Josh Kendall

What Jim Harbaugh thinks of Will Muschamp, and vice versa

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has never met South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp, but he feels like he knows Muschamp a little through what he’s seen of his football teams.

“They always play so gosh-darn hard,” Harbaugh said after it was announced that the Wolverines will face the Gamecocks in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 in Tampa, Fla. “Every time I see one of his teams play, that jumps out at me. I usually root for the teams that are playing the hardest, and I found myself rooting for the teams he coaches quite a bit because of that.

“I have followed his career and been a fan, so I’m looking forward to meeting him in person.”

That likely will happen on Dec. 26, when the teams arrive in Tampa to begin bowl week festivities. The game will be played at noon and televised by ESPN.

It will be the first time South Carolina has faced Harbaugh as coach but not a player. Harbaugh quarterbacked the Michigan team that beat the Gamecocks 34-3 in Williams-Brice Stadium on Sept. 21, 1985.

Since that time, Harbaugh has had successful careers as an NFL quarterback, a college head coach and an NFL head coach.

“I have never met Jim, but I’ve got a lot of respect for what he’s accomplished as coach,” Muschamp said.

Former Muschamp assistant D.J. Durkin also worked for Harbaugh.

“(Durkin) gave me a lot of Harbaugh stories through the years. I don’t know if I can share any of those in public,” Muschamp said. “He’s an outstanding football coach and a competitive guy, and he’ll have his team ready to play.”

Muschamp said “hard-nosed” and “toughness” were the words he thought about when he thought about Harbaugh, who is 86-37 as a collegiate head coach, including 28-10 in the last three years at Michigan.