Jim Harbaugh, Mike Wilbon, and Practice Logs: Will Michigan be Forced to Change?

Jay Nicols@boonta420Correspondent INovember 18, 2009

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 07:  Stanford Cardinal head coach Jim Harbaugh listens to his headset during their game against the Oregon Ducks at Stanford Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Add Michael Wilbon of ESPN to those who see Michigan football heading in a new direction at head coach.

He has an inside source that says Rich Rodriguez will be fired, and it doesn't matter what he does on Saturday against Ohio State. Thanks Wilbon for such informative information. 

Wilbon said on his PTI partner's radio show in D.C. that he "had a solo conversation with someone who is affiliated with the current coach at Michigan, and he does not believe for a second that he'll be back."

He went on to say that this was someone who played for Rodriguez. As for all information like this, we should take it with a grain of salt.

How much do I believe Wilbon? Not much. I just don't see it happening. Anything is a possibility, but not in the current situation that Michigan faces.

Michigan is losing its AD in September 2010. I know Bill Martin doesn't want to go through the whole process of hiring a head coach at Michigan again. 

Also, Michigan is still in the process of hiring a new AD and seems to be nowhere near a candidate other than finding an advisory board to find that candidate.

Names have been tossed around, but nothing is going to be done until the spring. That just seems logical at this point.

If Wilbon is right, he could only know something that the rest of us don't know and that is that Michigan will be found guilty of major violations and in turn that would basically terminate Rodriguez's contract. That is the only way he will be fired after this season.

Internal audits of the football program found that practice logs have not been submitted for 2008-09 football season. A memo was sent out in late July to the athletic department. Compliance has been met since that memo was sent.

The Detroit Free Press reports that this could be a 'failure to monitor' violation which is categorized as a major violation. If this is true, than the tenure of Rich Rodriguez would be over, and I will apologize to Wilbon. 

So if Michigan fires Rodriguez after this season, who would they look at for as a replacement? Let's speculate on one man, Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh is the hot name right now. He just beat Oregon and USC in consecutive weeks and has his Stanford team playing above potential. Harbaugh is a turning into a great coach.

In 2008, he was very green. He had not been a coach at the major level and Michigan felt they needed to have an established name head their program. Two years later, he has Stanford ranked in the Top 20 and playing meaningful games in November.

When he went to Stanford in 2007, he had a blank slate. Stanford was coming off a 1-11 season when Harbaugh took over.

His success in Division I-AA Mid Major at University of San Diego was enough for Stanford to hire him. He was a combined 21-2 with two national titles.

He is solid at recruiting, having a top 20 class in 2009 and a top 15 class so far for 2010. So there is no question he can recruit.

His defense plays strong, with an offense that would fit at Michigan. His offense runs the I-Formation, which is quite possibly the most basic formation in football.

When using the I-Formation, the coach can alter the formation based on your strengths; running or passing.

Watching Stanford is like watching Michigan play during the Bo era. Run vertically, hard nosed, and pass efficiently. Harbaugh rushes, 421, more than he passes, 243. With the running back depth Michigan has, that could be a nice fit.

It's not as hard to change from a spread offense to a pro offense because you have the athletes, you just need to bulk up the lines.

So with a Harbaugh hire, attrition may not be that bad. But if he was coming on board during probation, it may be tough, and probably tougher to pry him from Stanford.

Harbaugh, in 2007, commented on Michigan academics regarding athletes, saying, "Michigan is a good school and I got a good education there, but the athletic department has ways to get borderline guys in and, when they’re in, they steer them to courses in sports communications. They’re adulated when they’re playing, but when they get out, the people who adulated them won’t hire them."

Those comments incensed the Michigan Wolverines community. Fans, players, and former teammates were quick to slay the dragon. He was exiled from Michigan and now people are clamoring for his coaching attributes.

It would be hypocritical to disparage him one year and fall back in love with him two years later.

I know those comments have no bearing to the current fan base and that they'll play no role in his hire if he is ever offered the job. But that's just something to think about when talking Harbaugh to Michigan. 

Another reason that it would be tough for Michigan to land him is that he is from Palo Alto, and his family lives there. Would he be willing to relocate his family to Ann Arbor?

Those are more questions that need to be answered, and since Harbaugh is not talking Michgan as he prepares of Cal, we'll have to wait to hear his thoughts.

So if you are a Michigan fan who wants Jim Harbaugh as coach, don't hold your breath. Michigan is not going to make a move at head coach, not this year.

Please, move on and cheer your team as they smack Ohio State and Justin Boren in the mouth on Saturday in Ann Arbor. I mean, as long as I'm writing about things that won't happen, I mine as well go 'All In' with my rhetoric.


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