The negativity about Coach Harbaugh is irrational.

Submitted by Mineral King on December 30th, 2018 at 8:27 PM

Here me out.... Through his first 4 years Harbaugh is 38-14. Saban was barely better than that at Lsu and Bama after his first 4 years. Harbaugh has a better record than B Kelly, Dabo and Dantonio did at the sane time. Being pissed is normal and ok, but it doesn’t mean we should want a new coach. Players have to be faster, stronger and more aggressive... all there is to it. Wake up people... it’s coming... this thing is going to be rolling. Cheer up, a new year is upon us. 

PS - Be careful what you wish for. 



December 30th, 2018 at 8:43 PM ^

I think the problem is that people view objective critical views as "negativity".  It isn't.  It is just calling it as you see it with no particular agenda.

Jim Harbaugh has been a good coach at Michigan.  He was a great coach at SD, Stanford and SF.  He has accomplished much in his career, but that which he accomplished at those job stints stays at those jobs.  He has not been great at Michigan.

So far Coach Harbaugh is 0-4 vs his biggest rival (should be 1-3 at the very least with the teams and talent he has had), just got beaten in the most historic loss to OSU in the history of College Football and is 1-3 in Bowl Games with the last two Bowl Games being significant let downs.

Those are just objective observations that have a good many people in the fanbase more than concerned if JH can get the job done.  I don't think that is an unfair position to hold.  You may disagree with it, but to call it an unreasonable position is just being obtuse.

Can JH turn things around.  Well, he has been great everywhere but Michigan, so I think if he gets honest with himself as to some real changes that have to happen, then yes.  Is it also reasonable to think that there isn't really any evidence (other than past success at other institutions) to think he has what it takes to get the job done at Michigan is also a fair position.

Stop being so sensitive to any other position than Harbaugh is amazing and Michigan will be just fine.  It just makes one look silly.


December 30th, 2018 at 9:18 PM ^

Your post made me think of the segment from Lloyd Carr talking about getting ready for the 1997 season. He realized after a couple of 8-4 seasons that this was it. 1997 was going to be the verdict on his coaching career.

I hope Harbaugh has the humility and takes the time to talk to Lloyd about how he made that transition. For all of Harbaugh’s past accomplishments, he needs to figure out what it is going to take for him to go from good to great at Michigan.


December 30th, 2018 at 11:54 PM ^

I quote the great philosopher Mike Tyson, “Everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth.”

I think Harbaugh had a lot of issues to work through and overcome his first three years. I think he has been working his plan to moderate/good success. Roster issues, team mentality, getting the right staff together, etc were all reasonable justifications his first three years. This was year four. He fully owns this team and it’s performance now. I’m hoping the OSU and bowl debacles give Harbaugh pause to figure out what he is going to do differently to compete at the highest level at Michigan. 


December 30th, 2018 at 10:09 PM ^

Not sure how the Carr story is relevant to Harbaugh.  Lloyd Carr had no head coaching track record prior to Michigan and two 4 loss seasons.  In 1996, his offense had the lowest scoring totals for a Michigan team since the year Harbaugh went out with a broken collarbone.

Also, what did Carr really do differently in 1997?  Have an all-american, Heisman winning CB?  Brilliant planning on his part.



December 31st, 2018 at 12:47 AM ^

Agree with a some of this but there is more to the story. One difference was he replaced Dreisbach with Griese (sort of happened late season 96 but over the course of a whole season that was a change from year before). Griese had a higher completion rate, fewer INTs and more TDs so overall a more efficient passing game. Also, Carr did demote Fred Jackson from OC to assistant in an attempt to make the offense better. Perhaps a useful lesson there on dumping an OC who is ineffective, though to his credit Harbaugh did as much with Drevno last year too. 

While Mattison's 96 D was pretty stout, Hermann definitely changed up the play calling and style from the prior year. Also, to just say oh we had Woodson short sells that year's improvement a bit since Woodson was there in 96 as a starter too so that wasn't a change.  Let's not discount the rest of that defense either, while Woodson is legendary, they also locked down the run at 91 yards per game, 207 yards offense, and 9 points/game. Even an NFL HOF CB doesn't do that on his own and that D was stocked across the Board with fantastic college players like Hall, Renes, Steele, Copenhaver, Sword, Swett, Gold, Dhani, Weather, and another safety who shall remain unnamed. 


December 30th, 2018 at 10:47 PM ^

Lloyd did nothing different or special. Look at every year before and after. He was no better than Harbaugh. Harbaugh is a better coach than Lloyd. Lloyd just happened to luck into coaching one of the best football players of all time. He needed the best player in all of college football to carry the team to win a national championship and he still split that championship. I’m not saying one person can do everything, but Woodson made that team. He is a legend. Heisman winners only come around every so often. If you’ve got one, odds are you’ll make the top 4 in college football. Lloyd rode Woodson to Michigan’s best season in the last 40 years. Woodson wasn’t just an elite player he was an all-time great. So unless Lloyd can hand Harbaugh a heisman winner in a meeting, there’s no point in having one. Look at Lloyd’s 4 seasons after losing Woodson. Are they really better than Harbaugh’s last 4 seasons? Harbaugh had to coach a team on its third string QB and still had a winning season against a much stronger Big Ten than Lloyd faced in those 4 years after 97. 


January 1st, 2019 at 6:33 PM ^

 I think you hit it in the head.  HUMILITY.  Of course Harbaugh brings a ton to the table.  But every commit says they love Michigan because Harbaugh is a great coach.  He needs to take a step back and realize things aren't as good as they should and can be.  Refusing to change because of ego is going to keep us where we are.  I hope we can take the next step.

You Only Live Twice

December 30th, 2018 at 9:45 PM ^

Sure, but you could just as easily be entreated to lay aside your own sensitivity.  Total straw man to say that anyone who doesn't post 87 times about how terrible everything is, is not being "objective."  There's been plenty of reasonable takes to read here, with reasonable questions and criticism.  0-4 against OSU sucks, it sucks BAD, but it is not a de facto indictment of our head coach.  Football doesn't work that way.  


December 31st, 2018 at 9:40 AM ^

But that is the biggest red mark on his record, right? By any other standard, Harbaugh has done well. He has done about as well as Michigan has historically done. If he didn't have those Ohio State losses, we'd be looking at him in a much better light. At the very least, the indictment starts with his record in The Game.


December 31st, 2018 at 11:02 AM ^

The Game is everything.  Harbaugh knows that.

Even the legendary Jim Harbaugh is not going to survive 0-X against Ohio State at Michigan.

You can fill in your own X, but it's getting real close. 

Is it 5?  Is it 6?  Is it 7?  It's certainly not 10.  He's running out of turns at the plate.

Next year against OSU is pivotal.  It's at home, with an experienced Michigan team, against a new non-Urban Meyer coach.  If he can't win that, there is going to be a massive shit storm that will be hard to overcome. 

He needs to ask himself this question:  "If this was my last shot to beat Ohio State, what would I do differently on offense and defense to make sure that happens?"

The answer would not be just more of the same.


Cold War

January 1st, 2019 at 8:36 PM ^

" The Game is everything."

Really? Then Hoke's four years would be better than Harbaugh's first four - Hoke was 1-3. And if Harbaugh was 5-7 his first four seasons and 0-4 in The Game, you'd have the same opinion of him. Because all that matters is The Game, right?

Of course not. It's that laser beam focus that keeps people from appreciating a coach who took a sun .500 program in decline and won 10 games in three of his first four seasons.


December 31st, 2018 at 11:12 AM ^

0-4 against your main rival (and most important game every year), with only 1, maybe 2 of those games being competitive, is not a trivial “red mark”. Looking completely uncompetitive in a couple of bowl games doesn’t help. 

I’m not at all on the “fire Harbaugh” train, but definitely on the “Harbaugh needs to adapt on offense” train. Part of the anti-Harbaugh sentiment stems from his seeming stubbornness on that front. He was willing to adapt on defense, but seems unwilling to even acknowledge structural issues on offense. The “manball by committee” approach is not working. Burning a timeout every game because they can’t get the play call straight, the complete inability to run tempo or hurry up when down and needing to score, speak to serious issues of either organization or focus or both, and that’s the side of the ball Harbaugh takes direct responsibility for. 

Great coaches recognize their weaknesses and correct them. Saban did it. Beilein did it. If Harbaugh is a great coach, he needs to do it too. If he doesn’t, he’s too stubborn to be a great coach. 


December 31st, 2018 at 4:45 PM ^

That's the primary criticism of him. The overall record is good, yet the big games are turning into one sided beat-downs. Up until he began coaching at Michigan he seemed to be one of the better "big game" coaches in the country. Players performed out of their minds for him at every stop, compared to who coached before him. Whereas in the last 4 years in big games his team had been performing successively worse each year, in surprising ways.

Rashes of uncharacteristic mental mistakes, poor game management, calling strange ineffective plays in critical situations, the whole team needing a quarter or more to get up to speed with their opponents, opposing coaches making better second half adjustments than ours, struggling or losing solely because we're undeniably outschemed by everybody, having so many top quarterback prospects on the team that they switch positions and transfer, yet being unable to develop one into a serviceable starter last year was the strangest by far. All these things are very much in his control. 

His Michigan coaching career has very little in common with Sabans, or Meyers, or even Miles, or Stoops, but hopefully it goes like Dabos, where after several seasons of "the Clemsoning" he somehow rights the ship. 


December 31st, 2018 at 1:14 AM ^

I don’t see Harbaugh as being “great” at Stanford.  He took over a bad program but has one season with double digit wins and never won his conference. His double digit win season came when he had Andrew Luck, a generational QB at the helm and he still didn’t win the conference.  For perspective, the PAC 12 was the PAC 10 conference in 2010, 2 fewer teams .  He did a good job of turning around Stanford but he didn’t win anything, IMO you don’t get the label of “great” without winning your conference, especially with Andrew Luck under center.  


December 31st, 2018 at 11:12 AM ^

It's a moot point. 

We don't need to keep looking at Stanford for evidence about how Harbaugh is going to do at Michigan.

At this point, we have plenty of Michigan evidence.

He has done better than Rich Rod and Hoke.  But he has not done what he was brought here to do.

"Ten Wins!" sounds good (although 10 is easier than it used to be since they play a 12 game regular season), but if that does not include wins over Ohio State and Big Ten championships and CFP appearances, it doesn't matter.

That can be a positive milestone as part of a larger journey, but that can't be the ceiling. 

Whirled Peas

December 31st, 2018 at 8:22 AM ^

Lakeyale13, I think you are right in that there is ample room for fair criticism of Harbaugh that doesn't have to be labeled as "irrational."  That said, I think too many critics have laced their criticism with numerous histrionic statements that undermine the "rationality" of their initial point.

For instance, you say Harbaugh was great at other places but only good here.  Completely reasonable position to hold.  Then you go on to say he just lost "the most historic loss to OSU in the history of college football."  A quick google search will prove that every team has suffered massive 40+ point losses to their rivals.  Michigan once beat ohio 86-0.  No sugar coating, this year's game stunk to high heaven, but let's keep it in perspective. 

You also question whether Harbaugh can get the job here and support your position with this statement: "Is it also reasonable to think that there isn't really any evidence (other than past success at other institutions)."  You very conveniently dismiss the hardest evidence anyone can provide, his actual track record.  You use the fact that he's 0-4 against his biggest rival as evidence that he's making no progress here and that he can't get it done.  Harbaugh didn't take the job on even footing with Ohio, MSU, PSU, or Wiscy.  People have berated him about his losing record against those programs, but this year he went 3-1 against them, mostly on the road, in a year where people predicted he would lose all 4.  Has he caught ohio yet?  Clearly not.  But to suggest that there is a mountain of evidence that he is incapable of beating ohio is much closer to "irrational" than it is to having a reasonable debate. 


December 31st, 2018 at 9:44 AM ^

I agree with a lot of this, but I think we need to define the challenge that Harbaugh has better here. I don't think that he needs to "turn things around." Are we getting worse or are we at level that is good but not good enough? I would say that we are at the latter. We've plateaued a little bit and Harbaugh has to push us over the next hill, the next challenge. 

That's nitpicking wording, but hey, we're Michigan fans, that's what we do, right? Anyway, I don't think there is a black and white here as you say. I'm in the camp that thinks Harbaugh is our guy, but I can't say I'm happy. I'm definitely not happy with losing to Ohio State every year, that's for sure. I am definitely not happy with the offensive development and playcalling. I am concerned about players leaving.

Maybe Harbaugh should go on a Vision Quest.


December 31st, 2018 at 10:07 AM ^

A good post and true. But have you read the board lately. Many posters are saying we should fire JH and even though they ha e no clue who we should hire they are calling for his head

If people can’t see the improvement this program has made in 4 years and the great job he is still doing in recruiting then they refuse to see the forest through the trees.  The bitching lately has been unbearable   Sure he needs to make some adjustments and I believe he will but this constant droning about he sucks and everything about the program sucks is just plain stupid 


December 31st, 2018 at 11:35 AM ^

100% agree. As you outlined, I noticed a common denominator that there were no expectations. He took over two schools that had never really had greatness and then he caught San Fran at an ultimate low.  All 3 gigs could only go up, and while he took over Michigan when we were in a low, expectations for the team never changed.  We see it with athletes that can’t play under the lights of NYC or LA. Maybe the stage is just too big.

Indiana Blue

December 31st, 2018 at 7:50 AM ^

#1 on the list to me is short yardage play calling.  First drive 3rd and 1 and then 4th and 1 (say what you want, but those 2 plays deflated Michigan and told Florida they were ready to play).  Then look what FL did on short yardage - end sweep and a pitch play ... the "manball" concept DOES NOT work against equally talented teams - deception does.

This is one thing Harbaugh absolutely needs to address.

Go Blue!