Sports

Big Ten Media Days: Highlights from Michigan HC Jim Harbaugh

Big Ten Media Days: Highlights from Michigan HC Jim Harbaugh

On the second day of Big Ten Media Days, two familiar faces in the state of MI were among the biggest storylines of the event.

To finish the morning, the last coach scheduled to speak was MI head coach Jim Harbaugh.

This is worth remembering amid the reports that Wilton Speight is locked in a three-way tie for Michigan's starting quarterback job heading into training camp. There was a report that Speight had surgery after the season to fix the shoulder but neither he nor Harbaugh have confirmed it.

Those things matter, even moving forward.

Despite losing the team's top two receivers to the NFL, Harbaugh switched Drake Harris from receiver to defensive back. "And I know there's a lot of people that don't like me now that I've left and there's a lot of people that understand it". Lost three out of the last four games. Play better. Train harder. "As a quarterback throwing the ball every time, that's toughness".

This is not all that surprising to hear from Harbaugh around this time.

"(As a quarterback) you need to take charge. "Have you done anything non-football related?".

Harbaugh said he explained to the former Grand Rapids Christian standout that his length, athleticism and smooth route running would make him an enticing prospect on the next level. "I'm avoiding all fun stuff". I'm avoiding all fun things. In a classic game filled with a few turning point moments, that's one Harbaugh won't soon forget. I didn't like that feeling.

Perhaps the biggest challenge facing this MI team is a lack of experience.

Now, he was speaking tongue-in-cheek - to a point. But Harbaugh also told reporters on Tuesday that Peters has a long way to go in commanding a huddle and communicating at the line of scrimmage.

"I wholeheartedly recommend it and am happy to lend support if anybody else is thinking of their team on a trip like this", Harbaugh said.

"I hope they have the same feeling".

MI won its first nine games of the season. Nothing better than the high five.

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"You want to see what's transpired over the summer and see who has gotten better. I think Rashan is that kind of guy".

Granted, the losses last season were close games.

MI lost at Iowa 14-13 on November 12 and at Ohio State 30-27 in double overtime on November 26, before the one-point setback against Florida State, 33-32, in the Orange Bowl.

What does he regret about that game against the Buckeyes?

Harbaugh on the positive talk surrounding Maurice Hurst: "I think it's overdue". On Tuesday, they were hanging right on the surface.

"Ninety percent of us had never been out the country before", junior center Mason Cole said.

The Wolverines enter this season in a unusual place.

Senior Wilton Speight got the starting nod in 2016, starting in 12 of the team's 13 games. "He's tied for first with John O'Korn and Brandon Peters".

On the flip side, after adapting to players brought in by predecessor Brady Hoke, Harbaugh finally will have a majority of his recruits in the lineup.

"Wilton (Speight's) in a good spot". "They are going to have at it".

MI returns just four starters on offense and one on defense, adding up to the fewest returning starters of any FBS team in 2017.

There are opportunities across the field.

"That's what National Football League teams are looking for, 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4 corners", Harbaugh said. "Hopefully that will motivate us to be better next year". If we don't do that, then we won't. The staff believes his arm talent is mostly off the charts, and now it's a matter of getting him to be more vocal and take more ownership of the offense. "That's exciting. That was a big class". I'm going to pour a lot of coaching into those youngsters.


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