ORLANDO, FL — Michigan Wolverines linebacker Cam McGrone drank out of the firehose a bit this season, as he was thrown into action as a redshirt freshman after an injury to Josh Ross. Now, he is one of the key pieces on a defense that will look to shut down the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Citrus Bowl on Wednesday afternoon.
McGrone spoke to the media at kids day and shared some of his thoughts on what they are up against this week.
“How explosive they are, how many athletes they have on the field and how many can make plays,” he said. “They have more than the ability to just make explosive plays. It’s going to come down to who can execute more, and I think we can do that. We have the tools and the plays to do it, so it just comes down to execution.”
Michigan has had the benefit of somewhat practicing against the type of offense Alabama likes to run given that coordinator Josh Gattis spent last season with the Crimson Tide. McGrone feels confident that what they have seen all season in practice will have them prepare for the game on Wednesday.
“Since spring ball, we’ve really been seeing Alabama’s offense,” he said. “So coming into this game, we’re very confident. Our offense runs a lot of the same plays, same route combinations, so we’re really confident coming into this game, and I can’t wait.”
Michigan’s defense felt like it was a few plays here or there of having a much better showing in 2019 in some of its biggest moments, but none was a bigger bummer than what took place the last game of the year against Ohio State.
“It’s just regular disappointment,” McGrone said. “With the amount of time we prepared — everything we did leading up to that point — it sucks that it ended up that way. But it’s one game at a time and we knew we had one more, so it’s Alabama now.
“Just coming from Wisconsin to Penn State — each game we lost was because of the explosive plays. Wisconsin had big runs, huge passes, and Ohio State as well. So it comes down to executing and eliminating those big plays.”
If you scroll back a bit higher, you’ll remember him saying how explosive Alabama is and it is not hard to imagine them potentially having more problems in this game. That said, the Wolverines are not lacking motivation.
“We just want to prove everybody wrong,” he said. “All throughout the season, and even last season, we’ve had doubters, and we only listen to the voices in our room, but we kind of get a boost from shutting people up. So that’s what we plan to do.
“There’s some simple stuff, like ‘Michigan isn’t anything, they’ve never been there.’ But our plan is to get there, and to get there we have to shut people up on the way.”
Wednesday’s game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET from Camping World Stadium in Orlando.