We started hearing the tone from senior linebacker Josh Ross and senior defensive end Aidan Hutchinson a little over a month ago. The two defensive leaders spoke with vigor, passion and energy while in Indianapolis for Big Ten Media Days and those same vibes returned yesterday when the two newly-minted captains spoke to the media outside of Schembechler Hall.
"I think one thing is that we're hitting our stride right as we move into week one," Hutchinson said. "I think that's super crucial that you need from your team in camp. I feel we just had our best practice [Wednesday] in the stadium. We had another scrimmage. We were flying around out there, executing and doing what we had to do. Watching the film [Thursday] morning — it was fun to watch us fly around. I think we're hitting our stride heading into week one."
Ross was so fired up he even dropped an F-bomb.
"We know the work we've been putting in. We've been f---ing grinding," Ross said. "We've been grinding this offseason, changing the culture and doing everything the right way. We've been grinding this training camp. We're just ready to go out and play ball. Enough talk — we're not talking anymore. Let's just go out there and do it. Let's go do it. Let's play."
Ross apologized for his language, but the point was made. These dudes — these two dudes in particular — are ready to go. They were voted captains by their teammates because of what they stand for, how they lead and because they're not afraid to speak up.
You love hearing Ross talk like that, but he's also right. He's speaking from the heart and sometimes that can hurt.
That's the most poignant sentence from Ross' entire media session. There's been talking in the past. Everyone has been talking all offseason — players, coaches and media people. Not because anyone is talking out of place or inappropriately, but that's all we have right now.
That's all going to change in just over a week. Michigan will run out, touch the banner and take on Western Michigan. Everyone expects the Wolverines to win that one with relative ease, but then Washington comes to town during week two. That's the first real test of the season. That's where we'll all find out if this team truly is different and operating with a different energy or if it really was just talk this offseason.