Bosch has to grow up sometime; Hoke would prefer it be Saturday

Todd Needle/Daily
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By Matt Slovin, Managing Editor
Published October 30, 2013

If Saturday’s game at Michigan State will indeed be the Michigan football team’s most physical of the season, it’s only fitting that Kyle Bosch be on the offensive line for it.

“You never have to worry about him liking contact and him being aggressive,” said Greg Purnell, Bosch’s former high-school coach at Wheaton (Ill.) St. Francis, in a phone interview with the Daily on Wednesday. “The fact that he’s been aggressive all his life I’m sure has helped.”

Earlier this week in practice, redshirt junior linebacker Jake Ryan learned just how strong the freshman’s feisty side is. Bosch found himself in a scuffle with Ryan, one of the leaders of the defense, and fifth-year senior left tackle Taylor Lewan needed to intervene.

“It was just practice,” Ryan said Monday when asked about the incident. “Bosch is a great player. He stepped up the last game for us. It was practice. We got into it. It’s over. We’re friends again.”

The fact that Bosch took it upon himself to get into it with one of the team captains isn’t surprising to Purnell in the least. He recalls a practice during Bosch’s junior year when he ended up in a similar scuffle — “It wasn’t a fight, but it could’ve led to that,” Purnell recalled.

What is a surprise to Purnell is that Bosch is listed as Michigan’s starter at guard entering Saturday’s battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy. Perhaps that says more about the Wolverines’ lack of depth at the offensive line positions than Bosch’s first-year progress, but coach Brady Hoke certainly has enough trust in the 6-foot-5, 302-pound Bosch to insert him into a very hostile environment in East Lansing.

“I like Bosch,” Hoke said in his Wednesday press conference. “You grow up sometime. But yeah, it’ll be intense. But I know one thing about Bosch: He’s a pretty tough guy.”

That toughness showed up in Bosch’s first career game, against Indiana, when he was a part of an improved Wolverines offensive line. Needless to say, facing the Spartan defense is another matter entirely, but it’s a task Hoke thinks the line will be ready for. But redshirt freshman Erik Magnuson will also be lining up at guard again, and that youth could be a liability in a rivalry game, especially one on the road.

“I think with (Bosch and Magnuson), the good thing is, there’s nine other guys out there with them,” Hoke said. “Believe me, there’s other guys who will be out there for the first time with more significant roles.”

Purnell compared Bosch playing against Michigan State this weekend to games he played against rival Lombard (Ill.) Montini Catholic in high school. Montini Catholic has won four consecutive state titles and beat Bosch’s St. Francis team each year he was there, but that doesn’t mean Bosch didn’t show up in those games.

“He played very well in those games,” Purnell recalled. “Kyle feels very badly we never beat them during his tenure.”

But Bosch has a chance Saturday to beat a rival his first time playing in the game. That’s an opportunity he won’t take lightly.

“He’s mean,” Lewan, the peacekeeper, said Monday. “He might not know every call. But I know, when I was on the field my freshman year, I was going 100 percent trying to take somebody out every single play. ... Bosch has that same thing about him. I'm excited about him.”