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Jim Harbaugh on early penalties vs. MSU: ‘I think it affected how our corners played’

The corners still have the seal of approval from Jim Harbaugh.

Michigan State v Michigan Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Despite the Michigan State Spartans racking up 323 yards through the air on Saturday in the 27-24 win at Michigan, head coach Jim Harbaugh has not lost faith in his duo of Vincent Gray and Gemon Green on the back end of the defense.

In fact, during his Monday press conference, there was a bit of a insinuation from him that the way the game was officiated on Saturday may have affected how his cornerbacks played the rest of the game.

“There was a couple calls early that were... they were technical,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “You like to see those same technical calls being called both ways in the game. But I think it affected how our corners played. They definitely got hit on some deep balls — five of them. Vince is our best corner (and I) thought Gemon Green battled as well, and made some real strides. There’s always competition, but I expect Vince will bounce right back.

“(Gray) had a hit on the sideline, their sideline, just wasn’t sure how much that was affecting him at the time. But, like I said, Vince is arguably our best corner, is our best corner, and expect him to be battling back this week.”

The Wolverines were penalized 10 times as a team on Saturday with three of those going against Gray and Green (one for pass interference, two for defensive holding), all of which occurred in the first quarter.

The effort on Saturday also saw the Michigan defense surrender 196 yards receiving from true freshman Spartan wideout Ricky White. He and his MSU teammates were open down the field all day as Michigan stubbornly stayed in man coverage.

Harbaugh was asked if he and/or Brown re-assess and readjust when the opponent begins to attack the defense and persist to do so throughout the game.

“We have to put ourselves in the best possible position and we’re always willing and ready to adjust when necessary,” he said.

And that was the end of that.

What happened on those penalties? Stephen Osentoski broke them down and discussed if there was merit to them in the technique that was being used or if something else was going on.

We’ll have more fallout from the frustrating week in the next few days as we put a bow on Saturday’s effort and attempt to move forward here.