Hot topics for Harbaugh: Satellite camps, submarines
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is on the cusp of his second season coaching the Wolverines, and like the other 13 Big Ten coaches, he will have to kick things off by participating in the annual two-day media days that begin Monday in Chicago.
Harbaugh will be among the coaches speaking during the formal media sessions, and he is certain to field plenty of questions.
At least year’s Big Ten media days, his first as Michigan coach, Harbaugh drew enormous crowds, and considering how he maintains a presence in the headlines throughout the offseason, it should come as no surprise if he’s surrounded again during media sessions.
Here’s an educated guess what five questions Harbaugh is sure to get:
Who will be the starting quarterback?
Of course Harbaugh is not going to offer anything definitive on this topic, because the competition from spring practice will carry on into preseason camp, which begins Aug. 8. The main contenders are John O’Korn, Wilton Speight and Shane Morris. Harbaugh has repeatedly said competition for the job will be ongoing through camp, so don’t expect anything more specific until probably the week before the opener.
How good will the defense be?
Harbaugh hasn’t discouraged his defensive players from talking up how good they all think the Michigan defense will be, which makes you wonder if he thinks that. Harbaugh will be asked about the addition of defensive coordinator Don Brown to the staff after D.J. Durkin moved on to take the Maryland head coaching job, and from all accounts he thinks the transition has been seamless. And then there will be the spinoff question about freshman Rashan Gary, the nation’s No. 1 high school prospect and if he will be a factor right away (early answer — yes).
Were the satellite camps worth all the controversy and debate in April?
In Harbaugh’s America, he is allowed to participate in satellite camps all over the world, and that’s what he did. He has spoken ad nauseum about the joy he had working the camps and their benefits, but the guy who stirred up so much off-season conversation isn’t going to leave Chicago without talking about the camps again.
How pleased is he about having Notre Dame on the schedule again?
The Big Ten media days are in Chicago, so this question is bound to surface. Harbaugh has made clear since Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly first revealed the Irish’s interest in resuming the rivalry that he wanted to play the Irish again. So the programs have scheduled a home-and-home, and while Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel has explained why he agreed to have Michigan re-open the series at Notre Dame in 2018, the same year the Wolverines will play Michigan State and Ohio State on the road, Harbaugh undoubtedly will be asked his thoughts on playing the three rivalry games on the road.
Will he take his team into the “submarine” again?
The submarine was Harbaugh’s clever way of shutting down preseason camp last season to media and pretty much everyone else. For essentially three weeks, the team practiced and had meetings and held camp without outside intrusions. Harbaugh recently was asked if he would revisit the submarine approach, and he said he wasn’t sure. During the week of spring practice in Florida earlier this year, Harbaugh surprisingly opened practice to media and allowed video to be shot and interviews. Different times of the season, certainly, but maybe the submarine will occasionally surface for an update.