Nua says Michigan defensive performance is unacceptable: 'Where is our pride?'

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Michigan defensive line coach Shaun Nua wasn’t reaching when he described the team’s defensive performance as “unacceptable” in last weekend’s debacle against Wisconsin.

The Wolverines lost 49-11 to the Badgers last Saturday at Michigan Stadium, where they are winless this season and are now 1-3 overall. Michigan is preparing this week to play at Rutgers in another prime-time game Saturday.

Shaun Nua

Michigan has lost three straight and given up an average 459 yards in each. Wisconsin had an opponent-high 468 yards of offense, including a gaudy 341 yards rushing. The Wolverines ranked 79th nationally in total defense (425.8), are tied for 76th against the run (178.5) and 80th in passing yards allowed (247.3). Michigan's defense has been porous in every sense. Michigan State and Indiana torched Michigan's defense through the air, gaining a combined 665 yards.

“If they’re not embarrassed with those numbers, then you shouldn’t be part of this fricking game,” Nua said Monday night on the “Inside Michigan Football” radio show when asked specifically about the Wisconsin game. “I can’t sleep, can’t eat. It’s just unacceptable.

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“The challenge is, I’m talking about as a full group, what the heck can we do to make sure that doesn’t happen? It comes from passion, leadership. Let’s get the fricking mindset right. I’m sick and tired of all these wasted opportunities. That’s the motivation, is just pride. Where the frick is our pride? Let’s put that on the table and let’s go kick some butt. Those numbers, that is not Michigan football.”

Michigan is 94th of 121 ranked teams in sacks and 112th of 126 teams in tackles for loss.

Starting defensive end Aidan Hutchinson was lost for the season during the first series of the game at Indiana two weeks ago when he suffered a broken ankle. He is expected to have surgery Tuesday. Kwity Paye, who starts at the other end, has not played since late in the third quarter of the Indiana game because of an undisclosed injury.

Paye was on the sideline Saturday night offering support to his defensive line teammates.

“Hopefully as soon as possible,” Nua said when asked when Paye might return. “The sooner the better. I know he’s working his butt of to get back as soon as possible. His influence on these guys is very high. I told him do not shy away during the game. Help out wherever you see, and that’s exactly what he did. His experience is invaluable for us too. He did a good job of communicating with those guys on the sideline. It was fun to watch him from that perspective. Hopefully we get him back soon.”