Football

Despite being a game in which Michigan football is favored by 27.5, the Wolverines still look to make a statement against Rutgers this Saturday.

All week, an introspective air enveloped Schembechler Hall.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh took some of the blame following a disappointing 35-14 loss to Wisconsin last Saturday.

It has become easy to forget there is a football game to play this weekend.

Michigan’s defense looks to rebound after an embarrassing 35-14 loss to Wisconsin last Saturday.

For the Michigan defense, this weekend’s game will likely offer little in the way of conclusive answers.

Josh Gattis' offense hasn't performed to expectation thus far.

At times when Josh Gattis spoke on Wednesday, it seemed his every other word was “adversity.” Over 22 minutes, he used the word nearly 15 times. During one 25-second stretch, he used it four times.

Josh Gattis is working through struggles in his first year as Michigan's offensive coordinator.

Josh Gattis told his players a story this week.

This season, senior left tackle Jon Runyan returned from injury, but Michigan's offensive line has still struggled.

Four of five starters returned from a year ago. The fifth starting spot was a choice of luxury — between an athletic young talent in Jalen Mayfield and an experienced commodity in Andrew Stueber — rather than desperation. Michigan coach Ed Warriner was set to return for a second season. For the first time in years, the trenches would be of no concern.

At least that’s how the thinking went.

Senior left tackle Jon Runyan was disappointed in his inability to lift the level of play along the offensive line in his return.

With the root cause of Saturday’s debacle pinpointed, Harbaugh didn’t shy away from outlining his plan for this week’s practices.

“Emphasis on physicality, emphasis on toughness and emphasis on hustle,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll make that part of the practice plan more and also playing the players that are dedicated and playing physically at all times. Get those players in the ballgame.”

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh stood at the podium and accepted responsibility for the Wolverines' struggles Saturday.

The scene bore all the makings of a normal press conference: Harbaugh standing there in a sweatshirt and khakis with his hands folded, speaking with as much of a filter as he can muster and giving short responses to injury questions. Rarely, though, has the Michigan coach been as direct as he was Monday afternoon. He took responsibility, and so did the players. He said, repeatedly, that the performance wasn’t acceptable, and that it starts with him. He said the effort wasn’t there on Saturday, giving the requisite cliches about believing in his team, with the caveat that, in all areas, things must improve — no excuses and no way around it.

Fifth-year senior linebacker Jordan Glasgow believes the team won't let the loss against Wisconsin define them.

Neither of those things guarantee that Michigan will do the same this year. After all, the Wolverines looked much worse against Wisconsin on Saturday than they did in their previous early-season losses. But Michigan players still remember that they’ve rebounded before, and going forward, the only thing left to do is believe they can do it again.

Presented by The Michigan Daily's sports section, a rotating cast of writers discusses Michigan sports.

The Daily discusses Michigan football’s embarrassing 35-14 loss to Wisconsin this past Saturday, and where the Wolverines go from here for the rest of the season.