UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio — Even after two camps in two states on Friday, Jim Harbaugh was glad to be back on the satellite-camp circuit.
A new NCAA rule this year limits schools to 10 days of camps, and Harbaugh plans to make the most of that.
“With the 10 days, I think I’m going to do 11 (camps) for me personally,” he said after Friday night’s camp at John Carroll University, just outside Cleveland. “I think all of our coaches will be somewhere in that area.”
Harbaugh and offensive line coach Greg Frey attended the first two camps on Friday. The duo started in Macon, Ga., Friday morning with half of the U-M staff (defensive coordinator Don Brown, running backs coach Jay Harbaugh, safeties coach Brian Smith and linebackers coach Chris Partridge). They ended at John Carroll with the other half (defensive line coach Greg Mattison, cornerbacks coach Mike Zordich, passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton and offensive coordinator/interior line coach Tim Drevno.)
The NCAA restriction was viewed by many as a shot at Harbaugh after he and the U-M staff hit nearly 40 camps last year, blanketing June from start to finish by hitting high schools and even leaving the country. The rules now restrict the number of days and the locations camps can take place, and they have to be on a college campus.
“This year, with the changing landscape, we were offering our services,” Harbaugh said of the plan for venues, including two in Georgia, two in Texas and two in California. “It was a function of who wanted us as much or more to where we ended up going. We had to be invited, we had to be offered. We threw our hat in the ring in a lot of places.”
Asked if he was “bummed” that they couldn’t do as many camps as in the past, Harbaugh said he didn’t know what word to describe it.
“But I’m glad to be out here tonight,” he said.
Sharing the camp with John Carroll made sense as their new coach, Rick Finotti, worked for Michigan the past two years, first as the director of operations and then as an analyst.
“Walking in seeing Coach, I knew half the fun was going to be just watching him do his thing,” Harbaugh said. “A great friend. I enjoyed seeing the meeting rooms, the coaches’ office, being around his staff. I know a lot of them. Watching somebody do their thing has been a great feeling today.”
As in the past, Harbaugh tried to downplay the recruiting aspect of the camps but admitted he’s done enough of them to easily notice which players stand out.
Michigan has received a few commitments from players who attended the camps.
“It’s about football and sharing the field with guys and watching them compete is the best part of it,” he said.
Finotti gave Harbaugh the center stage for a few minutes at the end of the three-hour camp Friday night, and Harbaugh shared his wisdom.
The nearly 5 1/2-minute speech included relaying a story from a priest at the Vatican, who told him about Mother Teresa, to his own desire to get in better shape. He also implored the high school players to find a college on any level to continue playing football and enhance their education.