ESPN GameDay consensus: Jim Harbaugh's Wolverines have 'no juice, no fire'

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

No one seems to know what to expect from Michigan, including national college analysts who have watched the Wolverines during their 1-3 start.

Michigan is preparing to face Rutgers, also 1-3, tonight at SHI Stadium in Piscataway, N.J. This is the Wolverines’ worse start since 1967.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh says he remains "energized" to coach, despite the team's 1-3 start.

During an ESPN College GameDay segment on Saturday, analysts Desmond Howard, the 1991 Heisman Trophy winner from Michigan, Kirk Herbstreit and David Pollack discussed where the Wolverines are and where they need to be.

“I had a conversation with a couple of friends, former players, and I asked them, ‘What do you see?’" Howard said. "And they said, general consensus is there was no fire. There’s no juice. They’re just out there playing. And I’ll tell you what, Rutgers, they’re going to hit the field with some juice. With Greg Schiano as the head coach, they’re going to come onto the field with their hair on fire. If Michigan can’t match that energy, they’re in for a long day against Rutgers.

“Outside of that, they are what we’ve seen. The conversation’s the same week in and week out. They have to match Rutgers’ energy today.”

“That sounds weird to hear -- Michigan has to match Rutgers’ energy,” Pollack said.

Howard pointed out that it’s 2020 and overall a “weird year”, and then Pollack said he can’t put a finger on exactly what is the main source of Michigan's issues.

“I ain’t got a clue what to expect from Michigan. I’ve got nothing,” Pollack said. “I thought they’d bounce back with Indiana, I thought we’d see some fight. I expect to see a backup quarterback. I expect to see (Cade) McNamara more. I mean, you look at (starting quarterback Joe) Milton, four straight possessions with four picks, I mean, something’s got to change on the offensive side of the football. (Defensive coordinator) Don Brown has to evolve a little bit and change his defense a little bit too, so I don’t know what to expect, but there’s a lot that has to change.”

Howard, with Herbstreit in agreement, said it’s not all about the coaches.

“The players, they’re going to take some accountability and at some point you have to have pride in what you do on that field and the film you put out there for everyone to see,” Howard said.

Twitter: @achengelis