While struggling defensively last season, ultimately finishing towards the bottom of the league in most major defensive categories, Pat Fitzgerald decided to post some newspaper clippings and online articles around the facility to motivate the team.
The Wildcats racked up a mere 17 sacks (ranking 95th nationally), and finished 10th in the Big Ten in scoring and rushing defense, 12th in passing defense and 11th in overall defense. Coach Fitz says that the Wildcat defense took the poor performance in 2011 to heart.
‘‘For the first time, I used some outside stuff,’’ Fitz told the media a few days ago about motivating the team. ‘‘Thanks to you guys for the motivation, and I don’t blame you. You get what you deserve. We deserved everything that was said about the guys. They took it personally.’’
Defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz says that the defensive staff is getting creative in finding ways to bring pressure in 2012.
‘‘It has to come from everybody. You can’t just say one guy is going to provide the pressure."
"We’re going to do different things as coaches. We’re going to work harder on it. We’re going to try to get different people in different positions. It’s going to be a solution by team; it’s not a solution by one guy or one thing. It’s going to be multiple things we’re going to do to create more pressure.’’