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#pounditMonday, July 4, 2022

Articles tagged: Michigan Football

NFL coach could have interest in replacing Jim Harbaugh at Michigan?

Jim Harbaugh in sunglasses

If Jim Harbaugh leaves Michigan to return to the NFL, the Wolverines will reportedly have strong interest from a pretty big name.

Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule would be interested in the Michigan job should it become available, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. It is unclear whether that interest would be mutual, and it’s worth noting that Rhule has no ties to the university.

Rhule has apparently had his eye on college jobs for a while, as he reportedly looked at the Penn State job before it became clear that James Franklin would stay put there. He also may have reportedly pushed for the LSU job had the school been more interested.

These reports certainly suggest that Rhule is looking for a route out of the NFL and back to the college game, where he was much more successful. He had success at both Temple and Baylor, but is just 10-23 in two seasons with the Panthers. The feeling might be mutual, and Carolina’s owner might be very pleased at the chance to get out from under Rhule’s contract.

Of course, Harbaugh would have to make the jump to the NFL for any of this to be relevant. The Michigan coach might be open to making that move, but there is nothing concrete so far.

Photo: Nov 16, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh reacts during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Jim Harbaugh would accept Raiders job

Jim Harbaugh in a Michigan hat

Jim Harbaugh continues to be linked to the Las Vegas Raiders coaching job, and the latest word out of his current employer is only going to fuel those rumors.

There is a belief within Michigan that Harbaugh would accept the Raiders job if it were offered to him, according to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic. People within the program have reportedly long believed that Harbaugh would want to coach in the NFL again, but also concede that the coach can be difficult to read.

What is not clear is whether the timing is right for Harbaugh. Michigan is coming off its best season under him, while the Raiders are in an uncertain situation without a general manager. However, Harbaugh and Raiders owner Mark Davis are longtime friends, and Harbaugh also met his wife in Las Vegas.

Harbaugh has been mum on his status for next year, leaving everyone else guessing. Some reports have indicated the Michigan coach may be using the rumors as leverage in contract negotiations with Michigan. Other stories suggest that money isn’t even a factor in any move to the NFL.

There is an argument that at this stage, Michigan knows best where things stand with their coach. This report will be of clear concern for those who want him to stay in Ann Arbor.

Photo: Aug 31, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh before the game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Harbaugh a realistic possibility for 1 NFL team?

Jim Harbaugh walking

The idea of Jim Harbaugh leaving Michigan after his best season with the program sounds farfetched to some, but the rumors are not going away. While there are likely several NFL teams that would have interest in Harbaugh, one may be worth keeping an eye on.

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, there is buzz building within NFL circles that the Las Vegas Raiders could land Harbaugh. As Florio puts it, there is a belief that Raiders owner Mark Davis “wants, and will get” Harbaugh.

The Raiders are still fighting for a playoff spot. They can punch their ticket to the postseason with a win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night. If they make it, interim head coach Rich Bisaccia would have a better chance of keeping the job. Davis is said to be impressed with Bisaccia, but would he prefer him over Harbaugh? Probably not.

Harbaugh began his coaching career as a quarterbacks coach with the Raiders in 2002, so he has ties to the organization. Las Vegas also has an established starting QB in Derek Carr, which could appeal to Harbaugh.

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014 before being forced out over issues with the team’s front office. He took the team to the NFC Championship Game three straight years and Super Bowl in 2012. He has a rare resume that includes success at both the NFL and college levels.

If Harbaugh does shock the college football world and leave Michigan, the Raiders and at least one other team will likely pursue him.

Photo: Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh watches warmups before a game against Northern Illinois at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021

Jim Harbaugh hinted to recruit that he could leave Michigan?

Jim Harbaugh in a Michigan hat

Jim Harbaugh just led Michigan to its most successful season since he was hired by the school seven years ago, but there has been some talk about him potentially leaving for a new job. Apparently the coach has not ruled it out.

A report earlier this week claimed Harbaugh is considering a potential return to the NFL. According to one recruit’s father, Harbaugh recently admitted that is a possibility.

Larry Clemons, the father of four-star wide receiver Darius Clemons, told Sam Webb of The Michigan Insider that Harbaugh admitted to the Clemons family that he will “entertain” conversations with NFL teams.

“He said that he’ll entertain (it),” Larry Clemons said. “He was up front with us about that. I had Coach Harbaugh speak to my pastor. They had a good conversation. Our pastor asked him about that, and that’s just that’s the (reply) that he gave him.”

Darius Clemons committed to Michigan last month, so he must not have been too concerned. If anything, he probably appreciated the honesty from Harbaugh.

There are two schools of thought with Harbaugh. One is that he actually is contemplating a return to the NFL, where he enjoyed plenty of success as a head coach. He went 44-19-1 in four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014 before being forced out over issues with the team’s front office. He took the team to the NFC Championship Game three straight years and Super Bowl in 2012.

Harbaugh also could be trying to create leverage with Michigan. He signed an extension at a discounted rate last season, so he may want a raise after winning the Big Ten and taking the Wolverines to the College Football Playoff. College coaches use offers from other programs and NFL teams all the time to secure new contracts. It is certainly possible Harbaugh is taking that approach.

Harbaugh seems to genuinely love Michigan. He was swatting away NFL coaching rumors even when things were going poorly in Ann Arbor. We doubt he’ll leave, but you never know.

Photo: Aug 31, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh before the game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Harbaugh giving thought to NFL return?

Jim Harbaugh in sunglasses

Jim Harbaugh is coming off his best season in the seven years he has been at Michigan, but that is not going to stop the speculation that he could leave the school for another job.

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported on Tuesday that he has been told by sources at the NFL and collegiate level that Harbaugh is considering a return to the NFL. One source said he believes the talk is “real.”

Michigan went 12-2 this season and won the Big Ten for the first time since Harbaugh was hired in 2015. The Wolverines won the conference by finally beating Ohio State in the regular season and dominating Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game. Michigan then lost to Georgia in the College Football Playoff, but the season is widely considered a success.

There was talk of Harbaugh being on the hot seat after Michigan went 2-4 in a COVID-shortened season last year. The coach then signed a discount contract extension with the school. He could probably secure a raise and extension now after taking the Wolverines to the College Football Playoff. Why, then, would Harbaugh be tempted to leave Ann Arbor?

As Feldman notes, there are two NFL head coaching vacancies that might interest Harbaugh — the Las Vegas Raiders and Chicago Bears. Harbaugh began his coaching career as a quarterbacks coach with the Raiders in 2002. He played for the Bears for seven seasons after they drafted him in the first round in 1987.

Still, the jump seems unlikely. Harbaugh loves Michigan so much that he took a pay cut last year rather than looking for another job. He earned a significant amount of bonus money this season due to the team’s performance, but he donated it all back to Michigan’s athletic department.

NFL teams would certainly have interest in Harbaugh, who went 44-19-1 in in four seasons as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014. He took the team to the NFC Championship Game three straight years and Super Bowl in 2012. Harbaugh’s resume is plenty impressive.

That doesn’t mean he wants to leave. Harbaugh was swatting away NFL coaching rumors even when things were going poorly at Michigan. After beating Ohio State and reaching the College Football Playoff, he likely feels he has finally gotten over the hump. The same rumors will pop up every year, but we wouldn’t expect Harbaugh to go anywhere.

Photo: Nov 16, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh reacts during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Harbaugh not dismayed despite Michigan beatdown

Jim Harbaugh in sunglasses

Jim Harbaugh came up small in a big spot once again on Saturday night.

Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines were completely dismantled by the Georgia Bulldogs, who punched their ticket to the National Championship Game with a 34-10 victory.

After the latest loss, Harbaugh did not sound dismayed.

“It was a great season. To me it’s one of the best seasons in Michigan football history. We were trying to make it greater. We were trying to make it greater tonight. But it was still a great season,” Harbaugh told reporters after the game.

Harbaugh ultimately chalked the blowout up to happenstance. He felt Georgia played their very best game of the season, while Michigan’s players did not. There were no emotions beyond that.

It’s also a time to look forward, Harbaugh said. He believes this is only just the beginning of a Wolverines resurgence.

“It’s still a beginning for this team,” Harbaugh added. “It’ll begin anew this year. Start of a new year.

“Proud of (the team), the way they kept fighting. I could say they were — there’s never any quit in these guys. It’s a very resilient — ton of resolve with this football team, and as I said, to me it feels like a start. Feels like a beginning.”

Sometimes it seems too easy for Harbaugh to brush off failure but perhaps that all comes with a wealth of experience.

Image: Nov 16, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh reacts during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Vrabel jabs Michigan in funny tweet

Mike Vrabel on the sidelines

Mike Vrabel got in on the Michigan bashing with a funny tweet on Friday night.

Vrabel, the current Tennessee Titans head coach and a former Ohio State star linebacker, responded to a tweet from one of his Titans players, Taylor Lewan.

Lewan, a former Michigan Wolverine, took a shot at Cincinnati after the Bearcats lost 27-6 to Alabama in the first semifinal game of the College Football Playoff on Friday. Lewan said that Cincinnati was a “sacrificial lamb” for the non-power 5 schools.

Vrabel responded and said make that two lambs.

That was a jab at Michigan, which lost by an even greater margin, falling 34-11 to Georgia.

Well played by Vrabel.

Photo: The Tennesseean-USA Today Network

Michigan’s struggles against Georgia summed up by 1 play

Andrew Vastardis pushed by Travon Walker

Going up against the Georgia Bulldogs turned out to be a terrible matchup for the Michigan Wolverines. One play in particular summed up how badly the matchup was going in the College Football Playoff semifinal between the teams on Friday.

Early in the game, Michigan pulled two of their linemen on a rushing play up the middle. Center Andrew Vastardis, who already had committed a false start, had forward momentum as he came into contact with Travon Walker. Despite having this momentum, Walker sent Vastardis backwards with ease as if he were pushing around a blocking sled.

You knew right then and there that the game wasn’t going to go well for Michigan.

The Wolverines’ game is power football. They were able to overpower 12 opponents, and arguably even Michigan State, this season. But Georgia’s vaunted defensive line was more powerful than them, and that stunted the Wolverines.

The Wolverines are the third-best team in college football. There’s no shame in that. It’s just that the gap between the top two and the rest of the country is vast, and the particular matchup between Michigan and Georgia was a terrible one for the Wolverines.

Georgia fools Michigan with interesting strategy on opening drive

Georgia against Michigan

Georgia sure did its coaching homework in preparing for their College Football Playoff game against Michigan in the Orange Bowl on Friday.

The Bulldogs went 80 yards on seven plays on their opening drive to score a touchdown and take a 7-0 lead against the Wolverines. They completed three passes to tight end Brock Bowers on the drive, including the touchdown.

Where Georgia’s pregame preparation paid off was on the final two plays. On a 3rd-and-1 at the Michigan 11, Georgia came out of a timeout and did some extreme pre-snap line shifting. That left Michigan’s defensive line confused and out of position as Zamir White converted the first down.

Then on the following play, Georgia broke its huddle, quickly ran to the line, and quickly snapped the ball. They ran a play action and Bowers was wide open for the touchdown.

Michigan’s defense does a lot of pre-snap communication and changes. By shifting on the third-down play, and by breaking the huddle and rushing to snap the ball on the following play, Georgia prevented Michigan from being able to do what they like to do.

Jim Harbaugh wears interesting T-shirt ahead of Michigan playoff game

Jim Harbaugh shirt

Jim Harbaugh was seen wearing a very interesting T-shirt ahead of Michigan’s College Football Playoff game against the Georgia Bulldogs.

Michigan’s offensive line won the Joe Moore Award this year, which is handed out to the best offensive line unit in the country.

As the team was given the award, Harbaugh was seen wearing a T-shirt that said “Run The Damn Ball.”

The shirt is written in Michigan’s block yellow letters, all in caps (it’s made by the site Blue By Ninety). There is no confusing the powerful message.

Michigan’s offensive linemen all wore the shirt on Wednesday:

Was Harbaugh wearing that shirt intentionally because it was a nod to his linemen? Or is it because the shirt is a reflection of the Jim Harbaugh winning philosophy? The philosophy worked against Ohio State this year. Maybe Michigan will follow the words in their game against Georgia. Or maybe they’ll fool Georgia and go pass-heavy.

Harbaugh’s already playing mental games with Kirby Smart.