Injuries have depleted the offense of the football team.
Senior starting running back Zurlon Tipton is out indefinitely after breaking his ankle last week at Michigan, while junior starting quarterback Cody Kater is out four to six weeks after breaking his collarbone.
With the offense in shambles, the defense is feeling the pressure heading into Saturday’s home opener against New Hampshire, but senior defensive lineman Kenny McClendon is confident that the defense will get the job done.
“Our defense as a whole, we already have pressure put on us,” McClendon said. “We know we’ve got to make plays. The offense has got to do what they have to do, and they can handle themselves…and the defense, we have to make sure we handle ourselves, which we will.”
The defense had some positive takeaways from the loss to the Wolverines. Three interceptions and consistent pressure on U-M quarterback Devin Gardner pleased the coaching staff.
Michigan still managed to score 59 points, something that bothers both McClendon and head coach Dan Enos.
“We had three takeaways, but, at the same time, someone put up 59 points,” McClendon said. “We have to make sure we eliminate that. We had some positives, but we had some negatives as well. I think we had good pressure (on Gardner) and our defensive backs played well; they made plays and we did some things, we just didn’t do enough.”
Gardner’s mobility gave CMU trouble. So much trouble it reminded Enos of former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
“I think their quarterback was the difference,” Enos said. “Guys were covered, so he scrambled out and found the guy the one time down the sideline.”
Tipton was named a team captain this year, and while his presence on the field will be missed, McClendon is still confident that others will step up and lead the team.
“The leadership is still there,” McClendon said. “I think everyone – I know our running back group – is going to have to step up, and I know that the leadership, everyone, is doing the best they can to be leading.”