Five Reasons Michigan Football Will Be Just Fine Without Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh is gone. Off to the NFL as the new head man for the Los Angeles Chargers. His detractors are saying he left to avoid the multiple NCAA investigations. However, in his own words, he said he is chasing the Lombardi Trophy. And, let’s not forget that he did stay in Ann Arbor until he delivered a National Championship. Those who say the program is headed downhill are mistaken.

Why Michigan Football Will Be Just Fine

Head Coach Sherrone Moore is in the unusual situation of having already proved himself and still having a lot to prove. He went 3-0 during the second Harbaugh suspension at the end of the season, winning road games at Penn State and Maryland before taking down Ohio State in the regular season finale in Ann Arbor. While the players love Harbaugh (present tense intentional), they love Moore as well.

Moore was also strongly endorsed by Harbaugh. Moore is also very passionate, determined, and is his own man as evidenced by his recent statement that he was going to do things “his way. “ Expect Moore to be successful during his tenure as the head man at Michigan.

The D Man

Running back Donovan Edwards did not have a good regular season in 2023. It wasn’t until very late in the season that he even found the end zone. However, his talent is unmistakable.

During the 2022 campaign, his two long fourth quarter touchdowns sealed the win in Columbus against Ohio State. Edwards also had two long touchdown runs in the National Championship against Washington. Both of those runs showed how good his vision is as the original lanes he took were closed and he cut on a dime and used his great speed to make them look easy.

Let’s not forget the 70-yard dart he threw for a touchdown against Iowa in the 2021 Big Ten Championship game. It’s entirely possible he will be a better pro than Blake Corum. He’s the lead man in the backfield now and big things are expected from him this season.

A Wink But Not A Nod

New Michigan head coach made a splash hire getting Wink Martindale as his new defensive coordinator after Jessie Minter left to join Harbaugh in LA. Martindale was available after a contentious divorce from the NFL’s New York Giants. He brings a ton of experience at the collegiate and pro levels. Even better he runs the same scheme that Minter ran so the transition should seem less.

In fact, coach Moore has done a fantastic job assembling a quality staff in short order. Harbaugh did take more than just Minter with him to the Chargers. Michigan fans should be impressed not only with the speed with which Moore has acted but the quality of assistants he has surrounded himself with.

Expectations Have Been Lowered

A lot of the so-called experts are predicting Michigan to finish next season at 8-4 or maybe even 7-5. They cite the loss of Harbaugh, quarterback J.J. McCarthy, running back Blake Corum, and several defensive players along with the addition of four quality programs to the Big Ten as the primary reasons. Not so fast.

The cupboard in Ann Arbor is hardly bare. As much as the players love Harbaugh as referenced earlier, the team wants to prove they can win without him. Anything better than 8-4 will be considered a win in Moore’s first season. However, it is very realistic to expect The Wolverines to be in the hunt for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

There will be significant competition at many positions including quarterback on this team. Coach Moore wouldn’t have it any other way and it follows the Harbaugh model. Moore will definitely bring a little Frank Sinatra to his coaching style but don’t think for a minute he didn’t learn some things from The Khaki Man that he will use to motivate his team.

It’s Michigan Fa God’s Sake

To be honest we’re not sure if former head coach Brady Hoke was the first one to say it but the phrase stuck. Hike did say FA God’s sake, it’s not a typo. And it’s true. The University of Michigan football team has more wins than any other program in the history of college football. Putting on a Michigan jersey is like putting on a New York Yankees jersey. Something happens that brings out the best in people and many play above their talent level. In no way is this a suggestion that Michigan doesn’t have talent; they certainly do.

Expect the winning ways to continue in Ann Arbor. This is not a prediction of a repeat. That’s a tall task for anyone, even Georgia and Alabama. The bar has been set. And Harbaugh will be rooting for the team from afar. He may be gone but he will always be a Michigan Man.

Main Image: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

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Tom Wearing

I think the new regime at Michigan is going to surprise people. Despite his success. Harbaugh was more than a little nuts an embarrassment to the team and University of Michigan. I honestly see his departure ad a good thing. Particularly over the long term.

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