The Five Most Interesting Things Ronnie Bell Said
Junior wide receiver Ronnie Bell recently spent some time talking with Jon Jansen on the In The Trenches podcast and touched on several topics as the 2020 season approaches.
1. "No matter what's going on, no matter what the situation is, we have three quarterbacks that are all so elite. As a receiver when you line up, it doesn't really matter who is back there, you're going to run your route and you're going to get open."
To me, it's actually more about what Bell did not say. Not only did he not give any actual information or insight about the battle between Dylan McCaffrey, Joe Milton and Cade McNamara, he didn't even say any of their names one time. Is this Jim Harbaugh speaking?
Look, I know these players and coaches aren't going to come out and say, "Yeah, Dylan is the starter," but it would be nice to get some specifics on what's going on and who's doing what well.
2. "I was just excited because [the Big Ten setting up a conference-only schedule] sounded like somebody is trying to make it to where we play. Before that, it was like,'We aren't going to be playing.'"
I fully agree. Everyone wants football. The coaches, players, TV executives and anyone with something to gain NEED football this fall. Obviously fans and media folks want football and the conference-only schedule is definitely a step toward making that happen. Another thing that Bell's quote really shows, is that even the players are in the dark. They're being asked to lift, run and train, all while not knowing if they'll actually touch the field this fall.
3. "You’re just holding your breath because I think they were supposed to announce confirming a season not too long ago; maybe a couple days ago, and then they didn’t. I don’t know. Emotionally, it’s all over the place."
Again, this just speaks to the uncertainty. Guys like Bell are supposed to be getting in tip-top shape, learning schemes and systems and busting their tails in every way to be ready for a season that might not happen. I can't imagine being 18-21 years old and getting motivated enough to push myself like that knowing that not playing is a real possibility. You can hear it in Bell's voice when you listen to the audio. He wants to go hard, get ready and be the best player he can be, but what if the season is cancelled? It would be absolutely crushing for these guys.
4. "Last year, a lot of guys got their feet in the water and with Nico [Collins] coming back, I'm head over heels excited for what the season is going to bring."
The wide receiver group is probably the most exciting position group on Michigan's roster. With Bell and Collins, along with rising sophomores Giles Jackson, Mike Sainristil and Cornelius Johnson all ready for the season, it could be a very productive, dynamic and exciting group.
When Bell uses the term, "got their feet in the water," he's obviously referring to last year's trio of freshmen. Jackson, Johnson and Sainristil could all be poised for breakout seasons depending on how the offensive line and quarterback positions come along, coupled with Josh Gattis' ability in year two as offensive coordinator. If I was a receiver like Bell, I'd be excited about all of that as well.
5. "One of the biggest things when I look back at the season this past year, are contested catches. I want to make every catch."
Bell led the Wolverines in receptions with 48, but he did have a crucial drop against Penn State. That drop does not define Bell at all, but this quote makes it clear that Bell still thinks about it. Per Pro Football Focus, Bell had eight drops last year. That's not a lot, but I'm sure he'd tell you it's too many. The one in the end zone against Penn State hurt, but every drop weighs on a wide receiver. He wasn't asked about drops, he brought them up on his own. That's a great sign for what he's been working on and what will make him an even better receiver in 2020.