Spartans quarterback coach Dave Warner touched on a few subjects leading up to the game with members of the media.
Coming off a bye week prior to any big game can be helpful while at the same time stressful for any football team. However, for Warner it's good to be back on the field getting ready for another week on the field.
"During the open week, we got some guys healed up," said Warner. "It's good to finally be in game week, because waiting around to play Michigan is a little bit stressful. It will be a great challenge. Their record is not deceiving. They deserve to be where they're at. You can see the improvements they've made over a year, and it shows on the field. We're going to have to be ready to go."
A year ago Kirk Cousins and able to use his arm to attack the Wolverines young defensive backs for 284 yards and a touchdown. How does Warner see this year's edition of the Wolverines defensive backfield?
"Last year they were playing some young guys back there," said Warner. "They still are playing some young guys, even though they have (Troy) Woolfolk back from injury. (J.T.) Floyd is back. I think they've made great improvement there. Obviously they were hurt significantly with the pass last year quite often. This year they're getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback, which makes that secondary a little better."
With the hiring of Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison from the NFL, does Warner feel the Wolverines resemble an NFL-style defense?
"It probably is," said Warner. "They vary from week to week based on who they're going against and what they feel they can do to stop that offense. They're going to throw a lot of different looks at you. It might not be anything unconventional, but they're going to give you a lot of things to prepare for. It sort of seems like they have a theme of the week of what they're going to do to put some pressure on you."
While some feel Kirk Cousins is struggling, Warner feels his senior quarterback is fully capable of leading the Spartans to a strong finish.
"I think he's playing well," said Warner. "He's led this team to a 4-1 record. Certainly there's been some plays that he'd like to have back, as there's probably some plays a lot of us would like to have back for various reasons. A lot of guys make mistakes on the football field. He's playing good. He's got a lot of football in front of him yet this year. We expect him to lead us to some good things.
"He's been around long enough he knows he's going to make mistakes like everybody is. He comes off the field and is ready to go at it again. He's been handling his position as he always does very well, and I'm expecting a big week out of him."
One thing Warner would like to see from Cousins is the ball being spread around a little more. However, he also knows the Spartans have a great weapon in B.J. Cunningham.
Not having Bennie Fowler has hurt us a little bit. We do need to get the ball to Keshawn (Martin) more and get it to Keith Nichol more. But all that being said, B.J. is such a weapon, so dangerous, so sure-handed, and such a big target. We're going to spread it around, but at the same time he's been a go-to guy for us and we're not going to hide that and people know it, and we're going to keep using him."