What Jim Harbaugh had to say about Michigan football


Michigan football coaches were busy Thursday afternoon when they attended the Michigan Football Showcase held at Ferris State University.

The Wolverines coaching staff was at the annual event held at Top Taggart Field, Michigan State’s largest football camp. Not only were all Michigan coaches in attendance except for Jay Harbaugh, but Central Michigan staff attended the event, as well as head coaches James Franklin (Penn State), PJ Fleck (Minnesota ) and former Michigan coach Don Brown (Massachusetts) were all present as guest speakers.

The coaches all had the chance to speak at the event, while helping the athletes on the field.

Of course, with the Michigan official present, Jim Harbaugh was asked plenty of questions, and here’s all he had to say.

What’s it like to be back on campus (Ferris State)

It’s great, the Chamber of Commerce is staying here and it’s great to see so many people, coaches, players and parents — it’s amazing.

On Michigan’s Backyard Recruiting

It’s super important. The standard of football has always been high in Michigan State – from when I played high school football at Michigan State. Just the amount that gets better every year, it’s really obvious

On Using NIL in Michigan

I don’t know how much of an opinion I have on this. True or false, our ethos in coming to the University of Michigan will be a transformational experience rather than a transactional experience.

On how much he hears about NIL when recruiting and whether anything needs to be done about it

I hear a lot about it — I hear a lot about it. We talk about it a lot. I just don’t know how real, accurate it is like – is it accurate or not or some fish tale story. I hear a lot of it, but I don’t know what is real or accurate.

I do not know. I have always been for student-athletes to enjoy the name, image and likeness. It makes sense, right? Say the sale of a jersey for example. Who should benefit? Who should have a share of the profits? The person whose jersey it is or the institution? I think we can all agree – something that is fair and just.

On inbound transfer Cam Goode

We’ll see, tomorrow is the first day of the summer cycle. He will have the ability to show what he can do. Oluwatimi – we just call him Olu because it’s hard to say the full name – Olu is a really good example of someone who was really successful in Virginia and came to Michigan mid-year. He was all about his business. All about the work in the field, in the weight room, and he could have been the kind of guy who said I’m the starter – Rimington runner-up, etc. He didn’t say any of that. He just got down to business and he earned the respect of all members of the football team – coaches and players. He had the opportunity to do it and Cam Goode will have the opportunity to do it. We’ll see what happens.

On the transfer portal having more participants

I don’t know if I really have a view on this. Open more and more – there are probably numbers that show that there are more and more every year. Honestly, I think this is something else – from my perspective and from what I’ve seen – a great example of Olu and a few others. I think it’s been, from my limited perspective — more often than not, it’s been a healthy and productive thing.

On where JJ McCarthy is on his recovery and if he’s still in pain

I think he mentioned it the other day. Probably the best thing – probably the best thing to ask someone about someone’s pain or lack of pain would be to ask JJ about it.

If JJ is still on time

Every time I ask, that’s what he says. He feels good there. He’s – a beautiful thing about JJ McCarthy is that he’s like a kid in the candy store. It’s his mentality, his attitude, and it hasn’t changed at all. If that’s any indication, I’d say it’s on schedule.

JJ and Cade McNamara competing at camp this fall

Yes, it will be competitive. The dynamic would be competitive. I’m going to tell you the same thing I said to Cade and JJ, or any other player on our team who is competing for a position. Who will play is the best player. How were we going to determine who is the best player, who plays the best.

Playing two quarterbacks like last year

Yes, those are the options. A full-time guy, or a combination of two guys playing like last year. It’s possible – the possibilities could be a starter and a substitute, or two guys contributing and playing well. Excited to throw the balls over there and let the guys go head to head.

What’s cool is JJ and Cade – it’s competitive, but not combative. Two guys who play in the same position and are on the same team, all I noticed is that they support each other and support the team.

On Ryan Hayes and the expectations for him

I love Ryan. In every way, since he arrived, kind of a tweener, undersized, offensive lineman – he was a tight end. I saw a big vision for him to become an elite attacking tackle with that kind of potential. He lives it, and he lives this dream. Expectation, the thing he works for, is a real exclamation point for a fabulous senior year – hopefully one of the best offensive tackles in the Big Ten and the country.

On Joey Velazquez doing both football and baseball

You know my love for guys who play multiple sports. Watch Joey – he won a game for the team early and he was clutch. Watching him compete and work his way through the starting lineup, to get a big hit, it’s been phenomenal. No one was happier than my nine-year-old son, Jack Harbaugh. He’s so into this baseball team. We watched it on TV and we watched every round. Joey is one of his favorite players, and little Jack can name all the guys in the squad. Ravi, I love Erik Bakich – he’s a great coach, manager and Joey V. is our favorite because he also plays football. He sometimes takes little Jack there and gives him knocking instructions. I love the whole team, but I cheer on Joey.

On Ronnie Bell after his injury

Same with JJ, talk to Ronnie and find out exactly where he is. But my eye looks like Ronnie Bell before he injured his ACL. The way he moves, the way he is – to see him jump, run and cut. Definitely on track and looking about the same as before, or maybe a bit better – he still has two months to get stronger and faster and prepare for the season. I think from my eyes it’s an A+.

On Mike Sainristil staying with the defense

That’s an excellent question. The thing is, I know he’s going to stick with defense because we just went through spring training where he really stood out. It was starting to shine when spring ended. Now he’s going to have competition with Rod Moore who wasn’t in the spring. He can play nickel and play corner and then the days we brought him back to catcher – he didn’t look like he missed any type of beat there either. Definitely on track to be a two-way or three-way player.

He will also play against special teams. Super excited. He puts good tools in his toolbox. The more tools, the more great tools you have in your toolbox, the more valuable the toolbox. It’s all A++ for Mike Sainristil.

On what Sainristil’s split was in the spring from attack to defense

As a percentage, it was definitely more defense. By reps, by games, by meeting time, I think – that was the new position in defense. What was cool was that he took his offensive knowledge and could apply it as a secondary defender.

As a corner, or a nickel, he knows what the receiver is trying to do. Now he tries to do it – how the offensive player tries to attack. His growth as a football player overall is truly exponential. A good question is probably why aren’t we doing this with all players?

It really takes three essential things for a guy to be a two-way player. They have to have a skill set, they have to be smart – smart enough to do it and learn two different playbooks – and they have to be willing. This is not for all players.

Jay Harbaugh defensive coach

I don’t really talk about Jay much because he’s my son. It’s pride – for good or ill, it’s been a blessing or maybe a curse, I don’t know. It’s time to give him recognition. He is a phenomenal football coach. The way he talks to his team, the way he’s coached special teams – he’s recruited a big tight end room, running in the back room. His value going to defense, he knows how an offense is trying to attack and what it is trying to do.

All the while, he coordinated special teams that were the best in the country. You have to say it correctly, he’s a hell of a coach, and way better than me at that age. Probably overtaking me right now. Super proud of him and what he brings to our football team.

On if he has his eye in the transfer portal

You don’t say no, you never say never, you don’t know what’s going to happen. There could be another addition before the start of the season.

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