Buckeyes would like Harbaugh to do well at UM
Chicago — Ohio State players said they hope Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh will return some luster to the rivalry.
The Buckeyes, the defending national champion and preseason No. 1, have won 10 of the last 11 meetings over the Wolverines. Harbaugh, the former Michigan quarterback who guaranteed victory over Ohio State before the 1986 game, has brought credibility back to the program, which has been on the skids since 2008.
Michigan hosts Ohio State on Nov. 28, and several Buckeyes players attending the Big Ten media days believe Harbaugh will make a difference.
“Twitter told me it changed the rivalry, so I guess I have to go with Twitter there,” Ohio State senior linebacker Joshua Perry said, laughing. “I think it’s going to be really good because you’ve got two really good coaches (Ohio State’s Urban Meyer) going at it, two interesting personalities, two really good recruiters and competitors.”
Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker said it’s important on many fronts to have Michigan playing at a high level.
“I really do hope (Harbaugh) kind of brings them back — not to take anything away from them, but they’ve not lived up to the expectations of their program recently,” Decker said. “That’s good for our conference, it’s especially good for our rivalry, and it’s good for us.”
Initially when asked about Harbaugh, Buckeyes defensive tackle Adolphus Washington said they are more concerned with beating the Wolverines than who is coaching them.
But he considered the subject again and echoed his teammates’ beliefs the rivalry has renewed life.
“I definitely think it will bring a lot more intensity to the rivalry with him as coach,” Washington said.
On second thought
Jake Rudock, Iowa’s starting quarterback the last two seasons, saw his name below C.J. Beathard on the depth chart before spring practice, and decided to transfer. So he’s at Michigan with one year of eligibility remaining.
His former teammate, Drew Ott, said in April he thought Rudock “had a little more fight in him,” but Thursday was kinder.
“He’ll bring experience to the table (at Michigan),” Ott said. “He’s a smart kid. He’ll know the playbook, he’ll know exactly what to do in every situation. He’s a student of the game, so he should be good in that aspect. He’ll do good there. He should fit in well.”
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said he, like any coach, wants what is best for each player.
“That was Jake’s decision all the way,” Ferentz said. “And certainly we did all we could to cooperate with him whatever path he chose to take.”
Rudock threw for 2,436 yards and 16 touchdowns last season.
Sometimes, coaching transitions can be awkward and take several years. But at Wisconsin, Paul Chryst has eased into the role.
He said it’s important to be up front with players and transparent when it comes to why he’s making certain decisions.
“Let them know everything that you’re doing and why you’re doing it,” said Chryst, a former offensive coordinator for the Badgers. “I think it’s helped me that our seniors, guys that have just graduated, they knew not only myself but other members on the staff. I think there’s a lot of continuity.
“They’re a little bit more at ease. ... But most importantly I think it’s just getting to know them and making sure you’re clear. You’re communicating to them why we’re doing what we’re doing.”
Illinois coach Tim Beckman avoided answering questions regarding allegations from former players during the offseason regarding his mistreatment of players. He was asked if he has changed his approach.
“We’re focused right now on a 2015 team,” Beckman said. “We took off from last year after a great end of the year. And we’ve been focused since January on becoming a better program. The philosophy we continue to use is what these football players believe in football.”
... After one season in the Big Ten, Maryland coach Randy Edsall said what he found was the conference is a “lineman league.”
“From the standpoint of our players, it was just the physicality ... from the ACC,” Edsall said. “You better be able to control the line of scrimmage if you’re going to give yourself a chance to win.”