ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Jim Harbaugh's home debut as Michigan's coach
has created quite a buzz in a town beat down by a string of
lackluster seasons under Brady Hoke and Rich Rodriguez.
Since Lloyd Carr retired following the 2007 season, the college
football team with the most all-time wins was just four games over
.500 under Hoke and Rodriguez.
Harbaugh chose to return to the program where he was a quarterback
for Bo Schembechler in a city he grew up loving when his dad worked
for the late, great coach.
Eight-plus months after Harbaugh was hired in a move hailed by
graduates and fans of the school, he will lead the Wolverines in
their home opener Saturday against Oregon State.
While Harbaugh downplayed the moment when talking to reporters,
tight end Jake Butt was more forthcoming.
''Oh man, it is going to be an unbelievable feeling,'' Butt said.
''It seems like it has been building up since Coach Harbaugh got
What does the leader of the institution think of the hype Harbaugh
''I think it's great,'' University of Michigan President Mark
Schlissel said Thursday night.
The Wolverines (0-1) hope to keep the atmosphere festive with a win
after starting the season by losing 24-17 at Utah.
''There's a bad taste in our mouth when you lose a football game,''
Harbaugh said. ''There's only one mouthwash for that, and that is
winning a football game.''
The Beavers (1-0) opened with a 26-7 victory over Weber State in
their first game with former Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen on the
sideline, but are expecting a tougher test.
''The challenge for our kids is to understand that when opportunity
knocks, you have to make plays,'' Andersen said.
Here are five things to watch at the Big House:
QB CONFIDENCE: Harbaugh, who knows plenty about coaching
quarterbacks after playing the position, picked Jake Rudock to
start last week over Shane Morris and three interceptions isn't
compelling him to make a change. Harbaugh said the graduate
transfer from Iowa beat out Morris, who started in Michigan's bowl
game last year, because he was consistently accurate throughout
preseason practices. While Harbaugh didn't blame Ruddock for all of
the turnovers, he did acknowledge mistakes were made. ''You don't
have to throw the ball if someone doesn't run the right route,''
SETH'S SHOT: Andersen said freshman quarterback Seth Collins will
start at Michigan after throwing for 92 yards and two touchdowns
and running for a team-high 152 yards on 17 attempts in his debut
as the key player in the team's spread offense. Even though Marcus
McMaryion threw an interception on one of just four passes,
Andersen wants him to prepare for another opportunity. ''We're
still in a position to allow both young men to be able to play,''
SECRET WEAPON? Utah coach Kyle Whittingham put together a good game
plan to spoil Harbaugh's debut, and he might have some tips to pass
along to Andersen, a good friend and former assistant coach. ''I
communicate with somebody on that staff probably once a week,
regardless of the time of year that it is,'' Andersen said. ''There
may be a discussion about that.''
THIN LINE: Michigan started the season without a lot of depth on
the offensive line and the unit took another hit Thursday
afternoon. Logan Tuley-Tillman, who did play against Utah, was
kicked off the team for ''conduct unacceptable for a Michigan
student-athlete,'' leading to no one being listed as Mason Cole's
backup at left tackle.
DYNAMIC DUO: The Wolverines will probably pass a lot if they
struggle to run for a second straight week and there appear to be
two good options for Ruddock. Amara Darboh and Butt each had eight
catches and a touchdown while combining for nearly 200 yards
receiving. ''Those were our two best players on offense,'' Harbaugh
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