Football

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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.

Senior quarterback Shea Patterson has fumbled four times in two games.

Patterson wasn’t available a week later, after the Michigan football team’s 24-21 win over Army in double overtime Saturday. But his words echoed through the press conference nonetheless.

I gotta take care of the football.

Michigan wins 24-21 against Army at the Big House Saturday.

Michigan escaped an upset bid, pulling out a 24-21 double-OT win over Army, moving to 2-0 in a game that could have derailed its season before Big Ten play even started.

Michigan's defensive line must stay disciplined in its rush lanes against Army's triple-option offense.

Brian Smith remembers the first time he saw Army on the schedule. The reaction, naturally, was dread. Now the defensive coordinator at Rice, which lost 14-7 to the Black Knights last week, that’s what happens when he thinks about preparing his defense to face the triple option.

Shaun Nua brings experience against the triple-option, having coached defensive line at Navy from 2012-17.

Shaun Nua remembers the last time he beat Army. That December day in Philadelphia four years ago, Nua was on the sidelines, coaching defensive line at Navy — the Black Knights’ fiercest rival.

Army's triple-option offense poses a unique threat, but the Black Knights scored just 14 points last week against Rice.

After reviewing the tape, though, Michigan might be able to identify a few unexpected weak spots. Here are five thoughts from Army's win last weekend, and how the Wolverines might approach the matchup with that in mind.

Jim Harbaugh brought his father, Jack, onto Michigan's staff in 2016.

He has learned that any time he spends outside of football must be spent with family, a necessity when two things of that magnitude of importance play a role in your life. “When he’s not doing football,” said Willie Taggart, who called on Jim as his best man at his wedding, “typically he’s with them.” Thus, Jim’s public life lends itself to interpretation while his private life remains deeply guarded, their intersections dissected largely in football terms.

Defensive ends Aidan Hutchinson and Josh Uche are a vital part of Michigan's new four-defensive end NASCAR package.

Saturday night against Middle Tennessee State, Don Brown introduced his latest innovation: NASCAR packages — looks with four defensive ends, bringing speed to the defense.
Michigan’s strength at defensive end lies in its depth. Sophomore Aidan Hutchinson and junior Kwity Paye are the starters, but Uche — typically a linebacker — can slot in as an edge rusher. Behind them, senior Michael Danna, a transfer from Central Michigan, brings a skillset that produced the nation’s second-highest success rate on pass rushes in 2018.

Senior tight end Nick Eubanks figures to play a large role in Michigan's offense this year with his unique skill set.

Eubanks, a senior tight end, came to Michigan at 236 pounds. He checked in this year at 6-foot-5, 256 pounds, or in other words, the same height and four pounds smaller than Travis Kelce of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.
Athletically speaking, that means Eubanks can line up next to a tackle and block. It means he can split out wide and run a route. It means he’s probably bigger than most defensive backs and faster than most linebackers, which in turn means that when defensive coordinators prepare for the Wolverines, they need to spend time figuring out how to deal with Nick Eubanks.