Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh are cut from the same cloth — competitive brothers who share the same football philosophies.
Through the years Jim and John have had a pattern of hiring some coaches who are or once were on the other’s staff. Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman once was the San Francisco 49ers OC under Jim Harbaugh. Michigan defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald was the Ravens linebackers coach, Michigan quarterbacks coach Matt Weiss was the Ravens running backs coach and an integral piece of their analytics department. These are just a few of the examples through the years.
“Offensive philosophy, defensive philosophy, special teams philosophy, coaches that have coached at the Ravens, coaches who’ve coached at the 49ers or Stanford,” Harbaugh said at his Monday presser. “As you know, as recently as last year, Mike Macdonald on the defensive side, Matt Weiss on the offensive side. My brother John, yeah, there’s a lot of similarities.”
Some of the similarities can be found in Michigan’s running game, which has spices of the Ravens schematics sprinkled in. Harbaugh’s 49ers rushing attack was a force with Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore when Roman was the offensive coordinator, and Roman still uses a lot of those same principles in Baltimore. Harbaugh’s familiarity with Roman and the fact Matt Weiss was the running backs coach in Baltimore when the Ravens were leading the league in rushing by a wide margin — yeah, Michigan strives to be a bit Baltimore-like.
The Ravens won a crazy and exciting game over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night. Baltimore rushed for 251 yards and went for it on 4th and 1 with a minute left to seal the win and not allow Patrick Mahomes one last crack to beat them — Baltimore won 36-35.
“We strive to have similarities with the Ravens,” Harbaugh said. “What a game, that was an unbelievable game last night. People say no one circles the wagon like the Buffalo Bills but nobody circles the wagon like the Baltimore Ravens.”
When asked if the Ravens success running the football influenced Michigan’s re-commitment to the run game, he said “Yes, just yes.”
The Harbaugh brothers are fueled by their passion, and when they catch up it isn’t small talk, it’s all ball, all the time. “Running game, passing game, defense, coverage, blitzes, special teams play, all those football things. We mostly talk football actually,” Harbaugh said.
We’ll see how the running game gets churning when Michigan takes on Rutgers at 3:30 ET Saturday on ABC.