Devin Bush Jr. Breaks Down Growth at Michigan's Linebacker Position

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Devin Bush Jr. Breaks Down Growth at Michigan's Linebacker Position

Football

Devin Bush Jr. Breaks Down Growth at Michigan's Linebacker Position

Starting at the college level was foreign to Michigan linebacker Devin Bush Jr. before the 2017 season.

Ninety-five tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, one interception and seven passes defended later, the game is finally slowing down.

“(The game has) slowed down a lot,” Bush said. “Last year, I didn’t really know what to expect being a starter. Coming back, I know how these games are played with the atmosphere and feel.”

During 2018 fall camp, the 5-foot-11, 222-pound linebacker has put on the role of a big brother and teacher. He has spent time working with redshirt sophomore Devin Gil, sophomore Josh Ross and redshirt freshman Drew Singleton.

“I’ll be watching him and give him a little tip here and there,” Bush said of teaching Ross. “When he does something right, I say, ‘Good job. Keep it up.’ When he goes out on the field, I yell, ‘Make sure you’re making your checks and communicating.'”

Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown said the Gil, Ross and Singleton are in a heated battle for the Will position, which is the weak side inside linebacker spot.

“Those three guys are in that fist fight,” Brown said. “If you ask me today who’s the leader in the clubhouse, I would say there is none. If you ask me, I think Josh (Ross) and Devin Gil, probably slightly ahead of Drew (Singleton). So if that would be the case then we’d just let them both play and see who steps up and separates, or if they keep both playing well then just leave it alone.”

Bush is currently working with Ross on learning the Mike position, also known as strong side or middle inside linebacker. It was the same process Bush went through as a freshman with the Wolverines. Redshirt freshman Jordan Anthony is also practicing at the Mike position.

“I get where he’s coming from,” Bush said of Ross. “I’m mostly teaching him the Mike spot because he’s been playing the Will position basically since he got here. If you can learn the Will, you can learn the Mike.”

In 2017, Gil made five tackles. He has only stepped up his game from the spring, and it’s clear to Bush.

“I mean, he had a good spring, but is having a really good fall so far,” Bush said. “For him, he just has to keep his arrow going up and focus on his job. We will see what happens.”

Meanwhile, Singleton has not yet touched the field, but has shown flashes to make Bush say, “Yo, you’re going to be really good one day.”

“Drew’s doing good,” Bush said. “Drew’s playing a new position and is still learning what he can and can’t do. He’s in the process of finding his way, but he’s getting there.”

Michigan’s defense was ranked third in all of college football in 2017. Looking ahead to the upcoming season, Bush believes the group will only improve.

“We can go out and do the same thing,” he said. “We are going to improve our numbers. That’s how we look at it.”

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