Stage 1: Initial Shock and Amazement
There's an old Irish fan in my office who, throughout the courting process of Jim Harbaugh, simply would not believe that Jim was coming to Michigan. "I'll believe it when I see it. It's just too far-fetched." When the deal was officially announced, he came by and shook my hand. "Game changer," he said, "Game changer. Hard to believe."
He was right, of course, because pulling a top NFL coach, albeit a controversial one, was something every Michigan fan dreamed of at night before putting on their Maize and Blue jammies. The strong figurehead of a Michigan coach had been lacking for years, ever since Lloyd Carr began slowing down and the reins were passed unsuccessfully to RichRod and Brady Hoke.
Stage 2: Credibility
Both Rodriguez and Hoke lacked credibility in the eyes of Michigan fans. When Rodriguez said his system would work, and yet never developed or recruited players to execute it, fans didn't believe that he could turn it around at Michigan. When Hoke clapped his hands on the sidelines, no one believed that he actually did a whole hell of a lot other than recruit and yell.
Harbaugh comes in with instant credibility and a loaded resume. No one doubts his intensity or his prowess with teaching or instituting a system.
Stage 3: Instant (Offseason) Results
The work with Jameis Winston and the transfer of Jake Rudock seemed to confirm the importance of Harbaugh's big name. Teaching NFL-level players, trolling SEC coaches, pulling in important transfers and recruits, becoming a #Twitter monster...Harbaugh came in with a *BANG*
Stage 4: Getting to know The Harbaugh
Yada yada yada super intense Harbaugh. Staring into the distance transfixed by some imaginary football play in his head Harbagh. LOVES Judge Judy, American Sniper, hard work, mom, apple pie Harbaugh.
Harbaugh talks and tweets like an inspirational speaker mixed with a super excited 14 year old kid who just looooves everything.
Stage 5: Reality
A tough schedule and semi-decent talent greets Harbaugh in the Fall of 2015. If you thought other schools liked beating Hoke, multiply that by 10 for how bad they'll like beating Harbaugh. Our own Hoegher predicts 7-5. This isn't a one year turnaround, not by a long-shot.
I would love to hear our commentators thoughts on Harbaugh. Does the "jazzed-up motivational speaker" thing piss you off or entertain? Does anyone have good memories of watching a Harbaugh team and saying "woa, that's good stuff" or "hmmm not great"?