Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon was asked if he wanted a defensive minded coach when he was looking for a replacement for Rich Rodriguez. Brandon’s response, “There’s a thought of getting a defensive-minded everything. I want the ball boys to be defensive-minded.”
Well, suffice it to say, Brandon must be very pleased with Michigan’s hiring of Brady Hoke. The Wolverines have had an amazing turnaround, going from 107th in the nation in scoring defense, to 7th. SEVENTH! And it’s not like the season just started, it’s almost over and Michigan is seventh in the country in scoring defense. Seventh?!?!
Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison got a little choked-up after last Saturday’s win over Illinois — I imagine he will be balling like a baby should the Wolverines have similar success in Michigan’s final two games of the season against Nebraska and Ohio State.
I had a chance to talk to Michigan cornerback JT Floyd immediately after last Saturday’s game and of his critical interception Floyd said, “that play was made during the week in the film room.” While that is an old tired cliché, I realized it was something I hadn’t heard a Michigan player say in a long time.
Mattison added this week about his rapidly improving defense: “People don’t see what they have done mentally. When they are allowed to come in and get extra time … there are more guys coming in watching extra film and getting coaching then they have ever done. Then they hit the field and they practice really hard. That’s got to pay off. And it did.”
And the future for the Michigan defense will only get brighter. Next year the strength will be in the secondary with the rapidly improving Floyd leading the way and True Freshman Blake Countess showing the signs of being a lock-down cornerback. Playmakers Jordan Kovacks and Thomas Gordan will be at safety. The Wolverines will bring back all linebackers who get significant playing time and while the heart of the defensive line will graduate, one of the strength’s of the incoming Michigan recruiting class is the defensive line position. How quickly some of those young kids compete in D-1 Football will likely determine if the 2012 Michigan defense can be a dominant one.
No word however on the incoming ball boys.