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Thursday Morning Brews: Off to the Races

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Harbaugh adds a new analyst, holds some races, and mourns the loss of one of our own

NCAA Football: Illinois at Michigan
This man is always plotting his next move
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, folks. We’ve turned the corner on the week and we’re headed for home. In this morning’s installment of the Brews: Coach Harbaugh continues to draw attention - holding races to determine who is the fastest player on the team and adding another highly qualified coach to his staff; Michigan basketball did more damage to the state of Indiana than just beating the Hoosiers last weekend; and we also have the first of what will (surely) be many 2017 football season previews.

Let’s hit the links:

Ever wonder who the fastest player is on the football roster? Well, Jim Harbaugh, notable lover of competition, decided to put the speculation to rest and held a race on Wednesday morning. At the conclusion of the 200 yard jaunt, David Long and Chris Evans had pulled away from the pack - including noted speedster Eddie McDoom, who appears to be about 10 yards behind Long and Evans. Coach says it’s up to the public to decide who won, but, according to my very scientific analysis, Long edges Evans by about a foot. Who do you think won? Weigh in down in the comment section.

You may have heard that Coach Harbaugh has added a new coach to the staff. Michael Johnson, who has worked with Harbaugh in the past and possesses a long resume featuring stints at all levels of competitive football, comes to the Wolverines from The King’s Academy in Sunnyvale, California - where he was the head coach. By the way, Johnson has a son who’s the top-rated dual-threat QB prospect in the 2019 class - and that has some people, well, peeved. What these people fail to acknowledge, however, is that Johnson has spent ten years coaching in the NFL with stops in San Diego, Atlanta, Baltimore, and San Francisco. He was also the offensive coordinator at UCLA during Rick Neuheisel’s last year as head coach there, and served as interim head coach for the remainder of the season (one game) after Neuheisel was fired.

MLive’s Nick Baumgardner recently had an in-depth interview with 2017 stud CB recruit, and Michigan early enrollee, Ambry Thomas. Thomas has been on campus since January, and is participating in off-season drills this winter. When asked what drew him to Michigan, Thomas replied that Don Brown and his scheme sealed the deal for the Wolverines. Thomas likes Brown’s reliance on blitzes and man coverage, both of which Thomas has experience in due to the defensive scheme run at Detroit King High School.

It appears that Indiana basketball wasn’t the only thing that found themselves on the business end of the Men’s basketball program over the weekend in the Hoosier state. John Beilein reports that there was a collision between the team’s bus and part of the structure at the team hotel. It’s unclear whether the bus delivered as monstrous a hit on the hotel as Mo Wagner delivered to Tom Crean, but the overhang that was struck by the bus did state later at its press conference that it had never before been a part of a hotel that showed this much immaturity when it faced adversity. By many accounts, the overhang is now firmly on the hot seat and its days at the hotel may be numbered.

Tim Hardaway Jr., the former Michigan forward who was part of the National Runner-Up team from a few years ago, has recently found his stride in the NBA. Hardaway is averaging over 20 points, four rebounds, and three assists in the month of February. Having scored more than 20 points twelve times this season, Hardaway is finding himself being worked into the offense more and more. He’s averaging more than 18 points on nights that he’s included in the starting lineup.

Bill Bender over at the Sporting News put together a 2017 season preview on Jim Harbaugh’s crew, as the Wolverines enter year three of Coach’s tenure. Michigan features a non-conference schedule of Florida (neutral site), Cincinnati and Air Force. The Wolverines will open B1G play at Purdue, before a bye week and the B1G home opener against Michigan State on Oct. 7. Bender also highlights three areas to watch as the college football season approaches, chief among them being how the defense will adjust to losing multiple (projected) first round NFL draft Picks. Other areas to keep an eye on are who steps up to be the featured running back in 2017, and what big play threats the offense will boast in the coming year. After losing Darboh, Chesson, and Butt to graduation, Wilton Speight will be throwing to plenty of fresh faces when the season opens on Sept. 2.

I hate to bring the Brews to a close on a down note, but Michigan football lost Dave Adolph earlier in the week. Adolph, a journeyman coach whose career began in 1961, served as Senior Defensive Analyst on Jim Harbaugh’s staff for the past two years. Adolph’s career featured 19 coaching stints over 56 years, and contained such highlights as four AFC Championships as a defensive coordinator, coaching under Woody Hayes, two national championships as a defensive coordinator with Jim Harbaugh at the University of San Diego, and serving as an honorary captain for both Michigan and Ohio State in the latest installment of The Game. May he rest in peace.