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Shehan Jeyarajah | National CFB Writer, CBSSports.Com

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
January 9, 2024 6:03 am

Shehan Jeyarajah | National CFB Writer, CBSSports.Com

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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January 9, 2024 6:03 am

National College Football writer Shehan Jeyarajah from CBSSports.com joins the show from NRG Stadium in Houston to recap the National Championship, and a Michigan Wolverines victory!

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Visit Carvana.com or download the app to get an instant offer today. We are excited to spend a few minutes in Houston with the National College football writer, Jahan Jayarajah of CBS Sports. Jahan, I saw from your Twitter that the cleanup has begun, but are the sounds of Hail to the Victor still echoing through NRG? Man, I don't know if they'll ever stop. They play that song so many times, but listen, when you win a national championship for the first time since 1997, I think you get to enjoy the spoils.

What made the difference? What will you remember about Michigan's march to this title? Well, the funny thing about this is that this team and so many of the players on the roster have been through the last two of them. And I think back to 2021 when Michigan played against Georgia. And I mean, people kind of forget that team got wiped off the field by Georgia. They were not close to come back again the next year and have a chance to win against TCU and fall short.

And then to play a game where they're trailing in the fourth quarter against Alabama in the Rose Bowl and find a way to come back fourth overtime and win that game. I mean, this has been a resilient team all season long. They've obviously dealt with the suspension of their head coach for six games. They've had multiple different interim coaches after their offensive coordinator was fired as well.

This is a team that just kept rolling with the punches, kept getting more experienced, kept getting older, and now they leave as national champions. Jim made the point once again that they were able to weather the storm and everything worked out the way that it was supposed to because they're innocent. Because the players had nothing to do with anything, they're innocent.

Why is it so important for him to make that point? Well, let's think about the facts of what got him in trouble in the first place, right? With the first NCAA case. Obviously, there are two cases that are going on right now, both separate, and that will be adjudicated separately as well by the NCAA. But the first case had to do with him misleading investigators, not telling the truth.

And part of it was that they came back and said, can you just clarify? We know the answer to this question. We know that you did this thing. And he refused to say that he did. So some of this is just Jim Harbaugh's stubbornness. He needs to kind of put on that face and tell people that he's innocent, to tell people that nothing wrong happened. You know, the reality is, too, with the signed feelings scandal, we don't know that Jim Harbaugh had any part in that.

But it did happen under his watch is what, of course, is at the center of it. So I think that this is just Jim Harbaugh's personality. He has been stubborn his whole career.

He's been stubborn his whole life. It wore people out when he was with the 49ers. At times, it wore people out when he was at Michigan.

But here's the reality. When you lead a team to the Super Bowl, and when you lead a team to a college football national championship, you're allowed to be a little stubborn. How much do you think it played a factor in Michigan's winning this championship? Yeah, I think that having to go through what they went through is just so unique. There is no team that you can really point to in the history of college football.

The only thing that I think maybe comes a little close would be Alabama having to deal with the 2020 pandemic season. I mean, that was obviously, in a very different way, a unique situation. But it didn't matter who was leading the program. It didn't matter who was putting in the play calls. It didn't matter who was leading the team onto the field.

I got a chance to talk a couple days ago with Kente Jones, one of the tackles for Michigan. And he told me, before that Michigan game, because I want people to remember, just hours before the game, when they were flying to state college, that's when they learned that Jim Harbaugh would not be allowed to coach in the game against Penn State and would be suspended for three games. At that point, they kind of made a choice. The team came together and made a choice. We are going to not let this break us. We are going to go in and win for Coach Harbaugh, even though he's not there.

People will, of course, remember, offensive coordinator and interim coach are on more emotional reaction after the game. But this is what they had to go through for so much of the year. And ultimately, I think that because of the leadership that they had, because of the coaching staff that they had, they were able to use it in a positive sense.

And again, so many of the players on this team, I think I counted 14 of the 22 starters played in the 2021 college football playoff against Georgia. So they have been through the ringer. And ultimately, I think those experiences helped shape who they were.

Adversity definitely brought them together. And you could see how much they enjoyed playing for one another and how much, really, they kept pointing to the guy on the left and the guy on the right, even as they're receiving the accolades. Shahan Jayarajah with us from Houston following Michigan's triumph in the college football championship.

It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence here on CBS Sports Radio. Of course, the ability to run the ball was really impressive and the 209, I guess, rushing yards in the first half. But also on the defensive side, the ability to limit Michael Penix, who had such a brilliant semifinal. What did Michigan do against him to make sure that he wasn't as effective? Well, I think that the first part of this is that defensive coordinator Jesse Mincher probably needs to put together a lot of tape from this day, because this is the kind of tape that earns you a head coaching job or an NFL defensive coordinator job.

It was an incredible day with what he was able to do. What I think they did best was they simulated a lot of pressure. Sometimes it was guys coming, but sometimes it was the threat of guys coming. I remember in the first quarter at some point, I remember a couple of years ago, we saw the whole Sam Darnold, I'm seeing ghosts thing. Well, Washington's offensive line was seeing ghosts for a lot of that first quarter.

They did not know where the pressure was coming from. The Michigan defensive line is so versatile, they're so athletic that they're able to line up almost anywhere and attack from different angles. And I think they struggled to do that. I believe Michigan was only credited with two sacks in the game, but they were right in Michael Penick's face every single play in a way that Texas just wasn't able to do. And then on the back end as well, I mean, this is a fantastic, fantastic secondary. You know, they let their players play.

I mean, I think that it was a different crew. Maybe they would have called the hand fighting just a little bit differently, but they took advantage of what the refs were kind of getting them and they have very physical defensive backs. They're technically incredibly sound and they mixed up their coverages. There were a couple of opportunities that Michael Penick's had where he had a receiver free or he had a guy open down the field. But the thing was, they just did such a good job of preventing him from getting into rhythm that by the time those plays came open, it didn't matter. How does Washington fit into the Big Ten?

It's a good question. Obviously, they've been a member of the Pac-12 and it's the preceding version since, I believe, just 1917. So a little bit of a change having to go play games now in East Lansing and Piscataway. But I do think that you look at this Washington team, I mean, I want people to understand how physical that they were able to play all year. Obviously, Michigan was able to take advantage of them, was able to cause them some issues, especially with run fits. But this is a physical Washington team. They won the Joe Moore Award as the best offensive line in college football. I think their defensive line, as the game went on, did a much, much, much better job as they adjusted to what was in front of them.

So this is a physical team. This isn't a team that's going to be bullied by anybody even entering the Big Ten. They're going to replace a lot after losing Michael Penick, Jr. You expect that those three great wide receivers for them will head to the NFL. But this is a program under Kalen DeBoer that I think is heading in a great direction. You know, I put together a story today over at CBSSports.com about sort of Kalen DeBoer's background as a former NAIA coach and what he learned from that level. What he learned going to being an FBS coordinator, to being an FBS coordinator, to being an FBS head coach, to now being the head coach at Washington.

And I think that with Kalen DeBoer at the helm, I mean, Washington is in tremendous shape and I'm excited to see what their next iteration looks like. I'm glad you brought up the NFL, Shahan, because there certainly are questions around Jim Harbaugh and whether or not he makes his return to pro football. Just hearing the questions, hearing his answers, what is your sense of what his future might hold? Well, if you ask Jim Harbaugh, he says, well, my hope is that I have a future.

I hope we have it tomorrow. And, you know, certainly I think it's a little bit of a misdirect, I think you could say. My feel talking to people, my feel from his answers, my feel from hearing from the presidents of Michigan, from hearing from the athletic director at Michigan. I think that everybody kind of expects him to leave. He was brought to Michigan in 2015 to win a national championship and he's done that now. Now, I think he really does want the opportunity to do what he hasn't done before, match his brother, of course, John Harbaugh, who won a Super Bowl. And I mean, when you talk about Jim Harbaugh, I mean, everybody, you know, everybody has a price.

Everybody needs money, but like, you know, he doesn't, I don't think really do this for the money. He does it for legacy and for respect. And so, you know, to bring a title to Michigan, the first outright national championship at Michigan since 1948, I mean, he's checked the box now.

He's done it. And so I do think that with the interest level that there could be in the NFL, especially after he won a national championship, if the right situation comes about, I absolutely think that he's going to heavily consider jumping. He certainly would be an asset. We know he can coach in the NFL. As you pointed out, he took the Niners to a Super Bowl, but not just that, they competed in three consecutive NFC championships.

And so the world is his oyster right now. I know Michigan travels well, so before I let you go, Sean, what was the atmosphere like for the Wolverines as they put the game away there with those two big touchdowns from Blake Corum midway through the fourth quarter? Yeah, it was incredible. The place was so loud.

And I will, I will give a quick credit. Washington fans did a great job of traveling as well. They, you know, for having to travel from Seattle, Washington to Houston, Texas, I think they did great. But this was a Michigan crowd. This was probably a 65-35 Michigan crowd when these big moments came about. It was so loud in there. And you know, one of the things, whenever you cover games at NFL stadiums, you don't get the same kind of noise and atmosphere as maybe you get in a college stadium or even in certain other venues. But this felt like a great college game today with the crowd that Michigan brought. And again, like you said, when the confetti started falling, whenever the final touchdown came for Blake Corum, I mean, they, the place was absolutely raucous in there. So an environment I'll definitely remember for a long time. I was lucky.

This is my first national championship game, and it's going to be a hard one to top. Nice. All right. You can find Jahanjaya Raja on Twitter with his name.

And rather than spell it for you, just find that on my Twitter, I linked it. But incredible stuff from Houston, national college football writer for CBS Sports. Congrats on covering your first one. I hope there are many more.

And thank you so much for a couple of minutes. Thank you so much for having me says here that Graybar is a distributor. Yeah, we support electrical and data com projects all over the country.

So you can get me the products I need, where and when I need them. Yeah, thanks to our national logistics network. Any industry? Yeah.

Construction, industrial plants, schools, hospitals. So you could say Graybar is much more than a distributor. Yeah, you could say that when you need a hand powering connecting or maintaining your operations during the thousands of professionals rely on Graybar to help keep them up to speed. And running.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-09 07:00:03 / 2024-01-09 07:06:31 / 6

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