"As a defense, coach (Greg) Mattison preaches turnovers," Countess told GoBlueWolverine.com. "Last year I had a couple pass breakups. But I cannot have the same year I had last year. So just putting myself in better position to make plays on the ball and get those turnovers."
At 5-foot-10, 180-pounds, Countess started the last six games of the season last year, appearing in 11 contests. He saved his best for last, with a career high eight tackles in the Sugar Bowl victory against Virginia Tech.
"Freshman year was very special," said Countess, who finished with 44 total tackles. "You know my coaches worked with me a lot. The older guys are working with me a lot. J.T. (Floyd), (Jordan) Kovacs, (Troy) Woolfolk, a lot guys on my side, just trying to help me do the best that I can do. The season we had was also great, 11-2 and Sugar Bowl champions.
"But that's last year, you know what I am saying. So that is behind us. So we've just got to move forward and focus on this year and getting better and doing what we need to do. Because last year was a failure—we did not win the Big Ten championship, which is our goal."
Now, Countess is focused on the defending national champion Alabama.
"I'm really excited," Countess said on the Sept. 1 affair. "Any game is going to be a big game for us. But playing the defending national champions makes it much more sweet."
Playing the defending national champion comes at a price and in this case—It's talent. Countess said he expects the Tide to have talented receivers, but his main focus is getting a proper game plan before the game at Cowboys Stadium.
"I mean, we really haven't singled out any receivers." Countess said. "But we know that they are the defending national champs (and) are always going to have receivers. They are always going to have guys come in and make plays. So we are just kind of focused on ourselves right now, getting our defensive package together. And we are going from there and getting better every day.
"We are very focused. We have one of the hardest schedules in college football this year. So we are just trying to take it one game at a time. We are trying to get better every day. Just trying to help each other out every day."
With Michigan having a pedigree of top defensive backs though out the years, Countess said he hasn't talked to any alumni, but is aware of the great players that have worn the Maize & Blue.
"I haven't talked to anybody. But you walk through Shembechler Hall and you see all the greats on the wall. I'm just kind of looking up to them and trying to follow in their footsteps."
Some would say he is on the right track.
To watch the video of the interview with Countess, click play below.