Michigan's Jim Harbaugh on eve of Citrus Bowl: Alabama has 'no weaknesses'

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Orlando, Fla. – Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh knows his team has an enormous challenge with Alabama, a program that under coach Nick Saban has been a fixture in the national championship scene.

The teams will meet in the Citrus Bowl on Wednesday, with Michigan (9-3) about a touchdown underdog to Alabama (10-2).

DeVonta Smith

“There are no weaknesses,” Harbaugh said Tuesday of Alabama at the final news conference before the bowl game.

Saban, whose team was stunted by injuries this season on defense early and then quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was lost with two games left to a hip injury, offered considerable praise for the Michigan program.

“The first thing that comes off the screen to me, they’re a very well-coached team in every phase of the game,” he said, adding he thought Michigan played its best football late in the season. “Their players play really hard, they play with tremendous toughness, they’ve got great intangibles in terms of their discipline, their accountability to do their job, how they play together as a group. On defense they do a lot of movement, they’ve got a lot of quickness, their very aggressive.”

Alabama has been an elite program, especially under Saban’s watch. Since 2011, the Tide have played in six national title games and won four.

“When this game was arranged there was a lot of excitement to play an iconic program like Alabama,” Harbaugh said. “Coach Saban and his staff have really set the bar. Elite program, great football team, and it’s a big challenge for us. But a great opportunity for our season, for this 2019 season, and I feel good now that the game’s getting close to kickoff. Our team’s been hard at it.”

The Alabama offense is ranked seventh nationally, averaging 513.3 yards a game, and features three top receivers, DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III.

“Offensively, schematically and players, offense that is built for speed and attacks every part of the field in the passing game, in the running game, physical football team,” Harbaugh said. “Defensively, really the same thing. It’s a very attacking, multiple in coverages, and the special teams is really dangerous, especially in the return game.”

Citrus Bowl


Kickoff: Wednesday, 1 p.m. Camping World Stadium, Orlando

TV/radio: ABC/950 AM

Records: Michigan 9-3, Alabama 10-2

Line: Alabama by 7