Aidan Hutchinson reveals when he knew Michigan had what it took to make a CFP run
Michigan made history this season. No one in the College Football Playoff era had opened a year unranked in the AP poll and earned one of the 4 spots into the Playoff.
Until the Wolverines.
Michigan closed the season on a tear, winning 4 straight to close out the regular season. Only one of those games was decided by single digits, and it wasn’t the annual meeting with Ohio State. Then the Wolverines avoided an emotional hangover after The Game and thoroughly trounced Iowa in the Big Ten Championship game. Now, they get No. 3 Georgia in CFP semifinal action with a trip to the National Championship on the line.
Hutchinson was in Houston Wednesday night for the Lombardi Award banquet—he’s a finalist—and spoke with ESPN 97.5 about UM’s season. Asked if there was a moment early on when he realized that Michigan had what it took to make a run to the title, he offered up a story from fall camp.
“One practice in fall camp, we were in a team period and the defense just kept winning and winning and winning and the next thing you know, it was this spontaneous thing, everyone starts screaming and hooting and hollering,” he told The Wheelhouse. “It was the most absurd thing I’ve ever seen at practice. And then the next thing you know the offense starts winning, winning, winning, and they’re all going crazy. Our strength coach has pictures all over our weight room of that practice saying: ‘This is what a Michigan practice should look like.’ I’ll never forget that practice, it was probably the coolest practice I’ve ever had. It just goes to show how invested our guys are and how all-in everybody is to our program.
“It’s always hard to gauge how good you are in fall camp when you’re playing against each other, so going into any season I never know how good we’re going to be. You can really only hope, you have your goals you want to achieve, but there was just something different about this team. The energy. What I just talked about, what happened in that practice. And that was consistent throughout all of spring ball, throughout all of winter conditioning, fall camp, everything. I knew that necessarily didn’t mean we’re going to win a lot of ball games—that doesn’t guarantee anything—but I think it just shows the investment of the guys into our program.”
You can listen to the rest of the interview here.