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Posted on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 9 a.m.

Michigan's Taylor Lewan respects William Gholston's talent, won't focus on 2011 punch

By Nick Baumgardner


Michigan football offensive tackle Taylor Lewan brushed off repeated questions about Michigan State defensive end William Gholston last week in Chicago. file photo

There was one topic Michigan football junior offensive tackle Taylor Lewan couldn't shake last week in Chicago.

He tried, repeatedly. But it never seemed to work.

Reporter: "Talk about William Gholston."

Lewan (playfully): "What do you want to know about him?"


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What the reporter wanted to know, clearly, was whether or not he'd get an emotional reaction from Lewan on the topic of Gholston, the Michigan State defensive end who made headlines by punching him in the face during the Spartans' 28-14 win over the Wolverines last season.

But Lewan never bit.

Time and time again, the hulking Michigan tackle was asked his opinion of Gholston. How good is he? Was he excited to face him again?

Lewan was even asked if he was sad that Gholston wasn't part of the Michigan State contingent at the Big Ten's media days.

"I don't know," Lewan said bluntly. "That's kind of an odd question to ask."

Lewan repeatedly deflected specific questions about Gholston and Michigan State throughout his two hour roundtable session, but did admit to one thing.

Gholston is one heck of a player, and regardless of what happened last season, Lewan certainly respects his talent on the field.

"Will's a good player," Lewan said. "He's been very successful since he's been at Michigan State, and it's going to be exciting to play against him."

Though he admitted to having respect for Gholston, he said any focus on their individual battle -- one that could feature two future first-round NFL draft picks -- ends up washing out the point that actually mattered last season with regard to Michigan and Michigan State.

The Wolverines lost. And got beat up in doing so.

"Everybody wants to look at me and William Gholston and what happened, but the fact is, we lost that game for the fourth year in a row," Lewan said. "That's something we've got to fix."

Both the punch and the Lewan-Gholston one-on-one matchup will certainly draw plenty of attention in 2012, especially in the week leading up to the Spartans' visit to Ann Arbor on Oct. 20.

But Lewan says that won't be his focus.

Instead, he'll use the fact that Michigan State dominated line of scrimmage physically last season as motivation.

Something that offers more than enough incentive to play hard.

"That's the biggest insult I can have, but it's also the truth, because they won the game," Lewan said. "I was disappointed in the way we played, I was disappointed in the way I played, but thank God I have another year to come back and play."

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



Fri, Aug 17, 2012 : 3:19 a.m.

TL was guilty of a much more sinister straight arm to the face of a ND player just weeks earlier. But it drew no scrutiny eventhough it had a lot of serious potential for injury. Thats because it wasnt a Big Ten game, so wasnt an automatic suspension. Furthermore TL was the one playing dirty ball before the half hearted punch he took from WG. TL has the bad rep. WG was actually picking players up on UofM and apologizing to everyone he saw, Refs, players, UofM coaches after game... for the final 3 quarters of that game. Because one of these kids is a good guy, and one of them is a dirty bully.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 2:03 a.m.

Gholston should have been thrown out of the game... Bo would have thrown a player like that off the team I respect the fact that he is a very talented player. also State's next game had no penalties However I think Dantonio should have pulled Gholston ffrom the game out of principal.. but didn't have the guts I lost more respect for the coach than the player


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 2:31 a.m.

Gholston was suspended the next week against Wisconsin. There's your punishment. He missed the most exciting game of 2011 for all of the ncaa.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

I wonder if Lewan is worried about playing against Gholston this year? Maybe that is why he is not saying anything!


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 8:12 a.m.

Lewan knows that he cannot boast in anyway because we lost to State last season, simple as that. He would rather let the play do the talking and win the game. Beating them is crucial to winning the division. Let those guys on Big Ten Network continue to not talk about Michigan, we will beat State this season.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

Gholston is a talented player who I don't blame for his questionably rough play in last season's game. I DO blame his coaches who encouraged dirty play by the team and the MSU athletic administration who failed to take any action on it after the former admitted to it afterward. But Lewan, as an upperclassman and leader now must show control and discipline on the field to avoid reacting to situations like he has in the past. His excellent handling of the press conference questions indicates to me he has learned that lesson.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 7:38 p.m.

Media and MSU want to get a rise on Lewan and Michigan just to add more fuel to the fire. Class move by Lewan and not giving in to the media agenda to spark a controversy.

Dave Kirkpatrick

Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

This says a lot: This says more: Clearly, Taylor established the rules in advance and then lost by those rules...


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

What that tells me is Gholston got schooled on that play and had his head in the dirt. Whose momma on this site here taught them that it is OK to throw a punch at someone because you got schooled?


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

Funny I didn't see the Big Ten say anything about that play or any of the other cheap shots I keep hearing Michigan executed to start what turned into a thug melee in that second half. I am sure they are out there somewhere. The thousands of camera phones in the stadium at perched at every angle just missed Michigan starting all of it. Let's talk big picture. State marked themselves when it would have been wiser to win with more class. Not sure what they thought they were gaining but it was probably a bad move in terms of the rivalry in the next decade. Time will tell.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

Thanks for this; VERY informative...these guys (who are really kids and still learning) walk a fine line between controlled power and aggression and over-the -line rage, don't they? Clearly neither (TL or Gholston) is a choirboy.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 6:42 p.m.

Surprised no reporters asked Lewan if he was going to school Gholston in 2012 like he did in 2011. Anyone who wants to see a "potential" first-round draft pick in Gholston get dominated by Lewan to the point that his coaches moved him to the other side of the line by the 2nd quarter should go back and watch the 2011 UM-MSU game. Sure UM lost, but it wasn't due to stellar play by the sucker-punching Gholston. Gholston is way over-rated. He's lazy, he plays half-speed much of the game, takes plays off, and is easily dominated by the best tackles in the BIG.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

Unfortunately for you Dave, I'm not whining, I'm simply giving a review of Gholston's play in the UM-MSU game from 2011. You go to Youtube, search for the 2011 UM-MSU video of every single UM offensive play, and watch it. You come back and tell me Gholston didn't get schooled by Lewan whenever he lined up against him (tell me when the TE Koger didn't school, too). Tell me the MSU coaches didn't move him to play over Huyge on the other side of the line after the 1st quarter. Tell me Gholston didn't sucker punch Lewan because Gholston was getting his rear-end handed to him by Lewan (and Koger). Additionally, search on Youtube for complete game coverage for MSU, watch Gholston, and tell me he isn't the most lazy guy on the 2011 -line. Worthy was a beast because he played full-speed every play. Gholston? Gives up trying if the play is headed the other way, doesn't go get the ball carrier (until after the whistle - watch the tape), and plays half-speed on non-passing downs. The guy is over-rated, lazy, and really only makes great plays when he has a linebacker coming on a blitz into his assigned gap or when a player like Worthy (who's gonna take his place?) blows up the play. He's slow off the ball to boot. Anyhow, we'll see who is drafted first, Lewan or Gholston . . . my bet and just about every one who you call an "expert" out there has Lewan pegged to be the higher NFL prospect. And when Lewan schools him again in 2012, come tell me I'm "whining" . . .

Dave Kirkpatrick

Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 7:11 p.m.

Q - What is the difference between "WC_Blue" and a puppy? A - The puppy eventually stops whining. William Gloston is on every NFL Scout's radar, and he will likely be a first-round pick, according to most every draft expert. By comparison, Taylor Lewan only made the"All-Mouth" team, for being a disappointment at U-M and for bragging about how he was a "dirty player" on Ann


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.

pretty impressive by Taylor. He has a bright future ahead of him. Now, if some of the whinny posters could just take notice. Ghost, Joshua, Do you really think if Will wanted to break Denard's neck that he wouldn't have done it? I think if Will wanted to "tear Denard's head off", he would have used 2 hands and maybe picked him up by the head and shake him a little, maybe even swing him around by the neck.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 5:15 p.m.

Good for Taylor. He handled himself well with the press.

Wally the Wolverine

Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

Yet another example of the media trying to create controversy. TL, the media and anybody else that watched the footage, knows it was TL's holding of WGs head to the turf that precipitated the punch. Does that excuse WG's punch? Of course not, but clearly TL did not want to talk about it. Getting a coach to say something controversial is one thing, but trying to bait a student athlete to do it delivers nothing in the realm of constructive reporting and borders on tabloid journalism. Nick, your peers at the media event just delivered another hit to your profession.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

Let Denard fight his own battles. Lewan initiated the scuffle, regardless if he was just backing up Denard.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

Not excusing WG behavior, but anyone who thinks TL is a boy scout on the field is delusional.

Joshua Nagelkerke

Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

Was it TL's holding WG's head to the turf that precipitated WG to go try to twist Denard's head off? Holding someone's head to the turf as an offensive lineman is completely different than throwing a punch or twisting someone's head off, especially after the ball was dead.

Ghost of Tom Joad

Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

ah yes, blame it on the play before without looking at the play before that. What about Goonston's treatment of Denard? I'm sure you can rationalize how he tried to break his neck in the pile too.