All too often in college football, you hear about players having their attempts at transferring elsewhere be hindered or outright blocked by the coaches of their departing teams — no matter where they fall on the depth chart.
Things work differently within the Michigan football program, however, as seen with quarterback Alan Bowman. Now an Oklahoma State Cowboy, Bowman was recently interviewed by The Athletic’s Max Olson and Bruce Feldman, shining a light on his two years in Ann Arbor and the role Sherrone Moore played in him going to Stillwater.
Coming from the air raid scheme of Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech, Bowman was expected to compete for the starting job when he arrived in 2021. Instead, he found himself lost in the mix due to the intricacies of Michigan’s playbook.
“I showed up at Michigan in (June of 2021), thinking that I’d win the starting QB job in six weeks,” Bowman said. “I’d really never been under center before. I’d never taken a play-action drop in a live practice setting. Never worn a knee brace before, and I had to wear a knee brace. Never commanded a huddle. Never looked at anybody in the eye in a huddle. Never looked at a wristband. Now you’re telling me that there’s four different footworks for inside zone?”
In the end, Bowman threw only 11 passes as a Wolverine, hovering around the fourth slot of the depth chart his entire career. For the competitor in Bowman, it was torturous — for the student, both of the game and in the classroom, it was an unexpected golden opportunity.
“There were times when I was at Michigan, and I’d come home late at night and look at my girlfriend, and I cried because I was so frustrated with the situation that I was in, and I’d felt like there was no way out,” Bowman said. “I looked at her and said, ‘I don’t know what I’m gonna do.’
“After my first year at Michigan, being behind (Cade McNamara), I could’ve left, but I realized I was at one of the best business schools in the country and getting like the second-best supply chain master’s degree in the world. I thought, ‘I’m gonna knock out this degree in two years, and then I’m gonna have one more year, potentially two if we get a waiver.’ I just stayed the course.”
As the end of the 2022 season came into focus for Bowman, the Wolverines rewarded his dedication in two ways — allowing him to speak with other coaches while continuing to participate in team activities, and as in the case of Moore, actively scoping out potential landing spots for one of their own.
“Hey. Just talked to Oklahoma State. Hooked you up,” Bowman said Moore told him in a phone conversation following the College Football Playoff. “It’s a great situation. You need to go.”
Moore’s advice proved to be cognizant, as after a conversation and film review with the Oklahoma State coaching staff, Bowman found the knowledge gained from his time at Michigan translated in a potentially massive way for the Cowboys’ offensive scheme.
While he might not have gotten all that he wanted from his time in Ann Arbor, Bowman admitted he got more than what he needed to succeed in his next stop.
“Going to Michigan was not a waste,” Bowman said. “I don’t regret going there because I think it’ll pay off this year, and I have the degree.”