The Wolverine

June-July 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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40 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2020 M ichigan head coach Jim Har- baugh made it clear May 20 he is among those who would be will- ing to play in empty stadiums … if it comes to that. Harbaugh said on ESPN's "Get Up" morning show that if the choice were to play in front of no fans or not at all, he would opt for the former every time. At the same time, he seems resigned to the fact that they won't be playing in front of packed stadiums anytime soon due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "You could definitely test both teams and the officials, but can you test 100,000 fans coming into a stadium? Probably not," Harbaugh asked, before noting that "heck yeah" he would be fine playing in an empty stadium. "Most of the [players] — nearly every guy I've talked to on our team — that's the way they feel about it [too]," he added. They're going through many differ- ent scenarios and learning more every day, Harbaugh noted. The big question is how to get an entire team together, including coaches, players, trainers, strength staff, etc., and play safely. "You don't test positive and don't have it, can you still play the game? I think that's the question on every- body's mind," he said. "I'm thinking that you could do that. "As far as the season … everybody's preparing like there's going to be one. We're not even thinking in the way that there wouldn't. We're getting our- selves ready, getting prepared." Harbaugh and his staff have been keeping in touch with players and their families almost daily, in addi- tion to holding virtual workouts, vir- tual meetings and staying in touch by phone. He's hopeful they'll be back working out at Schembechler Hall in the near future, at least on a voluntary basis. "I miss the heck out of them," he said. "Hopefully we get back and summer brings us some better news." He is also hopeful the Wolverines bring the fans a better result against Ohio State in the near future. The Buckeyes have won 14 of the last 15 and all five over Harbaugh's Michi- gan teams. "We've got to beat Ohio State," Harbaugh told NBC's Mike Tirico May 20. "Nothing makes us angrier than that … or me. That's what we're working toward every day. "We've beaten everyone else, but we haven't beat them. That's what we have to do — beat them, win a cham- pionship, get ourselves into the play- offs, win a national championship." The Wolverines are slated to play at OSU Nov. 28. — Chris Balas JOSH GATTIS SAYS QUARTERBACKS ARE 'DEAD EVEN' Michigan's quarterback competi- tion essentially started during Citrus Bowl practices in December. Though starter Shea Patterson was the clear No. 1 and got the majority of reps, of- fensive coordinator Josh Gattis chal- lenged redshirt junior Dylan McCaf- frey, redshirt sophomore Joe Milton and redshirt freshman Cade McNa- mara to act as though their audition to take over started then. Though there weren't getting all the reps they needed, all three were told to "step up and show any kind of way you can lead this team, show … you can lead this offense." "I was challenging the mentality of those guys," Gattis recently recalled. That's continued through the CO- VID-19 pandemic. All three have shown great leadership, the coach added, but nobody is at the forefront. "We lost our quarterback, so we are nowhere near having a frontrunner," Gattis said. "We lost our starter, obvi- ously. We're in a three-man competi- tion coming into the spring with Joe, Dylan and Cade. No one has got an advantage over either one. "We're excited about the guys we have on our roster. We've got to solve that situation down the road when we get the opportunity. No one has a leg up. It's not based on the depth chart last year, not based on skill set this year. Every guy is equal, and every guy is going to get the right opportunity to go out and compete and lead this team. "When we have that answer is when they'll know. Right now, we haven't even come close to starting that battle yet, [because of] missing the time [due to the coronavirus]." Gattis wouldn't go into specifics on each quarterback's strengths and weaknesses, other than to say they all had different areas in which they excel and others in which they still need to grow. "I don't think anyone is the finished product," he said. "If anyone was the finished product, we'd have a starter. It's a huge challenge that I've put on   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Jim Harbaugh Preparing As Though There Will Be Football In 2020, 'Angry' He Hasn't Beaten OSU Yet Harbaugh said he and his team are "not even thinking in the way that there wouldn't" be a 2020 football season. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL 2020 MICHIGAN SCHEDULE Date Opponent Sept. 5 at Washington Sept. 12 Ball State Sept. 19 Arkansas State Sept. 26 Wisconsin Oct. 3 Penn State Oct. 10 at Michigan State Oct. 17 at Minnesota Oct. 24 Purdue Nov. 7 Maryland Nov. 14 at Rutgers Nov. 21 Indiana Nov. 28 at Ohio State

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