Stick a Fork in Harbaugh

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Eric
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Stick a Fork in Harbaugh

Postby Eric » Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:09 pm

It's been about 2 years since my last stop by the forum, so I am interested to get caught up with everybody! But I'm here to repeat my common refrain about Michigan football!

Even in this semi-meaningless pandemic-stricken season, we were hoping that the product wouldn't be this bad. Harbaugh is a zombie on the sidelines, a shell of his former self. He either got fat and lazy from getting a mega contract, or he might be suffering from CTE (which is not something I want to make light about, but this "source" is a guy I know who knows a guy). Regardless I do not think he is fit for the job and hasn't been since the 2018 loss at Ohio State.

In 2015, I wasn't overly-happy, but I suspended any doubts I had about the trajectory knowing that it would be a building year; I saw some flaws, but left open the possibility that I would be very very wrong. 2016, those same flaws continued, but I couldn't argue with the W/L record and NFL-caliber players. 2017 was when it really hit the fan with injuries and horrendous QB play; I complained a lot but also knew in the back of my head that it had the potential to be a lost season as most of the new starters would have been guys who Michigan settled for in the 2015 recruiting dead period between coaching changes. 2018, again I saw serious issues and a down B1G, but it was another shot for Harbaugh to get over the hump. 2019 saw the ridiculous haphazard hire of Josh Gattis when there were 40 other coordinators out there in the country with a proven, unassailable track record that he should have gotten instead and it cost us an entire year of player development. Now, the crap we're seeing in 2020 where guys don't even want to play for this man.

Harbaugh's biggest structural problems:

- Lack of QB development. Rudock -> Speight -> Peters -> Patterson -> Milton. Michigan's QB play has been dreadful, and honestly some of the worst sustained QB play at a major college football powerhouse since 2015. Give me a blueblood who has been worse during that span. Maybe Tennessee or Miami.

- Gameplanning. From 15-18 it was the offense that wouldn't modernize. Since 2018 in their matchups against elite offenses, the defense gets completely shredded. Harbaugh's staff is one of the worst at making halftime adjustments in the NCAA.

- Recruiting. Michigan has been getting a lot of low-hanging fruit from the Northeast. Maybe it's a negative stereotype, but the Northeast has a reputation for producing soft football players and there is certainly not a very large football culture out there. Recruiting services tend to inflate the pedigree of guys if blue blood start chasing them, but the problem is Michigan and Penn State are oftentimes the only schools making a hard push to get these guys. You don't see Clemson, A&M, Georgia, Bama, USC, Ohio State, or Oklahoma really go hard for them. Worse yet, Michigan "casts a wide net" and tries to figure out the details later. Harbaugh is not invested in finding guys who fit a scheme or have personality types. He is picking up whoever he can find and arrogantly thinking he can mold a well-rounded football team out of whoever he gets. Lloyd Carr's path to stocking his rosters full of NFL-caliber potential was cutting into Ohio. Michigan has for all intents and purposes abandoned Ohio recruiting, which is also where you find guys who have a chip on their shoulders against the Buckeyes. No wonder we have lost that edge in that "rivalry" game. Now Ohio guys who don't end up at OSU are going to MSU, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Notre Dame, and Penn State, or sometimes even the other SEC schools. Michigan needs a slice of that action in order to get better.

- Pushing people away. Many of his best recruits and players either leave the team or transfer out, leaving the cupboard bare in the process. They either don't like his style, don't like him, or feel they're not getting their due with playing time. We had a top 10 receiving unit in America in 2018 in terms of skill and potential, and it was left untapped because we couldn't open up the offense. Peoples-Jones left for the pros because he said Michigan was hurting his draft stock, Black is playing for Texas, and Collins sat this year out. Ambry Thomas quit on the team. Aubrey Soloman left to Tennessee. Duwumfor went to Rutgers (plays Michigan next week). It's a terrible look. McCaffery, who would be better than Milton if given playing time, left the team.


Bottom line is Michigan needs a change and Harbaugh needs a change of scenery (provided that rumor isn't true, otherwise he should focus on staying healthy). Harbaugh would be better off for a short stint in the NFL. My favorite candidates to replace Harbaugh: Meyer, Petersen, Stoops, Whittingham, Campbell, Fickell, Joe Brady, Jeff Hafley, Gary Patterson, Billy Napier, Pat Fitzgerald. Any one of them could do better or at least equal Harbaugh's tenure. The reason being, outside of a decent winning %, Harbaugh has brought zero division titles, one semi-important bowl victory, zero playoff appearances, zero Heismans, one practice squad NFL QB, a .500 record against Michigan State, and zero victories against Ohio State in 6 years.

Anyway, it was fun venting about Michigan football one more time here! How has this year been treating you guys? :mrgreen:
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Re: Stick a Fork in Harbaugh

Postby Spence » Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:16 pm

Nice to see you back roaming the halls. I think you right. I don't really know what what is wrong with Michigan, but the current version is the worst I have ever seen. I do think the lack of solid QB play is probably the most glaring issue. I think Milton was thrown out too soon and not ready. It couldn't do much for his confidence. I don't believe that the offense is the biggest issue, though, I think Don Brown's failure to admit his defensive schemes are out dated is Michigan's biggest issue the last several years.

I think you are dead on about recruiting Ohio. When Tressel was hired he built a fence around Ohio. Even helped steer players he didn't want to Dantonio's Michigan State teams. Lots of players in Michigan football's hall of fame were from Ohio. It doesn't happen anymore. Players that Ohio State wants and doesn't get go to Clemson, Alabama, or somewhere like that now. Occasionally Ohio State will lose one to Penn State. Almost never to Michigan anymore. I can't remember the last time Ohio State wanted an Ohio kid that Michigan ended up getting, maybe Jake Butt. No one the caliber of Woodson, Grbec, or Howard. Recruiting is the lifeblood of any college football team. Recruiting is as important as player development in CFB.

Honestly I hope to see Michigan right the ship. I think Michigan being good makes the conference and Ohio State better. Eventually they will right the ship, but they have made a series of bad moves that will take a while to fix. Michigan wasn't more talented than Ohio State going clear back into the 80's. But they always had a great QB and a coach that could exploit Ohio State's weaknesses and playing the last game of the season, those weaknesses were all out there. They never lost site of who was the biggest rival in the conference. They got away from that when Carr left and Harbaugh doesn't seem to be able to capture it.

I hope you hang out a more often. You are one of the most knowledgeable people I have known on subject of CFB. You always seem to know about coaches and players before they come out of obscurity and we notice them.
"History doesn't always repeat itself but it often rhymes." - Mark Twain

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Re: Stick a Fork in Harbaugh

Postby Mountainman » Wed Nov 18, 2020 12:05 am

Hey Eric....... its been a while. Good to hear from you and get your insight and perspective on the goings on. I agree, Harbaugh is toast. Read just today were he said he’s going to ‘examine the program from top to bottom and find out what’s wrong and fix it’. Too late coach, guys in your position are paid big bucks to stay in front of things before they get out of whack, not ‘fix’ what’s out of whack that occurred on and during YOUR watch.

As a Mountaineer Fan growing up there were three games one never missed...... West Virginia and Pitt (The Backyard Brawl), West Virginia and Penn State (The Annual Ass-Kicking) and (Ohio State and Michigan). The BigTen is better when the Wolverines are a top level program. 8)
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Re: Stick a Fork in Harbaugh

Postby Eric » Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:12 am

Spence wrote:Nice to see you back roaming the halls. I think you right. I don't really know what what is wrong with Michigan, but the current version is the worst I have ever seen. I do think the lack of solid QB play is probably the most glaring issue. I think Milton was thrown out too soon and not ready. It couldn't do much for his confidence. I don't believe that the offense is the biggest issue, though, I think Don Brown's failure to admit his defensive schemes are out dated is Michigan's biggest issue the last several years.


I'm not sure Joe Milton is capable of playing big-time college football. He could be a productive C-USA QB or something, but he is very inaccurate at throwing the ball downfield. He has a rocket arm which is what caught Harbaugh's attention, but what is the use if he can't use it? I still hold that McCaffery would be a better QB for this team right now and that McNamara should be the starter going forward regardless (and that McCarthy should start in 21 as a true freshman, because he can't be worse than these guys and it's not like his growing pains will prevent us from winning the B1G).

If we can't get an elite guy out of retirement (so Urban [1% chance], Petersen [5% chance], Stoops [20% chance]), I think the next best hope is to get a guy with serious Ohio recruiting ties. That is why I think Fickell will top the list outside of the pipe dream candidates, and why Campbell and Hafley will work their names into the short list.

Honestly if you gave me Sean Lewis out of Kent State, I would be very happy. He probably needs to take a mid-tier job like Illinois or Vanderbilt and turn them around before making the leap to the big leagues, but I think his rise to that level is inevitable. He's a certified offensive genius. Kent State's offense went from left for dead to being one of the best out of any non-BCS team, and they still don't have that much pure skill. It's all scheme.
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Re: Stick a Fork in Harbaugh

Postby Eric » Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:12 am

Mountainman wrote:Hey Eric....... its been a while. Good to hear from you and get your insight and perspective on the goings on. I agree, Harbaugh is toast. Read just today were he said he’s going to ‘examine the program from top to bottom and find out what’s wrong and fix it’. Too late coach, guys in your position are paid big bucks to stay in front of things before they get out of whack, not ‘fix’ what’s out of whack that occurred on and during YOUR watch.

As a Mountaineer Fan growing up there were three games one never missed...... West Virginia and Pitt (The Backyard Brawl), West Virginia and Penn State (The Annual Ass-Kicking) and (Ohio State and Michigan). The BigTen is better when the Wolverines are a top level program. 8)


Exactly, that's been the main problem. He thinks he is such a good coach that he can cross that bridge when he comes to it. He's not putting in the work to avoid those bridges in the first place!
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Re: Stick a Fork in Harbaugh

Postby Cane from the Bend » Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:31 am

Eric wrote:
Mountainman wrote:Hey Eric....... its been a while. Good to hear from you and get your insight and perspective on the goings on. I agree, Harbaugh is toast. Read just today were he said he’s going to ‘examine the program from top to bottom and find out what’s wrong and fix it’. Too late coach, guys in your position are paid big bucks to stay in front of things before they get out of whack, not ‘fix’ what’s out of whack that occurred on and during YOUR watch.

As a Mountaineer Fan growing up there were three games one never missed...... West Virginia and Pitt (The Backyard Brawl), West Virginia and Penn State (The Annual Ass-Kicking) and (Ohio State and Michigan). The BigTen is better when the Wolverines are a top level program. 8)


Exactly, that's been the main problem. He thinks he is such a good coach that he can cross that bridge when he comes to it. He's not putting in the work to avoid those bridges in the first place!



I like your short list of names ...

I think I would still include Jim Leavitt & Mario Cristobal. Both have a sound fundamental football minds, and they play both offense as well as defense. Something that gets so overlooked these days.

I can't say how well they would do at recruiting Ohio. However, both have direct ties to recruiting out of Florida --- Miami-Dade/Broward/Palm Beach especially.

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Re: Stick a Fork in Harbaugh

Postby billybud » Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:10 am

If he would just beat the Buckeyes....he might have lasted.
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Re: Stick a Fork in Harbaugh

Postby Eric » Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:06 pm

Cane from the Bend wrote:
Eric wrote:
Mountainman wrote:Hey Eric....... its been a while. Good to hear from you and get your insight and perspective on the goings on. I agree, Harbaugh is toast. Read just today were he said he’s going to ‘examine the program from top to bottom and find out what’s wrong and fix it’. Too late coach, guys in your position are paid big bucks to stay in front of things before they get out of whack, not ‘fix’ what’s out of whack that occurred on and during YOUR watch.

As a Mountaineer Fan growing up there were three games one never missed...... West Virginia and Pitt (The Backyard Brawl), West Virginia and Penn State (The Annual Ass-Kicking) and (Ohio State and Michigan). The BigTen is better when the Wolverines are a top level program. 8)


Exactly, that's been the main problem. He thinks he is such a good coach that he can cross that bridge when he comes to it. He's not putting in the work to avoid those bridges in the first place!



I like your short list of names ...

I think I would still include Jim Leavitt & Mario Cristobal. Both have a sound fundamental football minds, and they play both offense as well as defense. Something that gets so overlooked these days.

I can't say how well they would do at recruiting Ohio. However, both have direct ties to recruiting out of Florida --- Miami-Dade/Broward/Palm Beach especially.

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.
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Leavitt could work as a DC, but he might have too much baggage for a school like Michigan to bring on. Michigan likes to think of themselves with a squeaky clean image and they don't like problem-makers.
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Re: Stick a Fork in Harbaugh

Postby Eric » Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:08 pm

billybud wrote:If he would just beat the Buckeyes....he might have lasted.


It is pretty incredible that if Brady Hoke's 2-point conversion gamble worked or if Michigan stopped J.T. Barrett on 4th down that we might not be having this conversation. I'm not saying it would have turned the tide in the rivalry necessarily, but we might not be at a point where Michigan is a national laughingstock and players wouldn't have this 5,000 pound monkey on their collective backs.

I said in another thread a few years ago that Michigan will never notch a win in this series until Ohio State accidentally loses one. They will keep choking under a national spotlight because the pressure is too much.
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Re: Stick a Fork in Harbaugh

Postby Cane from the Bend » Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:01 pm

Eric wrote:
Cane from the Bend wrote:
Eric wrote:
Mountainman wrote:



I agree with Michigan's assumptions of themselves ...

I just also believe, most of these pomp virtue schools have a tendency to let their memories be short lived when winning becomes the issue.

I also agree that he'd be an excellent Defensive Coordinator. I've been telling people, the two programs who should target Leavitt for their staff, at that very position, are Miami & [as much as I hate to utter it] florida.

Though, after what we've seen from this topsy-turvy season; Ole Miss would be wise to seek his employment.

.
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Cane... [__]

"It is only impossible until it has been accomplished." ... then it becomes standardized ...

Success is measured by results; whereas Character is measured through the means by which one achieves those results . . .

It seems the Rapture did come for two worthy souls:
In Memory of Grandpa Howdy
In Memory of Donovan Davisson

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Re: Stick a Fork in Harbaugh

Postby Spence » Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:56 pm

Eric wrote:
Spence wrote:Nice to see you back roaming the halls. I think you right. I don't really know what what is wrong with Michigan, but the current version is the worst I have ever seen. I do think the lack of solid QB play is probably the most glaring issue. I think Milton was thrown out too soon and not ready. It couldn't do much for his confidence. I don't believe that the offense is the biggest issue, though, I think Don Brown's failure to admit his defensive schemes are out dated is Michigan's biggest issue the last several years.


I'm not sure Joe Milton is capable of playing big-time college football. He could be a productive C-USA QB or something, but he is very inaccurate at throwing the ball downfield. He has a rocket arm which is what caught Harbaugh's attention, but what is the use if he can't use it? I still hold that McCaffery would be a better QB for this team right now and that McNamara should be the starter going forward regardless (and that McCarthy should start in 21 as a true freshman, because he can't be worse than these guys and it's not like his growing pains will prevent us from winning the B1G).

If we can't get an elite guy out of retirement (so Urban [1% chance], Petersen [5% chance], Stoops [20% chance]), I think the next best hope is to get a guy with serious Ohio recruiting ties. That is why I think Fickell will top the list outside of the pipe dream candidates, and why Campbell and Hafley will work their names into the short list.

Honestly if you gave me Sean Lewis out of Kent State, I would be very happy. He probably needs to take a mid-tier job like Illinois or Vanderbilt and turn them around before making the leap to the big leagues, but I think his rise to that level is inevitable. He's a certified offensive genius. Kent State's offense went from left for dead to being one of the best out of any non-BCS team, and they still don't have that much pure skill. It's all scheme.


Actually, I think Urban Meyer would be a more likely candidate than Luke. I don't know for sure that Luke would turn it down, but I can't see him ever taking that job. He is a great recruiter and good defensive coach. Seems to be putting together a pretty good head coaching resume in Cincinnati. I don't know where he has his sights set right now. I do know he always has wanted the Ohio State job. I think that if Ryan Day ever decides to go back to the league, Luke would get his shot.
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