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How Michigan plans to defend Georgia TE Brock Bowers

Michigan is facing one of the best tight ends in the country. And he’s a freshman!

Charleston Southern v Georgia Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Brock Bowers is just a freshman, but he’s already one of the best and most dynamic tight ends in all of college football.

The Mackey Award semi-finalist has 47 receptions, 791 yards, and 11 touchdowns this season — with a staggering 16.8 yards per catch.

“The run after catch he’s good,” cornerback D.J. Turner told the media on Tuesday. “And he has good speed on him and good catch radius.”

The SEC Freshman of the Year will line up all over the field for the Bulldogs, which means Michigan’s defense will have to pay attention to where the 6-foot-4 TE is at all times when they face Georgia in the Orange Bowl on Friday.

“Brock is a heck of a player, man. He’s really dynamic. The thing that they do with him is he can play — he really plays every position,” Michigan defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald said. “He’ll play the Z, the Y, the X, the move guy, the down guy. They’ll give it to him on reverses, screens. It’s pretty impressive. A tribute to their coaching staff for putting him in positions to affect the game.

The difference between a tight end and a receiver is that a receiver you can build some things to find him, where he’s at, and try to get multiple guys on him. Tight end, it’s a little bit more difficult. I guess it’s just not the same, if that makes sense.”

Michigan edge-rusher David Ojabo said that Bowers’ is “on the faster end”,

In order for Michigan to slow Bowers down, the key will be to know what his tendencies are when he lines up at the X, Y, Z, etc.

“I think the first thing you have to have is an awareness on where he’s at, and if he’s out of place you have to understand that,” Macdonald said. “And then just understand the things that he likes to do from certain positions so we can help try to slow him down as best we can.”

The Michigan defense has been multiple in its approach all season long, mixing up man and zone coverages — and that’s the same mindset they have going into the tilt vs. Georgia and the individual matchup vs. Bowers.

“They’ve got great skill guys all across the board, guys that can really hurt you at any point during the game. The stress points of our zones and when we play man-to-man, when we pressure, when we don’t, that’ll kind of be an interesting chess game throughout the game,” Macdonald said.