Jim Harbaugh's plan with his freshman class is simple, get them adjusted to college life in the summer, and then, well, they can start “raging” on football this fall.
So far, it’s working says Harbaugh, who addressed the media at Schembechler hall on Monday.
“Every single freshman that we had was in summer school, it’s great way to get their feet under them, get some credits,” Harbaugh said. “And take advantage of knowing the landscape, the rigor at the University of Michigan. So we wanted them fully immersed in that over the summer that’ll build a great foundation for themselves academically, and then football-wise we didn’t spend a lot of time with them in classroom setting, in meeting settings, their classroom was in the actual classroom.”
And when actual school is over, Harbaugh says he was quick to see what each freshman brought to the table athletically.
“And when they came to football practice, that was probably the only part of the day they were involved in football was coming to a two hour practice, three hour practice,” Harbaugh said.
“Honestly, they didn’t know 10 different blitzes or 75 pass concepts – but we wanted to see what they could athletically. Could they track a ball? Could a receiver catch? Can they run? Can they change direction? Can they play with balance? Can they play with vision?”
Now, well, Harbaugh knows what he’s working with, and expects a few freshman to see significant roles on the depth chart.
“So we felt after going through the first two and half weeks that there were quite a few players that were tracking to be in the two-deep, in the three-deep,” Harbaugh said. “And since then, the last 10 days been trying to catch them up on the system, the schemes offensively, defensively, and kicking games, they’re coming fast no question about it.
Adding: “To put an exact number on it, I can’t, but soon I’ll think you’ll see them play in games, they’ll be a good number of them.”
That being said, one freshman defensive back was worth noting by U-M’s headman.
“I’ll tell you this, David Long (Jr.) covered a go route at (Sunday’s) practice as good as it possibly can be covered,” Harbaugh said. “From press coverage to competing at the point of the catch, it’s as good as you can cover. He’s going to be an outstanding, outstanding football player.”
And the competition should continue as Michigan prepares for Hawaii this Saturday at Noon ET.
“The waters have been hot all camp,” Harbaugh said. “There is no question about that. Competitive waters have been almost boiling. It’s been great.”
Video by Brice Marich