Uche On The Wisconsin Loss — 'It Gave Us New Motivation, & We Needed That'
The Michigan Wolverines’ football team is an eight-point underdog at Penn State on Saturday night in Happy Valley, and senior linebacker Josh Uche was informed of that fact this afternoon at Schembechler Hall while speaking with the media.
He didn’t seem amused by it, however, and had no problem voicing his opinion of the media and the Vegas oddsmakers, and their takes on the Wolverines.
“We’re always the underdog,” he began. “Everyone wants to count us out, but that’s ok because we love being the underdog.
“That’s what we live for it and it’s what we do, but it only makes us work harder.”
The Maize and Blue have won three games in a row following their blowout loss at Wisconsin on Sept. 21, and have seemingly fixed the defensive issues that plagued them in Madison.
After yielding 359 yards on the ground to an elite Badger rushing attack, U-M has since given up an average of 37.6 over its last three games.
Uche revealed that he felt much of the criticism following the Wisconsin loss was due to ignorance, and that it actually served as a bit of a wakeup call for the club.
“You guys have been saying we can’t stop the run and that we’re soft,” he said this afternoon, referring to the media. “We’ve framed that in our minds and it has given us a lot of motivation to work harder.
“It’s that underdog mentality that has given us a new flame. I understand you’re not all in the coaches’ offices and not watching film the way we watch film, so I understand why you would feel that way.
“It gave us motivation to execute and do our jobs to a higher level. Executing [has been the difference in us stopping the run now].
“It comes down to us doing our jobs at a higher level, and focusing on the little things and the small details. We want to maximize our focus on everything the coaches tell us to do.
“This is what we live, breathe and do. I know you guys follow it too and are dedicated, but fans sometimes don’t see and understand the schematics of everything, or what’s always happening.
“It’s kind of funny, but can also be annoying — it is what it is, because not everyone is a football coach or a 15-year vet of the game.
“There’s no way for you guys to know certain things, so that’s why there are misconceptions. It’s only aspects we understand and that we can’t let you guys know, because game plans would be ruined.
“The Wisconsin game gave us new life, a new flame and new motivation, and we needed that, to be frank with you. We needed that motivation, and we thank you guys for it.”
Uche was also asked about the stretch of games U-M has coming up — at Penn State, Notre Dame, at Maryland, Michigan State, etc. — and used the word ‘legendary’ several times to describe what the Wolverines can potentially accomplish over the next month and a half.
The senior explained that the team’s success all comes down to execution, and that if they operate to the best of their abilities, the results have a chance to be ‘legendary.’
“That’s what I tell myself,” the Miami native noted. “If we execute, there’s nobody in the country better than us and that’s a fact.
“I don’t feel like anyone in the nation touches us if we do what the coaches ask of us and execute our game plans. I get myself hyped with the legendary stuff.
“I’d say the whole team has taken that approach as well.”
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