WATCH: Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh talks need to be Ohio State at Big Ten media days

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It’s here. The circus that can be Big Ten media days is off and running in Indianapolis, and while Ohio State isn’t set to take the stage until Friday, it’s arch-rival Michigan had its shot in front of the throng of media Thursday.

That of course means we got to witness a quirky and awkward press conference from Wolverines’ head coach Jim Harbaugh, although it was clear something changed. Harbaugh did not come into Lucas Oil Stadium with khakis and a ball cap on, instead, he had a suit on with nothing on his dome ready to make a good impression.

Harbaugh said he was excited to be there and breathed all the right words and responses to the television cameras and media members, but the best question was saved for last when the Columbus Dispatch’s Bill Rabinowitz touched on the rivalry with Ohio State.

Harbaugh was asked about where the program stood having not beaten Ohio State or having won a Big Ten title under his watch so far, and if the coaching changes had rejuvenated him. And I’ll say this, I’ll give Harbaugh credit for a well-thought-out and passionate response.

“Well, I’m here before you,” Harbaugh told reporters. “I’m as enthusiastic and excited as I ever am — always am — even more to have at it, to win the championship, to beat Ohio, our rivals Michigan State — everybody. That’s what we want to do (pause for effect)… And we’re going to do it or die trying.”

He then used an analogy of him and his daughter walking up a mountain as a way of where he and the program’s mindset is.

“My daughter this summer — we were climbing, Sarah, Addi, and I were going up this mountain,” Harbaugh continued. “It was like a mountain climb. I don’t know how high it was. It was pretty high. We probably did 15,000 steps to get up there. She was counting it on her phone. We were getting up close to the top and she said, ‘We’ve got to apex, Dad. We’ve got to get to the top.'”

Harbaugh then used his recreational climb to translate that into what needs to be done in Ann Arbor with the Michigan program.

“You’re darn right we do,” Harbaugh said emphatically. “We’ve got to get there. That’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to apex this, and we’ve got to get to the top. She’s got that gene in her — and I was darn glad to see it. I can tell you I’ve got that gene in me, and some of the guys we’ve talked about here already – Aidan Hutchison, Hassan (Haskins), Josh Ross, and a lot of others – we’ve got that gene in us. We’ve got to get to the top.”

To reiterate — though if you are an Ohio State fan you probably have this on an index card or virtual note somewhere — Harbaugh has not done well when comparing what he was brought in to do, be the savior of the program.

He has yet to beat Ohio State or win a Big Ten championship. The presser Thursday was the first time he’s even been to Lucas Oil Stadium at a Big Ten event as the Michigan head coach (wink, wink). He is 3-3 against Michigan State, 1-4 in bowl games, and 1-8 against top ten squads. His overall record with the Wolverines is 49-22. He has also yet to walk on Lake Michigan or turn rain in the Big House to wine.

Hopefully, for Harbaugh, this year is one where he starts to show some promise, just not at high Noon on November 27 this year.


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