Florida State's goal: Raise Harbaugh's blood pressure

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. — The Florida State players have among their goals a desire to “piss off” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, driving him into a sideline rant when the teams face each other in the Orange Bowl.

Harbaugh is often animated and demonstrative during games when he challenges officials or is miffed by a call. Those scenes make for great television and photos, and the FSU players have certainly have been amused by the Harbaugh highlights.

Michigan and Florida State will play Friday night in the Orange Bowl, and driving Harbaugh to histrionics is up there with defending Jabrill Peppers and running the ball against Michigan’s highly rated defense.


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“He’s a good coach,” FSU defensive back Marquez White said Tuesday morning. “He’s him. Everybody has their own personality. He feels like he’s the guy. I like to watch him on TV and see how upset he gets.

“Hopefully we can piss him off, that’s our plan going into the game. We want to piss off Harbaugh. We want to piss him off.”

White said he enjoys seeing coaches lose their cool on the sideline and said even FSU coach Jimbo Fisher is fun to watch when he gets upset.

Seminoles’ defensive end DeMarcus Walker thinks Harbaugh brings a new approach to coaching.

“My first thought, (he’s) a guy who really has no filter, can say what he want to say, but also a great coach,” Walker said.  “He does different, man. He recruits different. Usually you see a lot of old-school coaches, blue collar, not saying he’s not, but old school. He just flipped around Michigan, just did stuff his way. That was very uncommon to see.

“Jimbo is very old school, (Nick) Saban is very old school. Steeped in tradition. That’s what I’m used to seeing. When Jim Harbaugh came into the college football world, he did his own swagger. Switched it up. I believe he’s a great guy. I have nothing negative against him.”

But Walker said he can’t see Harbaugh being a major force in recruiting the state of Florida.

“No, no,” said Walker, who is from Jacksonville. “I believe coach Fisher has this state, this region locked down.”


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White, however, knows that for Michigan, beating Florida State in south Florida would be a recruiting boost. Michigan defeated Florida in the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day after the 2015 season, Harbaugh’s first year.

“If they were to win this game, it would show a lot,” White said, referring to southern recruits who might be considering Michigan. “There’s a bunch of things at stake in this game.”

Michigan’s football program is the only to be associated with Nike’s Jordan Brand and the only to wear the “Jumpman” logo. That is something that turns the heads of recruits, White said.

“Me, I’m kind of jealous they’ve got all the Jordan gear,” he said, smiling.

If he were going through the recruiting process again, would Michigan have a shot?

“If they would have had all the Jordan gear and had it all laid out, they would have gave Florida State a run for the money,” White said. “I would have went on a visit just because of the gear.”


Twitter: @chengelis