Defense Must Create More 'Opportunities'

Brady Hoke says the defense must capitalize on turnovers opportunities when given -- Read Inside.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Through three games, Michigan’s ability to cause turnovers defensively has U-M coach Brady Hoke concerned.

And it should.

Currently, Michigan has caused one turnover defensively, while turning the ball over eight times on the offensive side of the ball – all while having the No. 1 total defense in the Big Ten at 252.7 yards per game.

Turnover ratio is one of the key statistics in football between winning and losing. How is Michigan going to get better at making more opportunities for its defense? Well, Hoke says it all starts with coaching.

"Something that we've got to do a better job with in coaching it and executing it -- is the turnovers,” Hoke said. “We had a chance on Saturday to come up with three turnovers defensively. We got the one interception, started fast as a team. The first two drives on offense we scored. First-team defense out on the field, we get the interception.

“But we did have two other opportunities we need to capitalize on.”

Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison agrees.

“Every time you got an opportunity to get a turnover, you got to get it,” Mattison said. “And we left one on the ground that we should’ve got. And then we dropped one right in our hands that we should’ve got. Anytime you play the league that we play or the people we play, or the schedule we play, you can’t leave turnovers on the ground, you got to get ‘em. Those are so important to our team. So everyone is that way.”

Michigan (2-1) will have its work cut out for them when they faced Utah’s (2-0) high powered offense this Saturday. The Utes’ are averaging a Pac-12 best 57.5 points per game and are third in the conference with 557.5 per yards per game on offense. And causing turnovers against UT offense will play huge in the Wolverines success.

“Utah is a football team that has scored a lot and has not given up a lot of points,” Hoke said. “They have good football players and skilled positions. For us it is about working hard and getting better every day.”

Kickoff is scheduled at 3:30 p.m.

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