Is Michigan Firing Jim Harbaugh And Replacing Him With Urban Meyer?
Is Michigan firing Jim Harbaugh and replacing him with Urban Meyer?
It is certainly a possibility after the Wolverines’ shocking 35-14 defeat at the hands of Wisconsin this past week.
Obviously Michigan going into Camp Randall Stadium and coming away with anything less than a victory would have been disappointing, but what really stood out from this weekend was the way Harbaugh’s squad lost.
This was supposed to be the outing where Michigan would dispel all the negative talk about their offense and prove that they were the class of the Big Ten.
Instead we got a completely different type of reality check, with Wisconsin running the ball down Harbaugh’s throat en route to the sort of victory that ends coaches’ tenures at particular institutions.
For his part, Harbaugh knew there was no excuse for how the Wolverines looked on Saturday.
“We were outplayed. Out-prepared, out-coached, the whole thing,” he said.
“Both offensively and defensively, it was thorough. You know, we knew it about their team, and they have the ability.”
At times it was hard to tell whether Michigan’s offense was just awful or Wisconsin’s defense was that good, but either way, the result was the same.
“They’re good enough,” he said.
“If they play good enough, they are good enough to beat you thoroughly, and that’s what happened today.”
At one point, the Badgers shut Michigan out on offense in the first half and took a 28-0 lead.
The last time Michigan was down by 28 or more points at halftime?
Michigan had exactly nine yards rushing at halftime and quarterback Shea Patterson had to be replaced by Dylan McCafrey after the first half.
The change didn’t stick, though, as McCaffrey left the game in the third quarter after taking a bad hit that may have left him with a concussion.
A lot of people believed and hoped that Michigan coming off a bye week would allow them to become sufficiently prepared for what Wisconsin would bring to the table.
Obviously that did not happen.
All the same issues moving the ball that existed in Week 2 versus Army repeated themselves on Saturday.
Offensively this team is as inept as any Harbaugh coached team ever – and that simply should not be the case all these years later.
The players, for their parts, know something is not right.
“I believe our offense is not as consistent as we hoped it would be,” tight end Nick Eubanks said.
“But through the next few practices, we’ll find that identity and find that rhythm.”
The question is: will they?
The message preached by Harbaugh every year since his arrival to Michigan has been that improvement is on the horizon. And yet, whenever the team is confronted by a big game, they flop.
Michigan is 4-11 against top-15 squads with him as head coach and 0-8 in road and neutral site games.
As bad as the offense was, and as sad as it is that this is an issue that has remained unresolved this deep into Harbaugh’s time with the school, the defense appears to be regressing as well.
Against Wisconsin, the defense allowed Jonathan Taylor to rack up 143 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the first quarter.
“Right now, we’re at the point in the season, we had our first Big Ten game, we lose it, so now we got our backs against the wall,” defensive end Aidan Hutchinson said after the game.
“We just gotta fight to get out of this position we’re in, and we’ll do it. I’m confident.”
The problem for Michigan is that they still have a ton of tough games ahead.
With outings versus Iowa, Michigan State, Penn State, Notre Dame and Ohio State still on the horizon, two more losses seems all but guaranteed.
There is no way Harbaugh can survive a three loss season.
So assuming Harbaugh is out after this year, who can replace him?
Meyer seems like a logical answer.
He has a history of dominating in the Big Ten and very clearly desires a return to coaching.
More recently Meyer has been linked to USC and Tennessee, but this would make as much sense as any of those options.
For his part, Meyer has taken note of what is going on at Michigan under Harbaugh.
Urban Meyer trying not to laugh is A MOOD pic.twitter.com/GAHrN7ftyx
— Jessi Davin (@jessithebuckeye) September 21, 2019
“First of all congrats to coach (Paul) Chryst, we undervalued their skill, excellent team,” Meyer said on FOX.
“People are going to look at that game and ask, ‘What’s the problem? Let’s blame the players and coaches.’ That’s not the case.
“There’s good players in that program. Every year, they recruit. Every one one of those players on that field are highly-recruited guys.
“Those coaches are (good) coaches. You have to lift up the hood and ask what is wrong. Those guys can play. They can coach. There’s a problem there. You lift up that hood and you’re not going to like what you see.”
Keep an eye on Michigan for the rest of the season, because the coaching staff may look very different come this time next year.