Jump to content

Motor City Sonics

What if Harbaugh bombs at Michigan?

Recommended Posts

Seriously, it's a fair question.

Do I think he will? No, I think he will be very good. But it might not take hold in this first or second year, especially considering he does not have a really good experienced QB, which I think is key to Michigan improving.

But let's just "What if" here.

The expectations of Jim Harbaugh are a bit silly. I think of the term "curb your enthusiasm" a bit here.

I don't know what to think of the team he was left with. We always heard about Hoke's great recruiting, but it didn't seem to pan out that way. Was the level of talent he recruited overestimated (I think that happens an awful lot) or was it undercoached or was it a combination of both?

Jim Harbaugh steps into a team with a lot of playing experience despite still being young. I don't think you could argue that the cupboard is bare (just the QB shelf maybe). Some thought his limited last-minute recruiting class this year was poor. I don't know about that. I don't know if he really wanted the same guys that the school had already recruited or if he's looking for "his guys" and if he didn't have time to find them now, he wasn't going to lose his mind over it.

But what if Harbaugh steps into this first year, coaches his arse off and the results do not come? What if that throws off his recruiting for next year? What if Michigan stumbles out of the gate at Utah and struggles and gets beaten badly at home by MSU and OSU? How quickly will the fan base freak out ?

I am only saying this because I think the expectations of a lot of Michigan fans (especially the vocal ones) are completely unrealistic. I am a Michigan fan, and I am being more pragmatic about the whole thing. He didn't have this kind of expectation stepping into Stanford or to a San Francisco team that was floundering for several years (and will again without him). I am 50 years old. The way I hear some people talk you would think Michigan has won multiple National Championships before Rich Rod came along and peed on Bo's grave. Until recently Michigan has always been really good, but not as good as the stories I've been told. I will say this, however...........I think Jim Hackett is a pragmatic guy and I think it is exactly what the school needed....someone to tap the brakes a bit.

My idea of being very good is not the same as some Michigan fans. Contend every year......at least beat your rivals at home. But for some it's national playoffs or failure. What if it's a series of 9-3 seasons with major bowl appearances? Are the faithful going to call for his head then? This is "the guy" right? If it doesn't work for him, how broken is this thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I couldn't imagine a better hire for Michigan. I think he'll be the Dave Dombrowski/Bo Schembechler long-time legacy success bringer. He has already changed many things culturally that were impeding progress. Things that even the Lloyd Carr regime wasn't doing well. He'll be able to fight through the Rosenberg sharpshooting type stuff that the local media heroes will try to unleash. He will restore the state's internal pipelines of Michigan kids.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Seriously, it's a fair question.

Do I think he will? No, I think he will be very good. But it might not take hold in this first or second year, especially considering he does not have a really good experienced QB, which I think is key to Michigan improving.

But let's just "What if" here.

The expectations of Jim Harbaugh are a bit silly. I think of the term "curb your enthusiasm" a bit here.

I don't know what to think of the team he was left with. We always heard about Hoke's great recruiting, but it didn't seem to pan out that way. Was the level of talent he recruited overestimated (I think that happens an awful lot) or was it undercoached or was it a combination of both?

Jim Harbaugh steps into a team with a lot of playing experience despite still being young. I don't think you could argue that the cupboard is bare (just the QB shelf maybe). Some thought his limited last-minute recruiting class this year was poor. I don't know about that. I don't know if he really wanted the same guys that the school had already recruited or if he's looking for "his guys" and if he didn't have time to find them now, he wasn't going to lose his mind over it.

But what if Harbaugh steps into this first year, coaches his arse off and the results do not come? What if that throws off his recruiting for next year? What if Michigan stumbles out of the gate at Utah and struggles and gets beaten badly at home by MSU and OSU? How quickly will the fan base freak out ?

I am only saying this because I think the expectations of a lot of Michigan fans (especially the vocal ones) are completely unrealistic. I am a Michigan fan, and I am being more pragmatic about the whole thing. He didn't have this kind of expectation stepping into Stanford or to a San Francisco team that was floundering for several years (and will again without him). I am 50 years old. The way I hear some people talk you would think Michigan has won multiple National Championships before Rich Rod came along and peed on Bo's grave. Until recently Michigan has always been really good, but not as good as the stories I've been told. I will say this, however...........I think Jim Hackett is a pragmatic guy and I think it is exactly what the school needed....someone to tap the brakes a bit.

My idea of being very good is not the same as some Michigan fans. Contend every year......at least beat your rivals at home. But for some it's national playoffs or failure. What if it's a series of 9-3 seasons with major bowl appearances? Are the faithful going to call for his head then? This is "the guy" right? If it doesn't work for him, how broken is this thing?

Just a few thoughts:

--Expectations of Harbaugh are exactly where they should be. He took a dead-in-the-water Stanford program and made them formidable. Did you know that in order to be recruited by Stanford you have to be accepted into the school first? Given, it is easier for athletes to get in but that just means that kids with 3.5's will get in.

--And on the note of higher GPA, that is what Harbaugh is trying to do at Michigan. He was critical of the school's lack of stress on education for its football players in the past and now he is doing something about it. Check out the kids he flipped on signing day, all high GPA overachievers. One kid wants to be a doctor and got into Ivy League schools, the other a mechanical engineer, and so on. I think Stefan Humphries was the only Michigan football player ever to get an engineering degree while playing in my lifetime, and of course he went on to become a doctor. These are the kinds of kids Harbaugh is looking for.

--Harbaugh is also in the process of gutting his corner of the athletic department--he's cleaned house and he's putting parts of his choice in, parts from Stanford and other places that aren't dysfunctional. For example, the S&C guy is a Naval Academy grad. Another example, Michigan is taking a CB transfer--Wayne Lyons, who graduated from Stanford and will go to grad school-- and his mom is coming with him to oversee player development. She helped run 7-on-7 in Ft. Lauderdale, which is filled with at-risk kids. Lyons himself, his high school transcript reads like that of a future Rhodes Scholar--class valedictorian, 4.96 GPA, 43 college credits upon high school graduation, class president, etc . . . This kid could have entered the draft with his Stanford degree in Architectural Design , could have gone to Wharton or wherever for business school, but instead came to Michigan to play for the man who recruited him to come to Stanford. Again, this is the type of kid JH is appealing to.

--The level of talent was both overestimated and underdeveloped, which still means there is plenty in AA for Harbaugh to work with. In Green and Isaac, JH has two of the top 4 RB of the 2013 class. Whatever was wrong with Green before he got hurt this year, he'll either get better or get out of the way because Isaac has the best tools of anyone Michigan has had at running back since Justin Fargas. He claimed USC wasn't serious enough about their academics, even if he only had a 3.1 GPA in HS. Johnson probably won't be back until 2016 with his ACL, and who knows if Smith will stick around--but I hope he does, tough runner. Even if he doesn't, Higdon--the kid who could have went IVY--will be in the fold and hungry to prove Weber-lovers wrong.

--The QB shelf is far from bare, it is just under-seasoned. Morris, Speight, Malzone and Gentry will all get good looks. It is possible one of Morris and Speight could transfer out and that would be bad for competition. The past coaching staff was super high on Speight, and unlike other players, his redshirt was carefully preserved in spite of dire positional need. Who knows with Morris? JH could turn the kid around, but to be sure he was overrated as a junior in hs with that 5* rating. I've seen kids here in FL who are 3* and just as good/toolsy, and one of them is O'Korn. O'Korn won't be in the fold until 2016, but he is a good pocket passer (but prolly doesn't throw as hard as Morris) who can run a little. Malzone is on campus and learning, bright kid with talent. Gentry will be late to the party, but another high GPA kid--6'7" and can run. Somewhere in there JH will find a QB who will want it bad enough, or he'll find a senior transfer who does next season.

--Harbaugh could very well lose to Utah in the opener, and there would be no shame in that. Whittingham runs a very good program. But take into account that RR and Hoke narrowly lost to Utah with each's program at their lowest points. The days of Michigan looking bad against MSU and OSU will come to an end soon enough, even if it isn't this year. Harbaugh is a big boy and he can handle himself on the recruiting trail just fine, as he showed getting several talented flips and transfers in just a few weeks' time. Just think of what he an accomplish in 12 months? Two years? Four?

--You are dead-on about Michigan fans romanticizing the past and specifically Bo's era. I liked Bo as much as the next M fan, but we didn't win a NC until Carr--who benefitted from Mo modernizing the offense. There is no shame in going 9-3 every year and beating your rivals, no doubt. But right now, if Michigan beats its rivals that means OSU and MSU--who have been top 10 programs for a few years. If we beat them, it may very well mean that we did better than 9-3--it means we likely are in the BCS playoffs. And to me, that has to be the goal--right?

--And if Hackett/Harbaugh can't "make it work", I just don't know who can. He is a huge underdog to beat Urban anytime before 2018, IMO, and Dantonio before 2017. Franklin just put together a monster recruiting class at PSU. To hire Harbaugh and only be the 4th-best team in the B1G would be exactly what ESPN wants, just hope they don't get it. Dantonio said recently that unlike Michigan, he wasn't selling recruits hopes and dreams--ok, that's fair. He also wasn't selling the idealism of the University of Michigan to high school class presidents and kids who got into Dartmouth on their academics. Harbaugh is getting kids that can see the big picture and who are willing to work for it. That big picture may be grad school at University of Chicago or Harvard Law. It may be University of Michigan Med School or Oxford after they graduate. For others, all on top of the academics, it could be the NFL dream. For all, it needs to be the B1G title and an NC which will be the byproduct of hard work by talented young men instructed by one of the most energetic football personas of my lifetime.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is no way Harbaugh can bomb. He's the perfect person for the job.

I agree, if he bombs than he either just mailed it in or the rest of the B1G programs hired Nick Saban clones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way.....is there a posting "primer" for etiquette on this board.

Does anyone admit to actually having read that long post? Once I saw the length....I didn't even start.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
By the way.....is there a posting "primer" for etiquette on this board.

Does anyone admit to actually having read that long post? Once I saw the length....I didn't even start.

A primer would be helpful.

I generally let someone else respond to MCS's #hottakes at first to save time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read the long post. tl'dr: Harbaugh is going to do this right. He's going to do it right in the classroom and right on the football field with the right kids for Michigan. That's a total have your cake and eat it too, but he did it with Stanford and is the dream fit for Michigan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
He's won every place he's coached...why would Michigan be different?

You could probably say the same thing about Rich Rod.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You could probably say the same thing about Rich Rod.

Rodriguez was swallowed alive by big program tradition and politics. Harbaugh is not at risk when it comes to those things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rodriguez was swallowed alive by big program tradition and politics. Harbaugh is not at risk when it comes to those things.

Exactly. No matter what happens, Harbaugh owns the job. Nobody will go behind his back to do anything. Everybody will be on board, it's the only way for UM to get back on track.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rodriguez was swallowed alive by big program tradition and politics. Harbaugh is not at risk when it comes to those things.

This may be true, but I think the off field stuff has a limit to how much it actually affects winning and losing. Separating all the off field stuff, I think RR didn't bring in very good players, esp on D, then Hoke upped the recruiting but didn't coach very well. They've gotten one half the package twice now. You need to recruit and coach to win - If JH does both, he'll win with or without the alums. In fact, it will be curious to see how the M community reacts if he does start to win but does rub people the wrong way. :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This may be true, but I think the off field stuff has a limit to how much it actually affects winning and losing. Separating all the off field stuff, I think RR didn't bring in very good players, esp on D, then Hoke upped the recruiting but didn't coach very well. They've gotten one half the package twice now. You need to recruit and coach to win - If JH does both, he'll win with or without the alums. In fact, it will be curious to see how the M community reacts if he does start to win but does rub people the wrong way. :laugh:

Rich Rod always seemed like the opposite of "Professor" Harold Hill. He may have said the right things but Michigan people apparently always saw him as a scheming outsider. I always did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This may be true, but I think the off field stuff has a limit to how much it actually affects winning and losing. Separating all the off field stuff, I think RR didn't bring in very good players, esp on D, then Hoke upped the recruiting but didn't coach very well. They've gotten one half the package twice now. You need to recruit and coach to win - If JH does both, he'll win with or without the alums. In fact, it will be curious to see how the M community reacts if he does start to win but does rub people the wrong way. :laugh:

Michigan's alum are a resource that Rodriguez managed to turn against him. He could have won without them but that's sort of like taking French fries off the McDonald's menu. He would have been better off with them paddling with him and this says nothing about the toll it took on his focus and confidence.

I don't think Rodriguez was half the package in Ann Arbor. He really hurt the program. Hoke paid a lot of the rebuilding dues. He won't get the credit he deserves...people rarely compliment the cement contractor when gushing over a new house.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Michigan's alum are a resource that Rodriguez managed to turn against him. He could have won without them but that's sort of like taking French fries off the McDonald's menu. He would have been better off with them paddling with him and this says nothing about the toll it took on his focus and confidence.

I don't think Rodriguez was half the package in Ann Arbor. He really hurt the program. Hoke paid a lot of the rebuilding dues. He won't get the credit he deserves...people rarely compliment the cement contractor when gushing over a new house.

That is only an apt analogy, insofar as Brady Hoke is as good a football coach as the average cement contractor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That is only an apt analogy, insofar as Brady Hoke is as good a football coach as the average cement contractor.

I agree.

Hoke didn't get credit because he was hired to coach the team and he didn't appear to coach the team particularly well. The fact he helped set up his replacement well is appreciated, but I wouldn't equate his overall body of work to a foundation layer who efficiently (albeit remarkably) laid a foundation.

I would say a better analogy is like that friend or brother in law who claims he has the tools/experience to help you with a big job, and once the two of you get into it it becomes clear he is over his head, so you have to hire a contractor to finish what he started.

He might have done a good job of prepping the job site for the contractor and purchased the right supplies, but in the end he isn't going to be remembered for that. He is going to be remembered for over-reaching himself / being over his head. It isn't entirely fair, but them's the breaks.

Edited by Mr. Bigglesworth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      96,636
    • Total Posts
      2,909,702
  • Who's Online (See full list)

  • Upcoming Events

    No upcoming events found
×
×
  • Create New...