ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh says that two weeks concern him the most during football season: the week leading into a bye and the week coming out of a bye.
No. 4 Michigan (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten Conference) has its bye this weekend, and the Wolverines plan to heed the words of their head coach, but not just from a football angle. They’re looking at it from the angle of personal responsibility, too.
A weekend free of structure, free of hotel stays and free of player meetings also frees up time for leisure — and, maybe, for trouble.
“With a lot of bye weeks around the country, one thing you see is people getting in trouble,” Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton said. “Kids and teammates being irresponsible, doing something that hurts the team. The big thing we talked about this week is to make sure we stay responsible, watch each other’s back and be your brother’s keeper. Make sure we do the right right thing so we know the team is together, and they know that if we’re all together we have a great chance of accomplishing our goals.”
Some notable bye-week arrests in college football:
- Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was arrested Nov. 1, 2015, in Columbus, Ohio, on charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Barrett pleaded guilty to the charges and had his license suspended for 180 days. He was also suspended for a game.
- Two years ago, former Michigan defensive end Frank Clark was arrested in Perkins Township, Ohio, on charges of domestic violence and assault, following a Nov. 15 incident involving his girlfriend. Former Michigan coach Brady Hoke kicked Clark off the team the following Monday. Clark reached a plea agreement in April 2015, and a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence was dropped to disorderly conduct.
The bottom line Michigan is impressing upon its players this week: Be responsible.
“That’s something you don’t just do on bye weekends,” Michigan tight end Jake Butt said. “That’s something you’ve got to do every weekend. Every day. You hold yourself to a certain standard. We know how much is on the line.
“We’ve got a lot of mature guys, guys that are going to be around one another and hold each other accountable, so, in that sense, I think we’re going to be all right.”