Harbaugh Calls MSU Pregame Incident 'Orchestrated' and 'Unsportsmanlike'

Harbaugh Calls MSU Pregame Incident 'Orchestrated' and 'Unsportsmanlike'

Football

Harbaugh Calls MSU Pregame Incident 'Orchestrated' and 'Unsportsmanlike'

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — If you thought there was tension between Michigan and Michigan State before, well, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Michigan took down MSU on Saturday in dominating fashion, winning 21-7, in a game where the Wolverines defense limited the Spartans to just 94 total yards of offense.

But that wasn’t the story of the day.

The attention started to come when Michigan team captain Devin Bush Jr. was seen out at midfield, scraping the paint off the Spartans logo with his cleats. The video made the rounds, but along with that came a clarification from a U-M spokesman, detailing what preceded that.

By now, you know the story, and you can read about it in the link below.

But, there’s still some salt in the proverbial wounds.

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio called Harbaugh’s sentiments after the game “B.S.” to which Harbaugh vehemently disagrees — still. Of course, video evidence has come out corroborating Harbaugh’s side of the story.

And, at his weekly press conference on Monday, while Harbaugh says he doesn’t think the incident will have lasting effects, he did take his “bush league” comments several steps further.

“I don’t think it’s gonna have any kind of effect moving forward,” Harbaugh said. “I’ll give you my thoughts on it, I know I did after the game, but — when you host a team, both teams, you share the field. Each has a sideline, each has a half of the field to warm up on. Then Michigan State locked arms and used every inch of the field in their walk to attempt going through or over our guys in a physical manner. To call that unsportsmanlike or bush league is putting it mildly. That could have been a real unfortunate incident.

“As I said, it’s the opposite of BS. The coach said it’s BS. It’s not BS, it’s fact. I think it’s something that the two athletic directors need together to talk about it. I’ll go one step further, and use Coach Dantonio’s words from a few years back: ‘It’s not the product of a team but a program.’ And again, that’s using his words. That could have been an unfortunate deal. I’m proud of our guys for keeping their cool and waiting for the game to (play it out).”

On social media, there seems to be some kind of back and forth about whether MSU was on time or late or what-have-you.

Harbaugh says that there was confusion from the start about the incident, saying that MSU was demurring on when this walk would happen from the beginning.

As a result, he feels that Warde Manuel and Bill Beekman will need to get together to discuss the incident and how they can keep things like this from happening moving forward.

“I think that the two athletic directors really need to talk about, because leading up to the game, we were aware they did a traditional walk,” Harbaugh said. “And we contacted them, because they send us a book of pregame operations that’s the most detailed, the finest I’ve ever seen. It has everything in it in writing. But that part is not, and we called them to say, ‘What time is your walk? Because we don’t wanna put our players out there to warm up until after your players do their traditional walk.’ They gave us a time: ‘It will be at 9:45.’

“‘Okay, great.’ (Then): ‘Well, it might be at 9:55. Now it is going to be 9:55 a day later.’ Said okay. That walk happened another 10 minutes after that. At no point was there any kinds of heads up or, ‘Hey, could you guys please leave the field?’

“I see where they’re using the word juvenile, and I think that’s trying to brush it under the carpet, because their strength coaches were out there leading it. Their assistant coaches were out there. Coach Dantonio was right behind it. That had all the earmarkings and evidence of an orchestrated, Stormtrooper march.

“I think that’s something more that we’ll address.”

So, was it just a simple mix up or a purposeful attempt at intimidation by Dantonio and the Spartans?

Harbaugh thinks it’s the latter.

“It has all the evidence of being orchestrated, yes,” Harbaugh said. “We can go out on the field at 9:30, 9 o’clock, 10 o’clock — it comes open to us when it becomes open. But, like I said, we’re trying to not be out there when they were doing their traditional walk. That’s when the back and forth, the vagueness — they even told us: ‘Sometimes we don’t do it.’ So it came to a certain point where it was like maybe they’re not doing it. So guys can go out there and get loosened up for a game that starts at 12 o’clock.”

All that said, how does he feel about Bush going out and doing what he did on the Sparty logo?

Turns out, given the circumstances, Harbaugh is fine with Bush’s actions.

“I don’t blame Devin,” Harbaugh said. “I like the way our guys handled it. That’d be like going back and going, ‘Oh look at Devin Bush! look at him out there! He’s out at midfield, scraping up the logo!’ After what just took place, that would be out of the Pistons’ playbook. Do something to them, say something to them, elbow them, and then when somebody does something to them back then flop. That’s how I think about that.

“It’s unsportsmanlike, it’s bush league. And that’s putting it mildly.”

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