3 Big moves Jim Harbaugh has made to close gap with Ohio State

Oct 29, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh throws the ball before a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

This coming Saturday, Jim Harbaugh and his Michigan Wolverines will welcome the Ohio State Buckeyes to the Big House in the lastest rivalry game between these two great programs.

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Since being hired by Michigan, Harbaugh has led the Wolverines to the 8th highest winning percentage of all Power Five programs, yet beating Ohio State is the one thing he has not yet accomplished. In fact, Harbaugh is 0-4 against the Buckeyes since taking over at Michigan.

That being said, there is no question that Harbaugh has made some big moves in order to help close the game between Michigan and Ohio State.

Here are 3 big moves Harbaugh has made, via The Athletic.

New Strength Coach

When Michigan was run off the field in 2015, Harbaugh declared his program needed to improve its physical strength. A year later, the Wolverines wound up 1 yard short against the Buckeyes. In 2017, after an 8-5 record and another home loss, Harbaugh replaced strength coach Kevin Tolbert — a respected staffer who had worked with him at Stanford and with the San Francisco 49ers before a previous stop at Michigan in the early 2000s — with Ben Herbert, a strength coach with no prior ties to the program.

New Offensive Line Coach

That same year, after Michigan’s offensive line play had failed to elevate enough over his first three seasons, Harbaugh moved on from his longest-tenured and, perhaps at the time, most trusted coaching assistant in Tim Drevno. Drevno had been with Harbaugh, apart from one season, every year since the Michigan boss began his head coaching career at San Diego in 2004. But Michigan hadn’t won enough. So Harbaugh promoted Ed Warinner, a former Ohio State assistant, to the role of offensive line coach.

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New Offensive Coordinator

And last season, after watching Ohio State’s offense tempo Michigan off the field in November before seeing Florida do the same thing to the Wolverines the next month in Atlanta, Harbaugh moved on from Pep Hamilton, another trusted staffer who had been with him at a previous coaching stop. Hamilton’s exit paved the way for Josh Gattis, a 35-year-old first-time play-caller who was part of a Penn State staff that once beat Ohio State and an Alabama staff that’s run by the most successful college coach of the modern era. The latest offensive shift was the most drastic of Harbaugh’s career and the time needed to get this unit up to speed is the chief reason why the Wolverines already have two Big Ten losses and won’t be playing for a league title Saturday.

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