Jim Harbaugh hopes his players use the narrow losses in 2016 as motivation to work harder in 2017.
Chicago — Michigan defensive linemen Maurice Hurst and Rashan Gary have received plenty of preseason accolades, and coach Jim Harbaugh appreciates how they’ve responded to the hype.
Gary, a sophomore end, arrived at Michigan rated the nation’s No. 1 recruit, while Hurst is a senior defensive tackle. They will anchor the defensive line that lost all its starters from last season.
“Very interesting to see how Rashan has handled it,” Harbaugh said. “He’s had a lot of hype. He’s had a lot of adulation. And there’s some people that that’s what they live for. They live for approval of others and to be recognized as a hyped-up player.
“And then there’s other people that they see that hype or that adulation and they go by it like it’s an orange cone on the side of the road. There’s some people that are just aspiring for greater things than just the adulation of somebody, and I think Rashan is that type of guy. He just works, and I really think competing is his favorite thing to do. And he has the ability to be great.”
Hurst, who opted to return to Michigan for his final season instead of trying to get drafted by the NFL, has received acclaim as one of the top defensive tackles in the country.
“I think it’s been overdue,” Harbaugh said of the preseason praise. “And maybe Mo feels that way. But I think he’s enjoying that people are appreciating what he does as a football player and what he brings to the football team.”
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh talks about the inspiration he drew from attending the commissioning of the USS Gerald Ford.
While discussing what the team can achieve this fall, Hurst made a comparison to himself.
“You always want to go into the season confident,” he said. “You do want your dreams to be big all the time. My personal goals are enormous, probably have everyone laugh here. But every year, you have those goals. Every year we want to win a national championship. That’s our goal going into this season, and that’s something we take seriously and work for every day.”
Spring trip adjustment
Harbaugh spent a considerable amount of time during Big Ten media days discussing the team’s spring trip to Rome. He recently said the team had voted to visit Paris, Normandy and London next year, but now it appears London is off the itinerary.
“There’s so much to do in Paris when you talk to some of the experts and travel planners,” he said. “You want to spend time in Paris. You want to go Monet’s gardens, you want to go to Versailles, you want to go to Normandy. It needs a week. I’ve been to Paris and didn’t get close to everything done in one week. I think that probably will be the way we’ll lean as we’re starting to prepare for the trip and plan it.”
Harbaugh made official the support-staff hirings of Matt Dudek, who spent the last four years on Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez’s staff. He will be Michigan’s director of recruiting. Also, Tom Gamble, a former 49ers executive, has been hired as part of Michigan’s player personnel department.
“Very excited,” Harbaugh said of the hires. “(Dudek has an) amazing gift of personality and people skills and enthusiasm and energy. Tom Gamble’s the same way. Guys that are hungry to make us better also has been a consistent theme in what we’ve been looking for in new hires and new people coming on to our ballclub.”
Biff Poggi, a special advisor to Harbaugh, and Jim Minick, associate athletic director for football, both recently left the program.
Harbaugh on sophomore Rashan Gary: “He treats that adulation and that hype stuff like it’s an orange cone on the side of 23. When you’re heading north, those big orange cones.”