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UM assistants: Harbaugh kept team “unified” after Wisconsin loss

Dec 30, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh catches passes prior to the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

This may not do much to settle the nerves of Michigan Football fans who are having second thoughts about head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Following Michigan’s major setback against the Wisconsin Badgers nearly two weekends ago, both the coaching staff and players alike were well aware of what national pundits and fans alike were saying about the team and Harbaugh in particular.

The Wolverines rebounded with a convincing win on Saturday, albeit against a weak Rutgers team.

Michigan’s assistants spoke about how Harbaugh handled the team composure among all of the media buzz.

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“Unbelievable how he handled the team and the coaches that week,” special teams and safeties coach Chris Partridge said. “It was like a clinic. Those guys (coaches), we got up and attacked as a team. We were ready because we know who we are in here and we knew we got knocked backwards.

“There is going to be some self-doubt, right? There is going to be some thinking, but if you just look in the mirror and say, ‘This isn’t going to be how I am defined as an individual, as a team,’ and you get after it, the result will be what happened. We just have to continue to remember and learn from that game moving forward and we have to prepare like we prepared last Monday.”

Michigan’s next matchup against No. 14 Iowa will be a major test for Harbaugh and the Wolverines, who need a win in a huge way to help silence the criticism. Running backs coach (and son of Jim) Jay Harbaugh credited his dad with helping keep the team’s focus on their opponents, not everything negative being said about them.

“The world we’re in, it wants everything to collapse and some people to just quit and drive their cars away and see what happens in the next few games,” Jay told reporters Wednesday. “He was able to sit us down and say the focus is on Rutgers. That is really the only thing that matters, not anything anybody else is saying.

“Just reassuring everybody lets get back to meeting, let’s get back to practice and focus on Rutgers and everything will be good. That is consistent with his message after a 52-0 win as well as the Wisconsin loss. Having that kind of leadership that is consistent, that you can lean on and know this is the direction we’re going, it is really nice as a coach and as a player.”

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