As D.J. Durkin embarks upon crafting Michigan’s new defense, he already knows what he wants it to look like. But he doesn’t yet know which players will make it look that way.
“We’re multiple in what we do schematically, but I just want a group of guys that are going to work hard, be blue collar, and always compete in everything we do,” said Durkin.
“I told them this when we met with them… they have a clean slate to start from. It was good that I came in and watched some games to kind of see what our needs were in recruiting, but in terms of one-by-one individuals I want these guys to know that maybe you’re guy that hasn’t played much… you have a new opportunity to do that. Maybe you’re a guy that has played a lot, but it’s not going to be just given to you. You’ve got to go earn it. I think the whole room understands that they all have equal opportunity to go earn some snaps on the field.”
Durkin & company are intent on learning their personnel, but that won’t take a backseat to installing the defense.
“We’re going to do both.,” stated Durkin. “We’re going to install. Every day I want guys coming into meetings with the approach that, ‘I’ve got to sit down and be locked in and learn football.’ So every day wherever it’ something small or big we’re going to be installing new defense for these guys to get them used that.”
“I think in spring and training camp it’s good to challenge them (by bombarding them with the installation of the new defense) and keep them attentive and keep them learning. When we get to game plan weeks and all of that….now you narrow the focus. Now tit feels almost like relief to them like, ‘aw yeah, I got this… that’s all we’re doing.’ That’s the thought behind it. So we’ll keep doing that through spring. We’ll do the same thing when we get to fall camp.
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