With the departure of senior Leon Hall in the secondary, Morgan Trent, the second starter at the CB…
Morgan Trent Talks Defense
It's now close to a year later. Trent, who has stepped into the No. 1 role vacated by Hall, has performed admirably, silencing his critics from last season.
"I've gotten a lot better mentally, just knowing how to handle things," Trent said. "I have a lot of experience, I've seen a lot of things, I've been there, I know what works and what doesn't so I think I've grow a lot as a player."
Last week against Minnesota, the Golden Gophers, who average 240.6 passing yards per game, were held to just 99 by Trent and the rest of the Michigan secondary.
"I attribute that to the whole defense, the guys up front were getting great pressure up there. The linebackers were doing a good job of stopping the run and forcing them to throw the ball and then it goes back to the secondary."
After nine games, the Wolverines sit second in the Big 10 in pass defense. Allowing just 188.9 yards per game, down close to 50 yards from where they finished last season.
"I think our secondary has been very, very consistent here in the last seven games," Coach Lloyd Carr said.
"We've been good in terms of big plays. I think we've leveraged the football, and I think in terms of the way we've played the first half, it almost always goes back to a team game. What kind of pressure are you having?
"Is the quarterback breaking contain? Is he standing back there with a lot of time to throw the football? If he is, then there's not a secondary out there that's going to look very good. I think that's been part of our ability to play better is because we have had pretty good pressure, and of course the test is out there this week and in the weeks ahead."
This week, the test comes in the form of the Michigan State Spartans. Having struggled against the Wolverines since their controversial 2001 win in East Lansing, Trent, who remembers dropping an interception that could have sealed the Wolverines last win in East Lansing, is expecting a war.
"It's Michigan State, it's going to be great, great emotion and everybody knows how that is," Trent said. "This whole week is going to be a lot of emotion, a lot of excitement. To go up there, regardless of what the record is for both teams it's going to be a great, hard-fought battle, we know that.
"They've got some good running backs, they have a physical offensive line. They're a lot more physical team this year on offense, so even in the secondary we have got to knock the ball down when it gets there, we've got to get the ball on the ground."
Kick-off against the Spartans is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. ESPN on ABC will provide television coverage of the 100th meeting between the Wolverines and Spartans.
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