yet teams still go out there and win. We can’t always pin all of our faults on the previous regime. It is year 3, either coach up the guys you got or recruit players to play ahead of them.


October 9th, 2017 at 9:08 AM ^

It all comes back to two things: Skilled offensive units/players and luck. 

Michigan has no playmakers (Elliott, Barkley, Samuel, Godwin, Dobbins). Perhaps guys like DPJ, Black and Martin become them, but its difficult for young receivers, so its a waiting game. Denard was the last guy who consistently could create something out of nothing. The offensive line is consistently mediocre to bad and has been since 2011, so our bad to decent QB/RB combos are never bailed out in big games. Compare this to the OSU offensive lines of 2014/15 (especially 14' when they were young). And our quarterbacks are...well. Yeah. 

And Michigan has also been unlucky. Right now, Michigan is 24-7 under Harbaugh. They are 3-6 in one score games. In fairness, they probably should have lost the Indiana game (Minnesota also comes to mind as one in which Michigan was lucky, but in reality, Minnesota was lucky to even be in the game), but won MSU 2015, Iowa 2016, Ohio State 2016 and MSU 2017 (Florida State 2017 is tough to judge because of the Peppers injury). In those games, pretty much every break went against Michigan and they were still within a score of winning it. At a certain point, you have to think that will even out. 


October 8th, 2017 at 7:05 PM ^

taking just 3 in the 2016 class.

Yes, 2013-2015 weren't great classes.  All the more reason to stack up as soon as possible. Wtf was this staff thinking taking only three in 2016?  Big fail.

As you said, it is hard to put together a good O line.  Taking so few in 2016 is going to set us up for another struggle next year, and probably still somewhat in 2019.

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October 8th, 2017 at 6:55 PM ^

While famous Jim Harbaugh was away throwing Sattlelight Camps, Coach Dantonio had a 'Michigan Week." While I would still  question this continued smug approach, in this case it worked. Sparty won their S.B. again. With everything that has gone up there he has stayed focused and coached his team with the players that were still there, as "un-talented," as they may be. They came out and out-coached this famous staff of ours, and punched us right in the mouth.......AGAIN.

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October 8th, 2017 at 7:21 PM ^

Dabo has always known what he wanted to run on offense,  stayed the course with that philosiphy, and built a roster to exicute it.


Jim Harbaugh has tried to switch from building a roster with the first two classes to run power, and play action, to all the sudden scrapping that and trying to spread them out, and run some zone concepts. He thinks it will work because he hires some new coaches, and gets some new reciever's. You cant do that to a young stable of blockers, or even the upperclassmen at FB, and TE. 


They cannot block for that stuff, and yet he has continued to try and force it.  It has been plain as day for the first quarter of the season to me, and Booger McFarland called him out for it before the game last night. RUN THE BALL JIM. Run it out of formations that will give it the best chance to succeed. Help your defense out. Stop trying to build an offense form the outside in, and putting those carts before those horses. Stop being so wishy washy. Stop playing favorites on the field, and in the media. Stop cheating your seniors, and your defensive players.

Stop trying so hard to be a genius. Play defense, and run the ball untill it works, and then maybe the other stuff will open up, i.e. Michigan Football, and coaching BE 101.



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October 8th, 2017 at 8:28 PM ^

^^^^^^^Brady Hoke, to Coach Jim Harbaugh when he was at Stanford, and The 49's, running exotic smash mouth, and play action. That is what we need, and he he is fully capable of it.

Like the O.P. said, Jim Harbaugh cannot be found right now, and calls for his job as un-realistic as they may be AT THIS POINT, have started. It has started all over the place. I wanted him here more than anything, and he is FAILING.


October 8th, 2017 at 5:10 PM ^

Watching Metellus kneel and cry at the end of the game made me furious at this pathetic offensive coaching staff. The kid along with the rest of the defense played their hearts out and still lost beause of sheer stupidity and incompetence from the offense. 


The whole offensive side of the ball should have their helmet stickers pulled off and be forced to apologize to the defense. 

Drevno needs to kiss Don Brown's pinky. 

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October 8th, 2017 at 6:17 PM ^

That was tough for me as well. Looked like Rashan may have been in tears also.

Those kids on defense did everything they could to win this game, and the coaches blew it. This includes Don Brown who had his first major fail since he has been here. To think that you can run out that 3/3/5, with no true NT in there is ridiculous, not in this game...EVER. remind you of anything??? Maybe he does not understand this rivalry yet, or what it takes to win in The Big Ten, but Coach Harbaugh, and Coach Matty certainly do. When finally they are forced to put Mone, and to lesser extant Solomon in, you force them into a double team choice. You can't double Hurst, Mone, and Gary at the same time. Sparty chose Mone, and Hurst, and then Gary was singled up, and started horse shoeing blockers, and getting constant pressure. Only problem was, by that time it was too late.

The Coaches blew this game in the first half with poor coaching, and game planning . The past regime stuff is no longer a viable excuse. The young team on offense is no longer an excuse. I see an over confident staff, that has learned nothing from those past regimes, and is creating all kinds of distractions, and playing celebrity. Where is Jim Harbaugh the coach? We are seeing plenty of the Star/Mogul Jim Harbaugh. That guy has been away cracking Buckeye Nuts on Coach Schembechler's grave, doing Milk commercials, throwing "Signing of the Stars" parties, making rap videos, and visiting The Vatican, and White House. Problem with that is he, nor this team have won anything yet. Remind you of anything??? DISTRACTIONS... All style before substance, which = a soft as butter offense. This is on Jim, and Jim alone, and John O'Korn should not feel he has to fall on a sword that is not his to fall on.

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October 8th, 2017 at 8:51 PM ^

The offense can't score, esp in the Red Zone, can't stay on schedule consistantly, can't even create enough opportunities for our kicker with the big leg. Can't help win the field position battle with any regularity either.

Like I said, defensive players did a great job. Held them to 14pts. Problem is, we needed 17 to win the game. Your not setting your offense up for success throwing all over in a second half in the rain and wind, which both staffs knew was coming. That approach already failed in the first half with good weather.


October 8th, 2017 at 7:29 PM ^

Are you fucking stupid? All the Defense did was hold MSU to one real drive all game and only two first downs in the 2nd half even though the offense gave MSU five extra possessions, many in plus territory. How is Don Brown to blame for anything?

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October 8th, 2017 at 9:28 PM ^

Michigan State scored all 14 of their points in the first half under the conditions that our defensive staff provided for them. That front could not disrupt their backfield, or create much pressure on the QB. MSU expected it, and exploited it. They were one step ahead of our staff throughout the game. They out-coached us.


October 8th, 2017 at 8:53 PM ^

If our defense in Saturday's game consists of a "major fail", how would you describe our offense?

The D gave up 14 early before slamming the lock shut, giving the offense opportunity after opportunity that they could not/did not capitalize on.

I mean, sure, I wish we'd shut them out too. But the defense is f'ing amazing and doesn't constitute anything close to a major failure IMHO.

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October 8th, 2017 at 10:14 PM ^

The rest of the thread. I'm calling out the offensive game plan, coaching, and to a lesser extent, Don Brown for running that kind of a front in this game.

It was a major fail by Coach Brown to try a 3/3/5 without a true NT in the first half of this game when MSU scored all 14 of their points. Nowhere have I blamed any of the kids. It's not on them, they were not put in a position to win the game by their coaches.

"You want it to be one way, but it's the other way."


October 8th, 2017 at 9:07 PM ^

Bama played A&M and have up more points and yards than we did. Clemson played Wake and have up the same amount of points and more yards than we did. Come on, there is nothing to complain about with this defense, are you seriously expecting us to shut out every team we play and not allow a single first down?


October 8th, 2017 at 10:17 PM ^

You're absolutely right that the loss wasn't on the defense.  They held up their end of the bargain even though they were put in some difficult postions, repeatedly.

Nevertheless, I do think it's OK to point out that running a 3-3-5 against MSU wasn't one of coach Brown's better ideas.  I was wondering as well going into the game whether they would switch to a 4-3 front finally.  Seeing them get no pressure on Lewerke in the first half had me wondering what Brown was thinking.

In the end, despite that, Brown's 3-3-5 against MSU still came out a hell of a lot better than the disaster Drevno/Hamilton put out there. 


October 8th, 2017 at 7:21 PM ^

What a lame ass post. This is a TEAM. It's not an offense and a defense. It's a team. What do you want out of the coaches? First drive 16 plays. Second drive moving well until fumble. Came out of the half looking good, but still playing from behind, bad weather, easily spooked 2nd string QB, worst RT in football, and so on. Should they have just kept running the ball into 8 man fronts? Does anyone have a #hottake that has a solution other than a complaint? No wonder we're considered the whiniest fanbase in college football.


October 8th, 2017 at 5:39 PM ^

You're right. We'll just lose 7-0 b/c our defense will hold em all game as our offense forgets to show up as per usual. 

Or we'll have a late game moment to win it all and it will end on a QB fumble or w/e chokejob you can come up with that has been Harbaugh's Achilles heel here. 


October 8th, 2017 at 5:46 PM ^

If PSU is a mediocre offense are we a shitty offense?


How is that possible since we have the Harbaugh "Brain Trust" and all our offensive coaches would be coordinators in the NFL if they didn't want the privilege, nay the honor of working for Harbaugh?


October 9th, 2017 at 7:43 AM ^

So? If they are young, it means those players were not on any f'in regime. Meyer has freshmen and sophomores who play well on offense. We have offensive freshman who come in and are okay, but what is with the coaching? In short, our youngins are playing under the Harbaugh regime, so any past teams don't matter. They only know this coachin staff and two 10 win seasons.

We should not be suffering with our talent recruited. How is Norton our best playmaker in three years of recruiting offense?