Michigan football using ‘good-on-good’ in practice to prepare for productive Maryland offense

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan football has yet to be challenged this season, and that’s about to change as it enters Week 4.

With Maryland coming to town, the Terps’ high-flying offense certainly will stretch the defense in ways that it hasn’t through three weeks, considering the level of competition the Wolverines have faced. Yes, Michigan has gone up against two air raid teams in Colorado State and Hawaii, but neither has the athletes that the Terrapins have, led by players like QB Taulia Tagovailoa, wide receivers Rakim Jarrett and Dontay Demus, and RB Roman Hembry.

Michigan defensive coordinator Jesse Minter acknowledges the challenge he has before him, as he broke down what Maryland does well in his Wednesday press conference.

“Seeing a very productive offense, about 500 yards a game, 40 points a game,” Minter said. “Really good quarterback, really good skill, a lot of speed. Good offensive line with a couple of really talented NFL prospects. So great challenge, really good scheme. I think they play to the quarterback’s strengths and kind of what he does well. So it’ll be a great challenge for us.”

As noted, Maryland has some athletes, and Minter knows that will be a challenge in and of itself. It’s in large part due to the Big Ten being tougher competition all the way down the line compared to the Group of Five teams the Wolverines have faced thus far.

“Conference game, first and foremost, definitely have some better pro players probably than what we’ve seen so far,” Minter said. “Yeah, I’m excited to see how we play against this team.”

So, how does one prepare for such a challenge? The easiest answer: go up against an offense that’s likely just as good. But where could one be found? Right here in Ann Arbor.

The Wolverines have spent a bit of time every practice going ‘good-on-good,’ meaning that instead of facing off against the scout team — which is customary throughout the majority of practice — the No. 1 defense is going up against the No. 1 offense. Especially with J.J. McCarthy under center, despite the offense being a bit different than what Maryland brings to the table, it helps prepare the maize and blue for seeing more electric athletes with Big Ten season now starting.

“It’s something we do a little bit every day,” Minter said. “I think Coach Harbaugh has a great plan for both sides of the ball.  I think when you focus so much on another opponent, you’ve got to also give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re going to put in some new stuff there. So, I really enjoy getting a chance a little bit each day to go against the offense and just run our normal calls against their stuff and kind of see how it adjusts, even stuff that we have in for that game plan. So, one, it’s tremendous work that way, tremendous work on the skill players that we have and the quarterback that we have — defending the guy that can run around.

“And then really this offense, especially — they’re kind of out of the same — there’s some similar backgrounds in this stuff that we run. So great, tremendous opportunity going good-on-good and enjoy that part of it.”

Fans will get to see if the process will pay off on Saturday when Michigan hosts Maryland at noon EDT. The game will be nationally televised on Fox with Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt, and Jenny Taft on the call.


Everything Jesse Minter said about the Michigan football defense before Maryland

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire