Taylor Lewan captivates as football team's comedic relief

Sam Wolson/Daily
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Daily Sports Editor
Published September 28, 2010

During a press conference Monday following the Michigan football team's win over Bowling Green two days prior, junior wide receiver Darryl Stonum held court at the podium wearing a black necktie with his short-sleeved Michigan football polo, as well as a gigantic pair of horn-rimmed glasses taped together at the middle (the actual usefulness of the glasses is still under review). Stonum was entertaining, funny and informative in fielding the reporters' questions.

When Stonum stepped down, up walked redshirt freshman left tackle Taylor Lewan. There were a few chuckles among the media, saying Lewan had a tough act to follow for his first time at the podium.

The media, of course, didn't know Lewan.

The Scottsdale, Arizona native was before the media Monday because he started for the first time against Bowling Green and played nearly the whole game. He was part of an offensive line that paved the way for Michigan backs to gain more than 460 yards on the ground. That was the story.

But by the time he left the podium, Taylor Lewan was the story.

When asked whether he and his former high school teammate, sophomore linebacker Craig Roh, do any recruiting in Arizona:

"There's a kid who went to my school, his name's Andre (Yruretagoyena)," Lewan said. "He actually committed to Oregon, so I guess I didn't do a very good job."

His favorite thing about Ann Arbor?

"All the different people. You got some weird people out here."

Lewan started really having fun once he stepped down from the podium. Reporters flocked to him like sharks at a feeding frenzy, each knowing that if Lewan kept going, they would have to do little more than transcribe his quotes for a good mid-week story.

And kept going, he did. Lewan held his audience captive by telling tales of linemate Patrick Omameh's eating habits ("He had like, eight eggs Benedict, three omelettes and like a muffin" at a buffet they went to.), referring to himself as an "attention whore" and calling his teammate Stonum's look "ridiculous."

But of course, according to redshirt junior defensive lineman Ryan Van Bergen, that last comment in itself was ridiculous, considering Lewan's own wardrobe.

"During film, he was wearing sweatpants, a fedora and a sweatervest with no shirt on underneath," Van Bergen said at the press conference, rolling his eyes.

Lewan kept the ball rolling, acting more and more like a stand-up comedian than a Michigan offensive tackle. He said he is a wide receiver trapped in a lineman's body, meaning he has an outsized ego while playing a position in which he receives recognition only when he's guilty of a penalty. Lewan lamented the lack of stats associated with offensive lineman performance.

"We don't really have stats," Lewan said. "We need something cool. We don't really have anything going on."

Lewan has the kind of harmless ego and self-awareness that will make him a media darling for years to come. He knows how to make himself sound ridiculous because he knows exactly how ridiculous he actually is.

Lewan is known for being very aggressive. He said he was often flagged for excessive blocking — "I don't even know if that's a rule" — which seems to be a penalty invented specifically for players like him.

His aggression has also shown itself in practice, apparently. Lewan has been in multiple fights during practice or, as he calls them, "this awkward, wrestling-tugging thing that never goes anywhere."

His nice, gregarious nature off the field and his nastiness on it make for a very interesting contrast. Lewan showed himself to be a well of media gold that doesn't seem to be drying up any time soon. But the craziest thing about him, something that goes beyond the realm of sanity, has to be the tattoo.

On his right index finger he has a tattoo of a mustache. Just so he can hold it to his upper lip for laughs and the occasional pick-up line.

On Monday, Lewan held the entirety of the Michigan media captive. And in the future don't be surprised if Lewan becomes a household name for the Wolverines.