Spring Break Trip Highlights

If you follow college football, I am sure you have heard Jim Harbaugh and Michigan in the sports news this week. Some may be sick and tired of hearing about coach khaki pants, but he is so fascinating making the media cover his every move. This week was the first spring break a college team has left their own state to start spring practice. He is raising the bar for college coaches across the country with a competitive attitude we have not seen.

What do we know so far about this week? What were the goals of the week and why go to Florida? Jim Harbaugh addressed the media on Monday with several comical answers to questions asked about recruiting and why come to Florida. We know the NCAA will determine what regulations they will change about spring break and practice based on the complaints by the SEC and ACC commissioners. He wanted this to be a team building week with the cleats clanking on the pavement. He used the analogy of a plane on the runway getting ready to take off and that day, first day of spring practice, is one of his favorites of the year. He wanted a week of sober, team development and work while enjoying themselves when the snow is falling back in Ann Arbor. He sees no competitive advantage about them coming to Florida and why coaches in the south may be a little jumpy. He commented about the team watching “Remember The Titans” on Monday night and everyone should check it out. He also mentioned the Michigan tennis team being there later in the week hitting balls.

What we do know is the IMG Academy and Michigan had a three page compliance document created making sure violations did not occur. There are NCAA officials on campus and all meals/training time are held away from the practice facility.

Monday and Tuesday were four hour practices for the players and six hours for the coaching staff. Media was able to watch both days, along with Thursday, which had limited opportunity for filming. Many media in attendance posted short videos on social media to show what players were focusing on during practice. Jim Harbaugh has shown nothing but pure focus and a serious mentality being very meticulous with every player no matter his position. Many players interviewed this week has had a blast in Florida being able to spend time with teammates and not worrying about school work while in the warm sunshine.

Don Brown, new Defensive Coordinator, had the chance to conduct his first drills with the players. The most interesting takeaway from the first two days is what position Jabrill Peppers will play. He is the most athletic and dynamic player on the team that will play many roles, including linebacker.

Angelique Chengelis with The Detroit Free Press added on Twitter what Don Brown commented on:

The team had time during the afternoon and evening to relax and spend time together with many having family in town.

What we also saw Tuesday was a very special guest, Jesse Baker, come see the team. He is 10 and has Down syndrome, but quickly became a Michigan fan. They moved from Grand Rapids to Florida but went to several spring games and fan days when living in Michigan. His favorite player is Jake Butt and several others came by to talk with Jesse. Many pictures were posted on Twitter and captured a part of the spotlight of this much covered week.

Tuesday ended with a great sunset moving to their off day on Wednesday.

Wednesday was an exciting day for Jim Harbaugh, getting the opportunity to play first base coach for three innings at the Detroit Tigers
spring game. When asked he said, “Attitude of gratitude” and spent time explaining his thoughts on this chance before greeting fans and signing autographs. Some of the players and coaches attended the game.

ESPN posted this from Jim Harbaugh in the dugout before the game.

Media coverage today was limited to 11am to 2pm but included drills for quarterbacks trying to hit a bucket. John O’Korn hit it in this video posted by Chris Balas with thewolverine.com.

Sam Webb with The Michigan Insider commented about freshman early enrollee Ahmir Mitchell.

Other freshman standing out was Brandon Peters

Don Brown likes what he sees on defense as explained by Mark Snyder with The Detroit Free Press.

We also have seen college coaches voice their opinion about attending the open practice on Friday. Turns out they cannot attend as Bret Beilema posted on Twitter.

Arkansas Compliance officer joined Chris Childers and Rick Neiheisel on Sirius XM College Sports and explained the dead period and why Coach Beilema cannot attend or any other college coaches.

We may never see a team practice outside their state again in the spring after this year if the NCAA changes their rules. Whether you think it’s brilliant or absolutely crazy they were able to do pull this trip off, much of the attention is on Jim Harbaugh and Michigan in March when we normally are talking nothing but college basketball.

The team will end their spring break practices tomorrow evening open to the public, other than college coaches.