The Enigma that is Taylor Lewan

Submitted by JamesBondHerpesMeds on December 29th, 2013 at 12:19 PM

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.

 

Comments

TexasMaizeNBlue

December 29th, 2013 at 12:33 PM ^

trying to look for a reason as to how in the hell our line will be better next season after losing two tackles to the NFL. I can understand that our interior will have an extra season of "gel" time but to say next year's unit will be better seems cautiously optimistic.

Bodogblog

December 29th, 2013 at 12:58 PM ^

Schofield isn't an NFL tackle. He has NFL measurables. But he gets beat on the regular - both overpowered in the run game (watch him get absolutely blown up on the red zone speed option last night) and run by in the passing game. I think NFL DEs will handle him. I hope I'm very wrong

He'll be missed, but not irreplaceable

Magnus

December 29th, 2013 at 2:08 PM ^

I agree on Schofield. I don't see much difference between him and Mark Huyge, and nobody was touting Huyge as an NFL tackle. I do think Schofield will get drafted late, but he hasn't been particularly productive as a blocker.

Magnus

December 29th, 2013 at 2:06 PM ^

I really think the biggest leap for players comes from their freshman to their sophomore year, or their first year of significant playing time to the second. I think it's reasonable to expect that Glasgow, Kalis, Magnuson, and maybe Bosch will be significantly better. It will be interesting to see who else steps in, since Braden never saw the field despite being hyped as a potential starter.

reshp1

December 29th, 2013 at 12:31 PM ^

As a Michigan fan, I appreciate how much he's contributed to the team. As a objective observer though, I think he still has a ways to go to keep his temper and emotions in check. I hope he doesn't turn into a Suh type player who has incredible talent but keeps hurting his team at inopportune times with dumb penalties. Either way though, I'd take him on my team any day.

reshp1

December 29th, 2013 at 3:16 PM ^

Pro Hoke, meh borges, probably anti funk, not much different than before. Borges called a good first half and didnt have anything to counter K State's adjustments after the half. Spielman hit the nail on the head about when you have no run game you have to resort to ridiculous ways to move the ball with screens and sweeps. It only works for so long.
Honestly the defense was the bigger issue. Not only were they scoring every drive, they were taking huge chunks of time off the clock each time. I felt they had Lockett open for a TD any time they wanted. The only time we got stops was when they made unforced errors.

IdealistWolverine

December 29th, 2013 at 12:34 PM ^

There was a quote from Lewan earlier this year where he admitted he was excited to be a captain because he had never previously been a captain on any level.

If that was really true, there is no way he should've ever been a captain this year.

There are two kinds of captains. Talent captains and leader captains. Ideally, a captain has both qualities but if you have to choose, "talent" does not match up to "leader" from a captain standpoint.

Magnus

December 29th, 2013 at 2:11 PM ^

I would venture a guess that he's probably right. Most of these guys were the best players on their teams, and usually the best player on the team is a captain. I've seen kids who were assholes be voted captains when they're the star of the team. The thing is, you look for different things from captains. They don't have to be valedictorians and volunteer at charities all the time. Sometimes you're looking for leadership from their play on the field.

03 Blue 07

December 29th, 2013 at 2:12 PM ^

Hold on. Did you play sports? How often was the best player on your team NOT a captain in high school? I'll hang up and listen (no I won't). No, there isn't "data" on this, but that's because I don't feel like going back through every player on our roster, culling their high school newspaper stories (I doubt Rivals reports on captaincy). . . I mean, come on. It's a pretty valid point, and one that is (fairly) obvious to anyone who's played football past the middle school level.  

justingoblue

December 29th, 2013 at 7:36 PM ^

I'm with you, though; pretty much every single scholarship athlete I've been around was a captain in high school and even on club teams. The difference between a pretty good high school athlete and a D1 prospect (especially a Michigan level prospect) means they always have a leg up when it comes to leadership directly related to the sport, as Magnus mentioned above.

tbeindit

December 29th, 2013 at 12:56 PM ^

This is something that none of us will ever know, but it is something that I thought about a lot this year.  As much as people may not like to admit it, I still think the biggest problem on this year's team was the lack of leadership.  The moment I felt this way was when Denard came to the MSU game.  When things started to go south, Denard was going around trying to fire up the guys, who all seemed like they were just standing around.  

Like I said, this comes with no direct interaction to the team, but I really wonder whether these guys had the leadership skills necessary to turn things around and keep things from turning south.  Somebody has to turn it around next year.

Section 1

December 29th, 2013 at 12:36 PM ^

I didn't see it, at least not yet.  What happened?

I'd like to see 1000% less taunting and trashtalking from just about everybody on Michigan's football team.  Throughout the season, Lewan was one of the least of my concerns in the realm of "ugly trashtalk that might draw a flag."  The MSU game excepted.  The MSU game is always excepted.  You don't bring a rule book to a knife fight.

Anyway, he was the Conference OL of the year.  For the second straight year.  He's not a coach, and he's not the guy who created seven different line combinations in 2013.  He's the one constant in all seven line combinations.

TexasMaizeNBlue

December 29th, 2013 at 12:42 PM ^

Lewan tracked down the defensive back that picked off Shane's pass on the right sideline, saving a touchdown. After the tackle it appeared that he started getting mouthy to a contingent of K State players that huddled up to celebrate the return. It almost seemed as if during this said mouth running, Taylor thought to himself "damn, I'm acting like a moron once again" and decided to retreat. It really wasn't that big of a deal but when you add up this minor incident to a series of others (on the field and off the field) the snowball enlarges.

LB

December 29th, 2013 at 1:04 PM ^

leaving smart-ass responses. What are you trying to do, impress us with your wit and mind-reading skills? Why try to create drama where none might have existed?

Taylor thought to himself "damn, I'm acting like a moron once again" and decided to retreat. It really wasn't that big of a deal but when you add up this minor incident to a series of others (on the field and off the field) the snowball enlarges.

 

TexasMaizeNBlue

December 29th, 2013 at 1:29 PM ^

trying to do, impress us with your copy and paste skills? Do you have any thoughts of your own, or can you formulate a version of the play by play that happened in Lewan's case? Or do you just sit back and leave idiotic responses at the expense of others, who actually step up and attempt to give insight (granted, opinion based) when a poster states he missed the play and wanted a recap.

LB

December 29th, 2013 at 1:44 PM ^

it is 100% pure, unadulterated bullshit.

I am not going to offer a counter opinion because I don't know what transpired any more than you do - one work of fiction is not any better than another. Go watch the clip again, without any predetermination, and tell me you see taunting. Tell me you can read the lips of each player in the vicinity. You have no way of knowing what was said or to whom it was said. 

You did not present a recap, you invented a story that includes an imagined dialog to support your viewpoint, and presented that as a recap.

BlueinOK

December 29th, 2013 at 12:38 PM ^

The team would have been worse without him. I mean come on he's a great LT. There's no way Mags or anyone else could have had the success he had this season. 

Lionsfan

December 29th, 2013 at 12:39 PM ^

I'm glad for Devin's sake that he came back, but Taylor is definitely one player I won't miss next year. Everything I've heard about him from other students and people who've been out with him is that he's kind of a douchebag. And that's not even taking into account his 3 separate run-ins with the Police