Michigan coach John Beilein says he'll be leaning on first year assistant Billy Donlon quite a bit for his defensive approach.

Michigan coach John Beilein says he'll be leaning on first year assistant Billy Donlon quite a bit for his defensive approach.

If John Beilein was hoping to get one word to stick at Michigan's media day Monday at Crisler Center, consider the job done.

Defense. Defense. Defense.

Entering his 10th season in charge of the Wolverines, Beilein clearly wasn't pleased with the defensive showing out of his group in a 23-13 (10-8) 2015-16 campaign.

Now with the task of improving on that mark, Beilein will do so with two new assistant coaches after LaVall Jordan took a head coaching position at Milwaukee, and Bacari Alexander was whisked away by his alma mater at the University of Detroit.

Enter Saddi Washington, a former assistant under Greg Kampe at Oakland, and former Wright State head coach Billy Donlon.

In Donlon, Beilein believes he's found the right coach to make significant upgrades to Michigan's defensive woes of a season ago.

"I am giving him a lot of responsibility," Beilein said Monday. "More responsibility, I probably should've given more in the past. I'm giving him a lot of responsibility for the defense. He's got my eye, and the detail we do with offense, I think he's got a similar eye for defense. And we're trying to combine that without confusing everybody. 

"That's going to be the delicate point of we don't want them thinking too much. He's probably, and this is the adjustment I have to make, he's probably spoken more in practice than a lot of our assistant coaches were allowed to in the past. I'm not saying allowed to, they were always allowed to talk but maybe I just didn't give them time."

Beilein admits he's trying his darnedest to sit back and allow Donlon to implement some of his strategies on the defensive end.

The new dynamic inside Michigan practices is easier for Beilein to swallow knowing his Wolverines allowed Big Ten teams to shoot 47-percent from the field in conference play, also averaging just shy of 72-points a contest vs. Michigan.

"I think the biggest emphasis as the game evolves and the 30-second clock is involved, it's individual, man to man, guard your guard, defense," Beilein said. 

"We tell our kids, we have done it, we have worked at it, some of the principles he's had, some of the different angles he's talked about, I think will really help us."

Donlon was asked about the trust levied in his direction by Beilein, quick to deflect the amount of power he'll have defensively.

"I think we're all just coaching every day to the best of our ability," Donlon said. "Coach Beilein has won over 700 games, been to elite eight's, and in my opinion he's one of the best coaches of all time. We're all just trying to make the program better."

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