The Wolverine

2021 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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6 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2021 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY CHRIS BALAS T exas Tech quarterback transfer Alan Bowman arrives in Ann Arbor as some- what of an enigma, but one thing is certain — he didn't travel hundreds of miles with the intention of sitting the bench. The former Red Raiders starter refused interviews heading into his new chapter, preferring to do his talking on the field, and he'll get his chance. The 6-3, 215-pounder will battle with redshirt freshman Cade Mc- Namara, Michigan's projected starter com- ing out of spring ball, and freshman J.J. McCarthy for the right to start this fall. Bowman had some outstanding moments at Tech, especially as a true freshman. He threw for 2,638 yards and 17 scores in eight games, including 605 yards and five scores in a win over Houston. Injuries curtailed him, however, and he never really reclaimed the consistent swagger he showed when he first arrived on campus. "They were kind of fluky deals, too," Re- managing editor Aaron Dickens said of the injuries. "The first injury came against West Virginia as a freshman. He got sandwiched between two defenders, a one-in-a-million shot, and punctured his lung. "He was out for a few weeks, able to come back in against Oklahoma, has a great first half, goes up on the Sooners, who were top five at the time. He tries to make a play at the end of the half and run for a touchdown, should have probably gone out of bounds, but he's a tough kid, a competitor. He rein- jured his lung." He threw for 227 yards in the first half alone in that game. "The next year, third game of the season, he had a shoulder injury and was done," Dickens continued. "So I think the biggest thing about Alan Bowman from a Texas Tech standpoint was, 'What if?' He showed some really, really good things as a true fresh- man in 2018, but never really recaptured the magic. I don't know if it was due to injury, coaching staff or what … but we're all curi- ous to see how he does at Michigan." He finished his Tech career with 5,260 yards and 33 touchdowns and returns as the nation's second most accurate quarterback from last year, after he completed 64.7 per- cent of his passes. He threw for 1,602 yards with 10 scores in 2020, including 384 yards and three touchdowns in a 50-44 loss at No. 23 Oklahoma State and 331 yards and five scores (but also three picks) against No. 8 Texas. "He was definitely their best option. No doubt about that," Dickens said. "I think it was clear at the end of last year, as the season was ending, they were going to try and look at that position in the offseason, whether it was letting true freshman Behren Morton, a heralded signee, get a chance or go through the transfer portal. They seemed to recognize that it wasn't working. They needed to look to upgrade that position, if possible. "I think they would have welcomed Alan back and he'd have had a fair chance to win the job. They explored their options, so they recognized he should be able to explore his. Ultimately, that's what they did. It might be a case where it was best for both sides." He'll head to Ann Arbor with high hopes and uncertainty, a talented player who will — at the very least — provide depth. "He's got a good arm, but not a cannon," Dickens said. "I don't even know if I can tell [Michigan fans] what to expect. For the most part, other than spring practices and a stretch of three or four games here and there, his career has been separated by these big injuries. "But he's clearly very tough and cerebral. You will not find someone that works harder in the film room or anything, and he's well liked within the locker room, and he does have some of that alpha 'it' factor. "But from a game standpoint, we just never saw enough consistent development to know who he really is." He'll get a fresh start and an opportunity to prove that in Ann Arbor. ❑ Alan Bowman Adds To An Intriguing Quarterback Competition MICHIGAN FOOTBALL MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Bowman played in eight games last season at Texas Tech and though he was limited by injuries in a few contests, he had three showings with at least 300 yards and multiple touchdowns. PHOTO COURTESY TEXAS TECH ATHLETICS

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