Hats off to Harbaugh
The Saturday that we’ve all been waiting for is finally here and just halfway through, with plenty more blockbuster games to be played. While my heads been on a swivel for the past six hours, I was able to stay glued to one game in particular…No. 11 Michigan taking on the No. 17 Florida Gators.
Having never beaten the Wolverines (now 0-4) coming into today’s game, the suspension-riddled Gators looked poised to make a change to their programs history as the defense came out hot looking to set the tone picking off Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight TWICE within the first half. While the offense looked to play catch up and the newly defined defense played their part to stay afloat, Harbaugh too, did what he had to do as well…taking a step back, and getting his offensive unit to regroup and play Michigan football to start the second half.
Having to replace 10 of 11 starters on defense is a tough enough task for any college football head coach to deal with, and putting faith in your second-year starting quarterback who had thrown two interceptions for touchdowns in the first half, and six interceptions in his past four games, to come back out and pull off an conference defining win against a respected SEC Florida team screams Harbaugh, and I’ll be the first to tip my hat.
People always have so much to say about Harbaugh whether it’s his attitude, approach to coaching or just him as a person. But what people don’t throw out, is his will to win and by that I mean, to have players ready to go and compete with some of the best teams within college football. Specifically, being able to take this young Michigan team down south to whoop on, and have practice with a respected Florida Gators team.
Here you have a guy who is 21-6 and 8-2 in out-of-conference play (Utah & Florida State) and still looking to build his empire with his recruits and talent, has rebuilt or added onto the brand and expectations of University of Michigan football. Just years ago, people laughed at the Big Ten, specifically Michigan and any school not named Ohio State, and here Michigan is making a statement against one of the better teams in the SEC in the Gators.
Now you may say I’m being biased. Ok, cool. Let’s look at some brief numbers from today’s game: the Gators averaged 0.4 yards a carry, not once scored an offensive touchdown, was only able to muster up nine first downs, and managed to fumble the ball five times to Michigan’s zero.
In my eyes, it came down to coaching. Coaching from a guy who has been said to be a player’s coach and attention to detail authoritarian who is on pace to make the University of Michigan football program a university that gives that dominant, we’ll play anyone who wants it feel to Ann Arbor. Look at that dominant 2010 Stanford team or the 2012-‘13 49ers that appeared in the Super Bowl…both dominant teams that made statements. Just as college hoops has Coach K, Roy Williams and Coach Calipari, the NCAAF now has Harbaugh who is going to do all in his power to knock off Saban, Urban Meyer and anyone else he feels stands in his way. Why? Because that’s just the type a guy Harbaugh is, and that do it our way mentality starts on the football field with Coach Harbaugh and getting these young men to buy into this resurging brand of Michigan football.
There’s a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball, but under Harbaugh, there’s no reason the Wolverines can’t be in the top five mix this college football season.