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Posted on Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 12:40 p.m.

CBS says Taylor Lewan, not Denard Robinson, is Michigan's most important player

By Nick Baumgardner


CBS believes that Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, not quarterback Denard Robinson, is the team's most important player in 2012.

Melanie Maxwell |

When most people analyze the Michigan football team, the conversation usually starts and stops with senior quarterback Denard Robinson., however, sees the discussion in a different light.

During its Michigan preseason breakdown, CBS labeled junior left tackle Taylor Lewan -- not Robinson -- as the Wolverines' most important player in 2012.

"Every great offense has to have an anchor, and the 6-foot-8, 302 pound Lewan serves that role for the Wolverines," the site wrote. "Lewan is expected to dominate the opposition in the same manner as current NFL-er Jake Long did in his days in Ann Arbor.

"For Michigan QB Denard Robinson to be the explosive weapon he can be, Robinson needs Lewan to be one of the best in the Big Ten up front."

Lewan, along with Robinson, was named to the Big Ten's annual Players to Watch list last month, and has also earned a spot on CBS' second-team All-America roster.

Lewan is also a member of the Outland Trophy watch list, an award that goes to the country's top tackle, guard or center.

CBS tabs Michigan as the No. 9 team in the country, and couples the preview with analyst Jerry Palm's prediction that the Wolverines will finish the 2012 season in the Rose Bowl.

The site also labels freshman defensive end Chris Wormley as the team's "Newcomer to Watch," writing that the Toledo native could be a "sack machine" once he finds his way onto the field.

Michigan's breakout player in 2012, according to CBS? That'd be senior wide receiver Roy Roundtree.

The labeling of Roundtree as the team's breakout performer obviously came before Sunday, when coach Brady Hoke said the team's top wideout recently received arthroscopic knee surgery and would miss two weeks of action.

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:48 p.m.

If you have any doubts about the importance of the offensive line, look at Wisconsin. Ever since they started being a real football team again (under Barry Alvarez) their trademark has been "smashmouth" football, led by the O-line. Denard Robinson, is well, Denard Robinson. Probably he is the most exciting player in college football today, but I am sure he will tell you, having Taylor Lewan on the field makes him feel a lot better. Who is more important? Does it really make a difference as long as Michigan wins? Michigan has always been about team. Why does anyone need to compare apples and oranges and declare one of them to be better? It is like the stupid question asked on NBC about who is better Bolt or Michael Phelps -- they are two very different people in two very different sports. Both are great and a pleasure to watch -- why does one have to be better? Have Bolt swim the 100m against Phelps and you'll say Phelps is better. Have Phelps run the 100m against Bolt and you'll say Bolt is better. Let's just be happy we have both Denard and Taylor L. it is a tribute to who/what Michigan is and always will be.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

Why are there so many anti-Michigan people on a Michigan site?


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 8:52 p.m.

jealousy -- when you are on top, you bring out the worst in some people. They kicked Michigan when UM was down, and they don't want to believe the wolverines are back. Let 'em have their fun; once the season starts, Michigan's play will speak for itself and silence these poor souls (maybe I should have written "poor soles" because they will be walked on by the feet of the Wolverines).


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:41 p.m.

this guy is "big" and I mean "big" ....can you imagine opponents facing a guy who is 6'9" amd 302 pounds. Talk about intimidation.........he's a natural for the NFL.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 7:48 p.m.

I'd say no. Ricky Barnum and the whole O line are. We saw what happened in the beginning of the Sugar Bowl when Molk was out, the qb/center exchange is huge, if you don't have that TL's role will not matter as much.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:39 p.m.

And if the defense does not get a stop, nothing the offense does will matter. At some point its an exercise in eternal, circular regression. Its fine to pick a player at some arbitrary progression of a play, of a series, of a game.

Terry Star21

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

Michigan' most important player ? Every M player that runs onto the field this year of course. It takes the play of each wolverine to spark the nations best team to continued success. Starting with the bashing of 'bama' (bringing our record vs SEC to 21-5 {8-1 since 94'} ! ) and continuing through the Maize and Blue clutching the crystal football - every cylinder hits right on. MgoBlueForTiM.....MVP's for all Wolverines.

Howard Elzinga

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

As has been said many times ALL success begins at the beginning and that is in the middle. Great teams are built from the inside out as anybody with success will tell you . Brady Hoke knows that and that is why his most important players are at the interior of the offensive and and defensive middle. In baseball its the catcher pitcher second base shortstop and center fielder. In football its the Quarterback, center, tailback, Defensive tackles, Mike linebacker and the Free safety, strong safety. Especially true in Michigan's case . The center calls are as important as the Quarterbacks and his ability ti hold the middle and drive block the oppositions tackle. Post and drive release to the second level and help out on pass defense, the guards with mike attacks. blitzes and such . your is center mine too


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

Nick-- I would say that. I think offensive success will hinge on his ability to stay healthy as well. We can all point to the first series in the Sugar Bowl to show how it all starts with the Center.

Nick Baumgardner

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 7:07 p.m.

Interesting, Howard. So would you argue that center Ricky Barnum is even more important than Lewan? Obviously Barnum's a huge factor for Michigan, especially in the team's multiple spread-option packages.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

Most valuable ummy player? The punter, of course...he's the only one who'll actually be "advancing" the ball down the field this year.


Tue, Aug 14, 2012 : 3:21 a.m.

SEC fan is jealous of scUM's last Big 10 championship in 2004? That's FUNNY!


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 11:36 p.m.

ya'll gonna make me cry....


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 8:56 p.m.

a2michguy---awesome! Thats kicking him where it hurts. I always wonder why he comments so often here anyways... either he secretly loves UM, or is just so supremely jealous. I have never been to an SEC school's site, or a blog commenting on them. Cause I just dont care. So obviously, he cares very much. So SEC, if you lose use of your logo, you can always put up a pick of your favorite UM star. :) hahahaha.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

I've just contacted the SEC office in Birmingham about your illegal use of their logo for your profile. Good luck.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

Don't agree, however, that's funny! lol


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

Oh yay we are graced with SEC fans witty banter. That does stant for the Securities and Exchange Commision right??


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

I posted a comment on the Thomas Rawls story on the value of a good O line and this story sort of validates my thinking. No matter who is carrying the ball, having a big hole to run through has to help the back tremendously. Greatness really shows once they are through the hole. Glad to see articles like this.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

I was thinking that water is wet. So I went and dove in the river, then a lake, then took a shower, then a bath, ran through some sprinklers, went to the water park, all to validate my thinking. I've concluded that it's true - water is wet. I was right.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

wonderful...cause I've never ever heard anyone say that before.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

Well if CBS says it, it must be true.


Mon, Aug 13, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.

I know that Michigan QB Denard Robinson was the most valuable player against Michigan State the last two years! Yea Denard!