Michigan’s defensive line took a bit of a hit in the first week of the season without a pair of tackles in Donovan Jeter (did not dress) and Michael Dwumfour (left game early), but it appears that reinforcements are on the way.
According to defensive line coach Shaun Nua, both players are ready to roll heading into the weekend and are expected to play. Head coach Jim Harbaugh had previously said Jeter has a good chance to play this weekend, but was not sure on Dwumfour yet.
That is good news for a Michigan defense that will need all the help it can get this week defending the unorthodox offense that the Army Black Knights will bring to Ann Arbor. Despite the triple option attack that usually has defenses off balance, Nua believes the key to slowing it down is quite simple.
“Don’t let them run the ball.” Nua said. “This offense, they want three yards. Three yards is a win for them. First down is a huge win to them. It’s no secret. They know it, we know it. We’ve just gotta get them off the field as fast as we can and get the ball back to our offense.”
Nua was an assistant for six seasons at Navy and his teams beat Army four of the six times that they went up against them. The armed forces rivalry still runs through his veins, but the end goal is the same in his new role at Michigan.
“I never liked Army,” Nua joked. “The motivation is still the same. You want to give our players and Michigan the best chance to win, not just because I hate Army, because I was at Navy – that’s a personal thing. We want to win every game the same way.”
With the unique challenge of taking on the Black Knights comes with the unique situation that the Army players find themselves in combining football with service to the United States. Nua has respect for that, but said the goal will remain what it always does for the 3.5 hours or so that these teams will do battle on Saturday.
“No doubt,” Nua said. “Any service academy, every time you have a man that’s getting ready to go into the service in the military for our country, you always appreciate that, but this is still the game of football. We’re trying to win.”
Here is Nua’s full session with the media on Wednesday:
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