Michigan surprised the college football community last year with an appearance in the College Football Playoff. The Wolverines bounced back from a porous 2020 season, and this was in part due to a defense that ranked 20th in the country.
Heading into 2022, expectations are Michigan will fade away, and Ohio State will rein in the Big Ten once again. Furthermore, expectations are Michigan’s defense will flutter. However, head coach Jim Harbaugh is investing in a Michigan defense with “no stars,” and he believes this defense will be even better than in 2021.
Michigan defense “screaming at each other and overly communicating”
Screaming is usually not a good sign. However, in football, if it means the team is communicating, it is a great sign. Communication is key, especially on defense, and Michigan’s defense is showing great signs.
Michigan tight end, Luke Schoonmaker, said after facing Michigan defense in practice “We’ll be in walkthroughs and they’re just screaming at each other, just overly communicating. Everybody — linebackers, secondary — everybody.” To clarify, the screaming and over-communication are positive.
Michigan’s defense is already showing signs of a team hunger to prove the doubters wrong. With different Michigan defensive stars in the NFL, critics are doubting the ability of Michigan to replicate similar success on defense in 2022.
However, if early signs mean anything, it is showing Michigan’s defense will prosper. Harbaugh even believes Michigan’s defense has the potential to be better than last year. If the defense ranked 20th in the country in total defense, does Harbaugh expect his defense to finish top 10? It is possible, and if achieved, Michigan might be back on top of the Big Ten.
In 2022, Michigan is creating a “no star” defense
During the 2021 season, a lot was made about the two edge rushers for Michigan. Aidan Hutchinson was drafted second overall in the 2022 NFL draft by the Detriot Lions. David Ojabo joins the Baltimore Ravens after being selected in the second round. Ojabo would have been a first-round pick even if it wasn’t for a torn Achilles that occurred during Michigan Pro Day.
Due to the loss of elite talent, Michigan’s defense is expected to take a step down. However, do not tell them that. The “no star” defense seems to have garnered a lot of anticipation in Ann Arbour. Harbaugh is trying to create and enforce the idea of a “no star” defense, and he believes this will allow the defense to be a stronger more cohesive unit.
Harbaugh on the “In the Trenches” podcast said “I think its potential, and I think you’re kind of seeing it develop before your own eyes, I think that our defense could be better. A no-star defense. I’ve been a part of many of them that were the great defenses. It creates more competition within the position, guys are more hungry. Upshaw, Julius Welschof, Mike Morris, Jaylen Harrell, Braiden McGregor, I mean, right there. We’re talking EDGE guys, that’s quite a group.”
Only time will tell how it all turns out for Michigan’s defense in 2022.
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