Michigan's Juwann Bushell-Beatty steps up in dire straits

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — As Juwann Bushell-Beatty keeps playing and gets more comfortable in a new role, his personality will emerge.

As least that’s what offensive lineman Kyle Kalis believes.

“On the field, (he’s a) nasty guy,” Kalis said Tuesday. “The more and more he plays the nastiness is going to come out of him. He’s still kind of in his head. Not in a bad way just wanting to make sure he does everything right and that’s what you want out of a young guy like that.

“As time goes on you’ll see more and more of the true Juwann.

Bushell-Beatty played left tackle last weekend against Wisconsin after starter Grant Newsome suffered a season-ending knee injury. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh laid out different options to fill Newsome’s spot, but said Bushell-Beatty is positioned as the player to take over.

While he wasn’t always pleased with his performance, he believed he gave his best effort.

“I feel I did enough for the occasion, but I expect more out of myself,” Bushell-Beatty said. “Always.

“I don’t think there’s any such thing as a perfect game but still just trying to do as much as I can, going through film and correcting myself and trying to do as much as I can.”

UM’s Kalis: Newsome was taken out by ‘cheap shot’

Mason Cole, now at center, started at left tackle the last two seasons, and Bushell-Beatty said he and Cole have rotated at left tackle in practice as No. 4 Michigan prepares for a trip to Rutgers on Saturday night.

But aside from polishing technique, he said the position also is about attitude.

“Aggression is one thing I can work on,” said Bushell-Beatty, who along with eight teammates, is from New Jersey.

Bushell-Beatty, a redshirt sophomore, delayed playing football until high school because he was overweight.

He said since camp began before the 2015 season, he has dropped about 25 pounds to 315 on his 6-foot-6 frame. The coaches didn’t ask him to shed the weight, but he feels better.

Bushell-Beatty went with protein shakes and avoided high-calorie meals and hit the weight room.

“Over the last year I focused on my diet,” Bushell-Beatty said. “No more fried foods, no more fast food. Cut out all the bad stuff.”

And that has helped lead him potentially to a starting spot on the offensive line.

“The thing that would be at the top of the list, he has really changed his body,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “He’s in much better condition. He’s had strength gains, he’s changed the (body) proportions. He looks good, and he is stronger. That would be No. 1. He’s done a fantastic job in the weight room in his conditioning in his eating habits.

Harbaugh also liked how Bushell-Beatty performed against Wisconsin.

“I thought he acquitted himself well,” he said. “He’s a smart player. He plays multiple positions. That’s really the first choice going forward this week.”

As for Newsome, Kalis and several teammates have visited him a few times in the hospital.

Kalis also believes the Wisconsin defender went after Newsome’s knees.

“It was kind of a cheap shot,” Kalis said. “When a defensive guy is supposed to chop, common courtesy is to go at your ankles. But this guy dove at his knees. ...

“It wasn’t an illegal move, but it’s one of those things, come on dude, you don’t do that kind of stuff.