Michigan coach John Beilein isn’t focusing on the losses that were or the difficult Big Ten conference season that continues along.
Instead the coaching veteran is pointing to a very reasonable reality, which includes a .500 start in league play, despite a disappointing 64-51 loss at Purdue Saturday afternoon.
“I think we opened up Big Ten play pretty well, we’re 1-1,” Beilein said. “We won our home game and lost the road game.”
Okay, obviously everything isn’t all rosy for the Wolverines (8-6, 1-1), now facing the challenge of playing on the road for the second straight time coming up Tuesday night at Penn State (12-3, 0-2).
The Nittany Lions present their own issues for a Michigan team consistently putting up long stretches of scoreless basketball to go along with lapses on the defensive end.
Beilein’s emphasis on his own team isn’t shifting much though, knowing his young players need to pick it up, also understanding the veterans are being asked to carry a great deal of the load right now.
“Here’s what we have to do, we have to get better everyday,” Beilein said. “Approach each day as something unique and get better and the results will take care of themselves.
“My job as a coach is how do you speed the learning process, how do you speed the development to make it quicker and everybody’s different when it comes to that.”
Beilein’s demeanor and approach remains stoic in the sense that he has great confidence in his own teachings, the ability of his assistant coaches to bring the most out the players, and the players themselves in simply going out and executing.
At the same time though, staying 100-percent positive 14 games into a season isn’t as realistic as it might be just four games into the year.
Michigan needs players to turn the corner, and fast.
“In some of the areas you do get less patient when it’s something you know they can do and something you’ve been stressing for three months,” Beilein said. “But there’s other areas where no you have to be extremely patient with them because some just don’t get it as quickly.
“To get angry and upset and lose your patience does not necessarily solve it. Sometimes being a little more demanding solves problems, sometimes it makes it worse.”
By now, everyone is well aware of the roster turnover Michigan endured over the last two seasons. Fair or not, none of the five NBA draft picks that left Ann Arbor early are walking through the door.
Beilein admits this team is “truly a different team than we’ve had over the last couple years,” adding that wins will be very challenging but his Wolverines must learn to embrace it.
Picking up defensive schemes or the intricacies of Beilein’s offensive system is different than taking care of some of the fundamentals of the game -- rebounding, playing defense, making the extra pass, hitting shots -- and those are areas that can’t be lost on a game-to-game basis.
“We have a great mix of showing them, listen if we’re going to move forward, if we’re going to continue to get better, you got to be persistent, you’ve got to understand some of these concepts to the game we didn’t invent,” Beilein said.
“These are concepts that are traditional ones that provide for winning basketball. At the same time you’ve got to be positive and believe in them, show that you trust them and they can get it done.”