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Key quotes from Jim Harbaugh’s pre-Bowling Green press conference

Jim Harbaugh spoke about J.J. McCarthy’s leadership, the run game, and the backup quarterback competition.

Vrbo Fiesta Bowl - Michigan v TCU Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images

Two weeks down, one to go.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh must sit at home for one more week before he is allowed to join the team on the sidelines for the remainder of the season.

Nonetheless, Harbaugh had a lot to say at his weekly press conference on Monday, previewing the Wolverines’ matchup with Bowling Green at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

  • Harbaugh started off by addressing the inefficient run game: “We got to block better in the perimeter. We gotta get to the safeties that are blocked by our wide receivers. The tight ends are really playing well. Offensive line, it’s missing a guy here, it’s one guy missing in a play. (Defensive) guys are coming off the second level and making plays. With the running backs, when I say a guy here, a guy there, (guys are missing reads), it’s a missed cut there. But it’s something that we’re very focused on and emphasizing.”
  • A true freshman who’s received attention is defensive back DJ Waller Jr. Harbaugh spoke about his progression and why he earned Freshman of the Week honors: “DJ Waller had 16 plays and three tackles. Really good to see him take the coaching that he got this past week from coach Clink and it was directed at the tackling. Coach Clink is just a straight shooter. He doesn’t mince the words. He doesn’t mix them up. And he just told him straight up to DJ and he just came back and produced, so I was super excited about that, and we made him a Freshman of the Week.”
  • While Harbaugh wasn’t able to coach the Wolverines, he did show up to his son’s football game and moved the chains on the sideline: “You go to the games and you gotta ask the parents to do some kind of job. Last week was a Friday game and we were responsible for Gatorade and some of the snacks. And this week they needed somebody to do the chains. So good to get right close to the field and watch the game and our team needed a win (and got one).”
  • While Harbaugh emphasized using the “Michigan Method” when deciding his offensive line, he and offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore believe they have found the best five guys to start on the offensive line for now — Karsen Barnhart, Trevor Keegan, Drake Nugent, Zak Zinter and Myles Hinton.
  • What has not been figured out, however, is the backup quarterback: “The one where we are still evaluating is the backup quarterback, and we made a mistake. Coach Hart put in Davis Warren ahead of Jayden Denegal. This week you’ll see J.J., and if we go to a backup quarterback, it’ll be Jayden Denegal and Alex Orji, so (we) want to get all those guys looked at in game action. Hopefully this next game, but if not, we’ll have to carry it into the next one.”
  • Harbaugh spent a lot of time singing J.J. McCarthy’s praises on Monday, even going as far as comparing him to Andrew Luck: “Hate to compare but very much like Andrew Luck, I mean, quarterback once in a generation. First with Andrew Luck, is just the way he took the field for his first practice as a true freshman. It’s just the way he walks on (to the field). With J.J., the first day he walked onto the practice field at Michigan, that’s what came to mind.”
  • With Harbaugh’s father coaching at Bowling Green and head coach Scot Loeffler being a former Michigan quarterback, there are many connections between the two programs: “I’ve always been friends with Scot Loeffler and we keep in touch and text and talk sometimes. He’s doing a heck of a job. Their throwing game is really impressive. Studying the defense right now, but we need to look at their offense too because some of their pass concepts are just dynamite. And in the run game, very similar to ours. A lot of gap schemes and a lot of nuances that they have to it. I’m just really impressed with their offensive structure, and he’s gotten he’s got them on the move.”
  • Finally, Harbaugh spoke on the status of quarterback Jack Tuttle after a late hit knocked him out of the game late against UNLV: “He tells me he’s gonna be back this week practicing, so I think we’re gonna dodge a bullet there. Don’t anticipate him playing this week, we really need to see Jayden Denegal and Alex Orji, but Jack’s acquitted himself well. He’s practiced well and had a nice play in the game. It’s unfortunate that he got hurt, but he’s a tough guy. He’ll be back. We know that.”

Moore will be the head coach against Bowling Green this week as the Wolverines have one last game before they start Big Ten play against Rutgers.