Jim Harbaugh praises Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern defense

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh heaped praise on Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald and his Wildcats defense.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan's next biggest test will be taking place on Saturday as Northwestern will be traveling to Ann Arbor.

One of the two best defenses the country has to offer, U-M head coach Jim Harbaugh is ready and prepared for the challenge the Wildcats represent on Saturday.

Before the scratching and the clawing begins, Harbaugh took a moment to praise the Wildcats' head coach, Pat Fitzgerald. Both Fitzgerald and Harbaugh are very familiar each other. Not only in the same conference, but previous jobs Harbaugh has held as well.

"Great competitor," Harbaugh said. "I was at Stanford and he was at Northwestern,we first crossed paths on the recruiting trail. I sized him up and said this guy is a fine, fine coach and great competitior. He's done a fabulous job, he's a great coach. I got to know him this summer, he came to our football camp. Did a tremendous job talking to the campers sharing football and life lessons with them. Thought it was fabulous.

"The football team is a tremendous football team, everything you look at with Pat Fitzgerald is really good. (I) admire him."

Harbaugh also didn't forget to mention the Northwestern defense that will certainly challenge the Wolverine offense on Saturday.

"Athletic," Harbaugh said. "(Northwestern defensive coordinator) Mike Hankwitz does a great job. They react as athletic and fast as any as we've seen. (Anthony Walker) is as good of a player as we've faced. All those things, really good scheme, they play great team defense. They're leading the country in points allowed but I think that's the thing mainly. This team reacts and flows to the ball as good as any in college football."

U-M will kick-off against Northwestern on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

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