A Florida team intent on beating the brakes off of Michigan found themselves bracing for impact again and again Saturday. Don Brown made a strong case for inclusion in the next Nefarious Mustachioed Character Hall of Fame class by putting together what once seemed oxymoronic: a suffocating 3-3-5. Deploying the 3-3-5 in turn led to more playing time for redshirt junior linebacker Noah Furbush, who recorded two tackles and a fumble recovery. I spoke with Furbush about the play that led to his fumble recovery touchdown and subsequently sealed Michigan’s opening-game victory.
On that play, it was the second time you had them backed up inside their own 10-yard line the entire game. Did you have a good feel for what they might run, and how tough is that when you don’t get those looks very often?
“We knew that they were moving the pocket a lot of the game. When we get them down inside our own 5, inside our own 10, we really want to put the pressure on. We really want to make them feel uncomfortable. We wanted to get after them and we wanted to make a big play like something that happened. Chase stepped up and made a huge play for us.”
As far as what their offense was doing, was it what you expected when they were backed up?
“Yeah, I suppose.”
How important then is gap integrity against a guy like Zaire?
“Yeah, a guy like Zaire can spread a defense out, really change a play, and change how a defense can operate. It’s important to be assignment-perfect, do everything you’re supposed to do, and not lose contain on the play.”
It looked like you had to slide over a gap but first it looked like you looked inside before you did that. Is that related to Zaire and his running ability? Is that trying to stay gap-sound?
“Yeah. I just wanted to make sure that he didn’t get out of the pocket. I wanted to keep him in there and keep him inside so Chase could finish him off.”
You obviously had to shed a block to get there. What are some of the fundamentals of stacking and shedding, and what happened on that block?
“Every day we practice shedding blocks, working the hands, and that’s basically just instinctual stuff. You do it without even thinking about it.”
And that’s what happened on that block.
At what point do you see that Chase has gotten to the quarterback and at what point do you see the ball come out?
“Right when I got off the block I saw Chase hit the quarterback and then as I was running to him I just saw the ball. Another instinctual reaction, something we work every day. We have a fumble circuit and we work that every day: hopping on balls, fetal position, secure the football.”
So it’s just second nature at that point? You just know to dive and go?
“Yep, all reaction.”
And keeping it in bounds is the same thing?
“All muscle memory, yep.”
[gif courtesy of Ace]