UM Football: Harbaugh addresses Big Ten media

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh begins his third season with the Wolverines and fielded a number of questions on Tuesday during Big Ten Football Media Days 2017. Here a few of the highlights.

On opening with Florida on Saturday, Sept. 2 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas: That’s probably a good factor in giving us motivation and to get ready because we know just how good they are. And college football has always been unique. It’s the only sport that I can think of that doesn’t have a preseason or exhibition season. No spring training, no preseason game. So you go right into your first game and that counts – that starts the season. Where we’re going, we’re unique in a lot of ways in college football.

On the three candidates for quarterback?
(Wilton Speight) comes in really tied for first with John O’Korn and Brandon Peters, legitimately, through competition, throughout all the spring, went through 15 practices and was a dead heat. But the good news is they all did some things that really – Brandon really shot up. John O’Korn really played consistently good. And Wilton really had some impressive moments as well.

And we’ll go through training camp starting on Monday, just throw the balls out there and let the fellows compete. There’s a lot a quarterback can do over the summer to get better at playing quarterback. It’s one of those positions, like a kicker. A quarterback can just go out there and throw balls on the net, can work on their drops. There’s a lot of ways that they don’t even need other players to be out there to improve some part of their skill game. Much like a kicker.

So you want to see what’s transpired over the summer and see who has gotten better. And then who gives our team the best chance to move the ball, score touchdowns and put points on the board, not turn the ball over, and probably take about anywhere from eight to 15 practices to figure that out. Historically that’s what it usually takes. But we’re looking forward to it. Mostly in a good spot.

On freshman defensive end Rashan Gary: Very interesting to see how Rashan has handled (the attention). To me, I’ve really watched it. It’s one of the top recruits, maybe the top recruit coming out of high school. He’s had a lot of hype. He’s had a lot of adulation. And there’s some people that that’s what they live for. They live for approval of others and to be recognized as a hyped-up player.
And then there’s other people that they see that hype or that adulation and they go by it like it’s an orange cone on the side of the road.

There’s some people that are just aspiring for greater things than just the adulation of somebody. And I think Rashan is that type of guy.
He’s gone by it like it’s a cone, orange cone on the side of the road. And he just works and I really think competing is his favorite thing to do. And he has the ability to be great. I don’t know what more to say about that.

On senior defensive tackle Maurice Hurst: I think Mo has handled (the added attention) good. I think it’s been overdue. And maybe Mo feels that way. But I think he’s enjoying that. I think he’s enjoying that people are appreciating what he does as a football player and what he brings to the football team, even on our own team.

Our appreciation for him is probably the first, and I think he likes that. And I think that drives him to be even better. I think he’s got a chance to be really good, again. He’s got the license and the ability to be really great. And we appreciate the heck out of him. And I hope he does like that. I hope he keeps going, because he’s got a chance to be really good.

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