Former Michigan Star Knows How Harbaugh Can 'Dethrone' Ohio State

"I’m not a big Harbaugh hater like a lot of people."

Will Burchfield
June 17, 2020 - 11:00 am
Categories: 

The last time Michigan beat Ohio State in consecutive years, Lloyd Carr was head coach and Larry Foote was playing linebacker.

The gap between the two teams has only grown wider of late, punctuated by a pair of blowouts the past two seasons. It's the biggest blemish on Jim Harbaugh's resume through five seasons at his alma mater -- take it from Harbaugh himself

Or take it from Foote, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2001. Foote, a two-time Super Bowl champ with the Steelers and now the outside linebackers coach for the Buccaneers, knows what Harbaugh needs to get over the hump. 

"I’m not a big Harbaugh hater like a lot of people," Foote told the Jamie and Stoney Show. "Thinking back to some of the Ohio State games, we got hosed in the one down there (in 2016). But he hasn’t had a true quarterback yet. Everyone says, 'Well he’s a quarterback coach.' It ain't that easy, trust me. It's not that easy.

"So where the program was before he got there, I call it a success. But you watch Ohio State and every NFL Draft, you tell me how we’re going to beat Ohio State without a quarterback. When he gets his hands on a true stud quarterback, I think we’re going to dethrone those guys." 

Foote would know. Michigan had Tom Brady and Drew Henson under center for those consecutive wins in 1999 and 2000. And its most recent win against the Buckeyes came with the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year at QB in Denard Robinson. 

Harbaugh is 0-5 against Ohio State with Jake Rudock, Wilton Speight, John O'Korn and Shea Patterson as his starting quarterbacks. The scales will be tipped again this season with the Buckeyes bringing back Heisman candidate Justin Fields and the Wolverines deciding between Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton. 

Maybe things will even out when J.J. McCarthy, a five-star recruit in 2021, arrives in Ann Arbor. 

"Hopefully we get a good quarterback in there," said Foote. "That defense has gotta be able to shore things up, too. I was a little disappointed in them the last couple years versus those Suck-eyes down south. But I think Harbaugh, since being there, has been a success."