Mike Taylor: Crediting Michigan's Defense

Former Michigan quarterback Michael Taylor continues to be impressed with the walking-wounded Michigan defenders: "Once again the defense should get the most credit for the win." MT in particular feats John Thompson and Gabe Watson.

Michael Taylor:

"Once again the defense should get the most credit for the (Iowa) win.

"To limit a good team playing at home to 17 points in regulation, 20 counting overtime, and to come up with a defensive stop in overtime, that's a pretty good defensive effort.

"To play with the guys they have hurt, Lamarr Woodley and Chris Graham now, as well as the safeties a few weeks ago now ... I think that was a very good performance.

"Overall, it's a very good defensive effort that they've given ALL this year.

"The biggest difference on defense between this year and last year -- this season you don't see the 60-70 yard pass for a touchdown against us, the quick strike. They make a team work for what they can get ... last year year there were too many big-play, quick touchdowns on us. They have given up two big running plays this year -- Tony Hunt (PSU) got one, Russell (Minnesota) got one ... but even on those, they weren't for touchdowns, they got caught form behind and tackled.

"With all the defensive stars on last year's defense, this team is more fundamentally sound. The players know the offenses they are lining up against, and they play their assignments ... 7 or 8 times out of 10 they are in the right position to make the stop. That's a good percentage, and much better than last season.

"As far as individual performances. The effort Johnny Thompson gave ... for a guy getting his first opportunity to play other than special teams and to make almost 10 tackles, that was a very good performance. He understood the defense and where he was supposed to be, and he is more stout in there than Chris Graham. He has a good frame and is just a redshirt freshman, and so he should be able to get to 240 pounds.

"A good linebacker is a different animal ... to play linebacker you have to have the mentality that you're here to destroy and to get to the football. You do what needs to be done, within the framework of defense. Look at Ohio State -- their defensive linemen plug the gaps and their nose tackle takes on the double team -- and their linebackers step up and clog the holes ... we've had one linebacker who does that, Davis Harris. But last week with JT in there as well we had two. They looked hard to run against. Now they have to get Prescott Burgess running through the tackle, not arm tackling. PB is learning but it's taking him a while to learn the difference between being a big safety in high school where you're usually the biggest guy on the whole field, and playing linebacker in the Big Ten.

"Gabriel Watson has gotten better last couple weeks, and as he has got better, the team has gotten better. Gabe's biggest problem is technique, and he's improving. He destroyed the Ferentz kid (the Iowa center) ... they never tried anything straight up the gut ... they ran off the edges with Woodley not in there. Gabe will be the freak of the NFL combine this winter ... his vertical, his 40 time, his bench press reps of 225, all will set records. This summer he benched pressed 275 pounds 38 times, that's 50 extra pounds over the combine weight.

"Pierre Woods -- let's not forget him either. After Woodley went out he was a bit of a force out there, particularly on passing downs."

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