I THOUGHT Jim Harbaugh perfectly handled the question from Teddy Greenstein asking him to further clarify his (accurate) comments regarding controversy following Urban Meyer wherever he's gone. Harbaugh responded by noting no clarification was needed, because all the media there knew what he was referring to since they were covering Meyer's latest controversy just a year ago. And then he stopped talking in order to let it go. He was asked to address it again later during his breakout sessions and said this:
AT THE SAME time, watching/hearing several folks in the media hypocritically go at Harbaugh on the grounds he has no standing because he never beat Meyer on the field, only reinforced how someone with Meyer's heinous record for off-the-field program thuggery keeps getting away with it and rewarded for it. Because proffering the notion you have to keep your mouth shut about domestic violence unless you've obtained a certain level of professional success clearly shows your priorities are in order. And we wonder why no one holds mercenary coaches accountable? Or why win at all costs is incentivized?
SPEAKING OF MEDIA hypocrisy, like many others I wish Harbaugh would be more forthcoming and less crotchety in dealing with the media, both as a media member and as a fan. Oftentimes he seems unnecessarily obtuse, unless it's on his podcast. However, this offseason he's been Jimmy again and talking up a storm. Heck, we even got a depth chart! All day Friday, beginning with his opening press conference, Harbaugh couldn't have been more gracious and thorough in his answers, including on hot topics like player transfer rules.
But when he pointed out some players may use false claims in order to game the system, lo and behold some of the same scribes who bitch and moan about Harbaugh's obtuseness with the fourth estate then bemoaned his transparency. My wife struggles with bipolar, which is one of the reasons she's now a counselor. We take mental health seriously in our family. But the players aren't part of a perpetual victim class, who should be given some automatic benefit of the doubt they're immune to the frailties of human nature the rest of us struggle with. Haven't we had an offseason with some players making sketchy claims for a waiver (see Ohio State)? Players have a voice, they have social media, and a broadcast media anxious to aid their perceived plight. They have plenty of means these days to get their message out and are hardly silenced. If you couldn't prove your mental health diagnosis, I'm not sure why we should just take your word at face value. Besides, didn't Harbaugh also say he was for all players getting one transfer that included immediate eligibility if they wanted, regardless of reasoning? Isn't that the very position these same media folks who preach the players as perpetual victims want? Take yes for an answer.
"Talk to us but don't say anything interesting or off our preferred script" seems like an unfair and unattainable standard for some media to hold the subjects they cover to, but you do you I suppose.
THE OTHER BIG news Harbaugh made Friday was the Wolverines will soon be announcing a game overseas. If I had to guess, it would be in 2022 when Michigan still has an open date to fill, and already has the requisite seven home games on the slate.
THERE HAVE BEEN various message board rumors/discussions about a defensive back battling some sort of injury/illness. Harbaugh confirmed today that player is junior cornerback Ambry Thomas.
EARLY ENROLLE AND top incoming freshman Zach Charbonnet was praised for his offseason preparation, which is made more meaningful by the fact he was injured all spring and hasn't actually played live football yet. That will soon change, though, when preseason camp starts soon.
THE LONGEST AND most complimentary Harbaugh was on any topic Friday was when his coaching staff came up. He made it known he loves his current staff, and thinks this is the most unified his staff has been since he's been in Ann Arbor. He stressed this point in every media avail he did on Friday.
HARBAUGH COMPLETELY OWNED the high expectations on his team this season, even going so far as to say if he had a vote he agreed with the writers' poll that picked the Wolverines to win their first Big Ten title in 15 years.
OVERALL, I THOUGHT Harbaugh had a great day, and really set an optimistic and confident tone for the season. I didn't have a problem with what he said about anything. Too often in my line of work, people in the media draw their initial thoughts about what to think about something, or how other folks will react, from fellow members of the media long before it reaches their consumers. And then if their audience reacts differently than they presumed they should, that can only be because their audience isn't as enlightened as they are. This is called the pack (or herd) mentality.
And as we've already demonstrated repeatedly in other walks of life, the concern level and pearl clutching that occurs among those in my line of work doesn't always match the angst and reaction from the public outside our silos.