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Would You Play For Jim Harbaugh?

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Harbaugh Runs To The Tune Of His Own Beat

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Michigan vs Florida Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy H, part of the Holy Trinity of Super Famous College Coaches (Meyer, Saban, Harbz), has been cleaning up on the recruiting trail. Saban’s “The Process” mantra is kind of catchy in an efficient-sounding way...but Jim is just loco. He’s crazy, marching to the beat of his own drum, which is probably some weird Tahiti House drum.

Michigan Football Spring Game Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

His energy and quirks are legendary, as is his attention to detail and ability to coach-up quarterbacks and turn the popular concept of spread small-ball on it’s head by doing the exact opposite. I repeat this story a million times, but one fullback said about Harbaugh and his coaches (and I am paraphrasing): “Under Hoke, we would be told to work hard and go block the guy. Under Jim, we’re told how exactly to block, where we position ourselves, why blocking this way is so important...and then we’re more prepared to successfully carry out the block.”

So. Would you play for him? Would you be wooed on the recruiting trail by a guy who would sleep on your couch and climb a tree and recreate John Cusack holding the radio up in “Say Anything”? Who might take your mediocre team and turn them into world-beaters?

LPW: Harbaugh’s track record at Stanford is amazing, given the academic restrictions they face. He’s definitely worth playing for, and I believe the future is bright at Michigan. Yeah, it had a lost decade, but you know who else did? Alabama. If not this year, then next year Michigan is going to challenge OSU and MSU for the east division crown.

Northwestern is a competitive team under Pat Fitzgerald, and we’re quite happy with him. I think he’ll surpass ten wins one of these years.

GF3: Harbaugh’s track record is as much about winning as it is about burning bridges and spewing spittle at those who upset the St. Elsewhere Snow Globe in his head. Remember that his FBS coaching record is now 39-24, and ten of those wins are thanks to the talent the last guy left him. So at the risk of waking the echoes of MGoBlog fury, I’d offer that the long-term track record of Jim Harbaugh is still up for debate. The guy is an odd duck, and one wonders how long his inane and insane antics can go on before he really screws up and loses a prize recruit over it. All the world’s a stage, and he’s less King Lear and more King Friday.

I’ll trust that the second part of the question doesn’t apply to me.

Al NamiasIV: No, I wouldn't play for Jim Harbaugh and if I had a son, I would highly discourage him from playing for Harbaugh. All that money and you can't get a hotel? Seriously Jim?

Nebraska’s dominance from the 60s-90s was a once-in-a-lifetime sort of deal. Iowa would have to follow a similar path to dominance as Nebraska (harder actually because Iowas has in-state FBS competition). Frankly, I'm not sure that sort of dominance could be reached again at Iowa, Nebraska or any program with decidedly weak in-state recruiting.

Brian: Others may not like him, but his players love him - especially this current batch of Wolverines. The same could be said for most coaches, of course, but that definitely seems to be the case with Harbaugh.

babaoreally: Sure, I'd play for Harbaugh. As far as a coach to take my mediocre team and turn them into world-beaters, I can't think if anyone short of Saban who could do it.

MNW: It feels like any opinion I can offer on “would I play for Harbaugh” is tainted by the fact that I’m now 25. I don’t think I was all that easily wooed by older men when I was 18—wait. Can I start over? That came out wrong.

If anywhere, I think we’ve finally found that place that the HARBAUGH schtick can work for as long as he can win. We saw just a glimmer of it last here over here at OTE—when he starts winning, the delusion wing of the Maize’n’Blue return to full bellow. Couple that with Trump2016? Oh Jesus. It’s going to be a long fall, isn’t it?

Pat Fitzgerald is the one who can turn my team into world-beaters, if just for a year. Right? RIGHT? PLEASE?!?

/interminable sobbing

Aaron Yorke: You mean James Franklin hasn’t turned the Nittany Lions into world-beaters yet? Maybe that will change once he gets to coach with the players he recruited. Still, of course I would trade him for Harbaugh without hesitation. As abrasive as his personality might be, Harbaugh built winning football teams at Stanford and with San Francisco in the NFL. He’s one of the best coaches in the business right now, and that’s someone who I’d want to play for. Maybe I’d have him sleep in the guest room when he came to visit, though.

Andrew Kraszewski: No. I do not find desperation appealing, and I can't imagine it would be a good feeling to be Swenson’d. That said, he's getting enough traction with the guys whose commitments do matter that I'll acknowledge if I were a prep standout, my perspective on his tenuous grip on his sanity would probably be different. No Division-1 prospect has the humility to think they're going to be the one whose scholly gets yanked, and man oh man do they dig the constant, relentless attention he lavishes. It just ain't me, man.

Zuzu: No. I'd rather not spend a chunk of my college-aged youth being yelled at and in fear of a legitimate psychopath.

Thumpasaurus: If this weren’t an alternate universe where I grew into a college-sized lineman, I’d probably be a punter, as that was my other position. Like any player, I’d want to make sure my coach puts me in the best position to succeed. If a coach were to, say, stay in the base punt coverage when a clear 11-man punt block is coming, sending gunners down the field to cover the punt that nobody is back to return, I would probably have serious questions about that coach’s understanding of the game.