Media days provided a chance for Taylor Lewan to show off his new, "vanilla" approach to interacting with the media as he continues to mature into a team leader. Of course, this is still Taylor Lewan, Finger 'Stache Enthusiast, so even when he's aiming for bland the conversation inevitably veers in the direction of colorful. Here are some excerpts from his roundtable session covering Alabama, the left guard competition, hosting recruiting visits, his playing weight, and some unfortunate news regarding the twosie:
RELEVANT FOOTBALL STUFF
MGoQuestion: Now that you’ve been in the same offensive system for a year, how much of a comfort level do you have in the offense, and how have you seen it evolve since the beginning of last year?
It’s a lot more exciting just going into camp and jumping right into it. Last year we had to take it slow, obviously, because we didn’t know the plays yet. I think it’s going to be exciting just jumping right into it and having the offense evolve even more than it did last year.
MGoQuestion: It seems like four offensive line positions are set, but left guard is still up in the air. What do you see out of the guys that are competing for that right now?
Joey Burzynski, he’s a redshirt sophomore, and then Elliott Mealer is a redshirt senior; both guys are really capable of playing the position. I think it’s a good problem to have when you’ve got two guys battling it out like that, and I think nobody’s job on the offensive line is set in stone.
MGoQuestion: Kyle Kalis has been mentioned as a guy who could come in and play. How much of a challenge is it to come in as a true freshman on the offensive line?
It’s unbelievably hard. Unbelievably hard. Just developing as an offensive lineman is probably the hardest thing to do at a college position. Kyle definitely passes the eye test when you look at him. He’s a big fella, looks strong. Everybody’s technique needs work, but we’ll see when camp rolls around.
MGoQuestion: At running back, the status of Fitz Toussaint is obviously up in the air right now. What do you see out of a guy like Thomas Rawls, what does he bring that may be different than what Fitz does?
Thomas Rawls, he runs angry, and he runs aggressive. He’s capable of doing all the things Fitz can do. One guy that’s really overlooked, and I was talking to Denard and Jordan about this yesterday, is Vincent Smith. Vincent, he’s without a doubt pound-for-pound the toughest guy on our team, and he’s like 5’6”. He’s unbelievable.
MGoQuestion: Have you started watching film on Alabama yet?
MGoQuestion: What kind of challenge does their defensive line pose? Are you paying attention to matchups yet?
I don’t know numbers yet or anything, but they’re a really good team. That’s the great part of Alabama; you lose five first-round draft picks and you’re gonna have five coming up after that. I’m real excited to play this game, I’m excited to see Michigan in this game, and Dallas isn’t a bad place to play, either.
MGoQuestion: Them playing a 3-4 defense, you don’t see that a lot in college football. Does that pose a different challenge for you as an offensive lineman?
Yeah, it changes blocking schemes here and there, but there’s no reason we should have a problem with that. In some ways that helps our passing game a little bit, flaring out and picking up blitzes, with three down linemen. In some ways it can help our inside zone or our power. There’s just a whole lot of things that go into it and if we come to play, we’ll be successful.
Does their defense remind you of your defense in terms of creativity, the number of blitzes…
Yeah, absolutely. Actually, they’re real similar. I’m excited to see what happens there. I don’t know if they twist and stunt as much as we do, but we’ll see what happens.
KOVACS VS. LEWAN, PART II
MGoQuestion: Jordan was over there saying you’re boring this week. Is that good for you? Is that an adjustment to make?
Boring, he said?
Boring and ugly, actually.
Well, I’ll agree to that first part. I’m not ugly. But I don’t know, I wouldn’t say boring, just focused on the goals at hand right now.
[Later] Jordan said to tell you that he called you ugly.
That’s twice now that I’ve heard that. I’m not happy about it.
Maybe he’s testing the vanilla-ization of Taylor Lewan.
You tell him that, uh… just don’t tell him anything. Tell him he looks lovely today. He looks like an accountant, actually.
LEWAN'S HUSKINESS/SMALL CHILD
Last year, Craig Roh said to call you husky because you’re self-conscious about your weight.
You can call me husky all you want. You can feel these hips if you want, too. I’m 310 pounds. There’s gotta be a little love, right?
But seriously, he was praising you for harnessing your…
…your volatile nature.
[laughs] I used to, actually, when I was younger, in high school I was always worried about how I looked. Craig, how’s it look? Right here, in this area. [Your torso?] Yeah, you gotta make sure it at least stays flat, you know?
What about how Craig looks right now?
He’s fat. Tell him I said that. [What about his hair?] His hair’s awesome, you don’t like it? I think the flow is unreal. But Jake Ryan has the best flow in the league, hands down. Write that down.
[After Lewan discusses bringing his weight from 250 lbs. as a freshman to 310 lbs. now] Do you think about that though, that you’ve kind of added a small child?
I’ve added a small child to my body. So, you’re just calling me fat to my face. I feel like we can get past this together. No, I’ve never woke up in the morning and thought, “you know what?” [rubs belly, laughter ensues]
But seriously, do you think you can play at this weight?
The goal was always to get past 300 pounds, so I know coming in that the biggest thing I could do to hide my child is to eat healthy as much as possible, and that’s what I’m trying to do.
MGoQuestion: Jordan mentioned you taking a role in recruiting, hosting players and stuff like that. What’s it like hosting players on campus?
It can get awkward, almost. You don’t know the guy at all and you’ve got to take him around for the night. I enjoy it. Me and Pat [Omameh] kind of praise ourselves with recruiting. We’re the best there is, that’s how we look at it. It depends on who you’ve got; some are talkative, some aren’t, you’ve just got to feel them out and see what they want to do.
MGoQuestion: Do you take any credit for landing any of the guys on the team?
I couldn’t do it. Well, I don’t know. Actually, I’m gonna say yes. Me and Pat, we hosted Jack Miller, we hosted Eric Magnuson, Kalis, a bunch of guys. I don’t know if I’d take credit, but definitely, I enjoy the recruiting process.
ON FIELDING CALLS FROM NFL AGENTS
Have agents been contacting you?
I don’t know. I get a lot of phone calls from numbers I don’t know, and I just don’t pick them up; there’s no reason to. My focus is on the University of Michigan, and there’s no point jumping into something and getting in trouble like that, because that’s not who I am.
When did you start getting phone calls?
I don’t know. Last month. But I don’t answer any of the phone calls. No one’s talked to me because I haven’t talked to them.
TAYLOR'S TWOSIE: RETIRED
MGoQuestion: Were you surprised by the attention paid to the twosie?
Yeah, I don’t know why that was made to be such a big deal. I got that thing for my teammates and all that stuff, for us to enjoy, mess around on it. The media kinda turned it into its own kind of monster, I wasn’t expecting that. I don’t really use that thing anymore. When you’re trying to give off the image of being a leader on this team, you probably shouldn’t be riding a two-seater bike. [Ed-S: FALSE!!!]