Remember when Jim Harbaugh used to stick his pointer finger in the personal space of anyone who crossed him? Feels like a long time ago, doesn't it?
The Harbaugh of his first two years in Ann Arbor made a rare, brief appearance on Thursday during an podcast with The Athletic's Tim Kawakami.
Asked about the departure of Urban Meyer, Harbaugh had this to say:
"Urban Meyer's had a winning record, really a phenomenal record everywhere he's been. Also, controversy follows everywhere he's been."
A couple things:
1) The debate shows will play this off as a hot take, but it isn't one. It's a statement of fact. If anything, it's an understatement. Meyer left Florida and Ohio State amid not just controversy, but scandal. If there's anything hot take-y here, it's that Harbaugh brought up the "controversy" point completely unprompted.
2) If you actually listen to the interview, it doesn't come off as a hot take at all. Kawakami is a San Francisco-based writer, and he immediately sticks his foot in the ground and changes direction to Harbaugh's 49ers days. In fact, Harbaugh is about as calm and bland as it gets aside from that one statement.
Here's how Harbaugh answers a question about if this year's Michigan team -- picked to win the Big Ten by the league's writers -- could be his best:
"Potentially it is. Definitely have the license and the ability to be. We've got big goals and great aspirations. We're focusing on the process. Everything begins with those goals and then you focus solely on the process that will help you achieve those goals."
I mean, could you give a more bland answer if you tried?
Perhaps the most noteworthy answer comes here, when Harbaugh is asked about his inability thus far to climb the scarlet and gray hump standing between Ann Arbor and the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis.
"You welcome the accountability that all you can be judged on is your record, what your record is overall, what your record is within your conference, and what your record is in head-to-head matchups with the other teams that you play," Harbaugh said. "Right now Ohio State is the only team that has a better record that us, has a better conference record than us and has the head-to-head matchup with us. Our goal is, we have two: win multiple championships and run a first-class program. That's what we aspire to. We're learning. You take accountability and you learn from it."
That's certainly not what the maize and blue expected to hear in regards to Ohio State four years into Harbaugh's tenure, from "Who's got it better than us?" to "You welcome the accountability."
Ohio State will certainly be happy to provide some more accountability come Nov. 30.