Harbaugh's future, waving white flag on season?

Harbaugh’s future, waving white flag on season?

How many of you are waving the white flag and don’t want to read this Michigan football mailbag? Just joking. Come on. Keep reading. Please.

There was a lot of news this week with Michigan pausing because of COVID-19 issues and canceling the Maryland game on Saturday. That was made official Wednesday. The night before, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit suggested Michigan might wave the white flag to avoid playing at Ohio State next week, not only avoiding an anticipated bloodbath but also preventing the Buckeyes from reaching the six-game threshold to make the Big Ten title game (a foregone conclusion). And then Herbstreit apologized. And then Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel, in a video shot in-house by UM, eviscerated Herbstreit without saying his name.

OK, that was a lot, so let’s get to the mailbag:

►Question: Do you think Michigan will disclose how many team members tested positive? What is the likelihood that we will have enough available for the OSU game? – @RajLakra

►Answer: No, I don’t think Michigan will offer specifics, however, the department has been releasing weekly COVID-19 data each Friday for all sports, coaches and staff combined. So that might offer a clue. I do believe the issue is less about how many have tested positive but the contract tracing.

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel

►Q: As a veteran journalist, what did you think of the team’s tactic of posting its own video interview with Warde Manuel? Had the beat reporters asked for a Zoom call with him? Did they decline? – @MickiMaynard

More:Wojo: It’s getting nasty, as Wolverines stand (or sit) in the Buckeyes’ way

►A: Micheline, I know I didn’t ask to speak to Manuel, but I did ask if Jim Harbaugh would be available. I’ve seen other head coaches speaking after there’s been a pause, so being able to talk to Harbaugh about this was my first thought. As you know, Harbaugh was not made available. Of course, I would have preferred to speak to Manuel on a Zoom, but you and I both know there’s no way he would do that because the questions would turn to Harbaugh’s contract, and he is not interested in discussing that publicly. But generally speaking, I really hope this is not the method of athletic departments going forward. When Harbaugh was cranking out weekly podcasts with his father, I really think he believed anything we reporters might want to know could be found in those. That’s not how this works. He knows that and this season, even though people often say he speaks in riddles or coach speak (agree at times on both), he has been more cooperative and less dismissive. At least outwardly.

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