THE Sports & Swag Report

Shirtless in Alabama. Jim Harbaugh steals headlines in SEC Country. Can he steal talent also.?


Jim Harbaugh, has always been one to think outside of the box. How else can you turn a school that actually thinks school first, like Stanford does, so quickly from a team living in the basement of the PAC-12 into a national power year in, year out? It has to require taking some risks.  With schools like USC, and Oregon competing for titles in his time at Palo Alto, recruiting could not have been more challenging.

Now, Harbaugh is in Ann Arbor coaching at his alma mater. Michigan. The Wolverines aren’t quite the academic institution that Stanford is, nor are they settled into the basement of the Big Ten. However, getting the Maze and Blue back to national prominence will still be quite challenging.

Harbaugh, is pulling out all the stops, and literally pulling some things off to make sure that happens. In a much talked about and controversial move, Harbaugh has taken a trip deep into SEC Country, and geographically about halfway in between the schools that have won 4 of the last 6 national championships, Alabama and Auburn to Prattville Alabama for a ‘Satellite Camp’ that’s taking place at Prattville High School. A school that competes for state titles at the highest level with other powerhouses like Hoover, and one that is rich with FBS level talent. The first-year coach was in rare form to say the least trying to make a lasting impression on some of the best talent, the South and the state of Alabama has to offer.

When I said, Coach Harbaugh was in rare form, and that he took things off. I meant it. Harbaugh went shirtless. I repeat. He went shirtless. Maybe, it was the Bama heat (which wasn’t really that hot for June in Alabama). Maybe, one of the drills was shirts and skins or whatever. Regardless, it wasn’t a pretty sight. It’s just a bit too scary to show here. So, if you haven’t seen The Shirtless Coach. Click here at your own risk. (Courtesy of Yahoo Sports).

Regardless, what you think of Harbaugh and his ‘Summer Swarm’ , a tour of 9 different summer camps around the country by Michigan’s staff, it’s bold and has garnered lots of attention. Something sorely needed at Michigan. With the likes of Urban Meyer’s defending national champion Ohio State Buckeyes and Mark Dantonio’s Michigan State Spartans, only the Wolverines biggest rivals, lurking in the Big Ten Harbaugh needs all the help he can get.

Don’t tell Nick Saban that. I’m sure he doesn’t want to hear it. However, he knows all about thinking outside the box to build a program. Thankfully, he hasn’t taken off his shirt to get his point across. Although, Saban could probably get away with it. I mean, he looks to be in better shape than Harbaugh right? Saban, has expressed his displeasure over coaches being ‘invited’ to these camps and that it puts SEC teams at a disadvantage in terms of recruiting. I tend to agree with him to a certain extent, but you can hardly blame coaches like Harbaugh and Penn State coach, James Franklin for wanting to show their face in the fertile grounds of the SEC.

The problem with Big Ten coaches coming down south is if SEC coaches wanted to even the score, so to speak, where would they go? Not the Big Ten states. There’s talent but California or Texas would be a better option than Michigan or Ohio. If, SEC coaches snuck into California, then would USC coach Steve Sarkisian, or Oregon coach Mark Helfrich follow suit and set up camp in Alabama or Florida? Probably so. Seems like it could be a never-ending cycle. It’s unclear what regulations may be added by the NCAA in regards to ‘Satellite Camps’, but until then perhaps SEC coaches should join in on the fun, instead of crying about it. That is, as long as they keep their shirt on.

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