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Michigan entering critical timeframe on Jim Harbaugh contract decision

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Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh — with his thick-rimmed glasses, iconic khaki pants and Maize-colored ‘M’ hat — bleeds Maize and Blue.

The one time Wolverines quarterback found success for Michigan on the field, leading the team to Rose Bowls, finishing once as high as third in Heisman Trophy award voting and characterizing — sometimes to a fault — what makes a “Michigan Man.”

On top of that, Harbaugh has won more than 72 percent of the games he has coached at Michigan. Coming off arguably two of the worst regimes in program history, Rich Rodriguez and his evil spread offense followed by the headset-hating Brady Hoke, one would imagine Wolverines fans would be delighted to call the 56-year-old Michigan legend their head coach.

But many are not, and it’s not because of the games he has won but for the ones he has not.

The numbers are as familiar as they are because they’ve been repeated a million times in the media. Harbaugh is 0-5 against Ohio State. He has won just one bowl game.

So for the fans not so happy with Harbaugh’s tenure, it may come as a form of relief that, if a change does take place, it may be relatively soon.

As reported by Aaron McMann of MLive, when Harbaugh agreed to be Michigan’s head coach ahead of the 2015 season, he signed a seven-year deal. That deal, and the decision of whether or not to extend it or not renew it, will likely be determined in December of next year, McMann reported.

Per Harbaugh’s contract:

“The parties agree that by December 1, 2021, they will meet and indicate whether they have a mutual interest in negotiating an extension of this Agreement,” it says. “Any indication by either party that they do not desire to extend the contract shall not be considered a termination of this contract. Any agreement by the parties to discuss an extension does not operate as a guarantee that the parties will agree to an extension.”

This strategy seems a bit strange, considering a lame duck coaching term can sometimes be disastrous for teams on the recruiting path. If Harbaugh — regardless of the outcome of the 2020 Michigan Wolverines football team — isn’t given some sort of extension or vote of confidence from the athletic department, it seems certain coaches from other programs would jump all over that on the recruiting trail.

“Harbaugh won’t be there next year.”

“Do you really want to commit to a school that might switch coaches?”

The entire thing seems particularly sketchy because the Wolverines already have to fend off rumors each season that Harbaugh is leaving to return to the NFL. Each year, Harbaugh and Michigan reject those suggestions. But if he is sitting there, staring dead in the face at the end of his contract and seeing recruiting issues because of it, who knows what could happen.

Either way, those eager for change in Ann Arbor can mark Dec. 1, 2021, on their calendars. Others can hope the 2020 season concludes and some sort of deal is in the works to avoid a potential awkward 2021.

It was a rough week for the Michigan Wolverines football squad, seeing an offensive lineman prospect flip his commitment from Michigan to the Baylor Bears, and then watching as depth up front defensively opted to leave the team for a chance to play at Rutgers (yes, Rutgers). But some positive news could be coming on the recruiting front.

According to a report by the recruiting site Rivals.com, Michigan’s coaching staff has been hitting the recruiting trail hard on the west side of the country. The news should come as no suprise, really; Michigan has reeled in a few highly touted recruits from states such as California, and in their 2020 class alone, the Wolverines are pulling good talent from California and Hawaii.

What is Frank Clark up to? Oh.

If NFL fans were unfamiliar with former Michigan defensive lineman Frank Clark prior to his Kansas City Chiefs’ AFC Championship Game matchup with the Tennesee Titans Sunday, they aren’t any longer.

Clark and the Chiefs defeated the Titans 35-24, advancing to play in Superbowl LIV in two weeks. But it’s what the defensive end said following the game that has gained attention.

Speaking after the Chiefs win, Clark became an internet sensation by boasting about his team’s confidence in stopping Titans star running back Derrick Henry.

“(The Titans) come in here, they say they’re gonna run the ball. I know exactly what they were gonna do, you watching that film, you know what they’re going to do,” Clark told reporters. “The last two games, (Henry) had 200 yards each game, I knew damn well we weren’t gonna win the game if we let that happen. They come in here, call him the best rusher in the league. We sending his (expletive) home early.”

Clark tallied eight sacks in 2019 — his first with the Chiefs. He has 43 in his NFL career, which began in 2015 with the Seattle Seahawks.

  • Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores on Tuesday released a list of fresh faces on his coaching staff and their assignments. Notably missing was former Michigan linebacker coach Anthony Campanile, who left Michigan last week to join Flores’ staff at Miami.

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Author:

Joey Oliver

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