The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

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The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

Horizon

The Student News Site of Lynbrook High School

Horizon

A Season Full of Ups and Downs

Photo+by+Alex+Mertz+on+Unsplash
Photo by Alex Mertz on Unsplash

The Michigan football season was a rollercoaster ride this year, and one certainly to remember. Former head coach Jim Harbaugh faced two, three-game suspensions this past season. He missed out on the team’s first three games and the last three games of the season. However, this did not stop Michigan from having one of the best seasons in college football history and being considered one of the best teams of all time.

Harbaugh’s first suspension was a self-imposed suspension from the school, not the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). This suspension was from a separate NCAA investigation: alleged violations during the COVID–19 pandemic. Harbaugh was accused of making false statements when meeting with NCAA investigators; during the down period of recruiting, he bought a recruit a hamburger, which violates the rules of recruiting. Harbaugh missed the games against East Carolina, University of Nevada, La Vegas (UNLV), and Bowling Green. For the first game, Jesse Minter (defensive coordinator) was the head coach; for the second game, Jay Harbaugh (Jim’s son and special teams coach) was the head coach; and for the final game, Mike Hart (running back coach) was the head coach.

Harbaugh’s second suspension was for violating the Big Ten’s Sportsmanship Policy. The NCAA said that it had received allegations that the Michigan Wolverines were involved in a sign-stealing scheme and had sent scouts to games to scout future opponents. This has been prohibited by the NCAA rules since 1994. Harbaugh missed out on the final three games of the season against Penn State, Maryland, and Ohio State. Sherrone Moore, the current offensive coordinator, and offensive line coach for Michigan, filled in for Harbaugh.

When I heard he would be suspended a second time for stealing signs and miss the games versus Penn State and Ohio State, I thought it was going to be over, but those teams couldn’t get past the Michigan defense.”

— Joseph McHale, junior

When asked about whether the suspension regarding the hand signals brought the team closer together, Michigan alumni and Lynbrook resident Andrew Ward said, “A few minutes after the suspension came down, Michigan’s defensive tackle Kris Jenkins tweeted ‘Bet.’ Many of the players followed with the same tweet. It became a rallying cry for the team. There is no doubt that the suspension brought the team closer together.” Junior Joseph McHale said, “When I heard he would be suspended a second time for stealing signs and miss the games versus Penn State and Ohio State, I thought it was going to be over, but those teams couldn’t get past the Michigan defense. Also, Sherrone Moore, Michigan’s OC, did a very good job with this team in Harbaugh’s absence.”

Despite the suspensions, Michigan went 6-0 without its head coach and 15-0 on the season. Michigan went on to beat Alabama in the semi – finals and then beat Washington to win the National Championship on January 8. This was the team’s first National Championship title since 1997. Michigan’s 2023 team had over 20 players possibly declaring for the NFL draft; experts and fans compare this team to the 2018 Alabama squad.

After hearing about the suspension, when asked if he thought the season would end up the way that it did, current Michigan student and former LHS student Jake Belmont said, “I thought that no matter what would happen, this team was going to win a championship. [There were] many talented players who were focused on winning a championship. The team would not be denied.”

When asked about how he would feel if Harbaugh left the team, Belmont said, “I would be upset if Harbaugh left. He brought a championship to Michigan, so I think he deserves at this point to do whatever he thinks is best for him. I think whoever Michigan brings in to coach if he leaves we will continue the winning tradition.”

When asked how he would feel if Harbaugh left Michigan, Ward said, “I would have mixed emotions. Coach Harbaugh is one of the best coaches in the game (college or pro). I would love for him to coach Michigan until he retires. But the truth is, Coach Harbaugh’s dream is to win the SuperBowl. My friends and I have always said that if Jimmy can win a national title, we would ‘drive him to the airport’ for his NFL job. If this becomes a reality and Coach Harbaugh takes an NFL job, it will be sad to see him go, but I would be very happy for him and root for him to live out his dream.”

Update: Head Coach Jim Harbaugh signed a five-year $16 million contract with the Los Angeles Chargers. Former offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore is now the head coach for Michigan.

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About the Contributor
Justin Haberman, Editor
My name is Justin Haberman, and I am a member of the Class of 2025. I am an athlete, and I love to write and talk about sports. I am excited to be a part of Horizon as a sportswriter!