With Jim Harbaugh staying put, what’s next?

There hasn’t been anything to discuss about Michigan football lately. No. The players are in winter conditioning. Spring training will start soon. Nothing to see. Pass.

Yeah, well, we know that’s not the case with that last one, “Is Jim Harbaugh going to the NFL?” situation, so let’s get to the questions in this Michigan football mailbag.

Question. Where does the last 24-48 hours rank on Michigan football’s all-time crazy train? — @mattdepoint

Responnse. Up there at the top. Coach searches are a chore, and reporters will (sort of) joke about not being able to shower or change clothes because the situation is so fluid. The phone is always ringing and text messages are flying. It looked like this in a compressed form. When I saw the tweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter about Harbaugh’s decision, I did a double take, triple take, and made sure it was checked, because it wasn’t the tweet I expected to see on Wednesday night.

Q And now? (That’s it – that’s the question) – @Ryan_J_Lewis

A. Ryan, there are a lot of layers to this, but let’s focus on two. What about gamers now? There is no doubt in my mind that Harbaugh has work to do here, and it absolutely must be his first task. Trust is an important thing in any relationship and that goes for head coaches and players alike. Yes, Harbaugh was open when players and rookies asked about his interest in the NFL. But that dragged on for nearly five weeks when the glow should have been on the players and their 12-2 season. It must have been confusing for players too to see Harbaugh in the office, as usual, until he left for his interview with the Vikings. For fans, some are thrilled Harbaugh will be coaching in 2022, while others feel the limbo of the past month and the wait for his next move has clouded their opinion of him. Harbaugh apparently generated a lot of goodwill last season. He will have to work to get it back. How? ‘Or’ What? I do not know.

Q Why am I always rooting this stupid program? — @dangoldss

A. Probably, Dan, because you supported Michigan even during the lulls, and there were plenty. And you will do it again. The same reason I’ve been a Bengals fan all my life.

Q Do you think this is the last time Harbaugh will flirt with the NFL? — @LLwaverider

A. I will always believe, as I have said since he took the job at Michigan, that he has an interest in coaching in the NFL again. He wanted this job from Vikings. The question is, will the NFL ever come back? Right now, it’s hard to see that happening. The window for Harbaugh-to-the-NFL isn’t completely closed, but it’s close.

Q Does Harbaugh’s contract stay the same or will they renegotiate a new one? — @HPMike65

A. Well, Mike, you and @jimmyfredal and @flemgoblue asked about Harbaugh’s contract, so there you go. Michigan is not going to renegotiate a renegotiated contract that was awaiting Harbaugh’s signature. What Warde Manuel has offered, I believe, is what Harbaugh will sign, if he hasn’t already. It’s a nice contract. Will it blow your mind like the screaming headlines of Mel Tucker’s 10-year contract? Probably not. But it’s more than what I earn.

Q For “some reason” we haven’t seen much progress on the DC front. Could this Larry Foote thing really happen? — @MarcCarmanSr

A. Marc, this one’s for your mother. Lots of questions about the defensive coordinator vacancy and not to be repetitive, but I’ll stick to the name I mentioned last week: Jesse Minter, who was a freshman defensive coordinator last year at Vanderbilt after four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. Mike Macdonald left Michigan after a year as defensive coordinator to return to the Ravens as DC, and Harbaugh would like some continuity on the defensive end. Minter, 38, was on Macdonald’s staff in Baltimore, and he’s a guy who seems to prefer the college game and has a year of defensive experience. That doesn’t mean I snub Larry Foote. Not at all. I just think Minter knows what Macdonald brought to Michigan, and that’s a huge plus.

Q I’m in Calgary and I feel out of the loop, but has Harbaugh had any interviews that negatively impacted commitments happening on national signing day? — @pjcalverley

A. Paul, Michigan, had no rookies planning to sign on Wednesday after inking everyone at the start of the signing period in December. I spoke to an incoming freshman who said he and his fellow freshmen weren’t freaking out. Has there been and will there be negative recruitment? I bet there will be.

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Q What’s new on the 2022 radio booth? — @freehan11

A. It’s no secret that Jon Jansen will more than likely be the radio analyst for the Michigan games, and if I had to choose right now, I’d say Doug Karsch will handle play-by-play.


Twitter: @chengelis

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