The Michigan Wolverines are teetering as a program right now after a 49-11 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday night and there are a lot of lost and confused faces on the field. The players are probably as baffled by how the last few weeks have gone as anyone else.
The confusion was palpable in Saturday night’s postgame press conference.
“My thoughts right now is, sitting here right after the game, it sucks. It sucks because you work so hard throughout the entire week,” defensive tackle Carlo Kemp said after Saturday’s game. “You have a good week of practice and you come out here and what’s happening in practice is not translating to the game. We’re right now just at a pivotal point where we got to still have that buy-in and we got to still have that belief into everything that we’re doing, because we do a lot of very good things and we’ve got a lot of very good players on offense and defense. It is just getting it to come together and putting it all together each Saturday.”
This group needs to bounce back quickly in order to get back any goodwill down the stretch this season. The time is now to rally and get everything back on track, according to multiple players and their head coach.
“Just a new opportunity,” linebacker Cam McGrone said. “We can’t do anything about these past few games. We definitely can’t do anything right now because it’s over. We’ve just got to keep moving forward, and want to win the next game.”
Despite people saying there is still a fight to this team, the body language was objectively pretty terrible on Saturday night. Some players still have not seen it this way, though.
“I wouldn’t really say there was a point in time where anybody was showing bad body language,” wide receiver Mike Sainristil said. “I feel like it was really more execution than anything. I feel like guys were still out there fighting regardless of what the score was.
“Losing obviously is very frustrating. I think right now we’re at the point we have to figure out what the issue is. Like Coach just said in the locker room, we have to go back and find out what was causing us to have success early on and what is currently making us not to have success.”
Kemp, as a two-time captain who arrived at Michigan in 2016, is trying to keep a level head and keep this team on track. He’s also being realistic about the fight that might be ahead for this group to get it turned around.
“Right now, my concern level’s nowhere near worried, or nervous or anything, just because, sure we’ve got young guys, but we’ve got hard-working great guys, everybody on this team,” Kemp said. “Everybody on this team is great in terms of character and anything beyond the other measurables. It’s getting everybody to do it consistently.
“Who knows what next Saturday has. We might be in a dogfight, we might be winning by a lot, we might be losing by a lot. Nobody knows. It’s those critical moments when it’s Saturday on the sideline and keeping everybody in the game no matter what’s happened and just fighting to the end and continuing to play. In terms of am I worried? No. We’ve shown the last three weeks that even though the outcome hasn’t been what we’ve wanted at all, we’re still here. We play, we finish games, we play for each other.”