Michigan linebacker James Ross says limiting big plays is a defensive focus

Michigan linebacker James Ross III says that limiting big plays is a major defensive focus going into the home stretch of the season.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- At one point during the season, the Michigan defense looked impenetrable. Going three straight games without allowing a score, including the opposing redzone becoming a barren wasteland, the defense looked poised to continue its success the rest of the way.

Fast-forward to November and the defense hasn't been as strong as it can be. Especially against Minnesota, where the U-M defense played its worst game of the season by far. Mental errors, guys not being where they were supposed to be led to Minnesota nearly coming away with a victory last Saturday.

According to linebacker James Ross, opposing offenses have not earned its scores in certain occasions. In fact, he says some of those scores have been due to mental lapses by the U-M defense.

"A lot of the time that teams have scored on us has just been our mistakes," Ross said. "And it's just making sure that we focus on each play and making sure we understand our assignments more and more. That's probably one of the things we're going to go over later on in our meetings. It's been us giving up plays and not teams earning them. It's one thing if they earned it but we've given up a lot of plays."

Despite Rutgers coming into Saturday's game struggling and being the inferior opponent, it won't change the way the U-M defense prepares heading into the game. Knowing the defense has plenty of things to fix this week themselves, Ross says that the team will take advantage of meetings and practices to get things back on the right track.

Records aside, Ross says U-M doesn't change the way it prepares for anyone.

"Nothing really changes in the way we prepare," Ross said. "We understand what we have to do as a defense and we're going to prepare the same way for each team. We're definitely going to hone in. Like I said, we've got meetings so we're going to talk about that but it's not going to change our preparation. We really don't change for any team. We are the same team. The only thing we have to do better is just execute our responsibilites and don't give up big plays, that's our biggest thing. I think that's our main focus."

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