The Wolverine

May 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MICHIGAN FOOTBALL strides," Hoke noted at the end of spring practice. "Tuesday, I thought, was one of his better days since he's been here. "Jibreel and Craig playing inside gives us a quickness, and gives our defense ability to run. I think they're doing well at the point of attack. They'll be better in the fall because of strength gains and weight gains they'll go through. It doesn't have to be a lot, but some." The backups along the line have made some strides as well this spring, Hoke noted. "[Redshirt sophomore] Richard Ash has started to play with a little more confidence," Hoke said. "[Redshirt freshman] Keith Heitzman, a guy we redshirted a year ago, has shown some signs, and [redshirt junior] Quinton Washington. None of them are where we want or need them to be, but at the same time I think they're making some good progress." Meanwhile, Hoke appreciates the battle he's seen take place at the rush end position. "It's pretty good," Hoke said. "You're talking about two wonder- ful, young kids. As they continue through the weight room and ev- erything else, both of those guys are going to be good football players. I think they're pretty good now, but they both have a really good future. "It's daily. Frank is here one day, Beyer's here one day. They compete and they're really friends. It's fun." self. In February, at Michigan's an- nual mock rock event in which each varsity program performs a variety act, Lewan emceed the foot- ball team's skit while dressed like a poindexter, and in early March, the redshirt junior purchased a tandem bicycle to ride to classes. However, on the football field, the Taylor Lewan likes to enjoy him- TAYLOR LEWAN LOOKS TO BECOME A LEADER starter at left tackle, Lewan is now an elder statesman; on this year's squad, only fifth-year senior right guard Pat- rick Omameh (29 starts) and senior quarterback Denard Robinson (26 starts) have started more games than the 22 appearances for Lewan. "Taylor has grown by leaps and Poised to enter his third season as a ling. My sophomore year I had Da- vid Molk teaching me things, and now I'm kind of that guy. It's my turn to be that leader because I know the ropes, and that's a huge part of my game plan this year, leading by example." "Taylor's playing style was a lot bounds," said senior defensive end Craig Roh, a classmate of Lewan's at Chaparral High School. "I can say this, knowing him in high school and everything, I think he is getting more serious in all areas of his life. I think he is really growing as a person. He is just more responsible now, making the right decisions off the field." A 6-8, 308-pounder, looking to add like his personality before, where he was very inconsistent, I guess you could say," Roh added. "He's very aggressive, very outgoing. In high school, he would get penalties that would get touchdowns called back. We can't have that in a game. "Now he's being more consistent and still having that aggressive core." But at his core, Lewan is still a 10 more pounds before Michigan's Sept. 1 start against Alabama, Le- wan was an All-Big Ten second-team selection in 2011 despite numerous injuries that limited his effective- ness. He was more dependable in his sophomore season than he was in his rookie campaign, but he understands he needs to compete, practice and lead with even greater consistency. "I'm a junior now. This will be my third year starting if everything goes the way I want it to. We have a lot of guys behind me that are look- ing to see what I'm going to do," he said. "It's no longer me learning. My freshman year I had Steve Schil- comic at heart. What he knows now, though, is there is a time to jest and a time to be serious. "I'm not just going to stop being funny for the rest of my life," Lewan said. "I haven't given up on that. But there's a time and a place. When I was younger, 17, 18, I was hyper and all over the place. I had cam- eras in my face and was freaking out. Now I know what I'm supposed to do here. I'm here for football and to be a student. "To be a leader, you have to do it in every part of your life, on the field, off the field, school. I've grown up as a player, as a person. I'm here to play football, not joke around." ❏ Scottsdale, Ariz., native is taking himself more seriously, determined to become a greater leader for the Wolverines in 2012. "I'm no longer looking to be the funny guy," Lewan said. "I know what Michigan is about, what this team wants, what these coaches want, and I know there are expecta- tions for me, and I want to exceed every expectation." Lewan, a redshirt junior who started all 13 games last season at left tackle, knows that he is now one of the veterans who must teach the younger players on the team. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL MAY 2012 THE WOLVERINE 37

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