For Harbaugh, The Clock Is Ticking

The clock is ticking on Jim Harbaugh.

It’s time to admit it. I never thought I’d utter these words, but the countdown clock has started ticking for Harbaugh. The way I see it, Michigan’s coach has two years to make it to a Big Ten title game, or it’s time to move on.

It’s difficult to put a time frame and a specific goal on a coach. But enough is enough, and it’s time to start holding him accountable.

As we’ve just ended year three of the Harbaugh era, the Michigan football program is nowhere near where any of us thought it would be. In fact, you could make a very solid argument that it’s actually worse than where he picked it up. Sometimes things just don’t work out like everybody hopes. And with each passing game, it’s looking like this is one of those times.

When Harbaugh arrived in Ann Arbor on Dec. 30, 2014, many thought the turnaround would take two-to-three years, myself included. But as we head into year four, we’re all still waiting for the turnaround.

Lack of Talent

Ever since Brady Hoke’s players have left, the amount of talent on Michigan’s roster has taken a significant nosedive.

You can make the argument Harbaugh’s recruited players are still young and developing. But for a head coach who makes $9 million a year and is one of the highest paid coaches in college football, one would think that development would happen faster.

The wide receivers still lack true pass catching and separation abilities. The safeties are still the easy target in the pass defense because of poor man-to-man coverage skills. And, the offensive line still struggles to protect anybody behind them.

The quarterback position, which is supposed to be Harbaugh’s specialty, has been abysmal ever since Jake Rudock moved on to the NFL. Brandon Peters, Harbaugh’s first big quarterback recruit looked average at best when he started five games for the Wolverines. He completed just 52-percent of his passes, contributed only four touchdowns, and threw two costly interceptions inside the red zone. In fact, the nine touchdown passes thrown by the Wolverines this season were the lowest amount for a Michigan team since 1975. That’s down right embarrassing for having a head coach who’s been touted as a “quarterback guru.”

Coaching Miscues

When former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs said that Harbaugh “didn’t know what he was doing” while coaching the San Francisco 49ers, I like many Wolverines fans thought to myself, ‘what is this guy talking about?’ But now I’m starting to question whether Jacobs is right.

Think of the coaching mistakes Harbaugh has made, and the list will be longer than you think.

Having gunners on the final punt against Michigan State in 2015, when the Spartans didn’t have anybody fielding a return as all 11 of them were going for the block? We know how that ended. Think of how many times in third-and-long situations with Michigan trailing have you seen them run a play-action pass out of the I-formation, you aren’t fooling anybody. Even in the Outback Bowl, when tight end Sean McKeon took a handoff on third-and-short and fumbled on his first career carry. Harbaugh later admitted after the game he probably should’ve called timeout to get the right personnel on the field. Yet, hindsight is 20/20. Or how about on Michigan’s final play when on fourth-and-one, all of the receivers ran deep routes, instead of short, quick slants.

It begs the question: what are you doing?

Sum It All Up 

This program is heading in the wrong direction.

And I’m growing skeptical Harbaugh can dig Michigan out of this hole. While the defense, who returned only one starter, held its own this season, the offense looked like a dumpster fire. At this point if former Mississippi QB Shea Patterson is granted eligibility, I don’t know how much he’ll help.

I’m weary how much better this team will be next year. Will the offensive line be better with possibly two brand new tackles, and a new center? That position group has a lot of pressure since there are question marks at almost every other position on the offense. Let’s not forget Michigan hasn’t had a high level running back since Mike Hart who has been coaching football for six seasons now.

Not to mention the schedule is tougher in 2018 than it was this past season. Michigan travels to both Michigan State and Ohio State, and kicks the season off with a trip to South Bend.

I heard an interesting stat this week that almost sounded unbelievable. Urban Meyer is 73-8 in his six years at Ohio State. Yet, Jim Harbaugh is 9-8 in his last 17 games. He is just barely above .500 in his last year and half.

Combine that along with the fact that Michigan is still nothing more than a chew toy for Michigan State and Ohio State this program is still on the ropes. So for Jim Harbaugh it’s simple: He has two seasons to get to Indianapolis or he should be shown the door.

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