There’s a fine line between recklessness and courage, there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance — that’s where Michigan finds itself heading into the 2022 season.
Last July Michigan was getting dogged on and ridiculed, practically no one gave the team a chance to do anything of substance, yet they went on to beat Ohio State, win a Big Ten Championship, and make the College Football Playoff.
Now Michigan faces a different construct heading into this fall. At Big Ten Media Days the vibe was one that Jim Harbaugh hadn’t experienced as head coach at Michigan until Tuesday. Ohio State reporters were cordial, instead of gotcha questions Harbaugh was asked what it feels like to restore order at the football program, to get over the hump and beat the Buckeyes, why is Michigan good now?
The goal for Michigan is to not let all the praise get to their heads. The team aims to keep their heads down and get to work so the success they had in 2021 becomes commonplace.
Tight end Erick All said coaches drive the message home that “complacency is cancer”.
“If you get complacent, it’s over,” All said. “You might as well kiss the season goodbye.”
Harbaugh revealed that the team has been getting after it since the day after their loss to Georgia at the Orange Bowl/CFP Semi-Final.
“It’s been a tremendous off-season for the Michigan Wolverine football program,” Harbaugh said at Big Ten Media Days. “Our guys from literally days after our final game last year have been at work, attacking everything they do. There’s been zero entitlement the entire off-season and now and none really in the foreseeable future. So, life is good.”
Harbaugh said the 2022 Michigan team has “been a really good continuation from last year’s team”, the players “know what it was like, that good feeling of taking care of your business and having that success and being rewarded for it.”
As McNamara sat at Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday on the same field he won a Big Ten Championship on (Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis) he wasn’t just dwelling on triumphant memories from December, he was letting those memories motivate him for this season.
“The last time we were here, there was confetti on us, which felt good, but those feeling that we felt, as they’re being triggered right now, it only makes you want to work harder,” McNamara said.
Michigan won’t fly under the radar this year, opponents won’t take them lightly, especially Ohio State. McNamara, who was polite to media but serious in demeanor and focus drove the point home that the team must work even harder this year.
The team hasn’t arrived at their destination, they came to the University of Michigan to win National Championships. It’ll be an uphill battle getting to the apex, but as Harbaugh said last July, Michigan is going to do it or die trying.
“This is a different team; we can’t rely on what we did last season to give us any complacency as to what’s going to happen this season,” McNamara said. “We can’t lay off the gas pedal at all. If anything, we need to push it down to the floor because we’re going to have an even bigger target on our back this season.”
Training camp for Michigan starts in a few days and they know what they have to accomplish in the month of August to get them prepared for the season.
"Biological clock is ticking," Harbaugh said while pounding the podium in the rhythm of a ticking clock. "And we’re ready to start and get the training camp under way.