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Michigan Football players say Jim Harbaugh has upped focus on beating Ohio State

If you are a fan of the Michigan Wolverines football program, you probably read the title to this article and said to yourself, “uh, why has this not been the focus since the day Jim Harbaugh was hired?”

On Thursday, during the Big Ten Media Day, Michigan seniors Aiden Hutchinson and Hassan Haskins both made it clear that Harbaugh and the Wolverines coaches have upped their focus on beating Ohio State.

Here are their quotes via Wolverines Wire:

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Bold Prediction: The NFC North will have tough competition

Aiden Hutchinson

“I think it’s a culmination of everything,” Hutchinson said. “It’s a culmination of getting these new coaches, new blood, new energy, Coach Hart who has played in the rivalry, who hates these guys as much as we do. And then you’ve got Coach Harbaugh putting more of an emphasis on it. We kinda change, we adjust things every single offseason, and that’s one thing we did — to put more emphasis on Ohio State and that’s because of Coach Harbaugh.

“You bring in young guys like Coach Macdonald, Coach Bellamy, Coach Hart — not Coach Macdonald, but Coach Bellamy and Hart — those guys have played here, they’ve been in the thick of it. So having those guys here just makes it all the better.”

“We are emphasizing it in ways that you cannot imagine,” Hutchinson said. “We have a lot of things, whether that be signs, whether that be other things that remind us of Ohio State.

“It is (different). We’ve never done some of the things that we’ve done. Our philosophy is if we plan for Ohio State, we can beat any team. Ohio State has been consistently in the Big Ten Championship, consistently one of the best teams in the Big Ten, in college football. So, if we aim to beat them, no one can beat us.”

“I never felt we were behind,” Hutchinson said. “Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying we’re just now realizing that Ohio State is our rival and we’re finally, ‘Oh (mimics expletive)!’ No, we’ve always thought of Ohio State, we always can’t wait for that game at the end of November. It’s not like they have their stuff in their facilities and that makes them want it more than us. That’s not the case. However, it’s just that this season, we’re putting a little more into it and visually, mentally, we’re doing things that are emphasizing it and — it’s not like we have not recognized this rivalry until this year. We’ve always recognized it, we’ve always emphasized it, we always can’t wait to play scarlet and grey in November.”

Hassan Haskins

“That game right there is definitely on top of the list,” Haskins said. “We’ve been working every day for that game. It’s gonna be a good one.

“It’s different — I look around in the football weight room or in conditioning and I see everybody working (on Ohio State). No weak links in the chain. The energy we bring every day to the table is just different from previous years I’ve been here. It’s definitely shifted the energy.

“It’s gonna be a fun game to watch — that’s all I’m gonna say.”

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