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Posted on Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 1:58 p.m.

Former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh a hot coaching commodity

By Dave Birkett


Stanford head coach and former Michigan quarterback Jim Harbaugh reacts after a touchdown against Southern California earlier this month. Stanford won 55-21. (Photo: Associated Press)

Jack Harbaugh spent 7 seasons working under Bo Schembechler in the 1970s, and he sees a lot of the legendary Michigan coach in his son, Jim, today.

His mannerisms, his voice inflection, his philosophy on building a team, and, of course, his offensive play calling.

In a 55-21 win over Southern Cal earlier this year, when Stanford tried a late 2-point conversion in an attempt to hit half a hundred on the Pac-10’s premier team, Jim Harbaugh called the same power running play 14 straight times.

“I thought, ‘There’s only one other man I know in this game of football that I’ve ever been associated with that would run the power 14 straight times,’” Jack Harbaugh said. “I can just see Bo up in heaven, he’s talking to Woody and he’s got a big old cigar and he and Woody are looking down on the game and he looks over to Woody and he says, ‘That Jimmy Harbaugh, that’s the way the game’s supposed to be played,’ taking real pride in it. And I truly believe that he does take pride in it.”

Three years into a massive rebuilding job at Stanford, Jim Harbaugh is the hottest name on a coaching carousel that will begin spinning in earnest this week.

He’s young, brash, has an impressive pedigree - besides Schembechler and his father, he counts Mike Ditka and Bill Walsh as two of his biggest coaching influences - and most importantly he's been wildly successful wherever he’s gone.

At Michigan, Harbaugh went 21-3-1 in his final 2 seasons as starter in 1985-86, leading the Wolverines to Fiesta and Rose Bowl appearances.

He played 15 seasons in the NFL and spent another as quarterbacks coach of the Oakland Raiders, helping the league’s most dysfunctional team make the Super Bowl before leaving for the University of San Diego, where he won 2 Division I-AA Mid-Major national titles in 3 years.

At Stanford, Harbaugh has built a top-25 program after years of ineptitude. He took over a 1-11 team coming off 5 straight losing seasons, and after 2 sub-.500 years of his own had the Cardinal 7-4 entering Saturday’s season finale against Notre Dame.

Harbaugh declined an interview request for this story through Stanford’s sports information department, but he acknowledged the state of the program he inherited on a recent Pac-10 teleconference.

One of the Cardinal’s biggest impediments to success was a culture of low expectations when it came to football.

“I deeply believe in the Stanford motto, and that is academics first above everything else and the idea that you can have it all,” Harbaugh said. “They can eat the whole pie. Not just a slice, not half of it, but the entire thing. They can achieve in the classroom and on the field.”

When he first took the Stanford job, Harbaugh had regular lunches with Walsh, the innovator of the West Coast offense who was then a consultant in the athletic department. They talked life and football, and with Harbaugh recording many of the conversations, they exchanged ideas on how to build a program.

This year’s team, led by workhorse running back Toby Gerhart, a Heisman Trophy candidate, and talented young quarterback Andrew Luck, is what Harbaugh had in mind.

Of course, the rebuilding process is far from complete - “We’re certainly not thinking that we’ve arrived or we’re satisfied in every way,” Harbaugh said - and it remains to be seen whether he’ll stick around to see it through.

He's been mentioned as a candidate for the Notre Dame job should Charlie Weis be fired, and last year there was talk of him joining his brother, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, in the NFL.

So far, Harbaugh has deflected questions about other jobs, even threatening to cut short a radio interview when the subject of taking over for Rich Rodriguez at Michigan came up.

But with a three-year contract extension sitting unsigned on his desk and the off-season just under way, don't expect the speculation to end anytime soon.

“I think he’s very, very happy at Stanford and Stanford is where he wants it to be,” Jack Harbaugh said. “But I would say this that still Michigan is the place that he loves, the place that for him was his foundation. It’s where, the five years he spent there, his education there at Michigan and his associations with Bo and the other coaches on the staff, that’s the place that he will always call home.”

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.


Sean T.

Sat, Dec 5, 2009 : 8:40 p.m.

Actually, I do know much about recruiting and I know what Devin Gardner's ranking is! But my opinion still stands that he's a bigger version of D-Rob. He has a slow,winding release and he doesn't take care of the ball very well. And yes, I know that he can develope but how did our QB's fare this year? Just my opinion but I still know more than you think, FRESH121


Thu, Dec 3, 2009 : 10:34 a.m.

Why push for Harbaugh to be coach when there is zero chance that Michigan would hire him? If Jim Harbaugh had ten undefeated seasons in a row at Stanford and said he would coach Michigan for free, UM would still not hire him. What he said about Michigan has caused a permanent break.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 4:10 p.m.

You could easily argue that the fans who have jumped ship are the ones who don't care enough to want RichRod fired for his lack of football acumen and character.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 3:11 p.m.

Sean devin gardner Is the top duel QB in the nation and ur gonna say hes a bigger D-rob you must not know 2 much..


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 1:33 p.m.

Sean - Devin Gardner will likely redshirt. And I believe that is the right thing to do. Yes, I am a faithful follower of Michigan Football. And that includes the head coach. It's a pity that some fans have jumped ship but, oh well!

Sean T.

Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 10:58 a.m.

Harbaugh is the perfect fit but he'll never come now. We are stuck with RR and his faithful followers too! So I'll root for the Blue by nature but my disdain for RR will only grow. Harbaugh's brand of Football is making a statement and it's loud and clear! He's taking over the Pac Ten with sub-par players but is using their best attributes and turning them into winners. Only good coaches do this and they don't run off half of the roster either. He's doing it with young players, old players,constantly-injured players, it doesn't matter he's doing it. I praise our Michigan fans who show patience but sometimes you have to know when to move on and this is it. And if you guy's wanna be honest that new recruit Devin Gardner is average at best! He's the larger version of D-Rob, which only makes him a "wildcat QB". But he'll still see the field because of his athletism. Maybe somehow this kid developes but if you want him over Forcier right now, you'll be sorry!!!!

Blueman Rick

Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 10:04 a.m.

Jim's our man. Just hope he doesn't sign a long term contract w/ Stanford. Unfortunately, UM is going to give RR one more year.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 7:48 a.m.

Looking at 2010 schedule looks to be more of the same for RR. Loses to OSU, MSU, PSU, ND, Iowa, Wisc. and most likely Conn. Wins: Purdue (maybe) Mass, BG, Indiana, Ill (maybe). Now is the time to get rid of RR or it will be straight years of no bowling. Believe me or Tater who predict 7-9 wins this year.


Wed, Dec 2, 2009 : 12:58 a.m.

Macabre Sunset: You nailed it with your recent comments. Great post. The bottom line is that Rich Rod needs to be replaced now, or this program will be set back 3 more years, regardless of what happens next year. We all know that this Michigan team will be poor to slightly below medicore at best next year. This is based on the level of position coaching and the head coaches lack of defensive knowledge/involvement/accountibility. If they even go 6-6 next year (with that schedule, this is very likely)...where does that leave RR?? Get another year? Screw that. This is Michigan. The talent line to Michigan is better than 90% of all of college football. I dont want to hear about systems and players...that is crap and garbage. A good coach can bend his system to fit the players. BTW, there is not that great of a difference between players in the spread vs. traditional pro set, other than mainly at QB. There are plenty of players out there that can populate and do well in the "spread"...just ask Brian Kelly. The difference is coaching and as you pointed out...RR is pathetic at that. He is nothing more than an OC in ability. Throw in his massive off the field issues and lack of character and he is a disaster personnafied.


Tue, Dec 1, 2009 : 7:29 p.m.

Pint sized huh tell that to chris rainey or jeff demps who both are small track star types playing in the bigger faster sec. Small guys can do good at wr rb qb even cb RR knows we need to get bigger on both the lines and better at LB. Sunset you act like pat white (another small guy) was the only reason they were any good pat white was good but he dident make it all happen, pat white steve slaton noel dvine all playmakers RR can get them type of guys if hes givin time.

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Dec 1, 2009 : 3:12 p.m.

It's frustrating to me that uninformed fans throw around the term "spread" like it's one offense. It's not a Power-I, which is well defined. Or a Wing-T. It's a concept, the same way West Coast is a concept. RichRod's spread is just a gimmick, and it requires Pat White to be even moderately effective. It can not work in a deep conference with big players. It fails against top defenses with disciplined coaches. It resembles what Urban Meyer is doing in name only. That's why Michigan was 9th in the conference in scoring this year - RichRod's second at the helm. Meanwhile, RichRod isn't even a head coach. He admittedly pays no attention to the defense, which has regressed to 11th in the Big Ten. Michigan's defense is now worse than the conference itself (11th out of 10 here). He's just an over-glorified offensive coordinator who blames everyone but himself when things go wrong. The difference between a coordinator and a head coach is that a head coach assumes responsibility and takes steps to correct problems. We really need a change now. One more year of RichRod just increases the burden on the next coach - who will hopefully be the first head coach at Michigan since Lloyd Carr.

Sean T.

Tue, Dec 1, 2009 : 2:38 p.m.

Tebow, Vince Young are obvious running QB's but they still line up in (pro) run formations throughout the game. Plus they have size to take a large amount of punishment that comes from running naked out of the spread. But take a look at the QB's prior to them taking over, they were pocket passers because that's what kind of offense they naturally run. Texas, like many of the teams in the Big Twelve are pass-oriented offenses that happen to have mobile QB's. (Actually, McCoy is a pro-style) When Florida's coach came from Utah he brought his same "Passing Spread Offense" but the scheme is fitted for both Prolific Passers and Mobile QB's. It comes from the same "TREE" of Coaches.. John L Smith, Joe Tiller, Kyle Whittingham, Jim Leavitt, Urban Meyer and Northwestern's former coach to name about half of them. Our coach's scheme is for mobile QB's only, alongside pint-size athletes who can't block on the perimeter. I understand using the speed in space to create mismatches but it hardly works against physical teams! RR's one power player was a fullback named Owen Schmitt who was grossly under-used but still would dominate in every aspect of the game. I'm quite aware that RR will be here another year but had the players to compete physically but he did'nt want to utilize them so they left. His offense isn't made to fit both mobile and pure passers so it may take about 5 years for succsess. Are you willing to wait that long?


Tue, Dec 1, 2009 : 9:15 a.m.

RR has barley 2 recruiting classes,he knows were unersized but theres only so many good big guys to go around you start taking any big guy then he has to sit learn and it takes awhile you cant just recruit a Lb whos 250 and cuz hes big hes gonna be good doesnt work that way, the top D guys weve been recruiting are in the upper 200's. Floridas Texas spread is different cuz there Qb know when to run tim tebow will pick up a 3rd and 3 with his legs he isent gonna try throw he ball 40 yards and up for grabs like tate neither will colt,or like when there close to the endzone i dont see tebow or others tossing it into the endzone they run for it unlike tate once he got hurt, that run tate had against nd for that score was the last time i seen that kid really run after that he just sat in the pocket gettin rocked,or tossing the ball up for i said befor theres no middel ground for RR either you want him here or fired..but he is gonna be here another year for sure its time to get behide the team not try to divide it and the fans..we all liked the 10 wins a season from Lc and getting beat by tressel and then smoked in a bowl game oooo plz bring back them years of 5 star recruits that never live up to the hype thank youe henne hart for your 1 good game against florida running the spread.

Sean T.

Tue, Dec 1, 2009 : 8:04 a.m.

Tru Blu.... Look at the offensive lines for Florida, Texas, OSU, Oklahoma,Alabama,LSU, TexTech, Michigan prior to RR, USC and any other contender. They have Massive O-lines and tough defenses with 300lbs DT's and LB's averaging 230lbs or more. And they still use Pro-style offensive and defensive prototype players. Greg Robinson, prior to Michigan used 4-3 sets even at Syracuse where he couldn't field the talent that he needed but they were a bit better than we are in AA. Robinson's now using a form of the 3-4 defense because it has 3-3-5 base to it! In Our 3-4 the 4th LB is actually a DB which makes the defense smaller in comparison to other Big Ten offenses. No wonder we can't stop anyone because we're already under-sized plus we're fielding more smaller players per position. I don't believe we can improve with this coach in AA!!!!!!!!!!!


Tue, Dec 1, 2009 : 7:48 a.m.

RR will get another year. Martin will be gone after that and change will be the name of the game if RR doesn't have a substantially better season. I for one would love to see JH at UM. He has something RR will never have which is a true connection to the spirit of being a Michigan player. I also think if that change was made there would be several more years of pain at UM. That is the nature of the beast when you change coaches.

gulo gulo

Tue, Dec 1, 2009 : 5:38 a.m.

I believe RR should be given his chance. But make no mistake: the Harbaughs can all coach; it's in their blood. Had my eye on him as a future Michigan coac since his first year at University of San Diego. One thing the article didn't mention: Harbaugh won at USD- a school that cost $35,000 a year at the time- without football scholarships! I am kind of surprised that Bill Martin didn't put him on stand-by the moment he knew that Lloyd was winding down. Before the silly flap about majors and such came out. Note that he was careful never to criticize Bo. He does whatever he can to draw attention to his program. Then he tries to move the spotlight on his players.


Tue, Dec 1, 2009 : 12:36 a.m.

Sean - absolutely, you don't NEED a spread to win a national championship. However, it greases the skids from an offensive standpoint. The idea is to score more points than the opposition and the spread offense does just that. If the team executes properly, it is extremely difficult to stop. You combine a run/pass threat like Michigan will have with Tate Forcier and Devin Gardener along with a strong running game and you have a lethal combination.

Sean T.

Mon, Nov 30, 2009 : 8:33 p.m.

Tru blu..... 5 years ago, I believe USC won a national championship without the spread-offense. I also recall OSU winning a national title without the spread a few years earlier without the spread too! My point is that you don't NEED a "spread" to win a title. And secondly, the spreads Florida and Oklahoma uses are dramatically different when it comes to scheme because they still use elements of the pro-style offense. (Florida has ran more since C.Leak has graduated, similar to Texas)


Mon, Nov 30, 2009 : 7:48 p.m.

if RR gets another year then what? B10 record of.500? add a couple of wins against the MAC and he get another year? "it's a process"? come onbe decisive like Bohire a M man!


Mon, Nov 30, 2009 : 7:25 p.m.

OSU fans should enjoy this. Most likely, the 2 WVA coaches are not going to take Michigan to prominence in their sports any time soon. It's their approaches that don't work in today's Big Ten - fielding small and quick teams in football and small and 3 point shooting teams in basketball. I hope I'm wrong. The 2 coaches may achieve mid-level performance in time, but haven't even reached that level yet.


Mon, Nov 30, 2009 : 4:13 p.m.

My ex who attends OSU tells me all OSU fans hope Mich keeps Rich Rod. U of M needs to restore it's image. Hire Harbaugh


Mon, Nov 30, 2009 : 3:42 p.m.

Rumor has it that Oklahoma AD Joe Castiglione is at or near the top of the list to replace Wee Willie Martin... I wonder if we could make it a package deal and bring Stoops in with him? I'd take Stoops over Harbaugh any day -- a much more proven commodity -- and it would stop ND from getting they're first choice for Chuckie's replacement too. A win-win situation!


Mon, Nov 30, 2009 : 1:29 p.m.

Rich Rod is big on bringing in speed instead of size, this is not going to work in the big ten. If you can find speed and size, that would be great. I do think that RR deserves another year because he actually only has one recruiting class that is active, he came in late his first year and did not get a full time to recruit. But I sure would hate to lose Harbaugh if things dont work out with RR.


Mon, Nov 30, 2009 : 12:50 p.m.

tomhagan -- am I crazy? Not as crazy as you. Am I a Michigan fan? Yes, and a passionate one at that. Before we make hasty proclamations about who is a better recruiter, let's see where Michigan and Stanford end up in the rankings come signing day. Harbaugh's Stanford team didn't exactly "wow" me against Notre Dame. Notre Dame nearly and probably should've won, with a lame duck coach to boot!

Lorain Steelmen

Mon, Nov 30, 2009 : 12:01 p.m.

After watching the Stanford defensive secondary against ND, I would NOT want Harbaugh at UM! Harbaugh's defense was not one bit better the UM's defense, and Coach Rod is working with his second DC in two years, and limited talent back there. STANFORD CAN KEEP HARBAUGH. After watching Les Miles over the past two years, I would NOT want him at UM. He displayed terrible clock management against Ol' Miss, and was fortunate to win last week. Miles has a terrible attitude, and needs to stay right where he is, and count all that money he got from LSU. Let's keep Coach Rod here, give him a chance to recruit, and develop some talent. He'll win here, and win BIG! As fans, we need to chill out, and give the man a chance to coach!


Mon, Nov 30, 2009 : 2:27 a.m. are crazy. Harbaugh is already out-recruiting RR while he is AT STANFORD!!! Look at the rankings. He is pulling plenty of highly rated kids that are both intelligent and good athletes/highly ranked. Are you even a Michigan fan? If you were you'd recognize that Harbaugh is kicking butt out there with Stanford resources...imagine what he would do at Michigan.


Mon, Nov 30, 2009 : 12:43 a.m.

Sean T said "Portagelk blu......Did JH need 4or5 years to get a winning season? And you don't have to run a spread to win a National Title either. All the way from Cali for nothing!" Sean - you don't have to run a spread to win a national title? Check again on the last four national champions. How many spread teams make up the top 10 this year? The spread is only growing in popularity and it's slowly overtaking the NFL. A spread offense and a great defense is the ticket to a national championship and it's not changing anytime soon.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 11:21 p.m.

Jim laughs at our academics. He laughs at his very own degree, Remember that? I think I need to see more then giving up 40 points in a shootout with a down and all but dead Notre Dame team. I love how all the sudden taking third in the Pac 10 anoints someone the next Bo.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 11:10 p.m.

Most 4 and 5-star talent these days is average to below average academically. Harbaugh would never take a chance on them. Yet, we need them to contend for a national championship. Michigan football is about contending for championships, both B10 and national. Harbaugh would be a bad fit for Michigan.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 10:38 p.m.

Harbaughs Resume speaks clearly: Winning as Q-back for the Blue, 15 years in the League, Help turn Raiders into Super Bowl Contenders; 2 National championships at San Diego State; Rebuilding Lowly Stanford in Competitive Pac 10. RR is 3-13 in a Horribly Weak Big 10 last 2 years. (Please see Big 10 Bowl records in last 2 years). I get as excited about RR's W/Virginia team in the BCS (Pat White) as I do about Lloyd getting credit for the 97 Nat Championship(The Great Charles Woodson). Brian Kelly took Cinci to a BCS game last year using 5 different Q-Backs with a team he inherited from M Dantonio(2-3* recruits) also lost 10 defensive STARTERS to graduation this year. RR's a crafty deceiving bum and will be found out, and he needs to learn that real Champions don't have time to complain, as they're to busy at getting better....

Sean T.

Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 10:26 p.m.

Portagelk blu...... Did JH need 4or5 years to get a winning season? And you don't have to run a spread to win a National Title either. All the way from Cali for nothing!


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 9:39 p.m.

Proven winner? 7-11 against top 25 teams at WV. 2-6 and 1-7 against the Big ten. If he is such a great coach why would he need 4 or 5 years? RR out...Harbaugh in.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 8:33 p.m.

Living in Southern Ca. I have a birds-eye view of you crybabies in Mich. JH can take USC rejects and beat up on the Big Ten. Why do you think Les will stay put until he retires or gets fired? Come on you pinheads you seem to know everything else about a winning formula, becuase of the rich recruiting the guy is going to look good even as an average coach just like JH at Stanford. You guys finally get a proven coach with some fire in his style and right away you want to get rid of him becuase he didn't win the big 10 in 2 yrs. You fans are renowned as the most subdued, quiet fans in college football even with the biggest crowd and now you want to drag this team even lower with this nonsense about getting rid of a quality coach before he's even had a chance. Give the guy at least 4-5 yrs and then if he's still not a fit at Mich. adios. You guys in the state of Mich. have not made a lot of sound business decisions as of late why don't you use your heads for once and go with a proven winner and knock off the popularity contest between Les and JH. I like Wolverine football always have as do alot of folks in Calif. but we'd like to see you guys use some sound judgement. Let's not forget all those Rose Bowl games since 1969 that you guys lost with Bo's STYLE it's time for a change maize and blue and you are not going to get that with Jim or Les. They will succeed where they are at becuase of the available recruiting to there schools. You have a winner just not yet be patient boys and girls good things are coming don't be so spoiled.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 7:56 p.m.

Why would you want to coach for the 3rd best team in Michigan. Lowell looked prety good taken out your QB, maybe 4th best.Good luck with that joke, when u actually play a real team.THOSE WHO STAY WILL WIN ONE OR TWO GAMES.GO BLOW.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 7:37 p.m.

Pride before the fall!

Sean T.

Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 4:53 p.m.

Stan, Did you really say "JH had the benefit of inheriting an excellent non-injury prone running back"? Toby Gerhardt's has blown out both of his knees 2 years in a row and after the second he contemplated giving up the sport. He also has had a series of shoulder injuries too! You have more excuses than RR!


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 1:49 p.m.

I liked the way JH "attacked" UM by ripping open the curtain for the world to see UM's dark academic secrets. UM has gotten too arrogant over the years and I am a Maize & Blue fan but like JH, I call it when I see it.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 1:47 p.m.

It was fun watching the Stanford Notre Dame game last night. Harbaugh plays Michigan football. Their defense is not the greatest, but they look like world beaters compared to the Michigan defense. It is time to get rid of the gimmick offense and no defense philosphy. Bring in harbaugh and let's avoid the 4-8 season coming in 2010 under RR.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 1:12 p.m.

ulearn: excellent comments. +1


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 12:57 p.m.

Ryan Mallett will be a first round pick in the NFL. Can you believe RR wanted Taint over him? Taint wasn't coming to UM if Mallett stayed. Another job well done by that genious RR. " I only have freshaman", yeah because you ran off the upper classman. Justin Boren one of only 2 Buckeyes selected to the All B10 team. Michigan had more players selected. The last place team. Now your going to tell me somehow UM's problem is talent. BS, they obviously had more than OSU. Keep drinking the RR kool-aid. Maybe Tater will be one of the cheerleaders next year as they lose to Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, Northwestern, Iowa, OSU and PSU. That another 7 B10 loses next year. All in for Richrod!


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 12:26 p.m.

It's time to call Jimmy home. He honed the craft and is now prepared to lead Michigan. Jim Campbell fired Les Moss becasue he had a chance to get Sparky Anderson. He knew the timing would come once. MSC and Bill Martin need to pull a Jim Campbell and bring Jimmy home when they still can.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 11:48 a.m.

Unlearn, Very well said. It is easy to tell leaders from followers. Mi needs a coach and a leader and coach Harbaugh would be a great fit. We need to get him now.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 11:47 a.m.

unlearn, I couldn't agree more with the opinions stated in your recent posting.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 11:38 a.m.

STOP with the Les Miles stuff. He's a horrible game day coach. His Championship LSU team won inspite of, not because of him. He bumbled clock management several times and it lucked into his favor. Watch the end of the Mississippi game if you want to see the true Les Miles. He's like a deer in the headlights, unable to anticipate and position his team for what's going to happen. Time after time his players find themselves in situations with the clock ticking down with the game on the line, looking at the sidelines, and Les gazing as if to say "What's the situation here?" He totally is unable to anticipate even two plays ahead. Never bring Les Miles to the Michigan head coaching job.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 11:29 a.m.

I've been reading these posts for the past two seasons. I think some fans have the wrong idea of why fans want RR gone. I've been watching UM football religiously for a while now, and I've never seen it this bad. I would be a little more understanding if the program looked like it was going in a positive direction. I've been watching RR's demeanor during interviews and on the sidelines. He's an ass-plain and simple. He isn't a good coach,or teacher. He degrades his players and coaches when they make mistakes; instead of correcting and motivating. I've been a teacher for seven years and I've never heard someone make more excuses for failing than RR. I wish I could make 2.5 million dollars a year, inherit a great program, and fail. Then, after failing, make excuses how I just "need the right players that fit my program" "and I need more time". I don't have those options. I have to teach the students that are given to me. If they don't do well, I have to figure out ways to make them learn. I don't put them down if they fail a test. I restructure my teaching style to fit their learning styles. A good teacher (coach) does that-not the other way around. It's not his record, but his attitude that turns fans against him.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 10:40 a.m.

Hey Stan: First of all, please put paragraphs in your comments--makes it easier to read. Next: When you say that lack of M players getting drafted is proof of how there was little talent here, I respectfully disagree. First, you don't need players drafted to prove how good your team is. Teams play well as a team without necessarily having outstanding individual talent. LC had lots of players drafted over the last 7 years yet didn't win a Rose bowl or B10 championship. Second, how much blame does the current coaching staff get for not developing their players enough to get drafted? Or is that on LC, also? I do think that the coaches that are there must develop their players to get looked at. NFL teams don't draft you based on high school rankings or potential.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 9:57 a.m.

The difference between RR and JH's records are that Michigan really didn't need a massive rebuilding effort. When you think football, you don't think Stanford. Michigan is synonymous with football, and had top talent here when RR arrived. Now shortly after RR arrived, we started losing talent because for whatever reasons he scared a lot of the players away. In summary though, RR is the reason Michigan needed a massive rebuilding. Michigan's rebuilding if anything should have looked more like Ohio State's rebuilding under Tressel: have a mediocre first year, and an out standing second year. I saw no improvement this year. The offense still turned the ball over every chance it gets, and the defense is struggling to make up for that. With all that said, I think it sets a dangerous precedent if you don't give RR three years. If next year looks even remotely close to this year, it is time to get rid of him.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 9:57 a.m.

Fans calling for Harbaugh to coach at Michigan are not being realistic. When he took over at Stanford he said disparaging things about academics at Michigan. That caused a final break with the U. He is not welcome here.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 8:43 a.m.

Wow, so Jim Harbaugh did something in three years that it only took Rich Rodriguez two years to do (beat Notre Dame) and some of you are hailing him as the second coming. He also had the benefit of inheriting an excellent, non-injury prone running back from his predecessor. Too bad Rich doesn't have this luxury, yet he was still able to beat ND in year 2 as an underdog. D21, you must not live in Ann Arbor. The Bank of Ann Arbor is a prominent area bank. There is no scandal there. John Beilein's mortgage was also through there. Oh, you probably hate him now too since his team lost to Marquette. David, Michigan last won a championship in 1997, so all of those recruits you mentioned are irrelevant. In 1997, Mo's last recruiting class were juniors, including Charles Woodson. I think it's safe to say without Woodson, Lloyd would have never sniffed a national championship. Granted, 1999 would have had potential, had Lloyd not been placating to Henson when Brady was clearly the quarterback. 1999 also marks Lloyd's last BCS bowl win. Rich's teams have won two BCS bowls in that time period, but some of say he's a lousy coach. It's time to take off your blinders and stop drinking the anti-Rich kool-aid. Support the program and its coach.

The Grinch

Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 6:37 a.m.

Stan says: "I've decided that dzuck doesn't watch college football if he truly believes Les Miles is a viable coach at a major program. He won with Saban's players, just like Carr won with Mo's recruits." Mo's last class was recruited in 1995. Carr coached until 2007. Last time I checked Carr recruited Long, Foote, Manningham, Breaston, Avant, Arrington, Henne, et. al. Yeah, that was a talentless team. Time to stop drinking the RichRod Kool-Aid.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 4:28 a.m.

Ypsigirl, Thank you for providing a different perspective coming from an OSU fan and I agree with you 100%. The pro RR crowd are nothing more than a bunch of fools and I am not talking about the Wolverines dismal record of the past 2 years but about the tru character of RR. I don't dislike RR but he comes across as a non-leader. Also, there should be a scandal that AD Martin had his own bank loan RR some $$$ which IMO is crossing the line. UM needs to fire RR and hire JH or someone else.


Sun, Nov 29, 2009 : 2:39 a.m.

WOW! What a great Stanford victory over Notre Dame. Stanford's 2 star recruits manned up and beat the 4-5 star ND recruits. Did you see that call that Harbaugh made on 4-4 with the HB pass? WOW. And he actually has 2 redshirt Freshman starting on the OL....and that is one DOMINATING OL. They dominated ND like they did vs. USC and Oregon. Impressive. 61 freshmen or sophomores on that team...only 2 less than what Michigan had...and they are 2-3 star kids too...and they play cohesively, disciplined and aggressive. BTW...did you see how Jim Harbaugh handed the praise and attention off toward Toby Gerhart after the is the clip: that is a coach that has his player's back. Kids love to play for a coach like that. Class move.

Macabre Sunset

Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 11:56 p.m.

Or maybe we're against RichRod for a third reason: he's a lousy coach. Everyone has to deal with losing key players to graduation. Not everyone blames his predecessor. Not everyone gets to inherit a program that has had a top-ten recruiting class every single year over the last decade. The team was actually worse than last year's mess. Only an easier schedule and a down year for the Big Ten saved Michigan from another 3-9 record. Or worse. RichRod isn't rebuilding. He's dismantling. Yes, it will be painful to start over, but not as painful as continuing with this disaster.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 11:36 p.m.

Harbaugh: Class act. After his team beat ND tonight, he found Toby Gerhart, who ran for 205, and puts him in front of the reporter who's trying to ask Harbaugh questions. Then Harbaugh *walks away* to let his player be recognized.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 11:01 p.m.

Uh raddes? You're forgetting something. Harbaugh took over a LOSING Stanford program and has turned them into winners. Rich Rod took over a WINNING Michigan program and turned them in to losers.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 10:08 p.m.

I like how some of you refer to the Michigan coaching position as "this opportunity" for other people. The only person this is an opportunity for is Rich Rodriguez. If you're against Rich Rodriguez, you fall into two camps: 1) you never supported him in the first place, or 2) you are not aware/choose to ignore the fact that attrition and graduation have taken a toll on the upperclassmen. This year, the senior class was extremely small, and the same will be true next year. There were (if I remember correctly) two Michigan players drafted last year. This year, there will be 1, maybe two (obviously Brandon Graham, and maybe Minor, Brown, or Mathews) players drafted. That alone should tell you all you need to know about Lloyd's bare cupboard. David, you sound like such a pessimist. It's silly to say Michigan would have lost without a kickoff return TD. It would be like me saying that Notre Dame would have lost by more if they hadn't scored one of their TDs. As for the Indiana game, that call was not terrible. In fact, you can argue that it was correct if you've seen the still shots. Also, Indiana still was trailing at that point and had the ball on their own side of the field. I would argue that Michigan could have just as easily beaten State, Iowa, Purdue, and even Ohio State if not for freshman mistakes. Michigan was competitive in every game (except Penn State), and that alone is an improvement from 2008. I think it's hilarious that most of you are pumping up Harbaugh after he had the same record in year 2 as Rich did. If Rich gets his 8 or 9 wins next year, will all of you admit you were wrong writing him off so soon? I highly doubt it... I've decided that dzuck doesn't watch college football if he truly believes Les Miles is a viable coach at a major program. He won with Saban's players, just like Carr won with Mo's recruits.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 10:06 p.m.

Upswing: First two losing seasons in forty years. Upswing: Missed bowl game twice for first time since only one Big Ten team went to a bowl. Upswing: Team showed no improvement over the course of both of the last two seasons, and in many ways regressed. Upswing: Coach is embroiled in legal mess related to murky dealings with banned booster where coach is refusing to honor contract he signed. Upswing: M is paying for contract coach refused to honor at WV. Upswing: Coach blames everyone else for his lousy results. Upswing: A record that would have gotten Carr, Moeller, or Bo fired is seen as an 'improvement' even though it included beating a joke of a team that Bo would never have scheduled. Upswing: Star QB recruit is solely responsible for five turnovers against OSU. Coach blames true freshman QB even though he's now started 12 games and started a semester early. Upswing: Other star QB recruit is one-dimensional, thowing 4 INTs in 31 attempts. Upswing: Players complain that coach's requirements break NCAA rules and NCAA investigation follows. I really don't see how anyone can seriously assert that this is an 'upswing' unless they are entirely clueless about the meaning of the word. And for the record, I think we have/had plenty good enough players to win seven or eight games, go to a bowl game, and all but silence the RR critics. But instead we won five games (barely) and I'm hoping this coach is on the outswing.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 9:56 p.m.

RR's coaching resume okay. 7- 11 against top 25 teams at WV. No undeafeated seasons even after the 3 best teams in the Big East left for the ACC. 2-6 against the Big Ten last year, 1-7 this year. RR is the most overrated coach in college football. What do you like about his coaching resume?

The Grinch

Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 9:48 p.m.

"Michigan is on the upswing, whether you can see it or not." Yeah, I guess 5-7 after 3-9 is "upswing". But we are a kick return for a TD (in the ND game) and a terrible ref call in the Indiana game away from being 3-9 this year. And, in 2008, we were 2-6 in the Big Ten. This year we were 1-7. Upswing? Sure, if you're on crack, it probably looks like an upswing.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 9:44 p.m.

The things that JH has done that RR has not done is working with what is there and who he inherited player-wise, and improving the team. Yes, JH's record and RR's records are comparable so far, but JH has made much more of his team than RR to date. He has given his team a competitive fire, and they seem to be elevating their play. Just watching them the last few weeks, they seem to be light years ahead of RR's teams in terms of fundamentals. Whether JH should be the Michigan coach--that is debatable. I think in terms of understanding the role of football at Michigan vis-a-vis the university, understanding the rivalries, understanding how it is to go into opposing stadiums--JH gets it. He has a sense of cockiness that he showed when he guaranteed victory, when he laid 55 on USC, that is fine at times, but may not be fitting of a Michigan coach. But anyone who compares his success to RR so far is, in my opinion, fooling themselves. As pointed out above, RR started out with players who were used to winning, who had been to many previous bowls, were in championship hunts--while JH had players who had never sniffed post-season play. Yet, JH has gotten it out of his players while RR has essentially had no results yet. INteresting comparison.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 8:10 p.m.

As soon as Martin is gone hire Jim Harbaugh!


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 7:40 p.m.

I was born and raised in Ohio. a buckeye fan and will die a Buckeye fan. That said, I really do like Michigan football. It is great to see a classic game played in my backyard everyother year. This rivalry has gone downhill the last few years and there is a petition on the OSU campus to make another game the last of the season. People all over the country looked forward to the Ohio State/Michigan game every year. It used to be a good game. I wouldn't even buy a ticket this year. Rodriguez is out of his league. He didn't have the resume to come here and coach on this level. We are talking about coaches who become legends like Bo and Woody and now Tressel. Rodriguez is a joke not a legend. He needs to realize he made a big mistake coming here and bow out gracefully. Maybe when the old man Martin vacates his office, common sense will take over and a new coach will be hired. It will take time to build the program again. Rodriguez is out of his element. Let him go back to the woods and coach the hillbillies not the elite of the Big 10.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 7:30 p.m.

Of course they won't even look at Harbaugh. Rodriguez is not quite done running the program into the ground.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 6:43 p.m.

Harbaugh would be a great hire. He knows the Big Ten. We need to get him this year do not wait for another team to get him.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 6:37 p.m.

Rich Rodriguez tore down one of the most storied programs in history...from the top down. Jim Harbaugh has built up one of the most pathetic programs in history....from the bottom up. Any questions? Didn't think so.

Macabre Sunset

Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 6 p.m.

raddes, the difference is that Stanford was a mess when he got there. Records prior to Harbaugh: 1-11, 5-6, 4-7, 4-7, 2-9. Michigan had 40 straight winning seasons and the cupboard was anything but bare. I don't think we need the latest hot commodity. But we do need a new coach. RichRod's not a major college coach. Speaking of which, a mid-major is not what the author thinks it is. More editing is necessary. The first sentence doesn't meet AP style as well. And the new basketball story is incoherent in a couple of places, too.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 5:55 p.m.

The difference is Harbaugh took a 1-11 team and made progress every year. RR dismantled a winning program and is taking it the wrong way. If they give RR another year we will miss out on Harbaugh.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 5:18 p.m.

4-8 5-7 7-4...that is Mr. Harbaugh's record over his first 3 seasons at Stanford. When Rich goes 7-5, 8-4 next year then what are all of you "Michigan fans" going to say? "Get him outta here, this is Michigan, we are a program with a tradition of winning" Jim Harbaugh has done nothing miraculous other than put in his system and recruit his players oh AND the Stanford Media didn't drag him through the mud while he was doing it. Rich Rodriguez wanted the Michigan job, he initiated the interview...he wanted to come to Michigan. It's sad t say but most Michigan fan's will never be satisfied. Jim Harbaugh can't hold Rich Rodriguez's jock strap as a football coach. Jim Harbaugh has had time and no pressure from alumni and media like Rich Rodriguez has. I know the media in Michigan is used to feeding off of all the negativity surrounding this state, but seriously, get off the guys back. He is re-building a program that had been tarnished a couple years before him. (Submitted by a true Michigan fan)


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 5 p.m.

Jim Harbaugh's record at Stanford: 2007 4-8 2008 5-7 (sounds familiar) 2009 7-3 (at the moment) AA article comments: "Three years into a massive rebuilding job at Stanford, Jim Harbaugh is the hottest name on a coaching carousel...." "Of course, the rebuilding process is far from complete - Were certainly not thinking that weve arrived or were satisfied in every way, Wow, Harbaugh was offered the time, patience, and energy to "rebuild" a college football program--and he's not done!! Some of you are just being extremely hypocritical right now. As I said before, even if Harbaugh churned out his record in year 2(9-15) at UM, you'd be making these same bogus comments about him... Be a true fan...Go RR//Go Blue.....


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 4:54 p.m.

"I think hes very, very happy at Stanford and Stanford is where he wants it to be, Jack Harbaugh said. But I would say this that still Michigan is the place that he loves, the place that for him was his foundation. Its where, the five years he spent there, his education there at Michigan and his associations with Bo and the other coaches on the staff, thats the place that he will always call home. Nice. The wheels are in motion. Go Blue...Get back to Michigan Football!!!


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 4:44 p.m.

Jim was smart not commenting on the Mich. job. Actually I'd like to see Jim stay at Stanford. I don't think he'll get the talent at Mich for another Bo style program. Better pickens on the West coast anyone knows that. Anyways I'm much more sold on rr than Jim.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 4:26 p.m.

Is the reason Harbaugh has made some comments about his alma mater that aren't what we expected because of the way Lloyd treated him when he applied for the QB coaches job? I think Lloyd was jealous of Harbaugh's relationship with Bo and didn't want to cast Harbaugh in any positive light. Scot Loeffler is not and never will be a Jim Harbaugh. Lloyd should never be involved in any future coaching searches.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 4:09 p.m.

I certainly loved Jim Harbaugh as a player - both at Michigan and in the NFL. He probably WOULD make a great coach at Michigan if things work out that way. He's IS kind of a modern day version of Bo. Being brash can be a good thing AND bad thing. I think sometimes he comes across as having a big mouth. That could get him into trouble with some people at a high profile program like Notre Dame (God forbid he go there!) or Michigan. I can't say I like the way he singled out Michigan on his rant to the media a few years back about athletes taking weak academic programs at major programs. He may have had a good point, but in the process he cast Michigan in a negative light in the national media. I don't think I'm alone among Michigan alums who have a bad taste in their mouths about that incident. But he was trying to initiate a process of positive change, so I've gotten over it. I think he will stay at Stanford for now and see what happens at Michigan in the next year or so. Just my opinion.

Wystan Stevens

Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 3:44 p.m.

Editor, please! At the time of my writing this comment, the first sentence of the story above makes no sense. The second line is not even a sentence.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 3:07 p.m.

Here we have another opportunity to get a coach with integrity and honor and the wizards in charge are going to let it go by the way-side. Les Miles seemed like a sure thing and Martin et al couldn't make it happen. Harbaugh seems like a near perfect fit, and his dad is even saying M is the place he loves, and we're going to stick with a poor choice, bad fit, and two-year loser who's given us nothing but negative records, endless excuses/blame, and an NCAA investigation. Great, just great.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 2:50 p.m.

azwolverine, Bo sez, "No way" (JH going to ND or anywhere except UM).


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 2:46 p.m.

I'd hate to see him go to Notre Dame.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 2:45 p.m.

Theo212, Let's pen up a nice poem for JH despite your love for RR.


Sat, Nov 28, 2009 : 2:44 p.m.

Fire RR and hire JH asap.