October 9, 2013
Thomas Gordon: No looking back
Fifth-year senior Thomas Gordon has heard some of the chatter surrounding Michigan's uneven path to a 5-0 record. He won't argue for one moment that the Wolverines need to improve.
At the same time, he's willing to ride the bottom-line results for now. Five up, five down, and moving along.
"People are going to have their opinions," Gordon said. "You're going to have fair-weather fans. But we've played five games, and we're 5-0. That's the best we can be as a team. We feel like we're getting better every week.
"We're taking it one game at a time, and this week is Penn State. We just shut out the noise. It doesn't really matter."
Getting better definitely matters, noted Gordon, who has posted 21 tackles and broken up a pass in Michigan's first handful of games. That needs to take place, without question.
It's happening even within games, he stressed. Michigan endured a frustrating first quarter against Minnesota, including a near 10-minute drive by the Gophers. The visitors reeled off seven straight third-down conversions to start the game, setting the Wolverines on their heels.
"We got them on a three-and-out against Minnesota in the first drive, but then they came back with a nine-minute drive, and they were 7-for-7 on third downs," Gordon said. "Obviously, that's something we've got to improve on.
"As a defense, you don't want to be on the field for long. You want to stay on there as short as possible. Sometimes, it doesn't go your way."
Turning it around, and quickly, holds the key to any given game day, Gordon pointed out.
"That's the good thing about Coach [Greg] Mattison and all our assistants," Gordon pointed out. "Once they pick up tendencies, you come back to the sideline and we change some stuff up. It makes a lot of difference.
"In the second half, they were 1-for-7 in third downs. That's all coming off adjustments and feeling out what the offenses are going to do."
They'll need to adjust to the decibel level in Happy Valley, Gordon assured.
"It's crazy," he said. "It's going to be a White-Out. They love Penn State football. It's going to be packed with 105,000, and they're going to be loud. It's probably one of the loudest stadiums in the country."
Losing to Indiana will only make the Nittany Lions hungrier, Gordon insisted.
"They're going to bounce back off that," he said. "When anybody plays Michigan, they're going to get up for it. Coming off a loss, it's going to hype them up even more. I know they're going to come ready to play in front of their home crowd."
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