Seniors Mike Martin and Will Heininger have been through quite a bit in their careers. It's safe to say when they made the decision to don the winged helmet, they didn't envision something quite like what the last three years provided.
The 6-0 start this season had begun to erase that recent memory but then the Wolverins headed to East Lansing and came crashing back down to what's reality right now: a fourth consecutive loss to Michigan State.
"Obviously that hurts," said Michigan fifth year senior defensive tackle Will Heininger about the loss. "You don't want to deal with that—but we're beyond it. You have to learn from the past, but you can't dwell on something."
Coupled with the fact that the Wolverines came up short to the Spartans is another lingering demon the team has to face down: the fact that in the three previous seasons, after losing to MSU things went downhill in a hurry.
This time they're determined that it'll be different.
"Our confidence is something that's never wavered," explained senior defensive tackle and captain Mike Martin. "That's something that, because of the leadership on this team, has never wavered. We've never had any doubt, and we don't want to lose again. With our confidence we know we're going to take care of what we need to on the field this coming Saturday and for weeks to come."
The Wolverines have their chance to display their focus after a tough loss on Saturday when they play host to the Purdue Boilermakers, coming off an upset victory over Illinois, with. Michigan is coming off a bye week, and for a team trying to avoid a second half collapse, the players feel like the bye week couldn't have come at a better time.
"Sometimes you lose focus a bit on fundamentals as the season goes on," said Martin. "So coach, (Mattison) for the defensive line, had us really working on our hands and how fast we can get our hands to the man. If you get right back to them (fundamentals) it's like riding a bike."
The Purdue offense will present challenges for the Wolverine defense on the perimeter, but as some inside Schembechler Hall have pointed out this week, it's more about Michigan than anyone else.
"This game is about Michigan," said Martin. "Coach has really been talking about that, that it really isn't about what Purdue does because they're going to do what they do. It comes down to what we do, how we execute, how we play and how much intensity we play with that will decide who wins the football game."
Wolverine Seniors focused — no let down!
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