It doesn’t take long when watching Michigan junior left guard Ben Bredeson to see why he was named a team captain for 2018. Along with junior star linebacker Devin Bush, Bredeson is just the second non-senior with eligibility remaining to be named a captain in the Jim Harbaugh-era (https://247sports.com/college/michigan/Article/Offensive-lines-work-ethic-makes-life-easy-for-Ben-Bredeson-121097213/).
Bush, for one, thinks Bredeson has created somewhat of a change for an offense that played second-fiddle to the Wolverines elite defensive unit in 2017 (3rd nationally).
“I want to say Ben Bredeson was a huge asset to that,” Bush said. “Shea coming in, being the person he is, he also created that bond. I think the offense is just a lot closer and a lot more on the same page than it was last year.” (https://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/university-michigan/2018/08/27/michigan-football-ben-bredeson-simpler-offense/1113569002/).
Bredeson slides his feet well versus interior movement; particularly when handling stunts coming from left-to-right. His hand placement is normally attached in-between the defender’s numbers in pass protection, which alleviates an occasional tendency to lean over his toes. On gap-schemed runs where he is asked to pull on inside powers, linebackers can stack-and-shed him when his helmet location dips at the point of attack. For a player who doesn’t have elite length, he tends to rely on his quick-set to win early in downs. This is why he has to stay active if he can achieve extension quickly versus defensive linemen. Perhaps most evident is his ability to slide his feet while his arms are locked-out. Once he’s been challenged vertically, the Wolverines left guard sinks his low back into the chair to re-anchor effectively. Additionally, his ability to wheel interior three-technique defensive tackles can open up passing lanes for a quarterback in Shea Patterson -who stands 6-foot-1- to look down the field (vs. Notre Dame DT Jerry Tillery (No. 99), 52-yard completion, 3rd QTR, ND ’18).
As a run blocker, his hands tend to slide upward into the neck and chest area on some of his reach blocks. At this stage, he probably uses his frame to engulf more than win with his first couple of steps off the snap going laterally. His lateral quickness is efficient but not exceptional. This becomes evident when handling inside line spikes from opponents (from his left to his right). Although he’s a tad higher with his hand in the dirt (pre-snap stance) on passing plays, Bredeson does not give away many pre-snap indicators by being too light on his fingertips. His ‘nasty’ play demeanor shows up down-to-down. If he doesn’t have work, he will look to clean-up defensive ends to help his tackles. When doing so, he rocks the opposition (3rd QTR, smacks No. 91 Ogundeji, Notre Dame ’18).
The addition of new offensive line coach Ed Warinner has helped the former four-star recruit and entire offensive line when it comes to technique. A year after giving up 36 quarterback sacks to rank 13th in the Big Ten, the team is on pace to drop the total (if projected throughout the entire season). If the unit is going to continue to improve, Bredeson’s leadership and playing style will be a big key factor.