EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — With his team in the midst of a four-game skid, Michigan coach Mark Dantonio says the Spartans have to refocus going into Saturday’s game at Maryland.
“We’re a 2-4 football team right now, and we’ve got to find the issues,” Dantonio said Tuesday. “A lot of people have said in the past that we play with a chip on our shoulder. We need to assume that chip is not there and put it there.”
The Spartans (2-4, 0-3 Big Ten) are coming off a 54-40 home loss to Northwestern last week, the most points scored against Michigan State in Dantonio’s tenure.
“We have guys that are playing hard,” senior linebacker Riley Bullough said afterward. “That’s not the problem, it’s just things here and there that we have to clean up. Penalties, not filling gaps good enough, or whatever it is we have to do better.”
Dantonio said the Spartans aren’t going to overhaul the defense, which in recent seasons has been the strength of the team.
“We’ve put players in position to make plays,” he said. “I don’t think you go away from what’s successful and say we’re going to change things. We have to make sure the things we do have a reason behind them, so our players can play fast and they know what to do when they play fast.”
After a surprising start, Maryland (4-2, 1-2) has lost two straight under first-year coach D.J. Durkin, including a 31-10 loss at home to Minnesota last weekend.
“I think he’s got his players playing hard,” Dantonio said. “They haven’t thrown the ball as effectively as they’ve wanted to because of injuries. But they got off to a 4-0 start, and that makes for a good football team that plays hard. That will be our challenge, to play hard and get ourselves mentally ready, and ready to go.”
Notes: Dantonio said quarterback Damien Terry, who was not listed on this week’s depth chart and did not play last week, is still in the team’s plans. He said Terry was held out of last week’s game due to a hand injury. … Tackle David Beadle is out after a knee injury sustained last week, and linebacker Jon Reschke’s return date is uncertain.
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