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. The Midshipmen finished with eight tackles for loss and three sacks in rivalry win number four for Nua, now Michigan’s defensive line coach. Together, those four victories were Nua’s favorite rivalry moments.
Last season, Michigan’s offense huddled before every play, taking its good sweet time to get in formation. But under new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, that’s changed.
And with a new no-huddle system designed to push the tempo, senior guard Michael Onwenu knew he needed to get into better shape. So he changed his daily habits in the offseason to become healthier while still maintaining the bulk that gives him push on the offensive line.
Now, as he put it, he’s able to “hold up and stay alive” at the game’s new speed.
Eventually, things reverted to the mean, and the Michigan football team cruised to an easy 40-21 win. But that wasn’t how things were supposed to go for one of the top defenses in the country, facing the No. 101 team in preseason SP+, much less on the first drive.
Ambry Thomas knew the play Middle Tennessee was about to run. He’d seen it before, a couple plays earlier. He had a feeling he’d be the target.
Then, there he was, reacting, knowing he had to make a play. Blue Raiders’ quarterback Asher O’Hara threw the ball at him and he picked it off like there was nothing to it, halting Middle Tennessee’s momentum in the middle of the first quarter in an eventual 40-21 win.
Mere weeks ago, such a key play from the junior defensive back seemed nearly impossible. But Ambry Thomas had no regard for the odds.
The freshmen on the defensive line have done a lot of screwing up in fall camp. At least, if you ask Aidan Hutchinson.
But it’s not entirely a bad thing.
“Obviously, they’re screwing up a lot in practice, which is expected, and you gotta let them learn from their mistakes,” the sophomore defensive end said. “But you can also ease that transition into helping them with some little things, but for the most part they just gotta learn from what they do, you gotta do the things, you do them wrong and that’s how you learn.”
The Michigan men’s soccer team had just 12 days to prepare for its season opener. So coach Chaka Daley tried to engineer as many challenges as possible.
Most exhibition matches for power conference teams are designed blowouts against far-inferior teams. Not for the 24th-ranked Wolverines, though. They played on the road at Cincinnati and Akron, both moves designed with upcoming games in mind.
CAPE COD, Mass. — Jesse Franklin smacked a single, then motored into second on the throw home.
Waiting for him there was none other than Jack Blomgren. Reunited briefly with his Michigan teammate, Franklin took the opportunity to mess around with Blomgren.
Franklin and Blomgren are two of three Wolverines who headed to Cape Cod for summer ball after their second-place finish in the College World Series. Franklin plays outfield for the Brewster Whitecaps, Blomgren is an infielder with the Wareham Gatemen and left-hander Angelo Smith pitches for the Orleans Firebirds.
John Beilein was the veteran coach who filled his bench with younger, up-and-coming assistants. For new coach Juwan Howard, it was the opposite for his first hire.
It had long been rumored that Howard, a young coach with no college or head coaching experience, was looking for a veteran head coach to join his staff, and Howard has now found that person in former St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli, according to a report from NBC Sports Philadelphia.