Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh took to the podium at a Schembechler Hall for his most heavily attended Monday press conference of the year ahead of the game against Ohio State this weekend. Many of the answers were short and some of the questions were odd, but we got about 13 minutes of him ahead of rivalry week.
Here’s everything that was covered during the presser:
- Harbaugh (for some reason) was asked if he had respect for Woody Hayes and the Ohio State rivalry: “I have great respect for all the players and coaches who played in this game.”
- Harbaugh named entire starting OL when asked how they are playing as a unit. “Playing very good football” and confident.
- “I’m very aware of the rivalry, having played in it, having coached in it...As I liken the Michigan State game to a state championship, this is even bigger.” Says Michigan is ready for the challenge this week.
- Harbaugh named almost entire starting offense when asked to discuss improvement heading into this game, but most notably the quarterback in Shea Patterson and assistant coach Ben McDaniels for his work in developing him. Says they are capable of playing better still.
- Harbaugh said Donovan Peoples-Jones is catching the ball “better than he ever has as a Michigan Wolverine.”
- Said Nico Collins is catching contested passes as well as one possibly can. Short-area quickness and burst is something that he notes as improvements made to his game.
- Asked to compare Ryan Day to Urban Meyer: “Not comparing any team to team, but the Ohio State team is a heckuva good football team. Ryan Day and his coaching staff have done an outstanding job coaching the team. Position by position, they’ve done an extraordinary job.”
- Harbaugh said Justin Fields is having a tremendous year and is playing “winning football.”
- Calls Saturday’s game “the biggest game of the year” and that he loves the competition.
- Harbaugh calls this game “the state championship between two states.”
- OSU defensive end Chase Young is a “tremendous pass rusher”
- Harbaugh was asked to quantify how much home field advantage means (note: I think this guy wanted him to give a point total for how much home field means? It was an odd exchange) and said that he and his team are just looking forward to everything about the game and are excited.”
- Will not get into schematics of Michigan’s defense, but Harbaugh said that Don Brown has been mixing in a ton of different fronts, blitzes and looks this season. “Everything’s possible” and that he does not mind his opponents knowing that.
- “I think Ryan Day has done a tremendous job and I think his coaching staff has done a tremendous job coaching this team.”
- On “anything can happen” in football question: Harbaugh said it’s football and that’s part of the game.
- I’ve seen our receivers really hungry to learn and take coaching. Josh (Gattis) is a very... brings the same coaching every day. It’s a lot of coaching, a lot of detail. Our guys really like it.”
- Harbaugh is not sure if safety Brad Hawkins will return this week after missing the Indiana game.
Michigan and Ohio State kick off at noon on Saturday afternoon from the Big House.