INDIANAPOLIS — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and his players know that rival Ohio State is looking to exact revenge from last season’s 42-27 loss. Buckeyes players have spoken publicly about how the loss is still on their mind and that they have the game circled for this coming season.
But when asked at Big Ten media days about his team traveling to Columbus, Ohio, to play the Buckeyes this season, Harbaugh was confident in his team and what he would see from them on the field.
“They’re not going to flinch,” Harbaugh said. “There’s nothing I really gotta teach them or show them or tell them. I mean, I know our team really well by now. They don’t blink, they don’t flinch and they just keep attacking and building, and that’s definitely our goal to win the championship again.”
Harbaugh said that his players haven’t shown any satisfaction or entitlement from the results from last season and that he has seen the same type of player-led leadership he saw last year. Harbaugh himself isn’t sitting on his laurels, either, and knows there is still more that can be done.
“[Last season] was great,” Harbaugh said. “Now let’s see if we get all four goals. Let’s beat Michigan State and Ohio State in the same year. Let’s win the Big Ten championship, let’s win the national championship. Those are our four goals, and let’s go attack.”
That hasn’t stopped Harbaugh from enjoying the outcome of last season, and he even admitted to being happier after seeing his players feel a type of success they hadn’t felt since Harbaugh arrived at Michigan.
“I was walking through the Detroit airport a couple of weeks ago, going to baggage claim, and a guy comes up to me and says, ‘Coach Harbaugh, I just want to tell you how great you are. Great season. Keep it going, Coach,'” Harbaugh said. “‘You look happy. You have a big smile on your face.’ I was reminded at that point what the source of that happiness was. It’s that my players got to really enjoy that.”
He said that win against Ohio State meant as much to him, the program and his players as one can imagine. Seeing his players happy and the excitement they had from winning has translated even to the offseason.
“They get to experience that and then they know when they go back home, especially the ones who go back to Ohio, they can walk around town with their head high,” Harbaugh said. “Michigan players, you don’t have to walk around and listen to people say, ‘When are you going to beat Ohio State?’ It’s all that and more.”