Football

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh suggested that Jess Speight switch from offensive line to defensive line in the offseason, then rewarded him with a scholarship.

The Monday after the Middle Tennessee game, Harbaugh gathered the team together and announced that Speight and junior offensive lineman Andrew Vastardis would receive scholarships. Speight had gotten into the game on special teams, making the moment even more special.

Fully healthy for the first time in two years, Tarik Black already has 104 yards this season.

Black stands at the center of the Wolverines’ offensive dichotomy. When Michigan’s offense was at its best in its 27-point first half against MTSU, he was its standout performer, notching 80 yards before halftime. Late in the second quarter, he missed a drive with cramps — a product of not having a full workload in two year. Since then, he has just 24 yards on three catches.

Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis lamented some mental mistakes he believes are handicapping the offense..

It’s unlikely Josh Gattis ever tried to envision what his first in-season press conference as Michigan’s offensive coordinator would look like because, frankly, he has better things to do. But if he did, he probably didn’t picture reporters trying their best to play Operation, guessing at potential issues to try and find an answer for why his offense hasn’t worked.

Defensive coordinator Don Brown explained the difficulties that went into approaching overtime against Army..

If there’s one team you really don’t want to face in overtime, it’s probably Army.

Like any team that runs the triple option, the Black Knights thrive on a short field, chipping away at the green turf until there’s no more empty space.

Though the Michigan football team came out with a win Saturday, there was plenty to be concerned about in all facets of the game.

By the skin of its teeth, the Michigan football team emerged victorious on Saturday against Army. That has done little to deter criticism in its aftermath. The Wolverines enter their first of two bye weeks, with more questions than answers through two weeks.

How much of that cynicism is warranted? Let the official Michigan Daily Panic Meter assess those worries.

Freshman running back Zach Charbonnet saw an expanded role on Saturday.

Michigan’s running game wasn’t supposed to look this way.

All offseason, coaches posited that it would be a three-headed committee. When running backs coach Jay Harbaugh spoke to the media three days before the start of the season, he listed five names in consideration for touches.

And for one week, reality bore that out. Then Saturday afternoon arrived. The final carry split: Zach Charbonnet, 33; Christian Turner, 3; Ben VanSumeren, 1.

Senior quarterback Shea Patterson has lost three fumbles in 2019 -- but he's not responsible for Michigan's lackluster play.

It makes sense to be alarmed right now — to see the need for change. The Wolverines are lucky to have won their first two games despite both coming against clearly inferior teams. They’ll go to Wisconsin after the bye week, seemingly unready to win a game of that magnitude, and with Michigan’s schedule, a loss in the third game of the season means you might as well wrap the whole thing up. It doesn’t make sense to bench Patterson as a result of that alarm. He isn’t the problem. Everything else is.

Michigan's successful fake-punt conversion led to one of two regulation scores Saturday.

In his postgame press conference Saturday, Army coach Jeff Monken emphasized one play more than any other.

It wasn’t any of his team’s three touchdowns or three fumble recoveries. It wasn’t the clinching play of the game, where his quarterback was sacked and fumbled. It wasn’t the Black Knights’ missed game-winning field goal attempt, either.

Monken wanted one play back: Michigan’s fake punt.

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“They’re going to be teammates and most of them are going to go straight into a combat zone. So what they’re building here will stand in a good stint for the next 40 years. He and I have been classmates for 40 years — ‘78,” said Chuck Dimeco, a former Army football player, before the game, gesturing to the man seated by his side. “That, I think, is different than what you get at a regular university. These guys have a reason for being there other than being on the field.”

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Tarik Black laid on the 15-yard line, face buried in the turf as Shea Patterson’s pass attempt hit the sideline beyond him.