Four things we learned Monday at Big Ten media days
1 Harbaugh is not shy about Michigan’s goals.
The Wolverines went 10-3 in Jim Harbaugh’s first season, doubling their 2014 victory total under Brady Hoke. Loaded with returning starters, Michigan is a trendy pick to make the College Football Playoff.
“We want our dreams to be big,” Harbaugh said. “We want our goals to be lofty. We want to dream those dreams so much that people would laugh at us. You know, if they’re not laughing at us then we haven’t set high enough goals. And understand that they can be achieved, but they have to be worked for.”
2 The Gophers medical staff will have a new look.
As previously reported, former Vikings head physician Joel Boyd will replace Pat Smith as Gophers team physician this season. The university’s medical school made that decision.
Meanwhile, Ed Lochrie, who had served as head football trainer since 2002, resigned this summer. The athletics department still is in the process of replacing him.
“Those are decisions that are made above me,” Gophers coach Tracy Claeys said. “Doc Smith’s a great person, a great doctor. He did some good things, but the university made a decision to do things a little bit differently.”
3 Claeys won’t hold Travis back.
Besides being a standout safety, Gophers senior Damarius Travis plays on all four special teams. But the team missed him dearly after he suffered a season-ending hamstring injury in last year’s season opener against TCU. The NCAA granted him a medical hardship waiver so that he could play for the Gophers in 2016.
Now that Travis is healthy, do the Gophers need to scale back his workload?
“Just got to let him go,” Claeys said. “Be careful in fall camp. But I think he’s went through the rehab the way he should, and he’s been a very durable player.”
4 Claeys is open to a kickoff ban.
With a nod toward player safety, the Ivy League adopted an experimental rule to kick off from the 40-yard line this season, with touchbacks at the 20. The rest of the NCAA will continue kicking off from the 35, with touchbacks at the 35.
The results will be analyzed and reported to the NCAA rules committee.
“We haven’t talked about it as Big Ten coaches,” Claeys said. “My own personal belief is if that play obviously is causing that many injuries and it’s that obvious from the data, then we need to replace it.”