ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Jim Harbaugh is a "team guy."
He grew up in the school of Bo Schembechler, he understands The Team, The Team, The Team and it translates directly to his current coaching tenure at Michigan. Never putting one player above another, Harbaugh pushes his team each week to be better as a unit and not individually.
That team effort will be needed one more time as U-M will face off against arch nemesis Ohio State on Saturday. Growing up in School Schembechler, Harbaugh is well aware of what this rivalry means for the football program. He lived it, he breathes it and he played in it. He gets it.
And he let that passion know to his team this week.
"He was excited," U-M safety Dymonte Thomas said. "It's a big rivalry and another opportunity to go win, he says this is a team in our way that's stopping us from our goals. We have to go out there and do whatever we can to win."
There's no added motivation needed this week from the head coach. Himself and the entire team knows what's at stake. However, it also puts Harbaugh in a better position to motivate his players becuase he's been through the grind. Despite the past experience, Harbaugh trusts his players to motivate each other.
A word of advice? Harbaugh wants you to deliver something at the end of practice.
"He played in the rivalry so he knows what we're going into," Thomas said. "Also, at the same time, one of our players had a speech saying that we've got to do it for the players in our past. It'll be kind of neat to go out and win for Coach Harbaugh and the people that came before us."
Although Thomas doesn't quite remember who that player was, he believes it was Jake Rudock, there isn't a method to Harbaugh's speech-election madness. Often times the word of advice comes from someone randomly chosen. Other times, if its your birthday or you contributed to the team in some sort of fashion, be prepared to give a small speech to the team after practice.
"Coach Harbaugh does it randomly," Thomas said. "He's just a random guy and calls someone up and says 'hey, give us a word of advice' and they give us a word of advice and we break it out... Usually he'll do it with people if it's your birthday or someone had a really good game, if you're a senior or someone that can make an impact for us."
A word of advice? Don't question whether Harbaugh will have this team ready to go on Saturday.