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Noteworthy comments from Jesse Minter and Steve Clinkscale’s Fiesta Bowl press conference

Minter and Clinkscale discussed on and off the field topics in their Wednesday availability.

Big Ten Championship - Purdue v Michigan Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

With the offensive coordinators speaking to the media on Tuesday, Wednesday was the defense’s day in the limelight. Here are some noteworthy comments made by Michigan Wolverines defensive coordinator Jesse Minter and defensive backs coach/co-defensive coordinator Steve Clinkscale in their time with the media.

Steve Clinkscale

How would you evaluate how you guys have done executing against big plays this year?

“My honest answer is I’m never satisfied. I think in certain games, we have given up one early on and then we shut it down the rest of the game, and that will happen, when they are throwing 50/50 balls at times. You have to live with that, but you have to get up there and continue to be aggressive.

“We feed off that. We will be aggressive and go out there and play and do our job. I just feel like if our guys continue to listen to me and take their medicine and continue to listen to coach Harbaugh and (Jesse Minter), we continue to do what we do as a team, I think we will get the results that they want.”

I know you may not get a ton of tempo in the league like TCU brings to the table. How do you drill that over the last couple of weeks?

“Well, there may be a little bit of misconception — we have a lot of tempo in the Big Ten. We play teams that are really fast, lightning fast. They have different types of tempo where you go fast and stop, you go fast and you continue it go. You look like you are about to go fast until you break out of huddles. Everything that they have had, that they do, we have seen a little bit of it.

“But the best way to practice it is just simulate it with a look team as much as we can. Like, repeat plays really fast or have two plays called and just continue to go. But there’s no simulation to the game because the difference is you are covering different speed, right? Then you have to run back and get lined up and cover it again based on the play they are going to run. So it’s really just getting the feel, kind of getting your feet grounded when you start off the game and when they present that to you.”

Jesse Minter

Do you think there was some skepticism before, just from the point of assimilating (guys in the portal) to the program?

“I think the portal is really new. I don’t know that there’s enough of a history to say one way or the other. I think if the guy is disgruntled and looking for an opportunity to maybe create more value for himself, it’s great that he can go somewhere else. That’s college football now, so I think you can either always adapt and evolve and try to keep up with what is allowed or what the rules are and say, well, we never want to do this.

“I think a trademark of Jim Harbaugh is just every year trying to find a way to be better, trying to find a way to improve. And so whatever that means, whatever the resources are, whatever the rules allow, try to maximize it and try to find the best way that we can get better, I think that’s what he’s doing by building this roster.”

Does it in any way manifest from last year, maybe going into that Georgia game, the team has accomplished their goals and now they have their foot on the pedal?

“I think there’s always evolution. Where the program went from 2020 to 2021, and the goals of beating Ohio for the first time, winning the Big Ten — sometimes you hit that and you’re like, ‘Wow, we’ve done it.’ And I don’t think anybody — I think the narrative of, ‘Oh, they took the Georgia game lightly’ is nonsense. These guys are too competitive and they work too hard.

“But it also — any time you lose, you learn. And so we lost a game. It’s a chance to learn and look back and say, okay, maybe we were — mentality-wise, we were really, really happy to be there. Now it’s just been the approach all year of let’s take this thing as far as we can. And we have big, big goals and coach Harbaugh has mentioned our four goals. The fourth one is in front of us, but we have to take care of this game, and that’s why it’s the most important thing on our minds. That’s all we are focused on.”