Notebook: Lewan's dozen-egg-per-day diet and notes from Big Ten Media Days

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By Zach Helfand, Daily Sports Editor
Published July 24, 2013

CHICAGO — Taylor Lewan may have lied to Michigan coach Brady Hoke before the Big Ten Media Days on Wednesday, the coach says. The fifth-year senior left tackle has embarked on a strict diet. He went out for pizza in the city Tuesday night. He told Hoke he would get a salad, though. Temptation proved too much.

Lewan’s friends “order pizza and wings, I look at that and I’m salivating just looking at it, and I’m excited about it,” Lewan said. “I go to Buffalo Wild Wings, and I order a salad and five chicken breasts.”

Pizza slipup notwithstanding, Lewan has followed his routine with zealous intensity. He eats 12 hard-boiled eggs every day. He eats six cans of tuna fish. He mixes in 12 tablespoons of olive oil. And he can count on one hand the number of times he’s broken the diet.

“He doesn’t eat like me, I could tell you that,” said redshirt junior quarterback Devin Gardner Wednesday.

The All-American, who surprised many by returning to Michigan for his senior season, said on Wednesday that he has lost five percent body fat since January. In the past 30 days, he says he gained six pounds of muscle and lost one pound of fat. He didn't mention how much his diet is costing him, though.

His routine goes like this: Each night, he boils a dozen eggs. He eats six the next morning before his workout, and mixes three with lunch and dinner. Some time after each meal, he eats two cans of tuna. He only eats carbohydrates (whole wheat pasta) after workouts. And he mixes at least 12 tablespoons of olive oil with the meat and vegetables.

Lewan cooks sometimes, but fellow fifth-year senior lineman Erik Gunderson assists. (“I don’t know even know what he does, but it’s like magic when he touches it,” Lewan says.)

Hoke confirmed Wednesday that Lewan “must have not been truthful” about the previous night’s dinner. One reporter asked him to elaborate on the diet.

“I can’t,” Hoke said with a smile. “Because obviously I’m not dieting.”

INJURY UPDATE: Michigan’s three injured starters have shown encouraging signs this summer.

Redshirt junior linebacker Jake Ryan, who has a torn anterior cruciate ligament, has been running, according to Gardner. Ryan sustained the injury in a March 19 practice, and the team set a late-October target return date, which would be an unusually speedy return from an ACL injury. Hoke said Wednesday that he still expects Ryan to resume playing sometime in October.

Redshirt sophomore cornerback Blake Countess, who tore his ACL in the first game of the 2012 season, has been cleared for Michigan’s first practice on Aug. 5. Gardner said he has resumed normal activities.

Gardner also reported that fifth-year senior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint recently beat him in agility drills. Toussaint broke his leg on Nov. 17 in a game against Iowa.

“I guess that speaks for itself,” Gardner said. “I feel like Fitz is ready to go.”

NO GARDNER GUARANTEE: Gardner refused to walk back his statement in June that Michigan would beat Ohio State when the teams meet in November.

Appearing on the “Huge Show” on WBBL 107.3 FM, Gardner said this year’s team is one “that will win in the Big House against Ohio State.” Some commentators took that as a guarantee.

“I never said the word ‘guaranteed’ or ‘promise,’ ” Gardner said Wednesday.

He said the media had made a big story out of nothing, and added he wouldn’t retract what he said.

“I wouldn’t expect any player from any team to ever answer that question differently,” Gardner said. “And if they do they don’t deserve to be on that football team.”

DELANY FAVORS INCREASING SPENDING MONEY: Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany talked (and talked and talked) Wednesday as the last speaker of the day. His opening statement alone went 23 minutes, and that itself was 748 words longer than the longest coach’s press conference.

He made news on two potentially controversial fronts. Delany called for more money in the student-athletes’ pockets for expenses and for a guarantee of free tuition for all scholarship athletes who leave in good standing.

Delany explained that in his last year of college in 1970, he received $15 per month for laundry, in regards to the expenses. The NCAA cut the stipend in 1972 to save money.

“But now that we’re revisiting 45 years later, it’s never too late to do the right thing,” Delany said.

Delany also introduced his vision for what he called an “educational trust.” Under his plan, any student-athlete on a full scholarship who left a school in good standing would be guaranteed the right to finish school for free.

“If you go professional, if you drop out, that we’ll stand behind you so when you’re ready to get serious or when you have the time, we’ll support your college education degree for your lifetime,” Delany said.

INJURIES END ANTONIO POOLE’S PLAYING CAREER: Sophomore linebacker Antonio Poole is no longer with the team as a player, the team confirmed Wednesday. Poole will return as a student-assistant after battling injuries for the entirety of his college career.

SCORECARD: There are no winners and losers at the Big Ten Media Days, but that doesn’t mean we can’t declare winners and losers at the Big Ten Media Days anyway.

Hoke wins for brevity at slightly less than 93 words per answer. The conference average was 171 words per answer. First-year Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen was the most verbose at more than 284 words per answer.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said the most total words of any coach at 2,604. Delany’s opening statement alone was 3,339 words.

The 12 Big Ten coaches combined for an even 21,600 words.