Daxton Hill: Michigan Defense Needs To Bring More 'Energy' And 'Intensity'
The Michigan Wolverines' defense has been having a rough go through four games, allowing 34.5 points and 425.8 points per outing. Michigan allowed Wisconsin to score 49 points and rack up 478 yards of total offense last week. Sophomore safety Daxton Hill, one of the unit's bright spots, says the team has to look ahead at what's to come, instead of dwelling on the failures of past weeks.
"We just have to keep going forward and not get down," Hill told the media Monday. "You win some, you lose some, so you’re not going to win every game. You have to forget what you’ve been doing and try to find some positive out of it.
"There's still plenty of games to be played. The last few games, that doesn’t really determine how we’re going to be for the rest of the season. There’s many more games to be played, many more plays to be made.
"We’re not gonna just dwell on how our pass defense has been, so the most important thing is just really doing what we can do right now. That’s all we can focus on."
Hill revealed that head coach Jim Harbaugh's message team this week has been of a similar sentiment — to have a forward-thinking outlook on the season and to come together as a team.
"He’s really been saying that we’re not where we want to be," Hill said. "No team wants to really be in the position we’re at right now, and so he’s really been saying don’t worry about yourself. You have to put the team first and not really focus on your individual play. I know that’s important as well but as a team, we cohesively have to work together every day to bring each other up, motivate each other, inspire one another to keep being the team we’re known to be. The most important thing right now is just to come together as a group and see any way we can improve from this loss."
This week's practices may look different than the weeks before, with Harbaugh saying Monday that every aspect of the team and program is being looked at, and that more jobs are open for competition.
Hill said that the Wolverines must have more intensity and focus on the practice field in order to turn around the fortunes on Saturdays. The Maize and Blue travel to Rutgers this weekend.
"This week’s practices are definitely going to be intense," Hill said. "Really just trying to see who’s going to be the best to be put out on the field to help us win the game, get that winning streak back. That’s gonna be definitely one of the most pivotal things this week — just the intensity, that we attack practice and really just see how we can turn this whole thing around."
And the Wolverines hope those things translate over to the game, something that has been an issue this season and a common theme that coaches and players have pointed to as a reason for the struggles.
After falling behind 28-0 to Wisconsin last Saturday, Hill believes it's imperative that Michigan starts fast and gains early momentum in the games to come.
"Sometimes we come out flat, so we just gotta continue changing the energy, changing the energy on the sideline, come out strong," Hill said. "That’s the biggest key of this game.
"Whoever has the momentum first is going to really determine the outcome. That’s a determining factor of this game. Coming out flat is not where we want to be, so the energy is the most important thing for us right now."
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