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Home / Sports / Jim Harbaugh misses the distraction as Michigan sends another big game to a rival

Jim Harbaugh misses the distraction as Michigan sends another big game to a rival



SOUTH BEND, Indiana – Hello, hot spot? Make room for a crazy, quirky, khaki trainer who runs out of distraction.

satellite camp? No more stuff. Spring holidays in Europe? Oslo remains an option.

Chicken can be a "nervous bird," but Michigan fans are a nervous bunch. Or at least they should be.

You've been through this with people called Rodriguez and Hoke before. Just different. These coaches were relatively easy to send when things got mad.

Jim Harbaugh has invested his DNA in Michigan. And Bo Schembechler is in Harbaugh. One was probably the best coach ever. Michigan fans hoped that Harbaugh would be the next thing ̵

1; the coach of this generation forever.

It's hard to say that Harbaugh is below average with 28 wins in three years. It is fair to say that he better picks it up.

After Saturday 24-17 loss to Notre Dame Coach Khaki is now 0-6 as an outsider. He is 8-8 in his last 16, now a four-game losing streak that goes back last season. The last Michigan coach to lose four in a row was Rich Rod. That was nine years ago.

The loser does not feel the same. Harbaugh has won 70 percent of his games. But with another chance to win on Saturday in Notre Dame, coach Harbs could not do that. Again:

The program is advanced. Recruitment has improved. But Harbaugh is also 1-6 against Michigan's three biggest rivals – Ohio State, Michigan State and Notre Dame.

That could hurt, but it's also obvious: Michigan fans will hate Ohio State more than they'll ever love Harbaugh.

So, until he signs his name for a signature win, Harbaugh's quirks will do more harm than a sweet by-product: the believers would much rather enjoy a victory over the horse chestnuts than read about their meeting with the pope.

Saturday's stakes were suspicious, though arguably the best Michigan team Harbaugh put up. Start the debut of his first, different quarterback in Ole Miss Shea Patterson.

When it was time to analyze Notre Dame's equally solid defense, not much changed. For the most part, the pieces looked as if John O & Korn and Wilton Speight had used them.

Patterson should be the big threat to the Downfield. After 21:10 at halftime the coaching finally seemed to recognize this. Patterson teamed with Nico Collins in the second game of the second half for 52 yards.

Then, until it was time in the end, that was pretty much. Patterson's arm was largely holster. In the fourth quarter, he missed 11 games after hobbling off the field.

Would he have made a difference? Deep in the night, as the postgame interviews came to an end, Notre Dame defensive end Khalid Kareem said his unit had basically figured out Michigan's cadence at the line.

"I got a rhythm with their fast count," Kareem said. I made a good jump on the ball. "

Kareem did not notice a pattern until late in the first quarter after dismissing Patterson.

" If a team gives me a tendency, that's a bit easier. "Kareem said. "Some teams do not show it.

We picked it up, we told each other we should not really touch it, but it happened so much … I'd think they'd probably be in the next few weeks [change] it. "

Has any of this made a difference in the game? Who knows? The point is, in a game that is so close, it's worth noting.

Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke got into situations in which they were instantly challenged by some Michigan believers. Harbaugh? He was a football rescuer. Now it has become complicated.

"That may sound like a hot attitude, but I did not feel they dominated us," said Michael's defensive end, Chase Winovich, who was scared all evening.

That's what makes Saturday doubly frustrating. The defensive chose things after halftime.

Quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who completed 10 of 15 passes in the first half for Notre Dame, was 2 of 7 in the second half.

Michigan's special teams contributed with Amby Thomas's 99-yard touchdown return.

Where was the juice that pizzazz on attack?

"We expected them to come out in [different] formations," Kareem said. "They have so many different coaches, so many different styles of play."

Zing!

Again, it is difficult to interview a guy who has won 70 percent of his games. But he started 20-4. Michigan did not get past third place in the East Division in Harbaugh's three seasons.

Ten Years War? Let's go through the fourth year, with the Big Ten East as the hardest division in football. And Michigan still has games in Michigan State and Ohio State this year, plus Wisconsin is coming to the Big House.

Too early? The Shtick is getting old. Harbaugh publishes known no depth map. Notre Dame (Notre Dame) resisted on Saturday by holding back his own when distributing the Prégame lineups to the media.

Instead, the tongue of Notre Dame wrote his "all-time" depth map. As a reminder, George Gipp has made it. Joe Montana did not do that.

The game started with a playoff atmosphere, mostly because it looked like Michigan had the best chance of making it to the playoffs. That changed quickly.

One of the best defensive units in the country was (at times) overrun by an Irish offensive that missed two first years (Quentin Nelson and Mike McGlinchey).

There were excuses, somehow. Safety Short Josh Metellus was ejected for targeting, Wimbush replacement Brad Hawkins aimed at a 43-yard score to Chris Finke.

In this game, Michigan started too late. A Karan Higdon scoring run took the lead to a touchdown with 2:18 left. Patterson fumbled for one last breath to leave in less than a minute.

In the big picture, you have to wonder where Harbaugh and Michigan are traveling.

"It's a start for us," said Harbaugh.

Not until this signature win … whenever that comes.


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