ANN ARBOR, Mich. – At first glance, it looked like it was going to be a long day for the Michigan defense that immediately gave up a score to the Oregon State Beavers during its first drive of the game.
After that, nothing much of note happened. U-M went on to win Saturday’s game 35-7. The defense was led by defensive lineman Chris Wormley who added six tackles, one sack and three tackles for loss for a defensive that stymied its opposition for three quarters.
Compared to last week, Wormley knew his defense had to come in and play better.
“We had to come in this week and decided to play as hard as we can, as long as we can,” Wormley said. “The guys rotated in, I thought that was the biggest thing was coming together and saying that this wasn’t going to happen again, this is what we had to do and we did it. We stopped the run and we got pressure on the quarterback, that was all four quarters.”
So how does the team shake off a quick score and bounce back so effortlessly? Simple, according to Wormley, have the mentality that it won’t happen again.
“I think you have to have the mentality that this isn’t going to happen again,” Wormley said. “Maybe bump it down a little bit and let the nerves settle in. First home game in the Big House always gets your nerves jumpy and whatnot. But, after that, you saw what happened. We shut them down.”
It also helps that your head coach and defensive coordinator preach about defensive and offensive toughness throughout the team. Wormley says that the defense expects to play well every week.
“Coach Harbaugh had the mentality since, even spring ball, of toughness and running down your throat,” Wormley said. “The hard-nosed defense that coach Durkin has instilled in us, it’s just what we expect from us.”