ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan’s first real test of the 2015 season will come very early. So early, in fact, that it won’t have much time to think about anything else, considering it’s the first game of season.
U-M will travel to Salt Lake City to face-off against Utah under the lights in primetime. Utah gained the upper hand on the Wolverines last season with a rain-soaked 26-10 victory.
For defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin and most of the staff with him except for one, this will be the first time coaching U-M. Despite not being around to witness last season, it doesn’t mean Durkin is not prepared for what the Utes have to offer.
And a lot of that requires digesting film.
“I’ve studied a lot of film,” Durkin said. “That’s what the offseason is for. We’ve watched every game they played including the game against Michigan. They’re a really good team. They’re a talented offense. They’ve got a lot of components that not only with the style they do but with their personnel to be an explosive unit. It’s a great challenge. Probably like most teams, the further you get into camp, the more you start trickling in and moving towards your first opponent. Our concern and focus right now is on us. We got to ourselves better, get out there and move around and install what we want to do. But yeah, that’s always in the back of our minds for sure.”
Some coaches do not like to be on the away end of the season opener. They like their team to be around familiar territory and get acclimated to a new season.
Not Durkin, he has always enjoyed the trip into enemy territory.
“You can look at that both ways for sure and why not, absolutely,” Durkin said. “We get to travel on our own, a group of guys involving the team and there is a neat component about road games, any road games including to start the season. There is something…obviously playing with your home crowd and fans, that’s really cool and neat, but like I said that is something as a player and coach that I’ve always kind of embraced and enjoyed, alright man, let’s pack it up and hop on this plane and it is us going into enemy territory and let’s get it done.”