Life’s unexpected turns — whether they’re challenges, obstacles or unforeseen detours — often serve as revealing mirrors to one’s inner self.
When something stops us in our tracks, it forces a pause to our regular rhythms and routines. While the suspension was unexpected for Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh, he learned a lot about himself and his team from a completely different lens.
Coming back to the sidelines this weekend after a three-game suspension, Harbaugh told the media on Monday there would be changes implemented to “make sure I don’t ever get sidelined again.”
Watching the first three games from Sherrone Moore’s house, on his own couch, and even on his computer while traveling last weekend, Harbaugh said observing his team from home gave him extra insight he can introduce to his coaches and players to enhance the team’s play.
“Watching the game and not being on the sideline, I saw it from a different perspective,” Harbaugh said. “Here’s what we could do to make it even better.”
The first thing Harbaugh noted he wants to change is the pressure he believes his team is feeling. Not only are the Wolverines ranked second in the country, but they are the No. 1 scoring defense in the country right now, giving up 16 points in just three games. Harbaugh wants his guys to know he just expects them to win, not blow out every team.
“You watch the game, and (there are) so many so many feelings of ‘Hey, just win. Just win the game. By one point.’ One point is what we’re really after,” Harbaugh said. “And I don’t know if maybe there’s been too much pressure on the players that they have to win by 40 points or 30 points or 25 points. That’s a lot. Making sure that our team knows that the goal is to win the game.”
Once he tampers the expectations down for his players, Harbaugh also wants to ensure the analysts’ role on the coaching staff.
“One of (the policies) is the analysts and making sure there’s absolutely no coaching whatsoever,” Harbaugh said. “You say that over and over to guys. It’s just a natural coaching instinct. I want to protect them. I want to protect me. (We have) gone to the nth degree to follow every rule, but just actually watching the game and not being on the sideline, I saw it from a different perspective.”
Overall, Harbaugh said not being on the sidelines for the first three games of the season “made me a better coach.”
Michigan is currently 3-0, outscoring its opponents 96-16 in that span. It has the No. 1 scoring defense, a good quarterback, two explosive running backs and a veteran receiving core. Harbaugh has given all of the credit for the strong start to his coaches and players, but now it’s his ship to steer as the “guardian of victory.”