Michigan’s Mason will get to ‘hammer’ from both sides
Ann Arbor — Michigan’s resident bulldozer of a player, Ben Mason, played at fullback last fall, but he will share some time at linebacker this spring as he and the Wolverines prepare for the upcoming season.
What better way, the staff figured, to get the 6-foot-3, 251-pounder more time to literally shift opponents, whether running into the defense, or making a demolishing tackle on defense.
“Ben can do everything,” Michigan running backs coach Jay Harbaugh said Thursday night, “so giving him an opportunity to smash more people is always a good idea.”
He is spending some meeting room time with the running backs and other time with the linebackers. Michigan has nearly four-hour long practices in the spring, so that offers more on-field opportunities.
“There’s extra reps to be had in terms of him getting work over there,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a little bit here and there in terms of him learning and adapting to both sides.”
Jim Harbaugh referred to his freshman last season as “Bench Mason” because of his weight-room prowess.
“He’s going to go get it. He’s our go-get-it guy,” linebacker Devin Bush Jr. said this week. “He’s the hammerhead that every team has. He’s going to run through a wall if you tell him to. I don’t see why not play (him at) linebacker.”
Returning defensive end Chase Winovich identifies with Mason’s approach to the game.
“He’s a lot like me,” Winovich said. “I love messing with Ben out on the football field, because he’s competitive like me, and he doesn’t want to lose. We’ll have a play, we’ll bicker back and forth, just like, I’m messing with him. He takes it so seriously he wants to be so great.
“I just think he’s an animal. He’s a thoroughbred beast is the best way I could describe him. It’s fun being able to go against him and many like that on our team — not quite like (Mason), but close.”