Everything Jim Harbaugh said in national championship game teleconference

Well, Michigan football did it. It won the College Football Playoff semifinal in the Rose Bowl and turns its eyes from Alabama to Washington as it heads to Houston on Friday for a chance to win the national championship game on Monday.

The Wolverines haven’t won a championship since 1997 and many thought there was little chance the maize and blue could beat a Nick Saban-coached Crimson Tide team. But after a 27-20 overtime win, Michigan has a chance to win it all.

On Wednesday, head coach Jim Harbaugh met with the media to discuss the matchup with the Huskies. Here’s everything he had to say.

Opening statement

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

On behalf of the 2023 Michigan Wolverine football team I just want to say to you how delighted and excited we are and appreciative to be playing in this game.

Very much looking forward to a great week of preparation. It’s going to need to be. I want to congratulate Washington on a tremendous season. Coach Kalen DeBoer, tremendous, fantastic job that he has done in a short period of time at Washington.

Their entire football team looks real tough to beat right now. We are in full preparation mode to get ourselves ready for this game.

On celebrating the Rose Bowl win

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

Yeah, it was a glorious victory. Just so proud of our players and our team. The things that jump out are just how we responded in the pressure moments, in the pressure times, offense, defense, special teams and rose to the occasion.

Tremendous play during the pressure moments of the game. Yeah, happy flight home, and really focused the last 24 hours on rest for the players. I figure that’s going to be very important for this week, especially traveling back from the West Coast. Spend today, tomorrow, the next day, Friday we fly to Houston, and we’ll continue our preparations there.

Washington joining the Big Ten and this being a Big Ten national championship game

Tom Hauck/Getty Images
Tom Hauck/Getty Images

Yeah, I guess I haven’t thought about that. I’m thinking more about the here and now for sure.

Taking a look at Washington, they’re an outstanding football team, and as we said, just a very one-track mind of today, getting our team prepared, get them back moving around, but also schematically on to what Washington does and preliminary plans for pretty in our game plan.

On recruiting the state of Texas

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

Well, great love for Texas, Texas football, and tremendous respect. It goes back to my — it actually goes back to my playing days. I’ll tell you that story sometime.

But yeah, one of the finest areas for football. No argument there.

Michigan football players from Dallas

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

Just about everywhere. There’s Michigan graduates, alumni all over the country, all over the world. Yeah, personally have many friends in Dallas, guys I was close with before, gotten to know many of the coaches and their families very well in the Dallas area.

Houston, too. I’ve got a lot of good history in Houston. Got some known friends and trusted agents from Houston, as well.

On J.J. McCarthy

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

Well, like I said, the pressure moments, I thought our team handled extremely well, as well as they can be handled.

J.J., tremendous in the way he handled the pressure moments in the ballgame. I’m really proud of — there was a few guys that had a bad play in the game. J.J., first play of the game, he’s clearly throwing the ball away, and I can tell you having made a bad play in a football game, it’s like a train going through your head of — I mean, you see red. It’s like a deafening siren.

There’s a lot of guys that will hang their head and go in the tank or get that deer-in-the-headlights look, but every guy that had that happen to them in our game came back and made a phenomenal play. Kris Jenkins had a bad play early in the game; came back, dominated in his block destruction.

JJ had the ball he should’ve thrown away that was a look pick — looked like it was a pick and then it was reversed. That was the first play of the game. Dropped punt, comes back and makes catches. We had a bad snap, and then that snap and hold has to be perfect and kick made or else we don’t go into overtime.

So many plays that could point to — I’m just really proud of those guys. Roman Wilson had a block in the back that could have cost us that big drive at the end. He comes back and makes a phenomenal catch and scores a touchdown.

Just the mental toughness that takes for an individual to be able to do that, plus the other thing is the support that they get and have gotten from their families, but also a teammate or teammates, leaders on the team, I saw that taking place.

That’s unanimous support. That’s unanimous support from every guy on the team, and you know every guy has your back. That’s special to be a part of. I’m really, really proud and happy to be a part of that.

And J.J., how about the catch he made? How about the one-handed catch he made on the trick play, the throw-back, and then he turns, wheels and throws the ball?

There was just a ton of great plays made in pressure moments. Rod Moore, open-field tackle on Jalen Milroe; he had three in the game like that. I mean, open-field, game-saving tackles.

That final play of the game, Josaiah Stewart, what he was able to do to a man 110 pounds heavier than him, and Derrick Moore on that same play. And then there was Rod Moore with contain on the edge and then Mike Sainristil contained on the perimeter. Boy, pressure moments.

Our guys full stepped up in executing their assignment and executing the fundamentals and executing and making a play that was really the difference in the game.

Yeah, I thought our guys passed with flying colors when it came to handling the pressure.

What he's seen from Michael Penix

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Joe;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Joe</a> Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Super great. Thanks for that question. He’s a super great player. My impressions of him when he played at Indiana were the same.

Big-time arm talent, tremendous presence in the pocket, sees the field really well. He is so polished. Watching him and his accuracy, his decision making, timing, he has really just continued to have this tremendous presence of going through progression, feels pressure, will drop it off to a check-down.

Yeah, it’s at an elite level.

Playing in pressure situations

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

Yeah, there’s some of the U’s, some of the uncontrollables, some of the unfortunates, uncontrollables like officiating. I thought some of the — like I thought some of the ways our guys kept their composure were — that’s a way to control the uncontrollable situations.

Another U, unanimous support from everybody on the team. When you know that each player, each coach has your back and is going to be doing their job, doing it to the best of their God-given ability, that’s a great way to control some of the uncontrollables, which is pressure, which is some of those unforeseeable moments.

Yeah, there’s ways to do it, and our team is built for them. They’re really built for those U’s, the uncontrollables, the unfortunates, things like that.

Jesse Minter vs. Alabama

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

Yeah. Phenomenal. The job that — game ball, guardian of victory, I give one to Jesse Minter. The coaching in the game, the play calling.

Sherrone Moore, same thing. The coaching, the play calling, the pressure moments. The calls they made. The rest of their lives they can go back and go, man, I did it. I did it in some of the most high-pressure moments.

It’s just a tip of the cap, really. We know that we’re so confident in those two play callers as an entire coaching staff and an entire team.

Chasing a championship while maintaining the CFB calendar

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

Yeah, great question. I mean, it’s not uncommon. When recruiting is in December, now it’s getting to open back up where business can be made. It was so good for us last year. We’re very open to any really good football player that — any good person, someone that would want to come and help our football team, we’re open to that.

If the NCAA forfeits wins

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

Yeah, as I said, getting ready for this game, one-track mind. I don’t know if you want to live in rumorville or speculation, but we just don’t really have any room to be doing that at this point. That’s done elsewhere.

What's his Texas story?

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

I mean, it’s kind of a long one. A good one, but some other time. It’s a good funny one.

What would it mean to the state of Michigan to win a championship?

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

Yeah, we’re thinking about, we’ve got one phase line to go here, and that’s Monday night against Washington, and we’re going to do anything and everything in our power to get ourselves prepared for that football game.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire