Michigan Wolverines Football: Josh Metellus Is Taking Over The Defense
On the back end of Michigan’s defense, senior safety Josh Metellus is the conductor of Michigan’s secondary.
Heading into his fourth season, he is one of the most experienced Wolverines on defense. Metellus has played in 33 games in his career and has racked up 113 total tackles. In addition, he’s intercepted three passes and has 14 pass breakups.
With Devin Bush Jr., Chase Winovich and Tyree Kinnel gone, defensive coordinator Don Brown needs someone to command the defense. So far, Metellus has stepped into that role this spring. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to help Michigan.
“At this point, this is my last year, so I want to do whatever I have to help the team win,” Metellus said. “If that means I have to step up and be the more vocal guy on the team. If that means I have to sit back and let someone else do that, then I’ll do it."
“Whatever it takes to win, that’s what I’m going to do and today we needed that vocal spot on the defense. We started off a little bit slow and it wasn’t that bad, I knew we needed someone to bring the energy up and no one was doing it, so I had to step up to the plate”
Not only is Metellus filling the leadership void in the secondary, junior cornerback Amby Thomas is doing so as well. While Thomas was the fourth cornerback last season, he still played in all 13 games and totaled six tackles and one interception.
“Soon as the season ended and David [Long Jr.] declared [for the NFL], Ambry knew he was the next man up and just took that to the chest and said ‘alright, I’m going to be a leader, I want to be one of the guys that help get the young guys better while getting myself better,’” Metellus said. “Ambry is out there being vocal. He’s trying to get better. He’s trying to fix things. He’s just being a hell of a football player.”
Thomas’ speed is both an asset and a negative.
“Ambry is fast and aggressive,” Metellus said. “Sometimes being fast and aggressive can get you messed up in man a little bit, so he’s got to find when to be patient and calm, but far from that, he’s a hell of a football player and he’s just hitting the ball.”
The spot next to Metellus is wide open. There’s a fierce competition to replace Kinnel.
“J’Marick Woods and Brad Hawkins have been doing an amazing job,” Metellus said. “I feel like they have been here as long as me the way they tell me stuff about me and what I can do better, the way they take criticism from coaches and act like real vets. I’m happy to see that because in the defensive back side, we need a lot of leaders because the stuff we do is not normal to other defenses and other offenses. Having guys come along early especially this early in the off-season is real help to guys like me, who are trying to lead the defensive backs.”
Metellus is emerging as a leader for Brown’s defense. The entire group is trying to regroup after losing many stars and struggling in Michigan’s losses to Ohio State and Florida to end the season.
The Wolverines and Metellus are using it as motivation.
“But there’s this one quote, ‘Let the pain you suffered be the strength to move forward and get better,’ ” he said. “I take that every day. Every loss I’ve had here is motivation to get better and motivation to not have another one.”
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