How rare is it to run into a triple option offense? Ask Michigan sophomore linebacker Jake Ryan and he'll admit playing Air Force Saturday provided him the chance to defend the complicated offense for the very first time.
"I've never played against a triple option before," said Ryan, "so it was definitely hard just going in and seeing what they do. But you get used to it."
"They were good," added Ryan. "They were disciplined and it was tough."
The Wolverines weren't able to put the clamps on down on the Falcons' offense Saturday, and on Tuesday Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison took the blame. Ryan, who was given the number 47 jersey prior to the game to honor former Wolverine great Bennie Oosterbaan, disagrees with his coach.
"I don't think it was his fault," said Ryan. "We as a defense just kind of, I don't know—we just need to play our technique and just keep moving forward. Kind of just looking back at it, I just feel like we played physical and we came out with a win."
Freshmen all over the field
The amount of freshmen on the field for the 2012 Wolverines is normally of tremendous concern for fans, analysts and even coaches. For Ryan and the rest of team 133, the stress level is zero despite a little time for advice here and there.
"I help them out," said Ryan. "I mean the best players are going to play. James Ross and Joe Bolden stepped up and they're doing well in there."
"If they got any questions I just let them know what to do," Ryan added. "Questions on the field. Joe knows the defense, James knows the defense, Pip knows the defense. They all know what they're doing. So if they have any questions about steps, technique, or anything like that I always try to help them out."
With Ryan at outside linebacker he's provided an up close and personal evaluation of his freshmen counterparts Ross and Bolden. Similar to how Ryan played last year as a redshirt freshmen, the young pups are relying quite a bit on their football mentality.
"Just their instincts," said Ryan. "Joe has really good instincts, James has really good instincts, and they're really fast to the ball. I feel like that's really big and helps when they're playing."
Time for UMass
With a Massachusetts team coming to town after two blowout losses to Connecticut and Indiana, Ryan and the Wolverines have moved on from the nail biter with Air Force to prep for the Minutemen.
"There's always time to improve this week for UMass," said Ryan. "I just feel like we need to play what we see, and get to our game plan and go from there."
"Preparing for this week it's more of what we know," added Ryan, "and I feel like we just need to progress through the week and get the job done."
So far the 2012 version of Michigan defense hasn't played "Michigan Defense" in two opportunities. Although statistics validate team 133's lack of performance, Ryan believes this year's defense is better than the 2011 version in at least one category.
"I think we're more disciplined than last year," said Ryan. "Just from last year we just know our plays, we know what we're doing. We know our steps, we know our technique, and I just feel like we're more disciplined—and we just need to be more physical."
To watch video of Ryan, press play below.