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Column: Jim Harbaugh needs more time before criticism is fai  XML
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Jim Harbaugh has repaired the weakened Michigan football program that Brady Hoke left behind.,Without question,womens Nick Boyle Jersey,

But nearing the end of his third season, Harbaugh is facing questions about the quality of his tenure beyond his golden sound bites.,womens Terrance West Jersey, carrying an 8-3 record and still without a top-two finish in the Big Ten East

Yes, and with a tough game against the Buckeyes set for Saturday Michigan’s program is better than where Hoke left it. But under Harbaugh, they could reasonably finish 8-5.,womens Benjamin Watson Jersey, the Wolverines are 1-4 against Big Ten rivals Ohio State and Michigan State, plus a bowl game

Is that what Harbaugh was hired to do? No — which means some questions about Harbaugh’s tenure are fair. StillAuthentic Brandon Williams Jerseyillustrious arsenal of metaphors and past success, Harbaugh deserves more patience, have lent him near-mythical status., even if his eccentric character, both at Stanford and in the NFL

“I wasn’t consciously doing anything to be on the radar,” Harbaugh told reporters Monday at his weekly press conference.,Authentic Trai Turner Jersey, just coaching the football team

The first thing to consider when evaluating Michigan since Harbaugh has been coaching the football team is what has happened around the Big Ten. Ohio State,womens Sam Koch Jersey, has been exceptional and reasserted itself as college football royalty., under Urban Meyer

With its necessary NCAA sanctions expired,womens Trai Turner Jersey, particularly the past two seasons. One of the Wolverines’ three losses this fall came on the road against the then-No. 2 Nittany Lions. Should that be hung over Harbaugh’s head?, Penn State has re-established itself on the field

Since 2010, has refashioned itself as a top program in the conference — it has won more Big Ten titles than any team over the past seven seasons — and nationally. (To be fair, Michigan State, but they had won at least 11 games in five of their previous six seasons and appear to have returned to playing actual football)., long a bastion of mediocrity, the Spartans were awful in 2016Authentic Brent Urban Jersey

And this is just in the Wolverines’ division, the Big Ten East. There’s also Wisconsin turning in 10-plus-win seasons left and right and Iowa being Iowa. Harbaugh’s seven conference losses have been against these five teams. Indeed, but no one can ignore the quality he’s competing against in the Big Ten. It’s like faulting the Beach Boys because they aren’t the Beatles or the Rolling Stones., to be considered top-notch you have to beat other top-notch teams

The second thing to consider is Harbaugh has yet to completely have his hand-picked quarterback lead the offense. At Stanford, the Cardinal went from 4-8 and 5-7 without him to 8-5 and 12-1., once Harbaugh’s prized recruit Andrew Luck took the reignsAuthentic Terrance West Jersey,

he had Iowa graduate transfer Jake Rudock under center. Rudock was surprisingly good,In Harbaugh’s first season at Michigan, following four seasons coaching the San Francisco 49ers, but no one was going to confuse him with Luck or J.T. Barrett or former Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook.,Authentic Nick Boyle Jersey, leading the Wolverines to 9-3 regular season and a Citrus Bowl victory against then-No. 19 Florida

Last year,'was fine — completing 61.6 percent of his passes for 2, Harbaugh had then-redshirt sophomore Wilton Speight see the bulk of the action under center. Speight,'the Wolverines looked like a championship-caliber team that throttled eventual Big Ten champion Penn State 49-10 before inexcusably losing three of their last four., a Hoke recruit,Authentic Sam Koch Jersey,'538 yards and 18 touchdowns in 12 starts. While Speight also isn’t Luck or Barrett or Cook

This fall, has been sidelined due to injury since Sept. 23, Speight,womens Ryan Kalil Jersey, and redshirt freshman Brandon Peters., leaving Harbaugh stuck with redshirt senior John O’Korn, who was one of Michigan’s mere five returning starters, a Houston transfer who objectively is not that good

Behind defensive coordinator Don Brown, but the defense can only do so much when you’re throwing O’Korn out there against Penn State and an inexperienced Peters against undefeated Wisconsin on the road. Peters left the game against the Badgers with a concussion and is status for Saturday is uncertain., the Wolverines’ defense is still No. 3 in the country Authentic Ryan Kalil Jersey,

needs a quality signal-caller to lead his offense. womens Brandon Williams Jersey He had it with Luck,Harbaugh, a former Michigan quarterback himself, and sometimes with Speight in 2016., mostly with Rudock

Next fall, and fellow four-star Dylan McCaffrey, with two of his talented recruits — Peters, Harbaugh will be in a better position to have the caliber player he needs under center.Authentic Benjamin Watson Jersey,, a former four-star prospect who Harbaugh said has similarities to Luck, who is currently redshirting — presumably joining Speight in a three-way quarterback battle

the clock really starts ticking for Harbaugh. womens Brent Urban Jersey,The lofty expectations that followed him to Ann Arbor in 2015 can start to be rigorously applied. It doesn’t mean Saturday’s game is meaningless — it’s still a huge rivalry — but it shouldn’t be used as a further indictment of Harbaugh since the Wolverines have two dinged-up quarterbacks and little to play for in the big picture. It also doesn’t mean Harbaugh is above criticism the past three seasons.,Then

any of Harbaugh’s shortcomings have lacked context and haven’t all been deserved.,But because of the quality of Big Ten competition and the quality of his quarterbacks

the past three seasons have been good for sound bites.,At the least
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