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Michigan DE Chris Wormley Credits His Excellent Start to an Off-season of Hard Work

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Wormley has six tackles for loss through two games this season, which has made him the early-season MVP of Michigan's defense.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan's defense was dominant in its 35-7 dismantling of the Oregon State Beavers, but it did not start out that way.

On the opening drive of the game, the Beavers drove right now the field with a handful of chunk plays capped off by a 21-yard touchdown pass from Seth Collins to Hunter Jarmon.

After that, it was all-Wolverines.

It was an impressive bounceback, as Michigan held OSU to only three yards of offense after the first quarter.

Defensive end Chris Wormley was a big part of that, as he added three tackles for loss to bring his season total through two games to six.

"I think it’s just the mentality you have to have as a defense even when they do score on that first drive," Wormley said. "You have to just settle in and know the tendencies that they are doing and just played off of that.

"You have to have the mentality of it’s not going to happen again, maybe buckle down a little bit. Let the nerves settle in. The first home game at the Big House…the nerves are always jumping. After that, you saw what happened with the defense. We shut them down. I’m proud of the whole defense for that."

The defense did its job for the most part against Utah, but they knew they had to be better today and make a statement. Wormley says the defensive line made it a point to keep it up.

"We had to come in this week and we decided that we were going to play as hard as we can as long as we can," he said. "I think that was the biggest thing. Coming together as a defensive line and saying ‘this isn’t going to happen again. This is what we are going to do’ and that’s what we did.

"We stopped the run. We got pressure on the quarterback. And that was all four quarters and I’m proud of the d-line for that."

One of the turning points of the game early on came when the defense forced a fumble following a Jake Rudock turnover.

"It was huge," Wormley said. "They were on the 30-yard line or something like that and we got that fumble, so it was huge sudden change for the offense to go out there and do what they had to do.

"Coach Durkin has emphasized that since he got here and during Spring ball. I think we had 90-some turnovers in camp. We charted that. It was a big emphasis in camp and I think that’s what we came out to accomplish was getting turnovers to give the ball back to the offense."

After a slow first quarter, the offense exploded for 35 unanswered points while the defense continued to suffocate the Beavers.

"When you put up 35 points on offense and you are able to run the ball like they did with De’Veon (Smith), Ty (Isaac), Drake (Johnson) and Derrick (Green), it gives the defense a great amount of confidence that we can stop them," Wormley said.

"When you have that working on both offense and defense, and then you see the special teams producing as well, it gives you that confidence and that drive to keep going and fighting and get that win every week."

Wormley has been an absolute force on the defensive line in the first two weeks of the season. He is not coming out of nowhere, but he is finally putting his game together and flashing his true potential game-to-game, snap-to-snap. He prepared himself for this, though.

"I think it’s just hard work and getting into the weight room after last season," he said. "Building that confidence in yourself as a defensive line as a whole. It’s not just me out there having the success. The nose tackle and the other end out there are putting in as much work as I am. Watching film, and I guess just the trust of the d-line as a whole."