ANN ARBOR -- As the Wolverines entered the 2007 football season, senior safety Jamar Adams was expected to be the leader in the Wolverines secondary. With over 20 consecutive starts for the Maize and Blue, Adams is far and away the most experienced of the Wolverines defensive backs. As such, during the Wolverines early season struggles, it was the 6-foot-2, 214-pound safety taking the blunt of the blow from local media.
Now, two weeks later, however, spirits have lightened at Schembechler Hall. Following a momentum building 14-9 win over Big 10 foe Penn State, and a 38-0 thrashing of Notre Dame, Adams, and the rest of the defense, can breath easier. Press coverage of the Michigan football defense has died down... at least for the time being.
"I think we just executed better in the game. We've been practicing better. Maybe the other guys have a better understanding of the game plan. I think we're just coming together pretty good right now," Adams said when reflecting on the season.
"I didn't think about it much," he continued on the Wolverines poor start. "If I see somebody out of position or want to remind a guy about this, I just took it upon myself to say something. But one thing we're doing a good job is we're getting together as a group and watching film together. I'm able to share some of the things that I would like to tell them on the field in the film session, so they know some of the things that I'm thinking in the back end when they come out of formations."
According to head coach Lloyd Carr, getting back to the basics and doing his coaching in the film room instead of during the pre-snap reads is part of reason behind the Wolverines revitalized defensive effort the past two weeks.
Despite that, as offenses continue to innovate, Adams, at least for the time being, will have to captain the defense while both on and off the field.
"The nature of the game now is not what it was like in the old days when you had two backs in the backfield. A lot of times you had three, plus the quarterback," Carr said. "Well, that really limits the variation of formation. Now a lot of times you have one back in the backfield and then they motion him out which creates an infinite number of possible formations. All those formations have to be adjusted to find linebackers, the secondary, checks have to be made. If you mess one of those checks up, you don't have people where they need to be, and you give up big plays. Those guys they're getting the ball to are skilled athletes."
As the team moves forward to Evanston, Ill., this Saturday, Adams is likely to have to manage the defense once again. Facing a spread offense, with a mobile quarterback, for the first time since the Wolverines devastating loss to Oregon.
"I thought a year ago he really showed great promise. Once you show it, it's there. I think, as I said, when you get behind like they have, I think it makes it difficult. Particularly they're on the road. They have a young team in there. The noise and all those things that go along with it. I think he's an outstanding passer. I think he's very effective running the football. It's obvious he understands what they're trying to do. He's a bright guy. You can see that in the way he manages the game. I liked him a lot a year ago, and no reason to feel any different today," Carr said.
Michigan and Northwestern is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. on the Big 10 Network.