That mentality is not only what offensive line coach Darell Funk wants – but what expects from the offensive front as they head into the 2013 season.
"They have to," Funk said. "First of all, it's not an option. The five guys that are in there are going to have to be great run blockers and be the best five run blockers that we put out there. And that is going to require some nastiness."
Funk said being "nasty" is a matter of transforming your personality once you step onto the gridiron.
"I've had some nice guys off the field and (they) cross that white line and flip the switch," Funk said. "But they have to do that in order for us to get to where we need to get to."
Michigan averaged 183.8 yards-per-game in 2012. And are expected to compete for a Big Ten championship this season. And for them to be able to compete, a strong run game is going to have to develop.
"We need to keep progressing," said redshirt senior offensive tackle Taylor Lewan. "There is always days where things don't look as good as they should. But that's the part of camp. It's kind of a grind. Some days you look great and some days you look not so great. It's really coming in everyday with that mental attitude ‘look, we got to win a Big Ten Championship. We got to do it today. We can't do it August 31. (versus Central Michigan.) We have to win it now.'"
Being nasty is about staying consistent throughout the game said redshirt offensive guard Kyle Kalis. He said taking plays off will cost the team points when they need them the most.
"The main thing we focus on is our nastiness," Kalis said. "We have to be tougher as an offensive line. We have to be nasty every single play. We can't go down in a 10 play drive and then give up on the 11th play when we need to score a touchdown.
"It's all about toughness. It's all about being nasty. It's all about punishing people. And they didn't do anything wrong – but the other teams we have to punish them."
A big part of having a nasty offensive front is the type of players you recruit. And Michigan has geared their efforts in that direction.
"We're recruiting to that (mentality)," Funk said. "And we coached the guys that were already here to that. So the theory is every day you practice, everyday you do short yardage scrimmage or an interior drill, whatever it is – everyday you take steps towards that. It'll happen. It will happen. And we got guys that can do it."
Let the nastiness begin.