Legendary basketball coach Morgan Wooten once said, “you learn more from losing than winning.” To Michigan co-defensive coordinator Steve Clinkscale, that’s not just a fact, it’s a challenge.
Don’t think Clinkscale doesn’t feel good after wins — he does, just like every other coach. But come Monday morning, his message to his players is the same as it would be after a loss; not every play was perfect, and we need to fix that.
For Clinkscale, not even a blowout on Ohio State’s home turf changed that mentality.
“What I can take away from it is we did enough to win, I think we can do more,” Clinkscale said Wednesday. “Everyone’s so proud and happy, but I really think we left some things out there, and we’re fixing those. Our guys are going to go out there and do what they’re taught to do.”
Clinkscale takes no prisoners in his approach, particularly when it comes to film sessions. Make no mistake, it’s not being tough for the sake of being tough; he knows opposing offenses are combing over the tape just as much as he is, and he’s determined to not get caught making the same mistake twice.
“We learn from our mistakes every week,” Clinkscale said. “We go back all year, I go back through all the games and make cut-ups of plays that hurt us, the plays that should’ve hurt us, and we practice those plays and we emphasize because we know we’re going to see them — and you do, you see them every week. You see a play from a game three weeks ago or five weeks ago that someone thinks is gonna work on us again and we’re prepared for it.”
It’s clear Clinkscale’s approach in tandem with Jesse Minter’s game-planning is producing significant results. The Wolverines are top-five in the well known statistical categories of total and scoring defense, but also in the more analytical categories as well.
Notable for their game against the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday in the Big Ten Championship is Michigan’s passing efficiency allowed. In total this season, pass offenses against the Wolverines have sat at a 104.32 efficiency rating — good for third in the nation. Purdue’s passing attack was noted as a big task by Clinkscale.
“They do pass the ball a lot, and they’re very good at doing it,” Clinkscale said. “They know exactly what to do, when to do it, they know how to attack different coverages — if you show them those coverages or they understand what you’re in. And we have to be prepared.”