Michigan determined to improve after ‘feeling ourselves too much’ following 2020 start

·4 min read

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Donovan Jeter already explained that he’s sick of the personal hype surrounding him every offseason without him having shown results once the season actually arrives. He’s quick to dismiss compliments, but in a way, so is the team.

Big things were expected of Michigan football after the 2020 season opener against Minnesota, as former QB Joe Milton quickly was mentioned as a Heisman contender while the Wolverines suddenly were thrust into the national conversation of being a potential College Football Playoff team.

The maize and blue won just one game after that — a triple-overtime thriller against lowly Rutgers.

The team looked lackadaisical from the Michigan State game on, at first like the Spartans were supposed to lay down for it, and then like they didn’t even care to be a part of the games they were playing in. Jeter, getting his first taste of being a starter and centerpiece on defense, says that the team may have been reading too much of its own press after the throttling of the Golden Gophers in primetime.

Now the Wolverines know they can’t do that ever again if they want to live up to the lofty standards that exist in Ann Arbor.

“The offense and defense — we’re not going to be complacent this year,” Jeter said. “After the Minnesota game, we were feeling ourselves a little too much. All the players were on social media and whatever else. I think we — I don’t wanna say took our foot off the gas like we weren’t preparing hard. Like I said, we started feeling ourselves too much. In college football, you can’t do that, it doesn’t matter who you play. You can play and 0-and-whatever team, you can play the best team, you gotta go in there with the mindset — same mindset every day: attack, attack, attack and want to get better.

“Like I said, compliments are a double-edged sword sometimes.”

Related

Why Donovan Jeter is ignoring his own camp hype

Michigan football not included in 2021 preseason AP Top 25

Michigan OL the centerpiece of Jim Harbaugh’s fall camp praise

What’s more, Michigan isn’t getting the same type of coverage as it used to. Once upon a time, like USC and Texas, a mediocre year would equal higher expectations the next. The Trojans and Longhorns are still ranked in the AP preseason top 25, yet the maize and blue are on the outside looking in.

Jeter was among those players who reacted on social media, indicating that the snub is fueling the team’s desire to once again be among the elite in college football.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

But, at the same time, he’s realistic about why the Wolverines aren’t ranked, noting that they’re the ones who have the power to change it by having a better showing on the field.

“Sounds (right), I bet — I’m not gonna get up here and be like, ‘Oh yeah! We’re all fired up about it!'” Jeter said. “We know what the deal is in the building. We don’t care about the rankings, we don’t care about social media. We don’t care about none of that. We care about getting better every day and being a physical, efficient defense.”

Jeter isn’t ignoring the fact that Michigan went 2-4, and that the college football world thinks very little of the Wolverines in 2021. But he’s also not buying into the idea that the maize and blue are going to turn things around immediately — at least not based on coach or media hype.

Really, the only thing he says he and the team can do is focus on getting better every day while leaving whatever happened previously in the past.

“We haven’t been getting many compliments over the last year, so I can’t — it wasn’t a compliment-filled year!” Jeter said. “I think we just preach this — everybody around the country — let’s just get 1% better every day. Don’t rest on what you did yesterday, last year. It don’t matter. When you go to sleep and you wake up, what you did definitely does not matter. If you had a great day, terrible day — doesn’t matter. You can’t go back and change, you can’t go back and fix it. I think like I said, I think we all have just been preaching, find something every day to get better on. Find one way to get a step closer to where we want to get to.”

List

What Big Ten coaches anonymously said about Michigan football in 2021