In these settings, Harbaugh prefers to be a man of few words, complimenting the player he’s been asked about and moving on to the next question. Parsing meaning can be fruitless — it’s rarely an endorsement or indictment. This time, he followed up with something far more telling: unprompted praise of sophomore receiver Ronnie Bell.
Amid the excitement of Juwan Howard’s introductory press conference, there was an undeniable uncertainty ringing though Crisler Center. Neither Howard nor his players could speak to his on-court strategy and when asked about recruiting, Howard’s response was: “I haven’t just pinpointed exactly like, I’m going after the five-star, one-and-dones or I’m going to recruit three-star kids.”
“The key factor in Cole coming to the University of Michigan was really a coaching compatibility decision at a great university,” Shane told The Daily. “Then, when that transition goes off and you wonder what’s gonna be next, it’s all about relationships and trust and continuity with the next coach. … But I think they made a great decision in choosing another person to carry out the legacy, of what is more than just Beilein’s legacy, but the Michigan legacy.”
When 2019 four-star Jalen Wilson decommitted from Michigan last week, it continued a month-long downward spiral for the Wolverines. Jordan Poole and Ignas Brazdeikis unexpectedly left for the NBA before John Beilein shook the basketball world by following suit. Then, with Wilson’s decommitment, Michigan lost its top-ranked incoming signee.
Six days later, the Wolverines have found Beilein’s replacement, hiring Juwan Howard as their new head coach in a move Wilson said will “bring a big spark to the school.”
CHICAGO — As Michigan’s trio of draft entrants — Charles Matthews, Jordan Poole and Ignas Brazdeikis — set out to prove their NBA draft worth at Quest Multisport in Chicago, it was all business as usual. Brazdeikis used an array of dribble moves to get to the basket, Poole shone in the spot-up shooting drills and Matthews showed his value on the defensive end in front of NBA general managers.
If this week consisted solely of Thursday and Friday, it would have all been part of the plan. Normal, even.
This is, after all, how just about everybody inside these halls feels about Brown. And it’s why — after losing eight defensive starters from a year ago — Michigan has no shortage of confidence in its defense.
“When you look at coach Brown’s track record, I would argue he’s the best defensive coordinator in the country,” said offensive coordinator Josh Gattis. “He’s constantly produced top defenses year in and year out, no matter where he’s been.”
There’s a phrase ringing around Schembechler Hall: Michigan’s early enrollees “should be at high school prom.” Cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich described them as “raw” and “green.” Certainly, they’re not ready for college football, not yet.
This is what spring ball is for those who graduate high school a semester early to come to Ann Arbor.
The pre-game plane carried the optimistic hope for change that has defined Michigan’s offseason since it hired Josh Gattis as its new offensive coordinator on Jan. 10. And while aspects of that hope may be rooted in reality, Saturday’s spring game was a reminder that the Wolverines’ running game isn’t going anywhere.
Of course, all of this is just talk shrouded in the reputation that is Michigan’s signature offseason optimism, and the extent to which the public has seen Shea Patterson without Gentry came in a handful of 7-on-7 drills on Saturday.
But with five months until kickoff, it sure beats the alternative.