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Daily Brews: Jim Harbaugh explains why he believes offense is close to hitting its stride

The latest with the Michigan Wolverines and college sports world for Oct. 8.

NCAA Football: Middle Tennessee at Michigan Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Harbaugh stirred people up over the weekend when he said that Michigan football’s offense was “hitting their stride” despite struggles against Iowa and he was again asked about it during his Monday press conference with the media. He reiterated that he feels the Wolverines are close to a breakout.

“The redzone is something that’s been good for us,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “As I said after the game, I feel like we’re very close offensively and very close to hitting our stride, hitting on all cylinders. Really good evidence to back that up and also what I see.”

He would be asked later on to expand on the ways in which he feels that the team is close to breaking out and gave a longer response to it.

Here is his full quote:

In all areas. Run game, pass game, protection. Quarterback, receiver, running backs. It’s an evolving, improving group. I’ve seen them be at a really high level in practice consistently and a really high level in games. And getting that consistently high level in both games and practice is what I feel what I see coming. After looking at the ballgame, after really looking at tape and reviewing it, first of all, came away with the feeling that Iowa had a really good defense. I think they ranked second or in the top five after this ballgame. Really, really good. You’ve got to give Phil Parker and the Iowa defense and their players a lot of credit. They have a good team and a heck of a good defense. I thought we had some really good production on drives in the first half, second half, more limited in our possessions, two drives in the third quarter. Both made first downs, got out about the midfield range. First drive in the fourth quarter it was really good and then we had the false start penalty and didn’t convert on that series. Next series, another good drive was starting and we tried to throw a trick play at them and they covered it really well. We lost quite a few yards on that one. Fourth-quarter, again, that started with a really good drive. Got into field-goal range. The next drive in the fourth quarter, we had good field position but we weren’t able to convert on the third-and-three. We’re off the field, punted it away. The next time we got it, we were backed up and doing our best to run the clock. Had another punt and wanted our defense to win the game, which they did. That was my takeaway.

Harbaugh maintains that we should be giving the Wisconsins and Iowas of the world more credit for their efforts instead of going after Michigan.

“As I said, I think it’s coming, I think it’s showing,” Harbaugh said. “As I said earlier, a top defense in the country against Wisconsin, a top defense against Iowa. There’s a point where you say, good job. Well played. That was a good game. Recognizing the efforts of the opponent and your own players. I feel with our team, the effort is great. Off the charts. At the highest level. And when you get that, then you can get everything else.”

Tom Izzo weighs in on Juwan Howard’s transition to college coaching

Big Ten Media Day for men’s basketball was held last week in Rosemont, Illinois as one of the bigger topics conference-wide was Michigan now being led by Juwan Howard on the court. Several coaches weighed in on what he brings to the conference and his transition as a head coach, but some of the most interesting feedback came from a rival in Michigan State’s Tom Izzo.

“I talked to him a little about, ‘What do you think it’s harder to go from, college to pro or pro to college?’ I’m convinced it’s harder to go from pro to college because we have so many different things,” Izzo said, via James Hawkins of The Detroit News. “In pro ball, everything is not his fault. A guy leaves his garbage in the hallway, it’s my fault. So those things are going to be different and there are a lot more people tugging at you.

“It was fun to go the Pistons practice (at Breslin Center last week) and see them talk before, talk after just basketball. We’re talking recruiting, talking problems, talking this, talking that. They don’t do that. It’ll be interesting to see how Juwan handles that, but I think he’s good enough to handle it. He worked in a system that is about as college-y a system with Pat Riley as you can get, but it’s still a big difference.”

Howard’s Wolverines continue to practice throughout the preseason leading up to an exhibition game on Nov. 1 against Saginaw Valley State and season opener on Nov. 5 against Appalachian State.

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