Redshirt junior tight end Ian Bunting hasn’t exactly gotten off to the start he had hoped for in 2017.
He’s seen plenty of game action so far, but is the only one of the five tight ends who have played not to have caught a single pass yet.
Bunting said he understands that he needs to perform better, as do the rest of his teammates — specifically in the red zone.
“We have to pick it up and be more focused,” he insisted. “We need to have more of a mentality that we’re not going to be denied. It needs to come from everyone at our position, whether it be in protection or route running.”
Bunting said it hasn’t been one single thing that has led to the red zone miscues this season, though.
“We shouldn’t be focusing on one play that perhaps prevented us from scoring,” he explained. “We just all have to pick it up a notch, and if we all do our jobs correctly, then good things are going to happen.”
The redshirt junior said that two sophomores at the position — Nick Eubanks and Sean McKeon — worked incredibly hard to improve in the offseason, and it has shown.
“They’ve both come a long way,” he marveled. “They’ve improved leaps and bounds in the past few games. Nick especially has come a long way in the blocking game — when he came in, he was a great receiver and needed to work on his blocking, but he’s improved.
“Sean has become more of a complete player — he worked a lot over the summer on route running and pass catching.”
One player that hasn’t had to worry about his pass catching abilities is junior receiver Grant Perry.
Perry was suspended for much of the past year due to an off the field incident, but was given a second chance and is now back on the team.
“He handled it [the suspension] like a professional,” Bunting revealed. “We’re all very excited to have him back — he deserves to be back. He’s a great kid, competitor and teammate.”
Michigan’s pass catchers will be in for a challenge on Saturday against the Purdue secondary, as the Boilermakers will start two fifth-year senior cornerbacks in Da’Wan Hunte and Josh Okonye.
“It’s going to be a great test,” Bunting confirmed. “They’re a talented and well-coached team — it’s going to be a challenge for our position in particular.”
Bunting seemingly has the potential to be a major weapon for redshirt junior quarterback Wilton Speight, confirming tonight he stands “6-6.5 — on a good day.”
With freshman receiver Tarik Black out for the foreseeable future with injury, someone will need to step up in the passing game. Why not Bunting?
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