Harbaugh keeps line open with Big Ten officiating

Angelique S. Chengelis, The Detroit News

Chicago — Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh probably has Bill Carollo, Big Ten coordinator of football officials, on speed dial.

Harbaugh calls Carollo nearly every Monday during the season to discuss officiating calls he didn’t agree with, and the two discuss why the call was made and often Carollo finds himself agreeing with Harbaugh’s take.

“I have a really good relationship with coach Harbaugh,” Carollo said Tuesday during Big Ten media days. “I’ve had him when he was a player at Michigan as an official, so I know him on the field really well, and there’s a great respect for each other. I tell him, ‘You’ve got a handful of plays, send them in.’

“By Tuesday night I have NFL people grading 185 plays (coaches send in). Last year of all the coaches’ questions I got, I agreed with the coaches 61 percent of the time, so they aren’t wasting my time.”

Big Ten officials made 21 targeting calls and reversed nine last season. Carollo said there was one he wished had been reversed — former Michigan linebacker Joe Bolden’s ejection from the Michigan State game for targeting.

“Had I had my druthers, I might have preferred something else (called),” Carollo said referring to that play. “That’s what led to this rule change that we’re giving the replay official the ability to look at the entire play and decide was he really defenseless and did he come off a block.

“(The call on Bolden) wasn’t the poster-child targeting call we wanted.”

Carollo said Big Ten officials made more targeting calls than ever last year, but also reversed more.

He did also hear from Harbaugh after the “intent to deceive” penalty in the game against Rutgers last fall. With Michigan at its 18-yard line, the huddle broke and tight end Jake Butt headed toward the sideline, seemingly for a substitution. But, he lined up before he exited the field and caught a pass from quarterback Jake Rudock for first down.

Harbaugh, at the time, said he was “offended” by the call.

“That was a good one,” Carollo said. “We talked about it. I presented it — here’s the rule, cited the rule, gave it to him. It’s a little different than the NFL. He did run it in the NFL and it was legal and he got away with it, no flag. Our guys understand the rule. Any type of trying to deceive the defense on substitution, better be careful, because it’s illegal. That actual play ended up on the national training tape for the NCAA as a learning tool for all of the officials across the country. It was handled properly.

“I don’t know if coach agreed or liked the rule, but that’s the rule, what do you want me to do?”

Preparing for an old friend

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and Maryland coach D.J. Durkin will face each other Nov. 5 at Michigan Stadium when their teams face each other.

Durkin was the Wolverines’ defensive coordinator last season before taking the job as the Terrapins head coach.

“Not looking forward to it,” Harbaugh said. “I know D.J. Durkin will have his team prepared and playing with their hair on fire, one of my favorite phrases D.J. uses. It will be a football fight. I wish I could say I was looking forward to it, I’m not.”

Durkin joked before his one-hour media session Tuesday that he had already been asked about Harbaugh about 10 times, and said he fields questions about him almost daily. Durkin also worked for Ohio State coach Urban Meyer when he coached at Florida and said he has drawn immensely from his experiences with both coaches.

No Meyer rap video

Ohio State offensive lineman Pat Elflein has seen Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s appearance in a recently released rap video and thought it was a fine effort.

“It was all right,” Elflein said Tuesday. “He does what he does. He has his tactics. It was different. I don’t think anyone’s ever done that before, a college coach. It was all right.”

Would Urban Meyer, his coach, ever do that?

“Probably not,” Elflein said. “I don’t think he would.”

BTN makes big changes

The Big Ten Network is adding new programming this fall with the addition of several new shows.

BTN will debut “BTN Tailgate” a live 90-minute pregame show beginning at 10:30 a.m. during conference play this fall. Each week, the show, with host Dave Revsine and analysts Gerry DiNardo and former Bears defensive tackle Anthony Adams. 

Longtime BTN anchor Mike Hall will host the network’s first late-night show, “Sports Lite with Mike Hall”. The show debuts Sept. 14 at 11 p.m. and will take a lighter look at Big Ten athletics. Also making its debut this season is “Campus Eats,” which kicks off Sept. 6 at 10 p.m. The show will give a firsthand look at the unique restaurants around the Big Ten. 

Jim Harbaugh