Jim Harbaugh spoke to the media on Monday in Ann Arbor following the start of spring football for the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday. We will have some more video and coverage of the session shortly, but here’s a quick recap of everything that was covered during his 31-minute press conference.
The biggest storyline, seeing as this is the first time he has spoken since the end of the 2018 season, is new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis. Harbaugh confirmed that he will call the plays and has been added the keys to the offense. He expects it to feature more tempo, more attacking plays and more shots down the field. It sounds like he is still learning it himself, so take that for what you will in terms of what his involvement in this new situation.
Harbaugh speaks on biggest difference with new offense under Josh Gattis pic.twitter.com/zVnegwbMEb— Anthony Broome (@anthonytbroome) March 18, 2019
Outside of Gattis, he was also asked about the quarterback positon, where he confirmed that Shea Patterson enters spring practice as the No. 1 QB. However, Dylan McCaffrey (who is back to being 100 percent healthy) and Joe Milton are being given equal reps in practice and will be pushing Patterson. Harbaugh went as far to say that Patterson is not going to be able to put up his feet and relax about his status as QB1.
Harbaugh was also asked about Greg Mattison leaving the program to join Ohio State as its defensive coordinator. He said he was surprised, but understood the decision to take more money and a job title increase, but do not expect any Christmas cards sent between the two guys.
Full comments from Jim Harbaugh on Greg Mattison leaving for Ohio State pic.twitter.com/kL8f12N4lL— Anthony Broome (@anthonytbroome) March 18, 2019
Here are some other tidbits:
- Harbaugh said this is the best start to a spring he has had since he has been at Michigan from a players being physically ready and having knowledge of the scheme on both sides of the ball standpoint
- At running back, Christian Turner has “surged” since bowl season. Zach Charbonnet will not participate in spring due to a minor meniscus procedure he had upon his arrival.
- Chris Evans is not currently with the team, but the door is open for him to return.
- Ben Mason is playing multiple positions on both sides of the football and the staff wants him on the field for 60-70 plays per game, which obviously can’t be done at fullback, especially in this new scheme. He is expected to get time at running back, tight end, as well as three-technique DT on defense and also on the edge.
- Ben VanSumeren is being tested out at running back and linebacker, Hassan Haskins is at running back, Michael Barrett is at Viper
- Jalen Mayfield and Andrew Steuber are currently battling for the right tackle job.
- Harbaugh says the first guy that comes to mind to replace Devin Bush is Josh Ross. They think he can fill that role, so want to see how he performs before any potential changes in expectations at that position.
- Lavert Hill and Nico Collins are not set to participate in spring practice as of now with injuries. DPJ also “working through something.” Not sure if they will get any work in or not. Still early.
- David Ojabo has already put on 20 pounds since arriving on campus
- Harbaugh says they could pursue another grad transfer if “he is as good as Mike Danna”