ANN ARBOR, Michigan — There is a chance that Michigan gets its 1,000th win as a football program if the Wolverines can beat Maryland on the road Saturday. There is also a chance that coach Jim Harbaugh won’t be on the sidelines for that game.
Harbaugh is awaiting a court hearing Friday that could determine if he and the university are granted a temporary restraining order that would reverse his three-game suspension from the Big Ten and commissioner Tony Petitti.
“I think it’d be incredibly disappointing [if Harbaugh was suspended Saturday],” defensive line coach Mike Elston said Wednesday. “I believe that of anybody, he’s earned this opportunity to be with his team, to be a part of this victory.
“… For him not to be a part of that would be an absolute shame.”
Offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore is the interim head coach on game days as Harbaugh serves his suspension, which stems from alleged in-person scouting and recording of games by former staffer Connor Stalions.
Moore very well could be the acting head coach that gets the historic 1,000th win if the Wolverines beat Maryland, but Moore doesn’t want the credit if it happens.
“I definitely want Coach [Harbaugh] to be the coach when that happens,” Moore said. “I would say to me, and to everybody else, that would be his win. It wouldn’t count as mine. He’s the head coach of this football team and I’m just standing in there to make sure we don’t mess it up.”
Moore was the acting head coach for the Wolverines’ victory over Penn State last week and was emotional about the situation in his postgame interview. He had a few cuss words during the interview and said he has since apologized to his mother and grandmother, but he added that everyone on that team felt the same emotions after the win.
“Just understanding, like, the care and love that I have for the players and this program and this university, so I think they saw that and it’s real,” Moore said. “When you work so hard to see that come to fruition, it’s really cool. And then sometimes your emotions get the best of you.”
Moore has since heard from university president Santa Ono, athletic director Warde Manuel and prominent alumni about the interview, and he said it has been powerful to see the entire university come together.
Moore credits the culture that has been built at Michigan for allowing the players to keep their focus on the field amid all the distractions during the Wolverines’ 10-0 start.
“From the start of the year, we already knew this was a really special team and what we had in the locker room, the leadership on the team,” Moore said. “The leadership has just taken it more at hand [and] said, ‘Hey, all this is against us. What are we going to do about it?’
“The guys just have a one-track mind … everybody has a one-track mind of, ‘OK, what are we going to do this week to beat Maryland?'”
Moore used words such as “camaraderie” and “exciting” to describe the past four weeks. He said the team is attacking what’s in front of it and, despite being viewed as the villain, is able to handle what is thrown at it, adding that the Wolverines have every shot at accomplishing their goals this season.
“Nobody’s worried about anything else,” Moore said. “I think when you’re at the top, everybody’s always trying to knock you down. And we feel like we’ve always got a target on our back, which is great. We love it. So we’re going to continue to do what we do, stay together and just keep rolling.”