The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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80 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW "We feel like we have a good core, with variety in what they can do." The Wolverine: Will those looking for fades to Funchess in the end zone this year see their dream realized? Nussmeier: "There's obviously a chess match that goes on in every ball game. I wish it were as easy as saying, 'Yeah, we'll throw it up to him.' "They have guys on scholarship, too. Sometimes they take two of those scholarship guys and put them over to take away one of yours. We're going to, like we say, aggressively take what the defense gives us." The Wolverine: Has a running back emerged at this point? Nussmeier: "The good thing is, we've got a lot of different guys playing. What we would like to see is one guy establish himself as the key running back. Nobody has done that. It's open competition. "Justice Hayes had a good spring, as did De'Veon Smith and Derrick Green. Those guys all have unique skill sets. We'll add Drake Johnson to the mix as we head into the fall. That will be good to have him back. "We're really hoping one of those guys will identify and establish themselves as the marquee running back, as we go into fall camp." The Wolverine: You came from a place that has established great efficiency and consistency on offense. How long does it take to fashion that sort of attack? Nussmeier: "You paint the picture, and you start to get parts of the picture right. You keep tweaking, and manipulating, until it gets where you want it. "You don't just say, 'We want to be this,' and show up and it happens. It's a daily process. It's about our guys getting better each and every day and believing. This spring, they did a great job of buying into what we're doing. "Now, it's going to be about continuing to improve every day. We are a young football team. The biggest thing is to get better. Every week we play, we get better, and be process oriented." The Wolverine: What should a Michigan offense look like under Doug Nussmeier? Nussmeier: "We want to be physical and we want to be explosive. We want to have a presence about us, a downhill presence. At the same time, we want to be able to create big plays, whether it be in the run game or the passing game. "We want to create different formations and personnel groups that force the defense into multiple different looks that they have to defend." The Wolverine: Michigan has experienced a lot of trouble dealing with Michigan State's defense in recent years. How can such an aggressive defense be countered? Nussmeier: "Give them a lot of credit. They've done a tremendous job, to win the Rose Bowl. I have a lot of respect for what they've done there. "We believe in what we do. For each team we play, we'll prepare and create a game plan. Whether we think we can attack scheme or attack an individual player or two that may not be as strong as other areas of their defense, we'll do it. "You watch them on film, and they've done a really good job. They play very hard. When you play good defensive teams, it becomes about doing little things right. As a young team, that's going to be key for us getting better through the season — learning to do the little things right." The Wolverine: When do you adjust from your ideal approach to what you have to do to win now? Nussmeier: "Day one. That's football. The object of the game is to win. At the end of the day, we're going to be judged on how many games we win and lose. "There's a process to get to where we want to go. We know what the vision is, and it's our job to paint the vision for the players every day. We may not be there right now, but we've got to continue to paint the vision and work to mold ourselves to get there. "We're not there right now. You never know how long it's going to take to get there. We have to work within the structure of what we have. We're going to put our best playmakers in the best position we can to score points. That's our goal." ❑ An area where Nussmeier will look to see major improvement from last season is in eliminating lost-yardage plays that create bad down-and-distance situations for the offense. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL 78-80.Offense Q&A.indd 80 6/18/14 3:56 PM

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