The Wolverine

October 2022

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 31 of 67

32 THE WOLVERINE OCTOBER 2022 BY CHRIS BALAS T urnover in the coaching ranks often isn't a good thing, espe- cially at the coordinator posi- tions — and especially after the previous guy was only there for a year. Learning new schemes, terminology and personalities can take some time. Head coach Jim Harbaugh got a break, though, when Jesse Minter was avail- able to replace Mike Macdonald as the Michigan defensive coordinator. The two worked together with the Baltimore Ra- vens and were similar in a lot of ways. Through three wins in which U-M al- lowed only 17 total points, none in the first half against the first-team defense, it appears to have been a great move. The coaches feel the chemistry and the play- ers do, too. "I like our intensity," junior defensive tackle Kris Jenkins said after Michigan's 59-0 win over UConn Sept. 17. "I like the juice we bring to the game in all aspects. I like how we're able to stop the run. That's one of our biggest things — canceling the run so we can be able to do more stuff on passing [downs] and open that up. "We need to really work a lot on our keys and getting set up in all phases." Though the competition wasn't very stiff in the first three games — a 51-7 win over Colorado State, a 56-10 victory over Hawai'i and the 59-0 shutout of UConn — they made the most of their oppor- tunities. "That's the biggest thing our coaches have told us. No matter the team, no matter the opponent, give them your best," Jenkins added. "Give them a hun- dred percent. "You never want to underestimate a team or else you are setting yourself up for failure. We have seen occasions like that this season and in the past. We al- ways want to come with our best." The nonconference slate couldn't have gone much better in that respect. The Wolverines were tied for fourth nation- ally with Minnesota in points per game allowed with 5.67 and No. 1 in pass ef- ficiency defense. They were second only to the Gophers (among teams that had played three games) in first downs al- lowed (33), and while they were only tied for 38th in rushing defense (102.7 yards per game), Minter's group was tied for 11th in yards per rush (2.96). And again, many of those gains came late in games when the backups were on the field. Harbaugh was pleased at how many players saw the field in the non- conference — 101 against UConn alone — and happy with how the run-stoppers responded against a Huskies team that wanted to establish the ground game. "I was really impressed with the run wall [against UConn]," he said after the win. "I had a feeling after we played two air raid teams … UConn was good at run- ning the ball, and they would really test us in that area. They did. I thought we really did a great job stopping the run and also defending the pass at the same time. "There was a real emphasis to stop the run this week. The amount of really good play in the secondary was obvious." GREAT PLAY AT ALL POSITIONS The Huskies managed only 24 yards passing, in fact, going 5-for-20 on the afternoon. The Wolverines were swarm- ing all over the field in smothering the competition for the third straight game. UConn coach Jim Mora Jr., who has coached in the NFL with Atlanta and at UCLA among his stops, said he'd "never DOMINANT DOMINANT And determined Jesse Minter's First Michigan Defense Is Off To A Great Start After three games with Minter as defensive coordinator, Michigan was tied for fourth nation- ally in points per game allowed (5.67) and was No. 1 in pass efficiency defense. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - October 2022