By: Will Burchfield
Jim Harbaugh knows Michigan is in for quite a challenge on Saturday against No. 8 Wisconsin (3:30 ET, WWJ Newsradio 950).
In fact, he has been so impressed with the Badgers on film that he joked on Thursday they must be violating the NCAA’s practice policy.
“I’d like to see an investigation into the Wisconsin team to see if they’re complying with the 20 hour-per-week rule,” Harbaugh laughed. “They are really good, they are well-coached, almost looks like they’re spending a lot of time at it. But a tip of the cap.”
After notching four blowout wins against unranked teams to open the season, the Wolverines are eager to test themselves against a top opponent. The Badgers (4-0) already own victories over LSU and No. 17 Michigan State.
“They’ve got a heck of a football team. They’ve done a great job over there and they’re going to be darn tough to beat, we understand that,” Harbaugh told the Jamie and Stoney Show on 97.1 The Ticket on Thursday morning. “If we play at our best we’ll be darn tough to beat, too, so it’ll be a real good football game.”
No. 4 Michigan (4-0) will be without cornerback Jeremy Clark on Saturday, after the senior tore his ACL in the team’s win over Penn State last weekend. When Clark went down, his teammates gathered around him in a show of support, a glimpse into the Wolverines’ special camaraderie.
“It’s a close team, there’s no question about that,” Harbaugh said. “It was a sad moment but I looked back and saw darn-near half the team going out there to Jeremy and then when we got back to the locker room it was the same. We met as a team and then again practically the whole team went back into the training room there to see Jeremy.”
Harbaugh confirmed Clark will be out for about nine months, before expressing faith in the doctors to work him back to full strength.
“We’re all going to be clients of the health care system at some point, so we’re really glad that the medicine has gotten so good and the orthopedics so good and we’re really fortunate and blessed to have it really good here at the U,” he said.
Later, the conversation turned to Jabrill Peppers, as it usually does these days with Michigan. Harbaugh said the red-shirt sophomore continues to change the game, the latest example coming earlier this week when Peppers added a new wrinkle to a play that Harbaugh has been coaching for ten years. As if that wasn’t enough, Peppers had just learned the play earlier in the day.
“He did it the first time as a natural, like that was the way the play should’ve been run for the last ten years. That’s the kind of stuff he does. It breaks the mold darn near every time he does something, so it’s the darnest thing I’ve ever seen,” Harbaugh said.
With rain in the forecast for Saturday’s game, Harbaugh isn’t concerned about how it might affect his team’s play.
“We look at it as football weather,” he said.