Larry Stevens: "It's unacceptable!"

That according to Michigan senior defensive end <B>Larry Stevens</B> regarding the defensive effort versus Central Michigan on Saturday. Both he and <B>Norman Heuer</B> comment on what went wrong and what will be done to correct the problem.<br><br> <b>***UPDATED with links to full presser comments.***</b>

The expectations for this year’s defense seemed to have been a bit more grounded in reality than the normal optimism that is sometimes prevalent in these parts. That’s why the 218 yard rushing effort turned in by Central Michigan on Saturday was so surprising. Missed tackles and being out of position were the main culprits according to senior leaders Larry Stevens and Norman Heuer. While the effectiveness of the Chippewa running game versus the Wolverine defense might be the cause of some concern, the absolute accountability and desire to do what it takes to rectify the deficiencies by the players should ease the worries of many onlookers.

The tape proved to be very revealing to Larry Stevens regarding the source of the defensive woes. “It looked like a breakdown in technique,” Stevens said. “I think it’s more understanding what you’ve got to do and recognizing your keys. I’m not saying that people don’t know what they’re doing, but when you get in there you’ve got to recognize what’s going on and be in the place that you need to be. All it takes is one person to be out of position and that can be 6.” The Washington native diagnosed the problems and made no excuses for the big numbers the Chippewas put on the stat sheet. “It’s embarrassing to be on a defense with so much potential to be really good and give up 200 yards in a game…regardless of who we’re playing against. It can be the #1 team in the nation or the weakest team in the nation. It’s unacceptable! With me be one of the anchors on the defense, I can tell you that it’s going to be a rough week in practice.”

Despite the 45-7 score, Stevens, who finished the day with one tackle, took little solace in the lopsided win. “A lot of people were happy after the game because we won 45-7, but so what! I don’t care if we win by 100, that’s unacceptable…They only had 7 points, but they had 200 yards rushing and that should be sickening to anybody. If you’re a competitor, regardless of the score, you should take that personally.”

Norman Heuer echoed Stevens’s sentiments about the defensive effort. “That’s not the way we want to play defense here,” Heuer said. “We know we’ve got to get it corrected and come out there a play better. We don’t want ANYBODY to rush for 200 yards on us!” A frustrated defensive unit went into the lockeroom at halftime on Saturday looking for some answers. According to Heuer, the veterans absorbed the adjustments that were implemented easier than some of the newer players. “After the first half we kind of had an idea of what was going on and we made some corrections,” Heuer said. “That’s the difference between the older guys and the younger guys. We can go into halftime and make the corrections that need to made and then come out and play better. Then we got a big lead on them. The younger guys have to learn to come in and make the corrections along the way too.”

Both players assured the media members in attendance that a better effort would be put forth next week and that the improvement would begin to manifest itself today as they view film of the Houston Cougars. As was evident in earlier comments from Stevens, the potential of this unit isn’t lost on the players. Getting all of the talent on the same page will be one of the main areas of focus. The unit will get a shot in the arm from the return of two very talented athletes. “We have a lot of great guys on defense, but a lot of critics talk about how our defense is a question mark, “ Stevens lamented. “But as soon as our defense puts everything together (we’ve got Marlin Jackson and Ernest Shazor back at safety), it’s going to be explosive. I can’t find words to express what the defense can do. When everybody’s on the same page, it’s going to be exciting! I can’t wait! I’m getting excited just standing here!”

Lets hope that excitement is well founded!

Monday Quotable:

David Underwood on sitting on the bench last year:

“When I look back on it, I think it helped me. You’re dealt bad cards in life sometimes, but you have to persevere and overcome adversity. I think it helped me to become a better person, a better player, and a better blocker.”

David Underwood on thinking about transferring last year:

“Times got hard and it crossed my mind a couple of times. I’ll admit that. But I never said anything to anybody. I’m not trying to brag or anything but with my talent I feel like I can help any team in the country. Being on the sidelines really really bothered me last year. “

David Underwood on committing to Michigan without visiting the school first:

“It was a dream come true. I see a lot of things happen in my dreams. It may sound crazy to you guys, but a lot of stuff that happens on the football field, I see in my dreams a week or two earlier. This might sound crazy, but I’m going to go ahead and tell you guys. I swear to goodness that on Tuesday I had this dream about looking at the stats and I saw that Chris Perry had 16 carries for like 238 yard, then it happened!...I just had a dream that I suited up for Michigan when I was little.”

Coach Carr on if Marlin Jackson will start:

“I’ll comment on that at the appropriate time.”

Coach Carr on if both Marlin Jackson and Ernest Shazor will play:

"Yes, they’ll both play."

Coach Carr on the status of Shawn Crable, Larry Harrison, and Willis Barringer:

"Crable is looking at another week. His shoulder has responded. It's better, but as of today I don’t know that he’ll be cleared. I haven't had a trainer’s report. Larry Harrison is day to day. He’s a big guy, so there’s a lot more pressure on that ankle. I expect Barringer to be okay.".

Norman Heuer on how he feels after being unable to play/practice most of the offseason:

"I feel great. This is my last year, so even if I didn’t I’d be telling you that! I feel good. It was good to be back out there playing."

To view Coach Carr's comments in their entirety, click here.
To view the player comments in their entirety, click here.

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