With a symbiotic relationship, Michigan's offense and defense may not be pretty, but it works. Anna Fuder/Daily. Buy this photo.

Let’s talk nature.

A relationship in the wild that everyone should be accustomed to is the one between the honey bee and the flower. Without flowers, the honey bee would be without food and the other precious resources that they need to survive. And without the honey bee, flowers would be deprived of pollination, one of the necessary steps to survival.

The honey bee needs the flower and vice versa.

Let’s apply this principle to the No. 3 Michigan football team. The Wolverines don’t have an explosive passing-centric offense. They grind opponents down, eat at the clock, run the ball 50 times and win games by hanging through all four quarters.

But that goes along with their suffocating defense, one that prides itself in getting quick stops, making it easier for its own offense to do its job. That pair has proved deadly so far, as Michigan is off to its best start since 2006.

The symbiotic relationship between the Wolverines’ offense and defense is what really sets the tone whenever they are on the field. And Michigan defensive coordinator Jesse Minter emphasized that explicitly:

“(When) our offense can go on a long drive, it’s a huge mentality for us to go out and get a quick three and out and put pressure back on the other team’s defense,” Minter said Wednesday. “(We make their defense) … go right back out there, not have as much time to adjust, not have as much time to make corrections and get them right back on the field.”

What it is, really, is complementary football, and it works because the Wolverines grind their opponents down. The script follows the same premise every time: Michigan’s offense has a long drive and scores, then its defense gets a quick stop, then the offense methodically marches down the field — again.

The Wolverines slowly dominate their opponents every game so that by the time the fourth quarter comes around there is nothing left to say.

It happened at Indiana, then it happened against Penn State, then Michigan State, Rutgers and Nebraska. All wins, all with results no longer in question in the fourth quarter. You can start to see why the Wolverines are third in the country in average time of possession.

Looking at the box scores for some of those games borders on absurdity. When the Wolverines played the Nittany Lions — a top-10 matchup at the time — they held the ball for nearly 42 minutes out of 60. Unsurprisingly, Michigan won that game by a hefty, 24-point margin.

All of the success that the Wolverines have enjoyed this season has been the amalgamation of dominations in all phases — but especially between the offensive line and the defense.

Both units have found no shortage of praise:

“I think they’re the best offensive line in the country,” Minter said of Michigan co-offensive coordinate Sherrone Moore’s group. “I think they’re the best-coached offensive line in the country.”

And Moore echoed that sentiment:

“First of all, the defense is phenomenal, the best defense in the country,” Moore said Wednesday.

There was something fitting of the scene at Schembechler Hall on Wednesday. Moore spoke first, then Minter, the respective leaders of either side of the ball giving praise to the other. The pair spoke at ends to how the other’s unit compliments their own and vice versa. It was as emblematic of the Michigan program as any random, ho-hum weekday press conference could be.

“We just like to play complementary football,” Moore said. “The number one goal in this building, in this program is to win. So we’re gonna do whatever we have to do to do that.”

Winning, at least for the Wolverines, doesn’t always jump off of the screen. The relationship — at Michigan’s core — is much like the honey bee and the flower. 

It’s as mutualistic as it is successful.