While the offense was busy showing off a new offensive scheme on Saturday, the Michigan defense was busy showcasing it had something to prove.
That physicality is the new norm.
It showed during U-M's spring game with the defense thoroughly outplaying the offense in all facets of the game during their 45-minute scrimmage session to end the day. It started with a senior quarterback Devin Gardner interception and was followed up by the defensive line abusing their offensive counterparts on many occasions.
One of they key members of the defense who made an impact on Saturday and is expected to have it carry over throughout the season is senior defensive end Frank Clark. Clark, who showed impressive quickness and strength to burst through the offensive line to disrupt plays, knows this is his final chance to leave the football program in a better place.
The run to a successful season starts with the spring game.
With the spring practices concluding Saturday, Clark had no where else he would rather be than at Michigan Stadium.
"Any time you play in the Big House you get that feeling in your stomach," Clark said. "I get it, and I've been playing for four years. Any time I walk down the tunnel and see 'The Team, The Team, The Team' I get that special feeling in my heart."
With the coaching staff stressing physicality and the urgency of improvement always present, Clark knows that the Michigan defense has a chance to be great and so does defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.
"Coach Mattison said it right after we broke the huddle with Coach Hoke (after the scrimmage,)" said Clark. "We can be a great team and can be an even better defense if you guys want it. That means simply to us that coming with everything we've got to have during summer camp."
The competition between the offense and defense has been fierce throughout the spring. Though Clark wouldn't necessarily say who had the upper hand during the 15 spring practices, he had no choice but to show some bias towards his side of the ball.
"We battle, we battle," said Clark. "I take pride in my defense, so of course I am going to be biased towards our defense. Our offense is working hard to get better as a group and our defense has a long way to go as well."
Last season, a 7-6 record left a sour taste in a majority -- if not all -- of the returning players mouths. With how the season progressed -- and finished -- not exactly as planned, Clark feels the team is right where he wants it to be.
An afterthought in the media circles. With that, Clark hopes U-M is in a perfect position to shock the world this season.
"I want all the media and the critics to look down on us," Clark admitted. "I don't want to be in the Top 25 (to start the season,) I want to be a team that surprises. That way we can shock the world."
When teased that Clark was sounding like U-M basketball forward Jordan Morgan, his retort is something he hopes the football team can say after this season is over.
"Hey, it worked for them."
Maybe so, but it is clear this team has a long way to go.