Michigan athletics is riding a hot streak right now with the men’s and women’s basketball teams in the Sweet Sixteen, the hockey team in the NCAA tournament, the baseball and softball teams doing their thing, and much more.
Despite this, there is always a tractor beam to what is going on with the football program. Even when we are happy, we are waiting for something to emerge from Schembechler Hall that makes us shake our fists at the sky in unison.
We are, at our core, a football site. So we have a responsibility to cover what comes out of media sessions and such. Michigan made players available on Wednesday ahead of this week’s pro day event in the lead-up to the NFL Draft. Wide receiver Nico Collins, who opted out of the season to prepare for the event, was one of the players that had a session with the media.
Many of the offseason questions were the same as they have been in the six preceding years. The rivalry with Ohio State, the status of Jim Harbaugh as head coach and Collins’ decision to opt-out were all covered. So instead of writing a story around all of it, I made the executive editorial decision to let you see the quotes and let you get to yelling.
On the talent gap (or lack thereof) between Michigan and Ohio State
“It’s way closer. I’d say the talent is the same kind of talent. I would say there’s not a difference between the two. Every time we play O-State, we know what kind of game it’s gonna be – it’s gonna be all four quarters. With the athletes they got and we got, I’d say we match up. They don’t have more athletes than we got. I feel like it’s pretty much equal or we pretty much have more than them. That’s it, man. Talent-wise, I’d say it’s pretty much equal. There wasn’t no advantage with them – none at all.”
Why Jim Harbaugh deserves to stay at Michigan
“Because of what he improved, how he cares for his players on the field and off the field. What people don’t see. They only see the games we probably lost. They say he’s the wrong coach, but there’s more to it. The things – he cares for the players on the field, off the field. Coach Harbaugh, man, he’s a great coach. There’s more to it than just football with him. He’s a guy that’s willing to bring the best out of everyone, that’s gonna be there for anybody. When people say he’s not the right coach, that he needs to be fired, you don’t know what y’all talking about. There’s more to it. I just feel like Harbaugh is the one. He’s a great coach for Michigan, he always will be.”
The process of opting out and why he did not return
“Opting out, that gave me time to focus on the things I needed to improve my game. I really self-evaluated my way of playing from last year. Just studying the things that I felt I needed to improve on. So, that’s really what I worked on while opting out. That gave me a couple of months to really focus on the things I really needed to improve on, and that’s what I did.”
“Once they said they were going to have a season again, there was no way for me to come back. The NCAA wasn’t going to allow me for what I accepted. I was too far down the line. But yeah, thoughts of me coming back — I wanted to come back, for sure. Because I came back for my senior year. I wanted to come back. So, yeah, I planned on coming back. There was just no way for me to come back.”
It feels like the OSU rivalry and justifications for the current state of the program have been going on for eternity. Other outlets can write columns off of it if they want. We are just tired.
If you want to argue or scream in the comments about it, fine. If not, nobody would blame you either.