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Harbaugh: Michigan has ‘been as close as we can be’ to a National Title

Both Jim Harbaugh and Juwan Howard spoke on Wednesday

NCAA Football: Michigan at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh made an appearance on 247sports’ Social Distance show on Wednesday and stated that the program has been ‘about as close’ as it could be to achieving its goals and getting over the top.

“Just look back over the last five years, and (we) have been about as close as (we) can possibly be. But, you have to put it over the top. That’s what drives us,” he told 247’s Branon Marcello.

Is that really the case?

The Wolverines have not sniffed the College Football Playoff to this point, and teams like the 2018 one went 10-3 losing to two of their biggest rivals (Ohio State and Notre Dame). And in 2019 with a returning quarterback for the first time in the Harbaugh-era, the team was a 9-4 and lost (again) to Ohio State and some of their tougher opponents on their schedule.

Even with strong starts, Michigan has failed to finish seasons well under Harbaugh. A 1-4 record in bowl games and an 0-5 record against Ohio State isn’t something you wear with pride. Heck, the Wolverines haven’t even won their own division with Harbaugh leading the way.

This is something Harbaugh certainly isn’t proud of, and he knows that it all begins with beating the guys from Columbus. He said that the eight straight losses to the Buckeyes “makes us mad. They are the only team in the Big Ten that we haven’t beaten. We gotta beat them. That’s what we have to do. That’s what motivates us. That’s what kicks us into high drive, and that’s what we’re out and after every day.”

For now, it’s all about the mindset of preparation and continuing to put in the work for the program despite the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the ability to get ready for the season. He said his guys have to “be as creative and productive as we can be in these times.”

“One thing that is not going to change is providence favors the prepared,” he said. “How you use your time; that is going to be an indication of your organization or you as an individual. For a football player, that is getting in great shape, that’s running, that’s working out, that’s getting your mind and body in great shape. Because the time is coming where the offseason program and strength cycle starts.”

In Harbaugh’s eyes, there will be games played this fall, and he needs his players to be ready.

“In August, I bet we are practicing, and then in September, playing games,” he said. “So the time doesn’t change. I really feel like great organizations in times of crisis are still going to be great. The good ones will survive, and the bad ones will fail.”

Which will the Michigan Wolverines be? We will have to wait and see if Harbaugh can get it done in year six and really put Michigan on the map as a legitimate contender.

Juwan Howard speaks on two newest transfers

After long collection of moves this offseason for the Wolverines, it finally seems that the roster is set in stone with each scholarship spot filled after the additions of Purdue transfer Nojel Eastern and Wake Forest transfer Chaundee Brown. The head honcho at Michigan had some big praise for both of his newest players when talking with Rick Pizzo of BTN.

First Howard touches on the Wake Forest vet Chaundee Brown who has had an impressive career up to this point, “Chaundee is a great kid that comes from a great family. He is a tough-nosed player, played in the ACC, has been a three-year starter, since his freshman year. Chaundee has the habits of what it takes to be a winner.”

Brown doesn’t come without a small hiccup, though, as he may not be immediately eligible upon his transfer. That doesn’t seem to be much of an issue for the Wolverines’ head coach as he said: “Whenever the NCAA decides to allow him to play, whether it is this year or next year, we are going to be happy to have him as a part of our team. He provides something that is special because he is a competitor and he is a guy who really wants to win and (will) do whatever it takes to win. One thing that has to be said is that he is a total team guy. That speaks a lot about his character, and that’s something I really admired about Chaundee.”

Next up is the intra-conference transfer Nojel Eastern, and Howard remembered what it was like scouting Eastern leading up to their two meetings in 2019-20, “Having to game plan for a guy like Nojel, I was constantly scratching my head. He is a matchup problem for any opponent with his strength, athleticism, his skill set, his IQ on the floor. (He’s) another guy who plays the game the right way.”

Howard believes Eastern will adapt to Ann Arbor and Michigan nicely with “a blue-collar type of approach, and he goes out there and competes. He has a lot to prove as a player, but he wants to get better... I love guys that are honest with themselves, a guy that is a competitor and a guy that’s a worker. With that type of DNA, I think that is special.”

When and if we see the Wolverines take the court in the 2020-21 academic year, it seems as though both of these guys could get some run.

National Brews:

  • The NBA has pushed the enshrinement of the class of 2020 Hall of Fame (which includes Kobe Bryant) to 2021.
  • Free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney reportedly turned down a significant offer from the Cleveland Brown according to Adam Schefter.
  • One of the top transfers on the market, point guard Mac McClung announced on Wednesday that he would continue his collegiate career at Texas Tech. He was previously with Georgetown.