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Coaching attitude is one of Greg Robinson's fundamental tenets. It partially explains why he will coach from the sideline as opposed to the booth. Sure the positioning will allow him to get defensive calls in and make adjustments quicker, but it will also give him the ability to look into the eyes of his players and see whether they are playing with the fire and intensity that he demands.
"He just brings a different attitude," said senior defensive end Brandon Graham. "I feel like he (now) has got a lot of people that bought in. I don't think that it really was all the way there last year. I feel like we got everybody believing in him and wanting to get better."
"There's a sense of urgency," Boubacar Cissoko added regarding the difference with Robinson at the helm. "So when he says, it's time to go, we all go. We listen to him. He is a smart guy. He comes from the (Denver) Broncos and Texas (Longhorns), so I listen to him and do what he says. He makes me play hard."
Aiding in the heightened sense of accountability is the unwillingness of the upperclassmen to abdicate responsibility for performance. Taking their cues both from Robinson and from last year's experience, this group of senior leaders has made it a point to take ownership of the team both on the field and off.
"I just feel like (now) the leadership is there," Graham said matter-of-factly. "(There are) different leaders this year and I feel like we know what it feels like last year to not have leaders stepping up all the time and making sure that we're doing what we supposed to do all the time. That's what we try to do. Try to get better each day."
"I am a leader back there," added Warren. "I have to be more of a vocal leader and stepping up and talking to the guys back there (in the secondary). They're looking up to me to do things and I like that. I'm just trying to lead by example and be more of a vocal leader out there on the field."
While it's clear that the early returns from Robinson's addition are favorable, the true test of his effectiveness won't come until his defense actually takes the field. Wins and losses matter most in the bottom-line business that is college football. Fortunately for the Wolverines, they've tabbed a coordinator that is use to accumulating far more of the former than the latter.
"I've seen growth," said Robinson of his unit. "I feel very good about our group. We're young at some parts, but you know what, that's part of football. It is really our job to kind of work hard to get them up to snuff so they are ready on September 5th."
For the rest of this feature on defensive coordiantor Greg Robinson, an in-depth preview of the Michigan defense, non-conference opponent previews,and more, check out the next issue of GoBlueWolverine