Coach Jim Harbaugh is a stickler for fundamentals. Fundamentals mean learning how to correctly block, tackle, run and pass the football. There many illustrations of Harbaugh demonstrating proper techniques to his players especially the quarterback. Make no mistake about it, current quarterback Rudock is learning to be fundamentally sound at that quarterback position. Proper blocking and tackling is the foundation for good football and something Harbaughs learned early on from Bo Schembechler’s football staff. With Schembechler, he learned the importance of practicing and practicing or in other words, running the play correctly. He also learned from Bo, that one plays how one has practiced during the week. That means practices are competitive with hard hitting, utilizing fundamentals. The importance of competitiveness cannot be overstated and is one of the hallmarks of a well-coached Michigan football team. Harbaugh like Schembechler even has his players running that weekly competitive mile under the coach’s watchful eye.
Coach Harbaugh learned from Bo Schembechler about the importance of being part of the team. In essence, football is the ultimate team sport. One player does not win or lose the game. With Schembechler, it was about the team, and only the team. In changing the culture, coach Harbaugh’s quarterback was a transfer from the University of Iowa. Rudock beat out Shane Morris last year’s backup quarterback. Even with early struggles, Harbaugh said that Rudock was hands-down the best quarterback, and now we know that Shane Morris is being redshirted. Harbaugh is making sure that individual egos are not getting in the way of playing for his team. No one is bigger than the team as that would interfere with developing team cohesiveness. Harbaugh is creating a band of brothers, so that each player is taking care of his own position, his assignment and being part of the team. Each player has to respect the team and respect the coaching staff’s decision for certain alignments. Jabrill Peppers, for one, is learning about the dangers of freelancing versus playing his position.
We know the physical part of the game is very important. But perhaps more important, is the mental aspect or the mental toughness component. In part, mental toughness is also about expectations. Coach Harbaugh brings positive energy based on his dynamic personality. Harbaugh has succeeded at every level, and I mean every level. He knows success and he knows about hard work. Success is important because it leads to more success. And there’s a relationship between success and ego- goal achievement or attainment. We all have expectations and expectations can only appropriately rise based on previous successes. Winning at your position means beating or dominating your opponent. Developing that confidence builds more confidence with higher expectations. Research shows that expectations is a personal and powerful motivator. The Michigan Wolverines have a very different expectation level this year than they did during last year’s football season.
Jim Harbaugh has learned and Incorporated many ideas [teaching fundamentals, creating cohesiveness, and mental toughness with expectations of success] over his lifetime. Having a father for a coach; an older brother as a coach; and having a brother-in-law as a coach, has been great modeling for this 50-year-old man. Also important was learning from one of the best that being legend Bo Schembechler. Being intelligent, Harbaugh knows about learning from others, and about playing the game at the highest level possible. Quarterbacks are known as being smart, and Jim Harbaugh is as smart as they become. Currently he has surrounded himself with terrific coaches and already has changed the “I CAN” thinking mentality of his Wolverines. They are his Wolverines. I know that coach Harbaugh is not totally satisfied. He stresses improvement, improvement and improvement. He is off to a tremendous start.
Don’t forget to catch me on the Warren Pierce radio show WJR 760 a.m. tomorrow , Saturday the 10th at 8:25 AM Eastern time at8:25 AM Eastern time. I’ll be talking about Jim Harbaugh.