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Ann Arbor – Devin Bush Jr. did not play as much as he had hoped last season as a freshman at Michigan, but he made the most of his time on special teams and those plays he got in at linebacker to show he’s one of the hardest hitters on the team.

Bush said many of this year’s freshmen defensive players have asked him about the college football experience at Michigan, and he made clear that while things don’t always go as you envision, you still must persevere.

“They ask me what’s the process, and I say last year I didn’t play as much as I thought I would or as I felt like I should, but I wasn’t that guy to be mad,” Bush said Wednesday night after practice. “I just picked my head up and went all out on special teams.”

He is expected to start at middle linebacker this fall and said he’s happy playing there. He also expects to play as much special teams as he can.

“I feel more comfortable in that spot,” he said. “I feel I can use my speed and my quickness. It’s just more instincts.”

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Although he’s only a sophomore, Bush is looked on as a leader by the freshmen. He relished his playing time last year, saying it helped him become comfortable playing the game on the college level. The week of bowl preparations also intensified his approach to the game.

Now, he wants to become more of a vocal and emotional leader, and to that end, he said his confidence has developed during preseason camp.

“In the last year, I was in my groove, but I wasn’t in the groove I am now,” Bush said. “Now I feel more comfortable, more confident in what I’m doing. I think it’s just repetition and just believing in myself.”

MICHIGAN SCHEDULE

Like every other player who has done interviews during camp, Bush said his starting job is not yet secure and he’s still competing. And he said part of that process is becoming more vocal and directing the linebackers when needed.

Bush is well-versed in the expectations of this defense, led for the second straight season by coordinator Don Brown, who preaches all-out aggressive play.

“We want to get three-and-outs, that’s the biggest thing,” Bush said. “We don’t want to be on the field that long. We want to put pressure on guys and make them break.”

Aggressive play often means big hits, and Bush certainly delivered on special teams last season and hopes to continue to do so this year at linebacker, as well.

“That’s defense,” Bush said, when asked how he feels when he hears the crowd respond to a big hit. “If that isn’t coming from the defense, then you don’t have a good defense.”

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