UM’s next wave on defense has ‘just as much potential’
Miami — Michigan’s veteran defensive players, who will be playing in their final college game on Friday in the Orange Bowl, have assured that while the Wolverines are losing considerable talent, there will be no drop-off next season.
That’s because they have faith in the young players, many who have earned playing time this season.
The younger players aren’t thrilled, however, people think Michigan’s No. 2-ranked defense will take a step back.
“I’m going to take it personal, because I feel like they’re trying to doubt us a little bit saying, ‘Oh, we’re losing these people, we’re not going to be good anymore,’” freshman linebacker Devin Bush said Monday night at an Orange Bowl outing.
“I feel like with the group we have, the group I came in with, we have just as much potential playing with each other this whole season. We know what to expect from each other. We have to keep pushing each other.”
Bush said he has benefited from extra work in bowl practices and said he has improved in so many of the basics.
“Formations — when I first got here, I had no clue where to line up, no clue what to look for,” Bush said. “By the end of the season, I got good recognizing different formations and what people like to do out of formations.”
Bush grew up in Pembroke Pines and attended nearby Flanagan, and his college decision came down to Michigan and Florida State, the Wolverines’ opponent in the Orange Bowl.
“Now we get to face them in this bowl game,” Bush said. “It’s pretty funny coincidence.”
With so much family nearby, Bush has been in search of tickets beyond the six each player receives. He said he needs about 12 more to accommodate everyone.
Next in line
Ben Bredeson is a freshman, but after making seven starts at left guard, he certainly comes off as a veteran offensive lineman.
“No, I’m definitely one of the younger guys,” Bredeson said. “I feel more of a veteran on the field but running around, my best friends are the younger guys. That’s who I spend my time with.”
Bredeson said he has settled in at guard, the position he said is the best fit for him. He added he has made progress this season in pass blocking, working hard with offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Tim Drevno to clean up what he called “minor technique issues.”
With the departures of Ben Braden, Erik Magnuson and Kyle Kalis, offensive line spots will be up for grabs. The younger players, Bredeson said, have used the extra reps in bowl practice, especially early on, to try to work their way into contention.
“Everyone is starting to feel it,” Bredeson said. “The younger guys, there’s definitely more energy now realizing they’ve got to push to claim one of those starting spots.
“It’s tough to replace those three guys, but Mason’s done a great job prepping me. He ran the show this year and having him back, it’s real nice to have him in the middle making calls and helping everybody out. If we got him next year, we’ll be good.”
Michigan was using two practice fields in its first practice at Barry University and a large screen sat on one field.
Apparently Michigan has been using it this season during practices. If the starting offense, for instance, runs three plays before the backups come in, the starters can watch the plays and see what they did well and what needs to be fixed.
... Michigan had been practicing in warm temperatures at the indoor Glick Fieldhouse before coming to Florida to get used to playing in the heat and humidity of south Florida.
It was about 82 when Michigan practiced Monday afternoon.
“It took a little bit (to get used to), but Glick gets warm too,” Bredeson said. “It was just a little bit of a shock.”
... Redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Peters has stepped up during bowl practices, Bredeson said.
Peters will be in the mix next spring to challenge starter Wilton Speight for the job.
“I’m no quarterback expert here, but I just feel he’s making more throws now than he was early on in the fall,” Bredeson said.