The College Football Playoff is less than a week away, and Michigan football is the first of the two teams to arrive in South Florida for the Capital One Orange Bowl.
Considering 2020’s moribund 2-4 campaign, it shouldn’t be beyond the maize and blue faithful to pinch themselves. But that’s not how these players see it.
Upon landing in Fort Lauderdale, quarterback Cade McNamara said this isn’t just what he and the team envisioned for 2021, but it’s what he anticipated when he committed to the Wolverines out of Reno (Nev.) Damonte Ranch.
“Yeah this is what I envisioned when I decided to come here to Michigan,” McNamara said. “These are the type of games that we commit to. The success that we’re having this season, this is what we envisioned. I’m super excited and I know the rest of the team is for this week and the upcoming events.”
The Wolverines have been practicing in earnest now for nearly two weeks, and while there have been some who have worried whether or not the momentum could continue from Ohio State and Iowa games, McNamara has no doubt based on what he’s seen in practice thus far.
“I think we’ve honestly done a really good job of picking right up where we left off at the Big Ten
Championship over the last couple of weeks in practice,” McNamara said. “I think as we come back here as the environment shifts just a little bit, I think myself and the other leaders on this team are just going to do the best we can to make sure that that momentum carries into practice because however we practice it’ll reflect to how we play in the game.”
When it comes to Georgia, though a lot of the talk has been about the defense, the Bulldog offense has been among the top in the nation, ranked sixth in scoring and No. 26 in yards per game.
Senior defensive end and team captain Aidan Hutchinson is more concerned with what the Wolverines can do defensively compared to the personnel or scheme that UGA presents.
“They have a talented offense and a lot of solid players,” Hutchinson said. “But I think if we just execute and just do our jobs and don’t get too hyped up in the moment, we’re going to be just fine, and I think we’ll have a lot of success if we just hone in and focus on our jobs and don’t let the moment get too big.”
While it will be a difference for this team given that it’s coming from cold weather, whereas Georgia is more moderate, is how it will be affected by weather in the 80s. Michigan has been practicing indoors since resuming, and will take full advantage of the added time in the Miami area to get acclimated.
As far as Hutchinson is concerned, the team will be ready to go on Friday, and he’s particularly confident in his own ability to wreak havoc on the opposing line.
“It’s nice being out here and definitely going to have to get used to it at first for a little bit,” Hutchinson said. “Come Friday we’re rolling, and nothing is going to stop me.”
The Capital One Orange Bowl kicks off on Dec. 31 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens at 7:30 p.m. EST.