I was enthusiastic, nay, unbelievably relieved when Lewan decided to return to Michigan for his final season. Not only would we have an anchor on an offensive line in transition, but we also would be privy to off-the-field behavior that was more entertaining than anything else. Exhibit A: twosie.
But as the season's coffin is finally sealed shut, I look back on Lewan's season with a combination of resignation and confusion. I've not really had to resolve this dichotomy with a player before, but after witnessing a series of behaviors on the field that made my head shake, my internal jury's out on whether or not Lewan's decision to return to Michigan was beneficial, for both himself and the team.
Besides the after-the-whistle behavior that almost got him suspended (including last night's run-in with a cheerleader, which was just a 22 year old dude hitting on a cute girl), is it fair to pin some of the offensive line's woes on a lack of guidance from the unit's veteran? And at what point do we, as fans, find the balance between celebrating a collegiate player's talent and capabilities and his behavior outside of it?
I don't know if this is a question that coaches have to process often. But it makes me wonder whether we - and Hoke - gave Lewan too much of a free pass for poor sportsmanship simply because he was the only thing keeping Gardner from getting his kidneys lacerated this season.