Mag Excerpt: 2006 Defensive Preview

In the last issue of GoBlueWolverine the Magazine we previewed the Wolverine offense. This month we focused our attention on the other side of the ball and previewed the effects of a new defensive coordinator Ron English and the senior leadership of Lamarr Woodley. In the excerpt, the players give their take on English's impact and also give a brief commentary on the play of Terrance Taylor.

The players insist things will be different in 2006 and the biggest catalyst for change has been new defensive coordinator Ron English. Even though he has yet to take the field in his new role, his pupils already notice a difference with their new coach.

"Ron English brings a different coaching style than coach Herrmann brings," said Woodley. "I seen that Coach Herrmann wasn't as fired up as Coach English. Coach English… he's very into it. I like Coach English. He's just a guy that is always fired up everyday. When you see him off the field…even at training table he's fired up. There's not one time you see Coach English not fired up and ready to go."

"We play with a sense of urgency," said senior linebacker David Harris. "We get to the ball, and when we get there, we get there with a violent mentality… a violent attitude to go there to knock the ball carrier out. It's going to show. He preaches, 'run to the ball!' It doesn't matter how tired you are or what the situation is. Get to the ball!"

"Coach E is a very intense coach," added junior defensive lineman Alan Branch. "He is going to light a spark under your butt to get you going. We've had really intense and physical practices that I've haven't experienced while I've been here. What's different? The way we go after the ball, the scheme that we attack the ball with, the mindset when we get to the ball…how we want to violently hit it and attack it. Try to get the ball on the ground. It is really just the mental stimulation we've been experiencing. Coach E is a great motivator in that aspect."

In a conversation with GoBlueWolverine back in February, English gave a glimpse of that passionate approach to the game. He also spoke specifically about how it would affect Woodley and his comrades up front.

"They are going to attack and play downhill," said English regarding the front seven. "But the thing is, they're going to be held responsible for being physical. I'm not so sure that everybody knows what that really means. We're going to be held responsible for that. We're going to be held responsible for triggering to stimulus. Again, I think it comes down to how fast we play, how violent we play, and if we know exactly what we're doing. If we know exactly what we're doing, we'll play fast."

….... Unlike Branch, Terrance Taylor's transition into a college weight program has gone extremely smoothly. The Muskegon native played sparingly in nine games last year, but drew raves during the spring for standout play that was described as both consistent and physical. His 6-0, 303-pound frame gives him great leverage at the point of attack. When combined with his above average quickness and excellent technique that he learned as a championship wrestler in high school, you have the makings of a player that could pick up right where Gabe Watson left off.

"He's not one of those guys that just strong in the weight room and soft on the field," David Harris said. "He's (strong in) both. He's good. He's one of the strongest players on the team. Last year he was a freshman. It's always hard for a freshman to come in and play right away, especially on the D-line when you're going against experienced fourth and fifth year seniors. He has made strides. He is going to fill a very key role on the defense."

For more on English, Woodley, the UM Defense, the impact of the 12th game, and more, check out the next issue of GoBlueWolverine The Magazine.

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