Ann arbor – Michigan has three interceptions this season. That’s not enough for defensive passing coordinator Steve Clinkscale.
He’s been putting defensive backs to work on the JUGS machine over the past few weeks and while the Wolverines were off last weekend to hone their skills ahead of the second half of the regular season that begins on Saturday against Northwestern. They’ve missed a few chances on potential picks and the exercise helps them learn to catch and hold on to the ball.
“I really want more to take away from the defensive backs,” Clinkscale said on Wednesday. “We had a lot of opportunities. When we have this opportunity, we want to take advantage of it.”
Michigan is ranked No. 22 in passing defense, averaging 190.7 yards per game. Dax Hill has two interceptions, one in Wisconsin, then the following week in Nebraska.
“We have to do more games there, but we have to let the game come to us,” Clinkscale said. “We do a lot of different blankets so that they weren’t isolated as much as they were, them the concepts, the trainings was the biggest learning curve.
Clinkscale emphasized the importance of eye discipline for players. Sometimes they get stuck on the quarterback, he said, instead of the receiver.
“When I’m in this boardroom training them, it’s the eyes,” he said. “I stand on the offensive side and watch their eyes all the time because we have to make sure we are looking on the right track.
“And as this continues, we keep pushing people and playing cover and giving different looks, (the naysayers) are going to keep trying to do things to create easy gadget games, like us. saw in Nebraska. You can see our eye discipline is not what it needs to be. “
After defending on an incomplete pass from Adrian Martinez of Nebraska to Samori Toure in fourth which effectively ended the game, Hill was then called up for an unsportsmanlike penalty. That put Michigan back 15 yards in the next and final series, which clearly wasn’t a problem for the Wolverines.
But that was an unusual response from the soft-spoken Hill.
“I kinda knew what I was doing.” Hill said Tuesday night, the corner of his mouth creasing into a smile. “It was just the way the game went. It was an exciting game. The crowd was all in it. All of us, as players, being out there, it’s just the heat of the moment. “
He admitted to having had an anxious moment after seeing the flag.
“But I got the first touchdown for the offense so it was good,” he said.
Clinkscale was not thrilled.
“I don’t think I can really say what I was really thinking or saying,” he said with a smile. “This is not how we want to play. I think in the heat of the moment, last play, who’s to say I wouldn’t? But we don’t want to do that.
Clinkscale said cornerback Gemon Green made a move towards the Nebraska sideline after making a tackle on that same disc.
“We have to get those things out,” Clinkscale said, later adding that these types of penalties could tip a game. “We don’t want to get into a position because we’re laughing or just getting excited and looking like we’re standing on top of a player.
“We don’t want to be penalized as a team and possibly lose the game or change the result because of it. I was not at all happy with that. Dax is a pretty innocent guy, so I don’t think he really meant it as a taunt, but he was excited. He was a receiver we wanted to stop the entire game, and he was under 40 receiving yards, so we focused on him throughout the week.
Early morning workouts
New-year quarterback JJ McCarthy, running back Donovan Edwards and wide receiver Andrel Anthony, along with several other young teammates, included some short training sessions on their own after the last two road games.
After returning from the night game in Nebraska nearly two weeks ago, the group trained for about half an hour, working on routes in the wee hours.
“It’s so impressive,” said running back coach Mike Hart, Michigan’s all-time leading runner. “I’m just thinking about when I was 18, when I got home at 1:02 am, I just wanted to come home and go to sleep. We trained tomorrow, we did stuff on Sunday when I was here.
“It just shows you what kind of young men they are, their motivation and where they want to be. They see their future, they know how they want to get there, and they just try to improve whenever they can. So you hear about it and you say to yourself, “What did they do at 2 o’clock in the morning?” And it’s really, really impressive to have such a great bunch of guys, who work so hard because they’re such a talented bunch of guys. They will be really, really good one day. They know this is the plan, this is what you hope for. With their work ethic, they are going to be unstoppable.
From top to bottom
Hassan Haskins had a 50-yard run for Nebraska which had the fastest laps due to his spectacular obstacle.
Hart was jokingly asked if he trains hurdles.
“No, I can’t jump,” Hart said with a laugh. “In fact, I am not training the obstacle. I never saw anyone land it, or they landed it and got hit. So no, normally I don’t train that, but it was a great race. I can’t believe he was left standing.
He also doesn’t tell her to avoid an obstacle if the opportunity arises.
“If it works, you can do whatever you want to do,” Hart said. “As long as it works.”
Haskins also gets a pass because of the distance he has traveled.
“It was a 5-yard run so he’s fine,” Hart said. “Get over five (yards), it’s hard to yell at him. If they get under five and don’t do what they’re supposed to do, then I can coach them.
Joel Honigford is an engineering student and owns a 3D printer for projects.
After practice on Tuesday, he was asked about the coolest thing he has done.
“I’m a bit of a nerd and I really love ‘Star Wars’ so I printed a lightsaber,” Honigford said. “It’s pretty sweet.”