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What Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said in his Monday news conference

By Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News
Jim Harbaugh

Topics covered by Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh during his Monday news conference:

Aubrey Solomon and Kwity Paye ready to go this week?

Yes. Paye was hit in the funny bone. Solomon was sick.

Is Tarik Black full-go?

"Progressing good." 

Says that they're "fully engaged with the trainers" about what he's physically capable of, including routes, schemes, etc.

Says the trainers have done an excellent job of getting him on the field without "unacceptable risks."

What's it like sitting in Don Brown's meetings?

"You don't have to sit in Don Brown's meetings" to know what's going on, Harbaugh says, joking that you can hear what's going on within "50 feet" of his room, and that they have to repaint the walls in his room frequently.

"I learn so much from Don."

Says Brown can tell what happened in a play and what went wrong just from being down on the field; he doesn't need to look at tape or be in the booth to notice things that need to be fixed.

Notes the 80-yard touchdown run by Rutgers, and that Michigan adjusted well. Rutgers tried to run the play again and it was swallowed up for no gain, Harbaugh says.

Is it a cliche to not look ahead?

"I think that's probably a good idea."

What catches your eye about Indiana?

"They score a lot of points and they're really good on defense."

Notes that games versus Indiana are always tough, historically.

"I've always looked at them as a really tough opponent. I think the reason why is they're good on offense, they attack, they throw the ball downfield, they have backs that run hard."

"Defensively, we feel like we know what they do, and they're really good at covering up problems."

"They have calls, they have ways to get that addressed. It's a big challenge."

Why did you think the run game was an essential thing at Michigan?

"I've always thought that. Not just here, but other places."

"The time that it takes is the time that it takes."

Harbaugh congratulates Frank Gore, his "favorite player of all-time" that he's ever coached, for surpassing Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith with the most consecutive (14) seasons rushing for over 500 yards.

Do you feel the Michigan run game is completely there?

"I think they're doing a good job" and playing "well as a group."

Perimeter blocks from the receivers and the blocking of the backs and tight ends have contributed to the progress of the run game, Harbaugh says.

Says the second unit of the offensive line is coming along quite well.

On where Shea Patterson's decision making evolved:

"Programming of reads and progressions" have been things they worked on.

On Donovan Peoples-Jones and the receivers' improvement:

"The biggest thing is the way they catch the ball," Harbaugh says. Notes that the amount of drops this season has been really low, but especially in the windy conditions of Rutgers' stadium Saturday has been exceptional. Harbaugh notes that even he dropped two passes in pregame.

"Precision with how they run the routes has been really good."

"The third thing I would point out is their blocking."

On establishing a run game:

"I feel like it's really come together. The obvious reason for why that would take longer than other things" is that it requires "five guys really working together" and that they're are so many moving pieces to orchestrate.

On the defensive line and DL coach Greg Mattison:

"Greg (Mattison) has done a really great job." 

Harbaugh says that the whole unit is doing really well.

"Gotta give a lot of credit to Greg Mattison for sure." 

There's two other coaches who don't get enough credit, Harbaugh says: Defensive assistant Al Washington and tight ends coach Sherrone Moore.

Washington is "high energy" and does a great job in recruiting, and Moore has been extremely influential in improving the tight ends' blocking ability.

"I don't hear people talking about them that much," Harbaugh says, adding they're "rising stars in the profession."

On Patterson's ability to avoid turnovers:

Harbaugh says it has a lot to do with maturation and that he "sees the field really well." 

"From the first game he played here, that was really evident with him that there's not a lot of times where it could have gotten intercepted," Harbaugh says.

"The fact that he makes good decisions" and "throws the ball really accurately."

Status on Lavert Hill?

"Being evaluated for concussion protocol."


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