With spring ball coming to a conclusion, Michigan’s QB race is far from settled.

The Michigan Insider recently went in-depth with Jim Harbaugh about his impressive track record for cultivating quarterbacks. The Wolverines’ headman went in-depth about teaching proper mindset and technique, evaluating leadership ability, and much much more.

On his approach to nurturing quarterbacks: "You would advise, you coach, you teach. Try to give them things that they can get better at. Anybody can point out 'you did this right' or 'you did this wrong' but what can you give them that's going to give them that's going to make them a better player. The most important thing is what quarterback moves the team and gets the team into the endzone as an offensive unit. Takes care of the football, doesn't make the mistakes that lose you ballgames. A guy that's not the big man on campus, a normal guy. A tough, gotta be tough, you can't be in and out of the lineup. Then that list from there is long, the things that you look for and you try to evaluate or coach them to be better at. For the spring game as it relates right now, I'm excited to see is a real football guy. Not practice or 7-on-7, how does a quarterback manage the game and lead his team, whose going to get them into the endzone the most. Gonna make it a live type of game, they're going to tackle the quarterback. We're gonna hit the quarterback, sack the quarterback. When he runs he'll be live just like a regular football game. The reason they haven't really played in games a lot. All of our quarterbacks, excited to see that. Nothing speeds up a quarterback in the pocket like live bullets. For them to feel that and be playing real, simulated game-like football. What are other chances we have to do than this game? There's some risks there but you've gotta see it at some point who plays 11-on-11 football, moves the football and leads the team."

On how he teaches quarterbacks to ignore criticism: "That's a great question because it's irrelevant. The only relation that matters with the quarterback is myself and the quarterback and what our relationship is. Everything is white noise and irrelevant. All I really want them to know is that is the most important relationship and they're going to get our very best as coaches and it's never going to be with kid gloves but that relationship and they know they have the trust with myself and the coaches and the team, and they're trustworthy to be leading the football team with their hand on the wheel at all times and they gain that trust, that's the only trust or approval or opinion that they have to live up to... All that other stuff you put it aside, it's irrelevant. It means nothing. Whether they've maligned or built up by public opinion, it's inconsequential or irrelevant. It's just the team."

On how he measures the leadership abilities of his QBs in practice: "Just leading the team down the field or into the endzone that's the main thing the quarterback is going to be judged on. Getting their offensive unit into the endzone and then not making the many mistakes that are going to cost the team the drive or the ballgame. It's a big responsibility, the toughest to play in any sports in my opinion and our opinion. They're progressing, it's a process but it's somebody that understands it’s a process and that's not going to flinch when something goes wrong. When something doesn't go right they have the confidence to want to go down that path. To want to know that's a long, hard, tough road to hoe. Every time that you're out there, it doesn't matter that you've done that before, you gotta do it again. There's so many things that go into that mindset but we look at it the same way. It's a process and the guy or two or three will emerge and we let it play it out. We watch, observe and support as well. We're in that process."

On if he coaches every player on his roster the same way… "I can't think you can coach every player alike, no, but (you can be) fair. You can coach a person fairly. Without peeling the onion back to every single layer, I want each of our guys to have a healthy, productive, fair chance at their dreams and their goals. There's positions that guys on the staff are more experts than I am. What I want to do is be the best friend they've ever had professionally. That's what I want them to look back on if they want that same relationship. Not trying to be their dad, they've got a dad. They've got somebody like that in their life. My goal is to be the best friend they're going to have professionally, academically. That means football (and) that means tips on being the best that they can possibly be. I am completely devoted to that on a daily basis."


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