ANN ARBOR, Mich. — All offseason, the questions were posed with fervor and regularity — how would the Michigan football defense be able to get to the quarterback without Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo?
The curiosity was compounded by the fact that the Wolverines would have a new defensive coordinator this year in Jesse Minter, with Mike Macdonald having departed for the Baltimore Ravens job. But after the first game, it appeared there wouldn’t be much of an issue, as the maize and blue managed seven sacks from numerous different players right out of the gates.
However, that’s slowed down significantly. Michigan managed just one sack in Week 2 and no sacks in Week 3. But Minter said on Wednesday he isn’t particularly concerned at the moment.
“You know, pass rush — it’s a funny thing,” Minter said. “I think a lot of the second and third game was based on what happened in the first game and sort of the other team’s way to try to combat that. So, I’m not overly concerned. I think pass rush and coverage always work together. I like where we’re at. I certainly think guys know that there’s opportunities to win one on ones that we still want to take advantage of. So I’m excited to see how we go.”
Regardless, Minter is aware of the competition that Michigan has faced. He’s not sugar-coating anything, thinking that what we saw in Week 1 is most likely going to be the type of output we see now that the Wolverines are entering Big Ten play.
He broke down why he felt that the pass rush worked against Colorado State, and why it hasn’t so much in the following weeks.
“When I look at the first couple of games, first game, lots of pressure — that team now I think has given up tons of sacks over their first three games. So, take it for what it is,” Minter said. “The second game, I think the ball was out really, really fast. I think the third game, honestly, we were preparing for a lot of screens and quick throws, which we did get early, especially on third down. I think it may have slowed our guys down a little bit. So we’ve just got to have some answers to combat that and let him turn it loose when it turns into more of a drop-back game.”
Michigan will certainly have a challenge this upcoming Saturday, with a potent Maryland offense coming to town. Kickoff is set for noon EDT and the game will be broadcast nationally on Fox.