No. 11 Michigan is taking on No. 17 Florida this Saturday in Arlington, Texas from AT&T Stadium, and there’s been some interesting back-and-forths between head coaches Jim Harbaugh and Jim McElwain.
First, McElwain had this to say in light of Michigan not releasing an official 2017 depth chart.
McElwain: "We haven't gotten into Michigan prep at all. When you guys get their roster let me know who we're playing." #Gators— Nick de la Torre (@NickdelaTorreGC) August 23, 2017
Even a reporter has filed a public records request to see the roster, but Michigan hasn’t budged. In fact, Harbaugh is embracing the fact that people are just slightly annoyed at his roster secrecy. When asked who will be the Wolverines’ starting quarterback against the Gators, he pointed out the Gators haven’t named a starter yet either, as reiterated by McElwain on Monday.
#Wolverines Harbaugh says he isn't announce starting quarterback, added he has not seen any mention of starting QB by Florida— FOX 2 Sports (@FOX2Sports) August 28, 2017
That’s not all McElwain said about Michigan, adding this about Harbaugh on Monday.
Mac on Harbaugh: "He obviously felt he needed to do some things to be relevant and that's his choice. I probably wouldn't have done it."— Nick de la Torre (@NickdelaTorreGC) August 28, 2017
He’s had this to say on the matchup, too, while speaking to a group of Florida students:
“We’re headed to Dallas here in a couple weeks to go beat the heck out of Michigan,” McElwain said. “And then come back to you guys, thanks.”
But on Michigan radio, Harbaugh tried to end the whole thing.
“I don’t know what your deal is here,” Harbaugh said to [host Brad] Galli.
“I’ve got no problem with Jim. We’re coaching our ball teams, that’s all we’re doing right now. Is there something I’m missing here?”
Galli mentioned that McElwain seems to be talking about Harbaugh quite a bit.
“I don’t know,” Harbaugh said. “We’re busy getting ready for the game. It’ll be a great game. Florida has a heck of a team. Very skilled. Big, long athletes that are very good. We’re making it our goal to get to mid-season form, be as good as we possibly can and be a tough team to beat.”
It’s no secret that Harbaugh is college football’s most oddball, out-there head coach.
Some more recent examples were when he took his team on a trip to Rome and sang some opera, sophisticatedly reviewed pizza, and walked around with a selfie stick.
And during his first full recruiting season, he had some unorthodox methods, to say the least:
- Harbaugh slept over at a kicker recruit's house
- Harbaugh climbed a tree, apparently at the behest of a recruit
- Harbaugh went to high school classes with a recruit
- Harbaugh dabbed in front of a recruit's Christmas tree
- Harbaugh made a cake shaped like Texas for a recruit
- And the crowning achievement: Harbaugh turned Signing Day into a sold-out show, with Michigan legend Tom Brady, very much not-a-Michigan legend Lou Holtz, baseball legend who likes Michigan a lot Derek Jeter, Migos, pro wrestling legend Ric Flair, NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski, actress Jessica Szohr, ex-Tigers manager Jim Leyland, and one of the two Sklar brothers, plus video appearances from James Earl Jones, Mike Ditka, Drew Brees, Dick Vitale, Bret Hart, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and more.
It’s not like these methods don’t work. Over the last two seasons, Harbaugh has hauled in top-10 classes.
Michigan did end up releasing a roster on Monday, but it was actually just a list of former Wolverine players and coaches now in the NFL.
Just got the UM-Florida notes. Here's a roster!!!!!! Lol lol pic.twitter.com/PFjVLvyJLX— angelique (@chengelis) August 28, 2017
But being secretive when it comes to players isn’t exactly brand new:
Last year, Michigan didn’t release game-week depth charts, unlike virtually all of its opponents. That inspired Colorado’s public relations staff, ahead of CU’s game at Michigan, to release a parody depth chart with names such as Elmer Fudd, Butch Cassidy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on it. (Happy Gilmore was the punter.)
Not everyone likes the way Harbaugh runs his program, and Coach McElwain isn’t the first head coach who feels the Michigan head coach does too much sometimes. But as long as Harbaugh is Michigan’s head coach, it’s his world, and we have to just go along with the ride.