Zip it — at the Big House

  • BY Lisa Byington
  • 9.16.13

There were two times on Saturday when Michigan Stadium fell silent.

The first? When Taylor Lewan lay injured on the field.

The second? When Akron took the lead with four minutes to go in the game.

Michigan survived both scares.


Lewan Vows

Taylor Lewan had the strongest words about Michigan’s near-loss to Akron after the game.

“That is truly embarrassing for Michigan that we came out like that. It’s not fair to the fans, it’s not fair to the people that are associated with this program, it’s not fair to the freshmen on this team that aren’t playing. This is the seniors’ fault, this is the captains’ fault. We will not come out like this again.”

His season nearly flashed before his eyes. Both for his health and objectives.

On Friday, when he talked to our BTN crew, he said this about returning for his senior year: “This is another opportunity for a Big Ten Championship. I have had failure before.  Just one time, I want success of a championship on the college level.”

“Senior Game”

On Friday, Brady Hoke first expressed what Lewan echoed Saturday.

“This is our seniors game,” Hoke said. “We put it on them as much as anyone. We like to say that games 8, 9, 10 of the season show the leadership of your team.” He went on to explain — the mental challenge of winning those games, during the grind of the season, is sometimes tougher to win than the games where a lot is on the line. He added, “Games 11 and 12 of a season take care of themselves.”

And then he paused. “We told our seniors all week. This one is on you.”


Balanced Offense: 

Going into the Akron game, Offensive Coordinator Al Borges told us he liked the pass/run ratio Michigan had in its first two games. He will get updates on pass/run ratios throughout the game by a staff member who charts it.

Ideally, they would like to keep Devin Gardner below 10 rushing attempts. But as Chuck Long pointed out on Saturday, it looked like the 3rd quarter adjustment was to keep the ball in Gardner’s hands, and to use his feet. The 3rd was the most effective quarter offensively for Gardner and for Michigan.

Borges talked about Devin Gardner’s growth on Friday afternoon: “To be a good quarterback, you have to be enamored with the system,” adding Gardner shows all the signs of being just that.

So how do you find more “Good Devin” and less “Bad”?

Brady Hoke told me on the field afterward, “If we knew (how to do that), we could bottle it up and make a lot of money. He’s resilient. He has to be. Anytime you’re a quarterback, you have to keep coming back.”

And they will continue to look for answers. Borges says he steals from the NFL more than college for offensive ideas. And he will continue to get ideas from the likes of San Francisco and Washington, teams which have the luxury of having athletic quarterbacks.


Quick Hitters … 

Borges on Jeremy Gallon: “Pound for pound, he is the toughest player on this team.”

Taylor Lewan on his impact: “Everything I do, I ask myself will this help or hurt the team?”

Terry Bowden to me at the half, “We have 30 minutes to make history.” They almost did.

Bowden on why he took the job at Akron: “I started getting hungry. I turned 50 years old, and looked in the mirror, and told myself, ‘If I don’t go now, I won’t go back.'”


“Glazed Donut Day…” 

….went on without a hitch, but it will be interesting to see if Brady Hoke continues that tradition for noon games, considering how close to disastrous this game almost was for Michigan. We all know how superstitious coaches, players — let alone fans are.

Even if this WASSSSSS a one and done, it was still cool.

Five-thousand glazed donuts were delivered to the first-come-first-serve Michigan students just outside the stadium, just after 8 AM, and courtesy of Hoke’s wallet. He explained to us that when he was a kid, a noon football game was always memorable, because he would hop on his bike (with the banana-shaped seat), ride to the donut shop, eat his treat, and then go play in his Pop Warner game.

“Noon games were always special,” he said recounting his childhood days back in Dayton, OH.

Fast forward, Ann Arbor, Saturday, noon game — and multiple vehicles delivered the goods from six-to-seven donut shops, to a bunch of salivating students.

In the spirt of the day, I also treated myself to a glazed donut.

But I bought mine.

I would have felt guilty making it 4,999.

Still more Michigan goodies to come in the upcoming weeks!










about the author

Lisa Byington has worked for BTN, FOX, CBS, Turner, and ESPN. She earned her BSJ and MSJ from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She also played four years of basketball and two years of soccer for the Wildcats.