Jim Harbaugh's Saban-esque interview departure was just a calculated move
If you don’t know by now, Jim Harbaugh thinks about things before he does them.
He isn’t this wild, shoot-from-the-hip, blurt-out-whatever-comes-to-mind-first type of guy. Even when he throws shade on Twitter, it’s calculated. Everything he does is in an effort to improve the brand of Michigan football.
So yesterday, when Harbaugh was available for a rare fall camp interview, he delivered another calculated move. By now, you’ve probably seen Harbaugh walking off after being asked specifics about suspended players.
But just in case you haven’t, hear you go:
For the record, reporters HAVE to ask Harbaugh that question. Asking a coach which players are suspended and how long they’ll be suspended is perfectly normal. Harbaugh has been asked far more invasive questions and delivered far less defensive responses.
Harbaugh tapped into his inter-Nick Saban and put the heat back on media members. For whatever reason, he had no intentions on delivering suspension specifics on Monday. But he did send a different kind of message.
He controls the message, and don’t forget that.
Suddenly, we’re not talking about his players doing something that warranted a suspension. We’re talking about a coach getting fed up with the media and storming off. There are some media members — not all — who will think twice before asking Harbaugh a suspension-related question in the future. Like it or not, that’s the way it works.
Am I looking too far into this? Even in that 30-second soundbite, Harbaugh says “that’s why I never give you any information.”
That’s spoken like a calculated guy with a calculated message.
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That’s why Harbaugh goes into bunker-down mode in August and limits availability more than any coach in the B1G. He obviously can’t control the preseason hype surrounding Michigan. He can control what’s being said about his locker room.
Why did Harbaugh pick that moment? Maybe he was frustrated by the actions that led to the suspensions (we still don’t know what those were). Maybe he wasn’t thrilled by the fact that he had a rare mid-August availability session. We don’t know. Incidents like that make him come off as a players-first coach, though.
Harbaugh has been around football long enough to know that the questions asked were perfectly reasonable. But we’ve been around long enough to know that Harbaugh’s word is final, and often, it packs a punch.
As he enters his second season, nobody truly knows how Harbaugh’s brain works. Some days, it spits out references to birdwatching and hip hop. Other days, it’s like squeezing water out of a rock.
Only Harbaugh knows his next move, and that’s the way he likes it.