Now five practices into his first spring as Michigan’s head football coach, Jim Harbaugh hasn’t answered many questions about his new team just yet, but he is getting closer to doing so.
“You get a better feel,” said Harbaugh. “You get to know people as you go. You learn more about somebody every day.”
Harbaugh found out a great deal about Jack Miller earlier this week when the redshirt junior decided to forego his fifth season in order to pursue professional endeavors off the field.
“I appreciated the honesty,” Harbaugh stated. “I have a level of respect for what he had to say… finishing his education and moving on for some job opportunities that he has and he wanted to pursue. You always appreciate the honesty.”
Fortunately the cupboard isn’t bare at the center position.
“(Graham) Glasgow is doing a real nice job,” said Harbaugh. “He has been a tough, steady player and then we have others that are competing at that position as well.”
Competition is the theme throughout the entire tema this spring, but the battle being waged at quarterback is undoubtedly the most crucial. While no definitive pecking order has been established to this point, early signs of a hierarchy are beginning to show.
“Not all are sharing (reps) evenly, but all are getting reps throughout practice in terms of drills,” Harbaugh explained. “But in terms of 7-on-7 and (full) team, it’s not all even.”
“(The competition) is going good. We’re making strides every day. They’re doing a lot of little things better and better each day. They’re all really into it. It means a lot to them…each guy that we have. That’s all you can really ask for as a coach.”
For now, though, it’s clear that the offense is definitely a work in progress. There’s work to do on the other side of the ball as well, but not nearly as much.
“The defense is doing extremely well,” said Harbaugh. “I’ve been very impressed with the way our defense has been playing.”
Life in Perspective
Harbaugh made national headlines a few weeks back when he and Michigan Director of Football Operations Jim Minnick were first responders to a rollover accident on I-94.
“That was a horrible accident and I’m just really happy that both the passengers and the dog are alive and really came out pretty darn well,” he said. “It makes you understand and know that there is a creator that looks out for all of us.”
“I can’t describe the accident because I’ve never seen one like that before… not even on videos. It’s just a miracle. There is a creator that looks after us. (The driver) understands that as well.”
Long Practice Days
Much has been made of the length of practices this spring. The time allocated for each session isn’t any greater than it has been in past years (that would be against NCAA rules). The difference lies in the amount of time actually being spent on the field as opposed to the meeting room. Instead of holding position meetings before or after practice, Harbaugh has opted to have the Wolverines spend the entire four hours on the field.
“Part of that time is meeting on the field,” he said. It’s class on the grass. You get better at football by playing football. There is a significant part of that time that is teaching, but just on your feet rather than being in a classroom.”
It appears the days of a glorified practice to conclude the spring are a thing of the past.
“We’d like it to be a game, but we’ll address that,” said Harbaugh. “To be determined based on a couple of different factors. If we do a game we’ll do a draft. Choose up sides just like on the playground.”