Michigan faithful are gaga over Jim Harbaugh, and why not? The Wolverine alum has tweaked the SEC, catered to high-level recruits and even attracted the interest of Michael Jordan.
Seriously. Michael Jordan.
— Jordan (@Jumpman23) August 13, 2015
Harbaugh has yet to coach a game, and already made history with the Wolverines, as they’re the first football team to wear Jordan’s Nike offshoot brand.
And when the games begin…? ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg examines the challenges of coaching both at Michigan, as well as taking on one’s alma mater.
Rittenberg provides interesting context through the lens of others embarking on Harbaugh’s course, like current LSU offensive coordinator and former Indiana head coach Cam Cameron.
Cameron told Rittenberg:
“Every school has challenges, whether it’s your alma mater or not. The biggest challenge is that you leave — like I had left, Jim had left — you go on to do good things at other places and you have a different view. Then you come back to your alma mater and some of those people are still there and their view hasn’t changed.”
Rittenberg presents a very illuminating examination of the task ahead of Harbaugh.
Allen Kenney, The Student Section
If any coach understands how short the honeymoon period can be for a coach taking over at a downtrodden power, it’s Texas’ Charlie Strong. Strong went 6-7 in his first season in Austin and faces mounting pressure ahead of Year 2, as The Student Section’s Allen Kenney discusses.
Strong must strike a tenuous balance between cleaning up, integrating into the Texas (state as well as University of) landscape and winning.
David J. Neal, Miami Herald
FIU’s status as an FBS program is in jeopardy, due to the university’s lagging attendance numbers. David J. Neal of the Miami Herald writes:
One of the requirements for FBS football schools is 15,000 actual or paid attendance at home games over a two-season period. FIU went under in 2014 for the second time in three years, averaging 11,966.
It’s almost as if unsuccessful football fails to attract an audience, and firing the only winning coach in a program’s history might hinder growth. Huh.
FIU athletic director Pete Garcia canned Mario Cristobal, now the offensive line at Alabama, two seasons after winning a share of the Sun Belt Conference championship and one year removed from the winningest season in program history.
The Panthers’ tenuous status in FBS is the latest trouble for FIU in Garcia’s tenure. The FIU athletic director’s moves include the unexpected Cristobal firing, hiring Isiah Thomas to coach the basketball program and last year, briefly revoking the credentials of the only local beat reporter covering the Panthers (that being David J. Neal).
Ralph D. Russo, Associated Press
“It was like winning the lottery, honestly,” is how Temple defensive end Praise Martin-Oguike described beating a 2012 rap for sexual assault in an interview with the Associated Press.
Martin-Oguike returned last season to the Temple football team after an indefinite suspension, stemming from a spring 2012 allegation of rape.
He was excellent for the Owls’ stellar defense, recording seven sacks, forcing five fumbles and blocking a couple of kicks. But for as assertive as Martin-Oguike was on the field, he was the opposite in an uncertain situation for which he was eventually exonerated.
“One day everything is going well and then the next this whole chaos. I was struggling to understand what was going on and what I was going to do,” he told the Associated Press.