ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Jim Harbaugh has seen this story before. In fact, he lived it.
Earlier this week, Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight talked to reporters about his short-lived desire to leave Michigan and transfer out of the football program last summer.
Thursday morning on “Jamie and Stoney” on WXYT-FM in Detroit, Michigan’s second-year coach said he saw a player consider changing his career in the same manner — his own career.
“I thought there was a time when I wasn’t going to play at Michigan and was told that,” Harbaugh said. “I called my dad and it was like deja vu, reading what Wilton was saying. That happened to me my sophomore year. Tom Brady, I’ll bet he had a few of those thoughts. It’s a great lesson. You don’t want to quit. You don’t want to take a knee too early.”
In Harbaugh’s first two seasons on the active roster at Michigan (he redshirted in 1982), he played sparingly in one, then sustained a broken arm in the second. However, he went on to become one of Michigan’s most productive and popular quarterbacks.
Instead of transferring, Speight has blossomed into one of the Big Ten’s top quarterbacks. He is averaging 228.1 yards a game for Michigan (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten), which is No. 3 in this week’s College Football Playoff rankings and plays at 8 p.m. ET Saturday at Iowa.
Harbaugh also has seen Speight’s in-game relationship grow in the last month, which has helped result in more productivity.
“We’ve asked Wilton in-game, during the games, what he likes, when the opportunity presents itself. When we’re in a TV timeout or a called timeout, we’re giving him options. ‘Do you like this, do you like that, what do you like?’
“We’ve found over the course of last three to four weeks, I’ve noticed that dialogue’s taken place more and more. We really trust Wilton and he’s got to go out and execute it.”