DETROIT – The Michigan Wolverines are looking to beat the Georgia Bulldogs in the Capital One Orange Bowl on New Year’s Eve and advance to their first National Championship game in over 20 years.
Wednesday, Dec. 29, was supposed to be media day for both players and journalists, but, due to guidance from the College Football Playoff management committee, the traditional sense of in-person conversation is now virtual for student-athlete safety as the spread of COVID-19 continues.
With the cancellation of Bowl games, the committee wants to ensure that the semifinal games get played.
Michigan practiced under the lights Tuesday night in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to simulate the conditions of Friday night’s battle vs. the Bulldogs inside Hard Rock Stadium.
The Wolverines said they are loose, confident, and proud of the turnaround from 2-4 in 2020 to 12-1 as they’re heading into the National semifinal.
“The way that we worked when we didn’t win a single game, that’s when I knew this team was special,” said Aidan Hutchinson, the Heisman runner-up and MVP in the Big Ten Championship game. “Now we’re sitting here, Big Ten Champions, and competing for a natty! This team has come so far.”
What sparked this culture change? Wolverines quarterback Cade McNamara was asked that question this morning, and he said it was the leadership on the team; they knew they needed to make changes, and they had to do it together.
Georgia has one of the best defenses in the country and or front seven in all of college football, but the Wolverines have the best offensive line in the nation.
McNamara believes that the game will be won upfront with his O-line.
“Their front and their box is very talented, but I think the heart and soul of our offense is our O-line,” McNamara said. “I think if anyone in the country is going to block them, it’s going to be our dudes. We size up well to them, and I think it obviously will be a good challenge, but we’re looking forward to it.”
That Bulldog defense showed a vulnerability in the SEC Championship game against Alabama. They blitzed almost every down and didn’t record one sack.
Today, head coach Kirby Smart said his team would not forget that game against the Crimson Tide, and they will use it going forward.
“Coming off of the loss of the SEC Championship is certainly disappointing, but it was also a little bit of an awakening for our guys,” Smart said. " You grow after a loss.”
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