After a gritty but ultimately victorious performance against the Maryland Terrapins, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh made his weekly appearance before the media on Monday to discuss what he learned about his team and what he’s looking for ahead of the Wolverines’ game against Iowa.
Here are the most noteworthy things discussed:
On Iowa’s defense - “It really goes back to the early 80s with Norm Parker. It’s a system, it’s a way of playing, it’s the Parker way and its really good. Everybody knows what to do, everybody’s playing the proper leverage, proper technique, proper fundamentals at all times. The challenges it presents are, if you’re inaccurate with a throw — underthrow, overthrow, tipped ball — it’s highly likely it’s gonna result in a turnover if you’re not as sound as you can possibly be.”
On Blake Corum’s running style - “There’s an old saying in football that a running back who can miss somebody by the narrowest of margins is an unbelievable talent. Now, Blake can get so close to a tackler — within inches — and then make the slightest move where someone that close doesn’t even touch him. Some backs make the cut a yard away, or two yards away, but Blake Corum gets to the point where he can smell their breath and then make the slight cut (and) miss by the narrowest of margins. It’s incredible”
On Kinnick Stadium’s perceived threat - “As they say, top five teams go to die? The biggest thing is how good the team is. You turn on the offensive tape and it’s a Kirk Ferentz coached offense. Everything is detailed, everything is precise. They just get so good as what they’re doing that they beat you with the execution. They aim to out-execute you, and so you can’t have blown coverages, gotta be in the right gap, gotta match the execution. It’s a great atmosphere they have at Kinnick but I think it’s more the team on the field.”
On preparing J.J McCarthy for his first road start - “Same way we’re gonna at all the positions really. Look to fundamental football, going through the progressions, the drops, the ball handling. Make sure we’re as fundamentally sound as we can possibly be going into this game.”
On equipping the offense for Iowa’s defense - “You know, it’s good we won (against Maryland), but there’s a lot of things to coach from our last game. So we’ll see how our players respond to that coaching, see all the areas we can maybe better fix even. We’ll have a better idea of that as the week goes on.”
On if Eyabi Okie can contribute as a pass rusher moving forward - “I do. I do, and he has, and he keeps progressing. He didn’t get here until the middle of August. There’s always learning the defense, there’s calls and subtleties — we already talked about a defense that’s been in place for 25 years or whatever. But Eyabi’s that talented and that smart that he can come in — he’s picked up most all of the defense, and every week there’s more and more calls that he knows. It’s down to just a couple that he’s still mastering. You’re gonna see him in there more and more because of the time on task and his one-eleventh of the defense.”