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Michigan Wolverines Football News & Views: Jim Harbaugh On OSU, Winovich

NEWS: Jim Harbaugh guaranteed a Michigan win over Ohio State in 1986, but wouldn’t talk much about it Monday. Senior running back Higdon had to think before responding, ‘Yeah, why not?’ when asked if he’d follow in Harbaugh’s footsteps and guarantee a win Saturday in Columbus.

HARBAUGH: “I don’t now what made me think about doing that. It’s been a long time since then … there’s not much to say about that. I can’t tell you what it was. I can’t remember.”

VIEWS: There was no way he was going to answer that question. But when asked four years ago at his opening presser what he’d say to a kid who guaranteed a win in similar fashion, he responded: “That he’d better back it up.”

Hidgon will get every chance to, but let’s not pretend he went to the podium brashly with his guns blazing the way Harbaugh did. He was asked directly, and what was the captain supposed to say?

Responding with something along the lines of, ‘No, I don’t think I should do that,’ would have sent the wrong message.

There aren’t many certainties when it comes to college football, but there is one thing we know — bulletin board material is overrated, and a lot of it is crap.

NEWS: Michigan’s offense moved the ball up and down the field but stalled in the red zone Saturday, resulting in 507 yards but only 31 points against Indiana.

HARBAUGH: “We’re happy with the way the offense is playing. They’re working really hard, and we have been working hard to put in a good plan for this game. We can’t wait to get on the practice field and start practicing it.”

VIEWS: Truth be told, they had great game plans the last two years against the Buckeyes and easily could have won both games.

We’ll take it a step further and say they would have won both with better quarterback play (though we certainly don’t blame a banged-up Wilton Speight for the game two years ago. His arm was hit on one of his two picks, and he had some good moments).

Junior Shea Patterson didn’t have his best game against IU, but he’s the kind of guy you need in an environment like he’ll experience in Columbus.

“The way he handles things is terrific,” Harbaugh said. “He does what’s needed, what’s expected. When we need him to make a play, he makes it whether it’s throwing, running or not turning a bad play into a worse play.

“He’s just got a great feel, talent and energy for the game. I love his focus, his intensity.”

He “gets it,” and though it’s looking more and more like this will be his only year in a Michigan uniform, he is and has been a great fit in understanding the culture and wanting to win for his school and his teammates. We think he’ll play well.

NEWS: Freshman kicker Jake Moody came in for an under-the-weather redshirt sophomore Quinn Nordin and kicked a school-record six field goals in U-M’s win.

HARBAUGH: “He’s very talented, has got a very good leg. He’s very productive. He has a strong leg, and we thought he could be a really effective kickoff player for us right away. He’s progressed very well as a field goal kicker.”

VIEWS: Several, now, have told us that Michigan State offered him a full ride after he accepted a greyshirt to Michigan. U-M responded with an offer of its own, and it’s a good thing the Wolverines did. Moody will probably be the guy down in Columbus, and he probably should be. Nordin has been inconsistent even when healthy and seems to have the yips.

It wouldn’t stun to see Moody handle everything within 45 yards or so and bring out Nordin for the longer ones. It also wouldn’t shock us if Moody handled all the kicking. He seems to be a confident freshman.

Much of it will depend on how practice goes this week.

NEWS: Redshirt freshman Andrew Stueber played the majority of the game Saturday at right tackle and played well against Indiana while subbing for injured fifth-year senior Juwann Bushell-Beatty.

HARBAUGH: “Stuebs had a good game. He was confident, and he was into it physically. He did a very good job, moved well. He was really good with his assignments. I was really pleased, we all were, with how Andrew played.”

VIEWS: Harbaugh said after the Indiana game that Bushell-Beatty was going to try to go, but indicated he’d be closer to 100 percent and ready to for Ohio State if he sat. He wouldn’t give an update Monday, only saying Bushell-Beatty “should be better, I would assume.”

We expect him to play against the Buckeyes.

Stueber’s play, though, is encouraging for next year. The line returns intact with him taking Bushell-Beatty’s place (assuming junior left guard Ben Bredeson comes back for his senior season), and that’s a huge plus, something we probably wouldn’t have said after the season opening loss at Notre Dame.

It only shows how far they’ve come.

NEWS: Grad transfer running back Berkley Edwards and fifth-year senior defensive end Chase Winovich received positive reports following injuries suffered against Indiana.

HARBAUGH: “The best possible outcome for both Berkley and Chase is the way it looked on Saturday. CAT scans were negative, X-rays were negative for both Berkley and Chase. We’ll continue to evaluate every day.”

VIEWS: Edwards suffered a concussion, while Winovich’s injury was undisclosed. There was nothing wrong with his shoulder or collarbone, however, as some seemed to report on twitter.

Several close to it expect him to play Saturday, and he’s dropped some of his own subtle hints on social media, noting: “To those who celebrated what they thought would be my demise, I’ll be back.”

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