Friday, January 2, 2015

Jim Harbaugh's Next Challenge

Big Ten football is not ready to be buried or dead. Yesterday, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State were winners and only Minnesota lost. Not only that, but Ohio State is playing Oregon for the college football championship. Notice, there is no team from the heralded SEC Conference in that game.

In the Outback Bowl, Wisconsin beat Auburn 34 to 31, with the nations rushing leader Melvin Gordon attaining 251 yards. The Michigan State Spartans triumphed the Baylor Bears in the Cotton Bowl 42 to 41 scoring three touchdowns [The last touchdown with 17 seconds left in the game] in the fourth quarter while holding Baylor scoreless. It’s reported that Quarterback Connor Cook is returning next year to East Lansing. In the Sugar Bowl [Semifinal championship game], Cardale Jones, in just his second career start, was instrumental in the Ohio State Buckeyes whipping the Alabama Crimson Tide by the score of 42 to 35. And Ohio State whipped them good. And on the 12th of January, the Buckeyes play the Oregon Ducks for the championship. Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer accomplished this[ Possibility of the national championship] in his third year of coaching the Buckeyes. Urban Meyer this is impressive.

Simply put, Big Ten football made an exclamation point. What is significant are the number of outstanding and I mean outstanding college football players [the depth] on these 3 Big Ten teams. Who would expect a third string quarterback to lead his team over the number one ranked team in the country? Incidentally, his first start was a win for the Big Ten championship. These teams are well-stocked with talent and will make the 2015 college football season very difficult to say the least for the Wolverines.

The major task, aside from putting together an outstanding staff of coaches, is for Jim Harbaugh finding and recruiting outstanding young athletes with character. Obviously, he cannot do this job alone. He requires assistance from all the alumni. The Michigan football program has to bring to Ann Arbor, young men of athletic talent. Some of the recruits will likely be more gifted than others. That means, teaching, mentoring, as well as providing the platform of developing these athletes are required.

Additionally, mental toughness, competitiveness, ability to become part of the team, intelligence and a will to win are important variables. Coach Harbaugh, like coach Schembechler has to be able to modify and reframe the players thinking in their ability to think about themselves in very different ways. They need to believe, to train, to become like a band of brothers, and to have the confidence and hope in tough practices and games. Coach Harbaugh will be able to tell about their toughness and their thinking during practice.

The physical variables like weight, speed and strength are easily measured. The intangibles like ability to focus, to improve and reach higher levels [thinking and behavior] are more difficult to assess. Coach Harbaugh, we know you know about X and O’s. It’s what you can accomplish between the ears of these players that will make the difference. I have confidence, you learned from your father Jack, from Bo, Gary Moeller and others along your journey. Find the players and work your magic

Go Blue!

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