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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, September 20, 2021

Gameday III: Can Michigan jumpstart their season? A Wolverine editor weighs in

The 2020 Michigan Wolverines (1-2), a program that often lauds themselves as the winning-est program in college football history, has looked nothing of the sort this season. This Michigan team is sporting the worst starting record under head coach Jim Harbaugh’s tenure after losing back-to-back games against the Indiana Hoosiers (3-0) and their bitter in-state rivals in Michigan State (1-2). 

We at the Daily Cardinal reached out to Sports Editor Ethan Sears at the Michigan Daily for his thoughts on a Michigan football season that has been very underwhelming to start this unique season. 

Sears said that Michigan was “at a bit of a crisis point right now,” after noting the fact that this consistently elite Wolverine defense has not had a sack in two games, while also getting extremely exposed at the cornerback position, citing the secondary deficiency as the reason Michigan was sporting a measly 1-2 start to the season. 

“The accuracy issues are pretty real,” Sears said of starting quarterback Joe Milton. “Especially when throwing the ball over 15 yards down the field.” 

He also said that there were other issues on offense, as both of the starting tackles missed last week’s game with injuries; Michigan was able to muster only 13 total rushing yards against the Hoosiers. 

As for Harbaugh, his time as head coach in Ann Arbor might depend on how well he can turn around the season.

“The hot seat stuff is always overstated by the media that aren't covering the team day to day,” Sears said. “This was the first time in the three years that I've been covering the program that there's at least some validity to asking whether [Harbaugh will] be around in the long term.”

Harbaugh’s not the only man on the coaching staff that might be in some serious trouble.  longtime-Wolverine Defensive Coordinator Don Brown hasn’t gotten the results boosters at Michigan were hoping for.

“Brown might be in more immediate trouble,” Sears said. “I don't think they'll fire Harbaugh, and I'm not sure how they'd justify buying him out in the middle of a pandemic. But he also hasn't signed an extension and his contract expires after next season. At this point, it's an open question what happens there, and he got combative when asked about it on Monday.”

Given where Michigan is at this point of the season, it is easy to see that Wisconsin at anywhere near full-strength could potentially run over a weak Wolverine defense. However, given that Wisconsin potentially will be out multiple starters on offense and defense due to COVID-19, this game could end up being a dogfight as neither team looks to be near full-strength given Michigan’s weak defense and how hard Wisconsin was hit by the pandemic.

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