Jim Harbaugh was pretty locked in on Monday afternoon while speaking to the media, which is to be expected this week. He touched on a lot of different topics ahead of the matchup with Ohio State, but of course, there was some classic Harbaugh in there as well. He shot down at least one very prominent ESPN reporter, brought up some blasts from the past and praised OSU's players when asked about them.
One of the most entertaining things for me this week was Harbaugh's interaction with prominent ESPN personality Gene Wojciechowski. The veteran reporter is likely in town for the Gameday festivities and, even though he's been around the block a time or two, it's clear that he hasn't really dealt with Harbaugh before.
Here's what else stuck out during the press conference.
"The rivalry — it’s a playoff game. The winner gets to keep playing and the loser does not.”
I really like that Harbaugh is talking about the game in this way. Obviously Michigan is going to have a pretty big bowl game regardless of the outcome, but if it's after a loss to Ohio State, who cares? I know Harbaugh isn't literally saying they're done playing after this weekend, but he's making it known that this one is for all the marbles and that he and his team are well aware.
"This is a game you’ve got to channel Bo. You've got to channel the blocking and the tackling, sustaining blocks, getting off blocks and making tackles. Blocking and tackling.”
I have a pretty big issue with this statement. While blocking and tackling are certainly important in the game of football, I think this illustrates a philosophical issue with how Jim Harbaugh approaches the game of football in 2021. The current version of college football isn't rooted in blocking and tackling and big backs and three yards in a cloud of dust. It's more about speed, tempo, explosive plays and high-octane offenses. Playing defense, running the ball and controlling the trenches are still important, but it's not like it was back in the day, and I think that's a major issue for Harbaugh and his teams.
Bo Schembechler last coached at Michigan in 1989. If you prioritize what was important to Bo today, you're going to get left in the dust, and I think that explains why Michigan and Ohio State are on completely different levels these days. The antiquated approaches and a lack of creativity, especially on offense, have held Michigan back too many times.
The Wolverines are 10-1 right now and have been better this year than most thought they would be, but Harbaugh's line of thinking, as illustrated by the quote above, still worries me in the grand scheme of Michigan's ceiling.
"Just blown away by [Blake Corum buying turkeys and distributing them in Ypsilanti], really. I know Blake and I know his dad James. Just phenomenal, phenomenal. I know them, I know what kind of gesture that is. It’s genuine, heartfelt. And my second impression was why wasn’t I doing something like that? I was just watching film all day. He's an amazing young man."
Amen. It's why Blake has been a featured guest at Wolverine Digest so often. The kid gets in. In all areas. And he's just really great to talk to. His outlook and approach when it comes to football, and life in general, is one to emulate.
Using his name, image and likeness to help others is a next level move. It even caught the eye of Scott Van Pelt on Sportscenter last night during his "Best Thing I Saw Today" segment and really should be broadcasted everywhere on every platform. Corum has obviously been hurt for a couple games, and we don't know what's going to happen on Saturday, but after doing something like this, the sophomore running back has already won.