The 2016 season didn't end as expected for Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines. After storming off to a 9-0 start, the team proceeded to lose two of their last three regular season games before falling short in the Orange Bowl against Florida State.
Harbaugh is ready to move on from the disappointing end of last season. The Wolverines' head coach talked about being eager to get back on track and quickly forgetting how last season, while at Big Ten Media Day on Tuesday.
“We're avoiding all fun stuff (right now),” Harbaugh told Mlive.com. “We lost three of our last four games last year. Two by one point. One by two points in overtime. Didn't like that feeling.”
“We lost three out of the last four games,” he said. “Okay, good. Maybe that will motivate us to put more into it. Coach better. Play better. Train harder. Put more of our heart into each and every one of those ball games.”
Despite the fact that Michigan's roster for the upcoming season is quite young, one of the youngest in the country in fact, Harbaugh is not prepared to use youth as an excuse.
“Those guys in particular that were in games last year, they were there when we won nine straight games and everybody is high-fiving in the locker room after the game,” he said. “And they were also there when we lost three out of our last four games, two by one point and another game by three points in overtime. They know what it feels like. And they like the feeling of the high-fiving better than the other.”
The team's fall camp starts on Monday in Ann Arbor, and Harbaugh expects a wide array of his younger players to step up this season. That includes a number of players who saw little or no playing time in 2016, as well as some incoming freshmen that will likely be expected to contribute right away.
One thing Michigan fans will be watching for in the coming weeks is the quarterback battle. Harbaugh also talked about how the starting job has not been won yet by any of his three candidates – those being seniors Wilton Speight and John O'Korn, and redshirt freshman Brandon Peters.
Although the previous season didn't come to fruition in the manner that he expected it to, their downfall is being used as tremendous motivation.
Michigan's 2017 season begins on September 2nd at a neutral site, when they will face the Florida Gators at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in the AdvoCare Classic.