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September 25, 2013

Wolverines focused on themselves, not polls or discontent

Michigan has dropped in the polls two consecutive weeks and while the fall has many U-M fans incensed or embarrassed, the Wolverines themselves aren't paying any attention to the AP Top 25.

"I may start looking later in the season but right now we're just concentrating on us, improving each practice and each game," senior defensive back Courtney Avery said.

While Avery admitted he's heard from a few classmates grumbling, junior linebacker Desmond Morgan said most guys are insulated from such talk.

"We keep what we have in this building. We know the guys we got, and we keep it within these walls," he said.

"UConn is a good team. You're playing on the road, in a new environment. Road games always present challenges. There are things we have to clean up that we didn't do right, but a win is a win."

Both Morgan and Avery are focused on more important matters, like making the personal and team improvements necessary for the Wolverines to maintain their unblemished record.

"There are always things we have to improve -- there is always an emphasis on improving on our pass rush, on our run fits, coverage in the back end," Morgan said.

"We broke down the film and looked at it and there are a few things in all aspects we could have cleaned up. A few more sacks we could have had. Ways to tighten up the coverage that we're not seeing or doing right."

Avery talked about using this week to return to fundamentals, and for him, specifically, to get a better feel for how the coaches want to use him. The senior has played nickel back, cornerback and safety in his career and was vying for the starting job at free safety before undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery before the season.

In his first game back against Notre Dame, he played as a backup to sophomore Jarrod Wilson at safety, and then after a week off, he started at cornerback against Connecticut.

"It was really good getting back on the field with my brothers this last game," said Avery, who relishes his jack-of-all-trades role. "I just fit wherever the put me. Whether it's corner, safety, nickel. Wherever I can help the team is where I best fit.

"Last game they needed me more at corner so that's where I played. I don't really know how long I will be there or if I'll bounce around a little bit more or if that will be my permanent position."

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