Football

Junior defensive lineman Donovan Jeter is fully healthy ahead of Michigan’s matchup with Wisconsin.

Don Brown let out a sigh and a trailing “you know” before pausing. Standing in the Schembechler Hall lobby last week, he had just been asked for his assessment of his defense through two weeks. The indecision in his initial reaction continued throughout his answer as he shuffled between positives and negatives, resistant to any grand declarations. The evidence for each came naturally. In its first two games, every regulation touchdown that Michigan’s first-team defense allowed came off a turnover. And yet, the Wolverines were 50th in Division I with 21 points per game allowed despite not facing a Power Five team. All of that, though, was before the bye week. “We haven’t been playing the best football we can play,” said senior safety Josh Metellus. “And we know that we’ve got guys in this building whose potential is way up here. We’re not reaching that.” A bye week, of course, isn’t some magic cure. Wisconsin had one of its own and was off a start in which it outscored opposition, 110-0. Still, it’s an opportunity for Michigan to look itself in the mirror and diagnose what went wrong in its underwhelming start. The Wolverines will hold most of that diagnosis close to their chest until Saturday, but junior defensive tackle Donovan Jeter’s return to full health is one piece of the puzzle that can’t be hidden.

Senior quarterback Shea Patterson is confident in Michigan’s chances Saturday.

Statements aren’t made in the quiet comfort of your own practice facility.
“I’m done talking about it,” Patterson said at the end of his session Tuesday, walking away from the group of reporters.
It’s time to show it.

Senior guard Ben Bredeson expects a lively environment at Camp Randell.

But perhaps the Wolverines have a built-in advantage in preparing for that. If you look at SP+, a comprehensive team evaluation stat, it’s actually Michigan’s defense holding the top spot. As senior guard Ben Bredeson put it, “it’s tough, and it’s tough going against our defense, too.” And the Wolverines have the advantage of knowing they’ll be the biggest challenge yet for the Badgers’ inexperienced quarterback Jack Coan.

Junior defensive back Ambry Thomas defied expectations and recovered from Colitis in time for the season.

Fans have known about Ambry Thomas’s offseason plight. They saw his triumphant return, featuring an interception in the season-opener against Middle Tennessee State. They even briefly heard from Thomas himself about what it meant to see the field once again after his fight with Colitis. But on Monday afternoon, Thomas revealed even more about the depths he found himself in over this summer, the massive hurdles he was forced to overcome on the road to recovery from Colitis — a chronic inflammatory disorder in the — and the real threat it posed to his junior season.

Presented by The Michigan Daily's sports section, a rotating cast of writers discusses Michigan sports.

The Daily discusses Michigan football’s bye week and keys to victory for next weekend against Wisconsin, as well as the first week of hockey practice.

Before senior Nick Eubanks' mother passed away, she left him with a parting message: “It’s going to be alright.”

Nick Eubanks felt chills when he heard the play-call. He knew it was one designed to free him over the middle, a play Michigan had practiced repeatedly in the lead-up to its Nov. 17, 2018 bout with Indiana.

Junior center Caesar Ruiz is among the offensive linemen who committed avoidable penalties against Army.

As Cesar Ruiz assessed the state of Michigan’s offensive line earlier this week, he was careful not to label any struggles as “growing pains.” The implication accompanying that term is that the Wolverines’ inconsistency on the offensive line is a result of Josh Gattis’ new offense. The junior center knows that isn’t the case.

Senior linebacker Jordan Glasgow has impressed Don Brown through two weeks of the season.

That gives him the license to make a determination that strays from conventional wisdom a time or two. On Monday, that particular claim came in regard to senior VIPER Jordan Glasgow. “I’ll say this, and I might be criticized: This guy might be one of the best players in the Big Ten,” Brown said. “Watch him run and hit people. Just watch him play.”

Redshirt sophomore linebacker Jordan Anthony (center) showed against Army that's he's a valuable depth option for the Michigan football team.

The example was small and understandable enough that Brown could explain it to a group of reporters — most of whom aren’t qualified to step onto a football field — in minutes. So imagine a whole book of them, then imagine a player getting that responsibility thrust on him midgame, and then you might understand Jordan Anthony’s predicament.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh suggested that Jess Speight switch from offensive line to defensive line in the offseason, then rewarded him with a scholarship.

The Monday after the Middle Tennessee game, Harbaugh gathered the team together and announced that Speight and junior offensive lineman Andrew Vastardis would receive scholarships. Speight had gotten into the game on special teams, making the moment even more special.