ANN ARBOR, Mich. – It’s no secret Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh loves to utilize the tight end in his offensive game plan.
In fact, In year one of Harbaugh’s offense, Jake Butt was named Big Ten Tight End of the year and an AP All-American second-teamer.
So he’s one example of what Harbaugh can do with the right player.
Insert redshirt sophomore Ian Bunting.
At 6-fotot-7, 252-pounds, Bunting appeared in 10 games in 2015, finishing with five catches for 72 yards.
And with Butt coming back for his senior season in 2016, Bunting admits Butt will most likely get the majority of targets. However, he’s working hard this off-season to make sure he get his opportunities as well.
“He will (get his catches). He’s a great player,” Bunting said of Butt. “Really, I’m just trying to get better. Every time I step onto the field I’m trying to get better. I’m trying to learn from (Butt). … I’m just trying to learn ever time I get the opportunity.”
Bunting, however, was adamant that if he does get more passes thrown his way -- he will have earned it.
“I think we can always get better,” Bunting said. “I know Jake is working to get better everyday. He’s not satisfied with what happened last year, and neither are we. There is no ceiling I think.”
How many catches can this years group of tight ends catch collectively? Well, according to Bunting, there isn't a number worth aiming for.
“I’m not going to put a number on it,” Bunting said. “But the sky is the limit, I guess. We just keep working to get better. If you put a ceiling on it, then there is a limit. So why put a ceiling on it?”
And no matter what, competition is live and well in the tight end group, Bunting says.
“Well there is definitely a lot of competition,” Bunting said. “Coach Harbaugh loves competition. He’s all about competing in everything that you do. We as tight ends love the emphasis on tight end. We get to do a lot of different things. We get to learn a lot more about the game in general. It’s a very versatile position in the offense especially, so we are having fun with it.”
Adding: “Never anything is given. Coach Harbaugh always emphasizes that. You got to work for everything. Nothing will ever be given in this program as long as that man is here. And that’s how it should be. If that were the case, then we would all be complacent. And that’s when you don’t win games.”
Michigan plays its annual spring game Friday evening – under the lights – on April 1.