Michigan Wolverine Football Podcast — Jim Harbaugh has left the building

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Sadness (that it’s over), Anger (Warde!), and Gratitude (that it happened)
Phil @pcallihan and Clint @Clint_Derringer discuss Jim Harbaugh’s departure – don’t miss the audio stinger (it’s a keeper) . With Jim Harbaugh, Warde Manuel (BOO!), Sherrone Moore, Mike Hart, Blake Corum, and JJ McCarthy.

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Podcast Summary

  • Jim Harbaugh’s departure from Michigan to NFL.0:00
    • Jim Harbaugh returns to NFL as Chargers head coach after leading Michigan to football success.
    • Clint Derringer believes Jim Harbaugh’s NFL return was inevitable, despite Michigan’s efforts.
  • Jim Harbaugh’s decision to leave Michigan for the Chargers.4:00
    • Phil Callihan thinks Jim Harbaugh’s competitive nature and desire to surpass his father and brother’s achievements may have influenced his decision to leave the San Diego Chargers.
    • Callihan believes Harbaugh’s family dynamics and the opportunity to win another national championship may have played a role in his decision to return to Michigan.
    • Phil Callihan expresses mixed emotions about Jim Harbaugh’s departure, citing his happiness for Jim’s success and sadness at the end of an era.
    • Jim Harbaugh’s love for Michigan and its fans is evident in his actions, including a spontaneous gathering at Schembechler Hall after the team’s return from Houston.
  • Jim Harbaugh’s departure from Michigan football.10:03
    • Clint Derringer believes Michigan’s lack of effort to retain Jim Harbaugh was a critical mistake.
    • Clint Derringer believes Harbaugh’s NFL dream could have been handled better, leading to current leverage issues.
    • Jim Harbaugh reflects on past seasons, including a time when he thought he might get fired.
  • Jim Harbaugh’s contract negotiations and potential move to Ohio State.16:11
    • Phil Callihan believes Jim Harbaugh’s mind was set to look elsewhere after the 2020 season due to a perceived lack of support from Michigan fans and administration.
    • Callihan thinks Harbaugh should have been locked up by Michigan after his impressive performance against Ohio State in 2020.
    • Phil Callihan reflects on the Jim Harbaugh era at Michigan, including the TCU loss and NCAA allegations.
    • Phil Callihan suggests Michigan Football could have been distracted by off-field issues, leading to a lack of focus on the field.
  • Jim Harbaugh’s departure from Michigan Football.23:30
    • Clint Derringer suggests that Jim Harbaugh was considering leaving Michigan due to a lack of competitive challenge and potential for dominance in the sport.
    • Clint Derringer believes that Harbaugh was also aware of the eventual transition at Michigan and wanted to leave on his own terms, rather than being forced out.
    • Clint Derringer believes Jim Harbaugh’s departure from Michigan Football was intentional and part of a larger plan, with the program primed for a smooth transition.
    • Derringer suggests that Harbaugh’s own more, Sherrone Moore, should be the next head coach, given his input and involvement in the program’s development.
  • Michigan football culture and leadership succession.29:27
    • Jim Harbaugh’s unique approach created a resilient, competitive culture at Michigan.
    • Phil Callihan questions whether Jim Harbaugh’s culture at Michigan Football will endure after his departure, citing the program’s history of perpetuating a strong culture even after coaches leave.
    • Clint Derringer argues that Sherrone Moore is the best choice to maintain the program’s culture and vibes, citing his role in the team’s turnaround from 2020 to 2021.
  • Jim Harbaugh’s departure from Michigan Football.35:25
    • Sharon Moore’s success as interim coach is attributed to his ability to maintain a positive team culture, with questions remaining about staffing decisions and potential promotions within the coaching staff.
    • Clint Derringer prioritizes finding a defensive coordinator who can continue the successful Ravens-style defense, with stability being key to success in 2024.
    • Jim Harbaugh’s decision to leave Michigan for NFL was disappointing but understandable, with a focus on his best destiny and impact on college football.
  • Jim Harbaugh’s impact on Michigan football.42:02
    • Callihan appreciates Harbaugh’s authenticity and willingness to speak his mind, despite NFL teams’ reservations.
    • Clint Derringer reflects on Michigan football’s recent success and the importance of basking in the program’s historical context.
    • Clint Derringer: Harbaugh’s mentality and approach to football led to a significant turnaround, comparing him to Bo Schembechler and Lloyd Carr.
    • Derringer: Harbaugh’s success includes taking the program to the national level and winning a title, combining the best of past eras.
  • The meaning of being a Michigan man.50:05
    • Jim Harbaugh emphasizes teamwork and doing one’s best.
    • Jim Harbaugh: Being a Michigan man means unanimous support, making it right.
  • Teamwork and camaraderie in Michigan Wolverines football.54:46
    • Jim Harbaugh praises Team 144 players, coaches, and staff for their dedication and teamwork.
    • Michigan Wolverines’ love for the game is genuine, evident in their perseverance, accountability, and teamwork.
    • “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers”

Michigan Wolverine Football Podcast — Perfect – Michigan 34 Washington 13

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Phil @pcallihan and Clint @Clint_Derringer discuss Michigan’s 34-13 victory over Washington to capture the National Championship. With QB JJ McCarthy, RB Blake Corum, and Head Coach Jim Harbaugh.

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Podcast Summary

  • Michigan’s National Championship Game.0:00
    • Michigan Wolverines win National Championship, players reflect on teamwork and brotherhood.
    • Harbaugh’s motto “nobody has it better than us” reflects gratitude and attitude of gratitude.
    • Michigan dominates Alabama with depth and resilience.
    • Phil Callihan highlights Donovan Edwards’ dominant performance, including two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, as Michigan defeats Washington 34-13.
    • Michigan’s defense consistently shuts down Washington’s offense, while the Wolverines’ offense wears down their defense for a convincing victory.
  • Michigan Wolverines’ dominant performance in the first quarter and their defense’s success in containing Washington’s offense.9:36
    • Clint Derringer highlights Michigan’s explosive offense in the first quarter, with 443 total yards and a 17.6 yards per play average, leading to a 69% success rate.
    • Michigan’s defense held Washington to 4.6 yards per play in the first quarter, with a 9% success rate, and continued to perform well throughout the game.
    • Clint Derringer and Jim Harbaugh highlight the resilience of the Michigan defense, who overcame challenges and adversity to secure a victory.
    • The defense’s performance was capped off by Mikey Sr.’s interception and Blake Corum’s touchdown, marking a perfect ending to the season.
  • Michigan Wolverines football team’s success and defense.15:20
    • Michigan’s defense led the team to a championship this season, with the offense providing just enough support.
    • Phil Callihan reflects on Michigan’s recent games, including the Penn State and Washington contests, and how the team’s defense has consistently performed well despite facing strong offenses.
    • Callihan highlights the team’s resilience and ability to come back from setbacks, such as the TCU game, and how they’ve shown growth and improvement throughout the season.
    • Phil Callihan reflects on the inconsistency of Michigan Football during the Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke eras, wondering if the team will ever return to its former glory.
    • Callihan expresses excitement for Jim Harbaugh’s return to the team and their potential for success, but acknowledges a rocky start to his tenure.
  • Michigan football’s turnaround under Jim Harbaugh.23:47
    • Clint Derringer reflects on 2020 season, argues program needed paradigm shift with Harbaugh at helm.
    • Harbaugh’s leadership and coaching transformed Michigan football, leading to a College Football Playoff appearance in 2021.
  • Michigan Football’s leadership and culture under Jim Harbaugh.27:56
    • Jim Harbaugh highlights the team’s resilience and ability to turn setbacks into opportunities for growth.
    • The team’s culture and leadership have been key to their success, with players and coaches working together to overcome challenges.
    • Phil Callihan reflects on Jim Harbaugh’s return to Michigan Football, noting that he was initially hesitant due to the administration at the time.
    • Callihan recalls the environment surrounding Harbaugh’s hiring, including the need for someone with the “flexibility and cachet” to keep improving the program.
  • Michigan Wolverines football culture and leadership.34:07
    • Phil Callihan reflects on his frustration with Michigan football under Rich Rodriguez, Brady Hoke, and Jim Harbaugh, particularly the 2015 Appalachian State game and the 2016 Penn State loss.
    • Callihan praises Harbaugh for his ability to ignore the noise and improve the team despite the challenging environment, but notes that progress has been slow.
    • Michigan football players set a culture of excellence after Aidan Hutchinson’s departure, with a focus on continuous improvement and upholding the program’s high standards.
  • Michigan Wolverines football culture and player insights.39:38
    • Michigan Football coach Phil Callihan highlights the team’s culture and player dedication, with no off-field distractions.
    • Phil Callihan discusses the constant speculation surrounding Jim Harbaugh’s future at Michigan, including NFL rumors and coaching changes.
    • Callihan shares his frustration with the lack of knowledgeable reporting on the topic, particularly from ESPN Talking Heads.
    • Phil Callihan highlights the culture of fun and enjoyment among Michigan football players, who support and encourage each other both on and off the field.
    • Roman Wilson shares his desire to be a leader and step out of his comfort zone, even if it means being more vocal and taking risks.
  • Michigan Wolverines football team’s past and present, including coaching changes and player development.46:20
    • Clint Derringer highlights AJ Barner, Darius Henderson, and Josh Wallace as examples of leaders who transferred to Michigan under Jim Harbaugh, citing their selflessness and fit for the program’s culture.
    • Derringer praises Jay Harbaugh, Jim Harbaugh’s son and special teams coordinator, for his ability to coach multiple position groups and recruit well, demonstrating the staff’s strength in self-evaluation and self-awareness.
    • Clint Derringer reflects on JJ McCarthy’s tweet from 2020, where he encourages Michigan fans to take deep breaths and understand that the program is doing everything it can to be great.
    • JJ McCarthy shares his insight on the situation in 2023, saying that he knew the program was not in a good place and that he had a gut feeling that something would happen to turn it around.
  • Jim Harbaugh’s leadership and coaching abilities at Michigan Football.52:54
    • Michigan Football team’s resilience and adaptability under Jim Harbaugh’s leadership.
    • Jim Harbaugh has had a successful coaching career, including nearly winning a Super Bowl and rebuilding the Michigan Football program.
    • Harbaugh’s return to Michigan was facilitated by David Brandon’s departure and the program’s desire to give him everything he needed to be successful, including new facilities and a rebuilt Football program.
    • Phil Callihan praises Jim Harbaugh for his ability to adapt and improve the Michigan football team, citing his willingness to bring in new coaches and players to elevate the program.
    • Callihan highlights Harbaugh’s success in beating Ohio State, despite initial doubts from ESPN and talk radio hosts, and notes that the team’s improvements were evident in their ability to bounce back from losses and continue to get better.
  • Ohio State-Michigan rivalry and its impact on coach Ryan Day.1:01:21
    • Clint Derringer highlights Michigan’s physical domination of Ohio State and their mental toughness in bouncing back from losses.
    • Derringer believes Jim Harbaugh is living rent-free in Ryan Day’s head after Michigan’s recent success against Ohio State.
    • Ohio State coach Ryan Day’s focus on beating Michigan is evident in his team’s performance.
    • Phil Callihan believes Michigan’s culture is better than Ohio State’s, leading to the Wolverines’ success on the field.
    • Callihan attributes Michigan’s success to its strong culture, which attracts and develops great players.
  • Michigan Wolverines football culture and coaching.1:09:00
    • Phil Callihan reflects on Michigan’s culture of loyalty and resilience.
    • Callihan believes Harbaugh’s love for Michigan is his best coaching destiny.
    • Phil Callihan reflects on Michigan’s 1000th win and the emotions it evoked, sharing personal experiences and the significance of the moment.
    • Callihan expresses happiness for the players, acknowledging their hard work and the unique nature of their achievement.
  • Jim Harbaugh’s coaching future at Michigan.1:16:30
    • Fans and former players shower Jim Harbaugh with love and appreciation.
    • Clint and Phil discuss Jim Harbaugh’s potential decision to leave Michigan for the NFL, with Clint arguing that Harbaugh’s love for Michigan and his family ties make it the best place for him, while Phil suggests that Harbaugh may want to pursue a rivalry with Pete Carroll in the NFL.
    • Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh’s leadership and player motivation led to a “magical” season despite off-field drama.
  • Michigan Football and its impact on families.1:23:42
    • Clint Derringer shares fond memories of watching Michigan football games with his family, including his first memory of being a fan.
    • Clint Derringer reflects on the joy of watching his children experience Michigan football games, and how he looks forward to sharing those memories with them in the future.
    • Phil Callihan shares a personal memory of meeting Desmond Howard at Michigan and how it influenced his brother’s fandom for life.
    • Phil Callihan appreciates the opportunity to share experiences with his family and friends through Michigan Football, including reading stories to his daughter in the womb and now attending games together.
    • Clint Derringer values the chance to contribute to the press box experience and reconnect with his fandom through spending time with Phil and his brothers, joking that he considers himself an honorary Callaghan.
  • Michigan Football culture and gratitude.1:30:30
    • Clint Derringer expresses gratitude for Michigan football fandom and the positive vibes surrounding the team.
    • Clint Derringer and Phil Callihan express gratitude to Michigan Football teams and coaches for bringing pride and positive memories.
    • Coaches and players emphasize teamwork and culture at Michigan football program.

Michigan 34 Washington 13 – Game 15 CFP Final Recap



Final Score: 34-13, Michigan by 21 over Washington
SP+ Projection: Michigan by 12.3 (+8.7)
CD Projection: Michigan by 7 (+14)


GAME 15 CFP FINAL RECAP vs. Washington

With the National Championship on the line, the Michigan offense stayed true to their identity and mashed the Washington Huskies on the ground for 303 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.  The Wolverines rocketed out of the gate with two long touchdown runs from Donovan Edwards in the first quarter, one that covered 41 yards and the other from 46 yards out.  When James Turner added a field goal on Michigan’s third drive to go up 17-3 early in the second quarter, fans felt this could turn into a blowout.

But, that story did not come to be.  Over the next seven drives in the second and third quarters, the Wolverines managed just one additional field goal on a short field drive, set up by the defense.  JJ McCarthy never quite got into rhythm, and finished 10-18 for 140 yards passing and no touchdowns.  But, McCarthy was the spark that ignited the finishing flurry for Michigan.  His 22-yard scramble from near his own goal line allowed the Wolverines to flip the field position.  On their second possession of the fourth quarter, up by just seven points, JJ threw a strike to Coleston Loveland over the middle for a 41 yard backbreaker.  Two plays later, Blake Corum juked his way into the endzone for a 12-yard touchdown.  That 14-point lead felt insurmountable with just seven minutes remaining, and it was fitting for Corum to cap it off as the heartbeat of this offensive unit. 

The CFP Final game narrative fits perfectly atop the 2023 season, because the star of the show was the Michigan defense.  In the premier strength-on-strength matchup for all the marbles versus Kalen DeBoer,  Ryan Grubb, and an NFL-level offensive unit for the Huskies, defensive coordinator Jesse Minter reigned supreme.  Heisman runner-up Michael Penix was battered by the time the clock hit zero.  He finished 27-51 for 255 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions.  This is on the heels of a 430-yard, two touchdown performance the week before in the semifinals.

The defensive line proved the depth development strategy employed by Michigan in 2023 was indeed brilliant.  All seven rotational defensive lineman created pressure on Penix.  Mason Graham finished as the statistical leader with three tackles, and Kenneth Grant added a sack.  That pressure, paired with a physical game plan from the Michigan defensive backs, yielded two interceptions at critical moments.  The first interception by Will Johnson came on the opening possession of the second half and created the short field I mentioned before.  The second interception was the coronation of the National Championship season: an 81-yard celebratory return by Mike Sainristil who, like Corum, embodied the perfect player to put an exclamation point on this perfect season.

The special teams unit eliminated the huge mistakes from the prior week in the Rose Bowl.  Jay Harbaugh made a brilliant adjustment to the Washington punter’s low, line-drive style by utilizing two returners: one shallow and one deep.  James Turner was very near the upright on a short field goal, and actually hit the upright on an extra point, but made all his kicks.  And, punter Tommy Doman bounced back the best.  His kicks carried an average of 47.6 yards, and a net of 43.6.

This team is the greatest team in the land, and cannot be disputed.  They are forever National Champions.  However, the word I will always associate with this team is unflappable.  No force exists within a football stadium that could shake the 2023 Michigan Wolverines.  That proved true again for the fifteenth time on Monday, January 8th, 2024.  In my eyes, by realizing their year-long mission to win the title by defeating all comers, this is the greatest Michigan Football team in the 144-year history of the program.  Don’t agree with such a lofty statement?  Somehow they’ll show up and prove it again.  Bet!


It felt shortsighted to just do a game recap after the season the Michigan Wolverines just completed.  So, I want to layout briefly how I experienced this 2023 season, through a series of eight phases:

  1. Expectations

When Blake Corum, Zak Zinter, and the other upperclassmen decided to return for another season back in January of 2023, the championship foundation was preserved.  However, the stakes were raised immediately when Blake Corum called his shot in front of a crowd at Crisler Arena, stating that this team would win a National Title and go down in history.  There was no turning back, the boats had been burned. 

  1. Happy Mission 

Spring and summer were traditional from a program and media standpoint.  There were a few questions about starting battles at offensive tackle and at the second cornerback spot, but Jim Harbaugh reiterated that his guys were embarking on a happy mission. 

  1. Harbaugh Suspension #1 

A negotiated settlement with the NCAA related to 2020 dead period violations fell through at the eleventh hour.  Still, the Michigan administration self-imposed a three-game suspension on Jim Harbaugh and four different assistants received an opportunity to add head coach responsibilities on game day.  Developing that depth would prove to be valuable.

  1. Big Ten Dominance

When Jim Harbaugh returned and the B1G Ten season started, the Wolverines showed they had at least another gear that they had not shown through the first four games.  Back-to-back road blowouts over Nebraska and Minnesota silenced a handful of doubters who thought Michigan looked unimpressive early in the season. 

  1. Connor Stalions & Media Chaos 

A media firestorm exploded when news leaked regarding support staffer Connor Stalions leading an in-person scouting operation that skirted various NCAA regulations.  The news was timed and targeted to maximize the amplitude of the chaos, and triggered a chorus of complaints from B1G Ten coaches and administrators to new conference commissioner Tony Petitti.

  1. Harbaugh Suspension #2 

Tony Petitti acquiesced to the complaints and determined he would suspend Jim Harbaugh midseason for three more games.  Petitti also maximized the potential damage for targeting the three toughest games on the schedule, including The Game versus Ohio State.  The final salt in the wound was the timing & delivery of the announcement.   The commissioner waited until the team was in flight en route to the Penn State road game, and the Michigan contingent found out via social media.

  1. #Bet (Savage Warrior), 

In response to a failed appeal for injunction in a Washtenaw County court, the administration, the team, and the fan base was incensed with the B1G Ten conference.  Many hot takes were created and fired into the media environment, but the Michigan community rallied around a viral tweet sent by the players and echoed by even university president Santa Ono: Bet.  The one-word rallying cry was a call to fight by saying less and doing more.  The Wolverines were determined to let their actions speak.  The happy mission had transformed into one taken on by savage warriors.

  1. Confirmation & Coronation

Through all the distraction, and under the guidance of Sherrone Moore as interim head coach, the Michigan Wolverines executed a variety of game plans to continue their victorious march.  Key injuries on both sides of the ball dictated how Michigan could attack the best defenses on their schedule.  But, they made the key plays against Penn State, Maryland, Ohio State, Iowa, Alabama, and Washington.  Over this stretch of games, the game narratives in my mind slowly shifted.  It started from a place of fear that this team’s opportunity could be squandered in an epic “What If…” season.  That narrative morphed to a confirmation that this team was good enough and tough enough that none of the outside forces mattered.  None of the on-field foes mattered.  The Rose Bowl semifinal and CFP final games were fitting coronations for the sport’s new kings. 


I’ll conclude with a thank you to Phil Callihan for the opportunity to contribute to the site, and for his support and flexibility that allowed me to experience this magical ride from the press box with him and his family, from home with my family, and through it all with our Michigan family.  Also, thank you for reading, listening, following, and talking to us about this team.  

It’s Great…to be…a Michigan Wolverine…because the ultimate team–the greatest Michigan team of all of all time!–finished their business and brought home the ultimate prize to Ann Arbor.