Give a man his flowers: It’s high time to give Jay Harbaugh his due
Michigan’s special teams unit is elite and has been for some time. I don’t think it’s hyperbole or another episode of “hot take theatre” to say that. The Wolverines have been consistently good on special teams for years.
The group is well trained, rarely makes mistakes and has been reliable with kicking and punting play.
Take Saturday’s victory over UConn for example. The punt blocking unit blocked a punt and AJ Henning returned a punt for a touchdown.
Of course, it takes great, willing players to make special teams work. In our age where varsity teams change every year, there has always been a consistent one with each one.
They were coached by Jay Harbaugh.
Now, this column doesn’t have to gush about special teams play. Instead, it’s about bringing home a long-awaited simple fact.
It’s time to give Harbaugh his flowers, it’s high time to give the credit the man deserves.
For years young Harbaugh was asked what it was like coaching his father. How it’s like learning a new position and if he feels ready for the job.
Dismissing the discourse on nepotism, which is the main subject of rivalry, he no longer needs to answer these questions. The results speak for themselves.
Harbaugh could easily say no when asked to change his position. He might say he likes where he is and doesn’t want to change it. Instead, he stuck it out and improved as a coach because of it.
That selfless attitude permeated the Michigan program and is a big reason why the Wolverines are where they are today.
He marked the program in his own way. Not just the Harbaugh way, the Jay way.
The talk of nepotism and doubt has been brushed aside. Now the conversation should center on how long the Wolverines can keep him. As he is certainly on track to one day lead his own program or even coordinate a side of the ball that does not include special teams.
He has repeatedly said he wants to be in Ann Arbor for as long as the program has him, which should be a lifetime contract as the program is in better hands with him.
Dismiss last name, dismiss handy fruit insults and fodder and watch the results.
These speak for themselves and Harbaugh has worked hard to rise above that talk and legitimize himself among college coaches.
The work he did on Special Teams and almost every roster position group while in Ann Arbor speaks for itself.
He will continue to be asked questions about learning a new band, why he changed jobs, if he’s ready for it, and what it’s like to work for his dad. Questions to which he is, no doubt, tired of answering but which he will never show publicly.
For now, Harbaugh’s selflessness and results-oriented approach to coaching is to be applauded.
Don’t take good coaching for granted once you have it. You don’t know how good you have it until it’s gone.
Jay Harbaugh, bow down, you’ve earned your recall.