Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh took the podium in Ann Arbor on Monday for the first game week press conference of the year heading into Saturday’s game against Notre Dame. The biggest topic of discussion revolved around Tarik Black after reports of the sophomore wide receiver injuring his foot over the weekend.
Harbaugh did not give an exact timetable, but did seem to leave the door open that it is not a season-ending injury.
“He’ll be out for some weeks,” Harbaugh said. “He has a right foot injury. He had one fixed last year, this injury is very similar to the one he had last year. The good news is that both will be fixed. He’s being evaluated right now.”
Harbaugh said that Black is still being evaluated and that they do not yet know if surgery will take place, but he did mention the foot being “fixed,” so he could have tipped his hand there. Still, he is not writing off the potential impact that he could have in the future.
“Now both feet will be fixed,” Harbaugh said. “You have two feet and he’ll have them fixed or will be shortly. No doubt the best is yet to come for Tarik Black, not one reservation about that at all.”
For now, Michigan is going to have to rely on other players to get the job done at wide receiver and Harbaugh had nothing but good things to say about what new wideouts coach Jim McElwain is doing with that group.
“I like the way our receivers have been coming along,” Harbaugh said. “It’s been a good camp, they’ve come so far in training camp and spring practice. Coach McElwain has done a fabulous job, so is (Roy Roundtree). Everybody that has been working on the offense has done some really good things for the wide receiver position. They have done a great job learning and working hard every day to improve. I’ve seen real, tangible, improvement from our receivers.”
Here are some quick hits on other topics that were touched on.
- Harbaugh was asked about senior captions Tyree Kinnel and Karan Higdon and he applauded them both on how they have taken on new leadership roles with the team.
- On starting quarterback Shea Patterson: “He’s really been good. Attentive and focused each day of practice. You expect that out of a quarterback. His level of focus and intensity and execution has been really good. Felt like he was the one who gave our best chance to win.”
- Harbaugh says it makes sense for Notre Dame and Michigan to play each other and hopes that it becomes a yearly thing.
- Harbaugh was asked about some of the other scandals across the Big Ten, including Ohio State with Urban Meyer and Maryland with DJ Durkin. He declined a reaction to both issues.
- Harbaugh said that Ed Warriner has done a “fantastic job” with the offensive line and noted that was one of the team’s most improved units in camp.
- Kinnel spoke to the media in the scrum after Harbaugh and said that the first people he called after finding out he was a captain was his parents and then his girlfriend.
- Ben Bredeson was one of the other players present and said that he is tired of the offensive line being what brings down the team on that side of the ball and that they are being driven by that.
- Bredeson also said that the playbook has been simplified and there are less moving parts than last year.
- Grant Perry told the media that the offense has been getting the better of the defense at times during practice and said “it is nice to see Don Brown get frustrated every once in awhile.”