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The frustrating reality of Jim Harbaugh’s tenure at Michigan

Whether you see it as a good thing or a bad thing, it’s the reality of Jim Harbaugh’s tenure in Ann Arbor.



Jim Harbaugh's tenure

Over the past eight years, Michigan football fans have been through the good, the bad, and the ugly; yet, over the past two seasons, the Wolverines have been better than we have seen since the 1990s, and are looking even better in 2023. As of late, fans have been forced to accept the frustrating reality of Jim Harbaugh’s tenure at Michigan: people what every single thing that the Wolverines have.

The frustrating reality of Jim Harbaugh’s tenure

Recently, coach Jim Harbaugh addressed the NFL interest within the program, and as a whole, he views it as a good thing. While many might see it as a burden for the program, consistently having people flowing in and out, but to Harbaugh, it’s more of a nod to the team’s success.

“Like we said, I mean, it’s it’s an ongoing thing,” Harbaugh said. “Something that we treat as a really positive thing, that NFL franchises, NFL teams have a lot of interest in all of our personnel, coaches, players, staff. If somebody in our organization feels like that’s going to benefit them professionally and personally, then we say have that — we don’t hold anybody back. I think with the players, it’s got to be so many over the last eight years. It’s got to be in the 80s or 90s over eight years, players that are in the NFL.”

Since year one of Jim Harbaugh’s tenure (2015) fans have been subjected to a plethora of attacks from all over — from the NFL wanting Harbaugh back, to players leaving early, to coaches being poached, it’s clear that Harbaugh has been doing something right. Still, as many of the nation’s best programs are used to, this gets old quickly.

NFL interest in Minter serves as a reminder that what Michigan has is never safe

There is no better example of this frustrating aspect of Harbaugh’s tenure than Michigan’s defensive coordinators over the past two seasons. Two seasons ago, in 2021, the Michigan Wolverines saw a fantastic defensive year under first-year defensive play-caller Mike McDonald, who was seemingly handed to Jim Harbaugh by his brother John and the Baltimore Ravens.

After beating Ohio State, winning 12 games, claiming a Big Ten title, and making the College Football Playoff, it was clear that John Harbaugh saw what he was missing, and wanted McDonald back in Baltimore. After the Wolverines impressive season came to an end, John and the Ravens hired him as their new defensive coordinator at the next level.

Shortly after McDonald’s departure, Jim Harbaugh had himself a new defensive coordinator: Jesse Minter formerly of the Vanderbilt Commadores. Some made fun of the hire seeing as Minter’s only real experience was with the joke of the SEC, yet Harbaugh appeared to be all-in on the hire, and the fanbase was forced to trust him. As it turns out, Harbaugh was right, as Minter led Michigan’s defense to an incredible year and accomplished all of what McDonald did the season before.

Now, following the Michigan Wolverines’ incredible 13-1 Big Ten title season in 2022, NFL teams are once again looking at Michigan’s defensive coordinator. This time, Super Bowl runner-up, the Philadelphia Eagles, have expressed interest in Minter — according to reports, the Eagles and Minter have already interviewed for their defensive coordinator opening.

Keeping Minter is a massive deal for Michigan football heading into a new season this fall, though his NFL interview brings up another important reminder for Michigan fans: the NFL is always watching Jim Harbaugh and his staff at the University of Michigan.

Despite it being late-February and things seemingly settling down as far as offseason movement, this week’s Jesse Minter news serves as a good reality check — a frustrating one at that.

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