Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Jim Harbaugh,Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes

The University of Michigan’s football program has been in the news for some time. Not only did they have a losing season, there was also controversy regarding backup quarterback Shane Morris’s concussion. Then, among all the controversy, athletic director Dave Brandon resigned. Michigan’s president Mark S Schlissel then replaced him with interim A.D. Jimmy Hackett. And after the last game of the season, a loss to Ohio State, Hackett terminated Brady Hoke’s contract.

At this point, there has been speculation about Jim Harbaugh, the current 49er head coach, returning to Michigan. Jim attended high school in Ann Arbor, Michigan and in Palo Alto, California. His father Jack was an assistant coach at both universities. Jim then attended the University Michigan and was a three-year starter. As a fifth-year senior in 1986, co-captain Harbaugh led Michigan to 1987 Rose Bowl, and was in the running for the Heisman. His head coach at Michigan was the legend Bo Schembechler. Jim Harbaugh is a Michigan man.

It’s not surprising that Jim was also the head coach at Stanford prior to becoming the San Francisco 49ers head coach. And Jim’s first NFL coaching experience was being the quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders. All told, Jim also coached at the University of San Diego and even played for the San Diego Chargers.  It is clear that Jim has a strong allegiance to the West Coast, as well as to the University Michigan.

Unfortunately, the Big Ten has lost some of its luster as a football powerhouse conference. It is no longer the conference of Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler and 3 yards and a cloud of dust. In fact, early on, during this past collegiate football season, the Big Ten did not have a team considered for the 4 team college playoff. In fact, it wasn’t until after the last college game, that, Ohio State made the cut. And Ohio State will play Alabama on New Year’s Day.

Why would coach Harbaugh return to the Big Ten and coach a below average Michigan team? Where is his heart? Is it in California or in Michigan?

It is clear, that, Ohio State’s won- lost record has been very impressive with the exception of year 2011. And, especially from 2012 to present under coach Urban Meyer. In fact, any one of his three starting quarterbacks this year were superior to Michigan’s starter Devin Gardner.

Whatever Urban Meyer’s drinking, he should save some for Michigan’s new coach. One major key for Michigan’s future success is simply recruiting hard-nosed, tough exceptional athletes. Coach Meyer has it down. I don’t know what his secret is, but he has one. Hopefully, Michigan can infiltrate and learn from his model.

Back in the old days, when Bo Schembechler was the head coach, he had Fritz Seyferth (a former walk-on player) as an assistant in the athletic director’s office. Fritz put together an outstanding recruiting program incorporating CEOs, titans of industry and even president Jerry Ford in the process.

It’s not enough to have football knowledge at the college level. It’s about recruiting, recruiting and recruiting. The head coach and his staff has to be able to relate to the players of today, and like Bo take them and change their mindset , so that they can perform out of this world.

Jim Harbaugh are you up to this challenge? You’ve had impressive head coach coaching records for the University of San Diego, Stanford University and the San Francisco 49ers. We know you can coach. Happy birthday to a young 51-year-old man. Jim you’re young, make the correct choice.

Go Blue!

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