Connect with us

Football

Fleck, Harbaugh finally make Big Ten media days interesting

P.J. Fleck and Jim Harbaugh book-ended the second day of Big Ten media days. They also managed to steal the show while they were at it.

Published

on

Day one of the Big Ten media days provided little in the way of drama or intrigue. Considering what was to follow on day two, perhaps that was a good thing.

Many wondered what P.J. Fleck, the human ball of energy, would bring to the table. Fewer wondered just how quirky Jim Harbaugh would be. Let’s just say both lived up to the billing and made for an early morning of intrigue.

Fleck spoke a mile-a-minute and delivered his brand of culture, but he also gave us some good working insight to his team. That includes a look at whom he sees representing the personality of his first team.

That name is a familiar one — running back Rodney Smith.

“When you look at who we brought, I’m very proud of these three student-athletes,” Fleck said. “Rodney Smith you all know is our running back. He’s kind of the personality of our football team. Huge smile, ton of energy, very charismatic. I think you’ll enjoy spending time with him. By the way, he’s a pretty phenomenal running back as well.”

It’s a good place to start for a team, as Smith was fourth in the Big Ten in rushing with 1,158 yards and 16 touchdowns last season alone. Fleck seems to know he needs to build from the run game up on offense, and having Smith certainly helps matters.

The head coach also gave us a good idea on how he will go about getting people interested in Gophers football again — reality television.

That’s because Fleck will be the start of an upcoming ESPN 4-part mini-series documenting his first year at the helm of the Gophers program.

“I think it’s every head coach’s job and responsibility to bring attention to their institution,” said Fleck.

“That’s not self-promoting, but I think every head football coach in America is self-promoting at some point. We’re all selling ourselves and showing what we’re like and recruiting our cultures and developing our cultures. You’re the front porch of the institution.

You’re not the most important thing on campus, but you’re the front porch of nationally what everybody sees.”

Fleck just hopes the attention and show is less like The Kardashians and more about Minnesota Gophers football. Considering the sales job he did at media days, that shouldn’t be a problem.

As for Harbaugh, it all started with his walk up to the podium in full sideline gear.

It ended with Harbaugh managing to work in mentions of orange construction cones on the side of the road, 600-year serving stadiums and the old sleep deprivation patterns of medical residents and pilots.

As for the orange cones reference, that was all about Rashan Gary and the hype surrounding him coming out of high school and in to his second year at Michigan.

He’s had a lot of hype,” said Harbaugh. “He’s had a lot of adulation. And there’s some people that that’s what they live for. They live for approval of others and to be recognized as a hyped-up player.

“And then there’s other people that they see that hype or that adulation and they go by it like it’s an orange cone on the side of the road. There’s some people that are just aspiring for greater things than just the adulation of somebody. And I think Rashan is that type of guy. You’d really like him. He really doesn’t care too much about that.”

One of the biggest topics of media days has been that of the changes to fall camp. Gone are two-a-days and in place is an expanded camp schedule of five weeks for the 2017 season.

Apparently one of Harbaugh’s biggest concerns has been the sleep deprivation of his players…or something like that.

“It (doing away with two-a-day practices) just makes all the sense in the world,” said Harbaugh. “There’s really nobody having three-a-days anymore or two-a-days anymore.

“Residents in hospitals don’t do sleep deprivation anymore. Pilots have to sleep ten hours, I think, before each flight. It’s just everybody is doing it that way. Even the military doesn’t have sleep deprivation and three-a-days, et cetera. So I’m all for it.”

Yep, football players undergo the same strains as life-saving doctors and those in charge of keeping planes from dropping out of the sky.

Hyperbole aside, Harbaugh is in the vast majority of coaches who are glad to see two-a-days banned.

Today’s college athlete is working out year-round and hardly out of game shape, which was the point of two-a-days to begin with.

No doubt the changes will be good for the athletes involved.

No doubt Fleck and Harbaugh stole the show on day two of Big Ten media days so far.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

Continue Reading
Comments

Football

Dantonio, Harbaugh jab at each other after bowl game selections

Published

on

Rivalries have no offseason, and that certainly is the case for Michigan State when it comes to in-state rival Michigan. That’s especially the case when bowl season rolled around in 2017.

That’s because Michigan is headed to Tampa Bay to play in the Outback Bowl, while Michigan State is off the…gasp…horrific site of San Diego for its bowl game.

No. 16 Michigan State is slated to play No. 18 Washington State in easily the best non-New Years Six bowl game the Big Ten has, while Michigan gets South Carolina. Despite the disparity in location and quality of opponent, some felt the Spartans were slighted.

Dantonio was asked if the program felt slighted by not playing on New Year’s Day, and this was his response:

It was a clear dig at the Wolverines, whom the Spartans have owned since Dantonio took over as head coach at Michigan State.

Harbaugh just couldn’t let that go, responding back on Twitter on Monday.

Backhanded compliment much?

It’s clear these two don’t get along much, because usually these things get settled behind closed doors. Instead, Harbaugh took a very public jab at Dantonio and all the off-field issues that took place over the last year and a half.

Who will get the ultimate last word? Well, this season that was certainly Michigan State. Not only did the Spartans beat Michigan, but they finished second in the East division, while Michigan faltered to an 8-4 finish in the regular season.

If anything, this should fuel an offseason of rivalry fun between these two programs.

Continue Reading

Football

Michigan fans respond to John O’Korn with death threats following loss to OSU

John O’Korn leaves heartfelt message following loss to Michigan and some fans respond with death threats and more.

Published

on

Michigan was supposed to be an East division contender and a national power this season, but that didn’t happen the way some in the media thought it would. Instead, Michigan lost for the seventh straight season to hated rival Ohio State on Saturday to cap off a disappointing 8-4 regular season.

Naturally, the worst in Michigan fandom came out following the 31-20 loss. The biggest target of their ire? Backup quarterback John O’Korn, who had to fill in for an injured Brandon Peters.

A late interception by O’Korn didn’t help in a close game at home against the Buckeyes. It also led to some rather horrible abuse on Twitter — including advice to “kill yourself” and death threats due to this loss.

It couldn’t get much worse than this nugget:

Keeping it classy as always happens on Twitter, Michigan Twitter fans also went with the classic burn of “Yo Momma”

Then of course there were the more mild and idiotic Tweets. You know, things like the classic “you blow” burn and the like.

Sometimes Twitter really is the worst of humanity. Luckily, these tweets were a small sampling compared to the overwhelming group that showed support and thanks for the efforts of O’Korn and the Michigan team despite the loss.

Yes, losing to your arch-rival in a football game doesn’t feel very good. Yes, fans are going to get riled up continually losing those kind of games.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time this season something like this has happened to a Michigan quarterback. It all started with the vocal criticism and threats made to former starter, Wilton Speight.

Here’s a small piece of advice — if you feel the need to tell someone to kill themselves or to threaten them with death — put the Twitter machine down, walk away and don’t ever come back to it. Seriously? As much as we all love football, it is just a game at the end of the day and wishing death on someone because they didn’t play the way you wanted them is about as low as it gets.

O’Korn clearly left everything he had on the field for the Wolverines. Was it good enough to win this game? No.

But, what more can you ask for from any player other than to give it all for their team.

While O’Korn and the Wolverines lost the game, those who threatened him and the team following it are the ones losing at life.

Get over yourselves and move on with life. One loss by a team you support shouldn’t define your life. If so, it’s truly a sad one and we feel sorry for you.

Continue Reading

Football

Michigan, Michigan State embracing importance of in-state rivalry

Michigan and Michigan State at least agree that this rivalry game is an important one.

Published

on

Michigan and Michigan State couldn’t be more different. It’s in their DNA as universities really. But, that stark difference really hasn’t been seen much on the field.

Off the field, these two teams treat this game in vastly different manors.

Publicly, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has tried to play down the bitterness of this game. He’s of the “this is the game on our schedule this week” camp, but does at least acknowledge the fact that this game does matter.

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio is the second-longest serving head coach in the Big Ten, but his stance on the game with Michigan hasn’t changed. He’s not afraid to call it a rivalry, nor shy away from the importance of this in-state matchup.

“I think coaches know what games are important, they understand,” Dantonio said on Tuesday, via MLive.com. “They can stand up here and say, ‘well, it’s just another football game,’ but it’s not.”

It’s not a surprising stance, given Dantonio is the one who has made this game in to a real rivalry on and off the field.

I mean, there’s the classic, “pride comes before the fall” moment…

…and who can forget his comments on Mike Hart calling Michigan State “little brother?”

Then there’s the fact that Michigan State has taken advantage of Michigan’s downturn on the field. Dantonio backed up any talk so far, owning a 7-3 record against the Wolverines.

Going from after thoughts to College Football Playoff participants speaks volumes, and making the Michigan game in to a true rivalry helped get the Spartans to where they are today.

“I have a great amount of respect for what they’ve accomplished down there – always have had that,” said Dantonio, via MLive.com. “My goal when I came here was to make that a rivalry. I think it’s a rivalry. We’ll leave it at that.”

As for his counterpart…well, Harbaugh is heaping praise on the opponent and downplaying the talk of the bitterness of this game.

If that isn’t the classic rope-a-dope tactic of a head coach, I don’t know what is.

At least one of his players isn’t afraid to talk about the bitterness and importance of this game. Defensive end Maurice Hurst let us know this game’s importance isn’t just on the field, its in the battles for recruiting as well.

“Everything really matters about this one because the recruits care about it, the people in the state care about it a lot and you hear about it for the entire year,” Hurst said. “It is something that brings the best out of people, just because a lot of these guys know each other and a lot of them are from the same area.”

With Michigan again getting all the national attention and Michigan State coming off a brutal 2016 and 2017 offseason, it’s understandable for Dantonio to want to play this game up.

Can his team show that the emphasis on this game can translate back to winning results? Let’s not forget that the Spartans have won three of the last four in this series.

But, this is a vastly different year in the rivalry. There are a lot of young players on both sides of this thing, and that could make for some interesting moments on Saturday night under the Michigan Stadium lights.

It may just be whomever can get the emotional aspect of this game right that will win.

Continue Reading

Football

talking10 Power Poll: Surprises galore in Week 1 poll

Published

on

We’re back…after a long offseason, the staff is finally back to watching football, crunching numbers and giving you our opinions on all things Big Ten football.

It also means our weekly staff Power Poll is back as well.

This season we’ve got five staff members voting every week. That includes the following names:

Andy Coppens@AndyOnFootball

Phil Harrison@PhilHarrisonCFB

Philip Rossmann-Reich – @RiseNU

Dave Fitzgerald@BuckeyeFitzy

Zach Worthington@Worthyton

Normally the opening week of the season provides little in the way of knowledge, but that certainly wasn’t the case in 2017. Dare we say the first week of action for the Big Ten was highly entertaining?

You can say that, and we did over at the #B1GRewind Show.

But, how did all of that excitement shake out when it came time to vote? Let’s take a look at the official poll for Week 1:

Let’s just say things were a bit wackier than usual, huh?

Takeaways:

  • Only three teams lost this week, yet it was a winner, Illinois, coming up dead last and it wasn’t even close. The Illini’s unimpressive three-point win was also our winner for “Disappointment of the Week” on the #B1GRewind show…so perhaps their last place finish in the power poll this week was really warranted. It also appears that hanging tough with ranked teams meant a lot to our voters.
  • While the rest of the college football world is in love with Ohio State…our staff is much more in love with the Nittany Lions…well not “much more” but they won out with three first place votes and OSU falling outside the top two in one voters mind.
  • It appears there is going to be an interesting battle for the middle of the pack over the next few weeks. Michigan State was No. 7 in this poll, but had just a three-point lead on No. 10 Nebraska. Let’s just say the next few weeks should shake out the middle a bit more.
  • Speaking of close fights…the battle between Michigan and Wisconsin for the third spot should be an interesting one indeed. Can Wisconsin’s offense keep up the high-scoring and keep UW ahead or will Michigan’s exciting youth movement grow up fast enough to challenge for the top of the East division and thus our poll as well?
Continue Reading

talking10 Podcast

Most Popular

Copyright © 2018 talking10.com. This site is not affiliated with, endorsed or sponsored by the Big Ten Conference. It is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only and is no way associated with the NCAA, the Big Ten or any member institutions.