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What Jim Harbaugh said during his Monday press conference for Army

Michigan’s head coach put a bow on the opening game and looked ahead to Army in Week 2.

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

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh just left the podium at Schembechler Hall on Labor Day to wrap up last week’s game against Middle Tennessee and look ahead to Army. Here’s a beat-by-beat recap of what he had to say.

  • The young tackles “played good,” especially Ryan Hayes. He was the offensive player of the game.
  • Sean McKeon has made “improvements in the areas tight ends need to improve in.” Discussed run blocking, receiving ability and able to keep the ball through contact. Very good in his leadership and his work ethic. Also in consideration for Offensive Player of the Game.
  • The secondary was singled out as being “really good” in Saturday’s game. Josh Metellus, Brad Hawkins did an “excellent job.” The corners and Lavert Hill played really well, even with missed “can of corn” interception. Everyone was thrilled for Ambry Thomas, who spent a lot of time in the hospital this summer with colitis and returned with a big performance on Saturday.
  • Aidan Hutchinson was “really good” in the game and it does not seem like it was his first start. Kwity Paye, Carlo Kemp also mentioned as players that played well.
  • Jordan Glasgow was one of the standout players of the game. Josh Ross also “played extremely well.”
  • Donovan Peoples-Jones, Donovan Jeter and Jon Runyan Jr. have a shot to play this week. Not sure yet on Michael Dwumfour.
  • The plan for the kickers was that the kicker that was one kick ahead would kick the first field goal (Jake Moody) and he and Quinn Nordin would rotate each time through. Threw caviat in there that if it was there was an extra point on a drive, that kicker would take it on a drive. If he kicked three straight extra points, it would count as a field goal. Expect the same thing this week.
  • It was still the same for Jim Harbaugh to not be calling the plays on the sideline. He was still plugged in and knew what was going on, so it did not feel much different.
  • Feels like offensive coordinator Josh Gattis’ first game was “really good” and “practically flawless.”
  • Long snapper Camaron Cheeseman was Special Teams Player of the Week and Harbaugh said he had a perfect performance.
  • Harbaugh was happy with both quarterbacks and said both guys did really well. Patterson was able to make big plays and make some chunk throws. Ball security is being addressed and will be an emphasis in practice this week. “Nice to see” all three quarterbacks get the work in.
  • Shea Patterson was “really good against the blitz” and Harbaugh singled out his accuracy on his throws. For the most part, “really clean game.” Getting the team in the right protections in getting the team in place.
  • The running backs had “a perfect game” in protection on blitz pickups. Said team was 100 percent on blitz pickups and that Zach Charbonnet had nine of them. “I don’t think we’ve had a back get 9 pickups in a game since we’ve been here.” It’s “rare” to do that well. Harbaugh said he has had pro running backs that have not understood it as well as the true freshman did.
  • Harbaugh said the leadership from the captains has been “really good” so far, including the alternate captains.
  • Ambry Thomas was the Defensive Player of the Game, also said Vincent Gray was in contention for that.
  • Praise continues for running backs, reiterates praise for Charbonnet and the runs that Christian Turner made in the game on Saturday night. The backs were all perfect in the ball security department.
  • Harbaugh happy with how Giles Jackson played at kick returner in his first game. Said he stressed squeezing the ball and he “did that and more.” Harbaugh says his role will grow as he succeeds in the ones he has been given.
  • Harbaugh asked what they will do on OL when Jon Runyan comes back with Ryan Hayes playing so well. Says he is not sure yet. “It’s a meritocracy all the way.” The door is left open for him to compete with Jalen Mayfield at right tackle when Runyan returns.
  • Leaves door open for him to compete at right tackle spot when Runyan returns.
  • Feels good about how Tarik Black played and how he will mix in. “Good problems to have.” Good to see Cornelius Johnson get in and play.
  • Two questions they are asking are “if we are playing good, is that good enough to beat the best teams on our schedule” and “the things we need to improve on...is that good enough to beat the teams on our schedule.” That will be what they continue to emphasis moving forward. Looking at the teams on the schedule and how they played well, it’s a sprint now and they need to get better.
  • Calls Army a “great challenge” and “heck of a football team.” Unique style on offense that is very effective. Excited to play the game and solve the challenge of it. Historically, they are 5-4 against them and they’d like to even that out.