Thursday, June 6, 2013
By Chantel Jennings, Tom VanHaaren & Bob McClellan
Michigan will make its first trip to Maryland's Byrd Stadium for the 2015 B1G opener.
Every Thursday our writers sit down and discuss a few topics surrounding Michigan athletics. However, with the summer upon us, vacations are here and Mike is relaxing this week so with this roundtable we invited in WolverineNation editor Bob McClellan.
1. The Big Ten released its 2015 conference schedule on Monday. What struck you initially about the match ups?
Bob McClellan: The opener at Maryland. It’s the first opportunity for Michigan ever to play in College Park, and the Baltimore/D.C. area is an important one in which to recruit. Current Wolverines Blake Countess (Our Lady of Good Counsel) and Henry Poggi (The Gilman School) are from the area, and Michigan offered two of Countess’ former teammates who were members of the ESPN 150 in 2013. It’s reasonable to believe playing at Maryland every other year could pay recruiting dividends.
Tom VanHaaren: It looks like it's a favorable schedule in terms of whom Michigan plays at home and away. Michigan State and Ohio State are at home, but Penn State on the road will be a tough game as usual. There wasn't much that stood out to me other than it was weird to see Maryland and Rutgers on the conference schedule.
Chantel Jennings: How easily both Michigan and Ohio State could be undefeated heading in to the Nov. 28 matchup. The Wolverines have kind of a cakewalk of a road schedule and at home, they’ll face Northwestern and Michigan State, which won’t be quite as easy (though with a returning Devin Gardner, the offense should be revving on all cylinders). The Buckeyes, on the other hand, only have to travel to Indiana, Rutgers and Illinois. I think The Game will mean even more that year.
Left tackle Taylor Lewan returns as the emotional leader of the Wolverines.
2. Taylor Lewan recently got a pet pig, which he named Dr. Hamlet III. At this point, could the left tackle surprise you? And if so, with what?
McClellan: The beauty of Lewan is that if you don’t think he can surprise you, he will figure out a way. Tyson-like face tat, anyone?
VanHaaren: I met Taylor a long time ago when he was in high school, so nothing has really surprised me to this point. The first high school game that I watched of his, the defense was on the field and Taylor was pacing the entire sideline waiting to get back in so his team could score. The entire sideline, not talking to anyone, just pacing. The offense got on the field and scored, and one of the plays Taylor drove his guy Blind Side style all the way across the field through the whistle.
Jennings: Only thing that would surprise me at this point is if he doesn’t back up all this off-field insanity with phenomenal on-field play this season. That would definitely be a surprise to me.
3. The Tough Mudder -- an endurance obstacle course with events all over the country -- has become more and more popular over the past few summers. If you had to pick a football and basketball player to compete in one of these events, who would you choose and why?
McClellan: You have to be insanely fit and fittingly a wee bit insane to do this. Is this a trick question to get me to talk about Lewan again? While I’m sure he would finish, I’d choose someone smaller and faster but still extraordinarily physical, such as incoming freshman Dymonte Thomas. On the hoops side, I’d go with Mitch McGary. While his height would be a hindrance, I’m sure he’d dive in with the proper gung-ho attitude.
VanHaaren: Probably Thomas Gordon and Spike Albrecht. Gordon because he's strong enough to get through the course, but not too big to where he'd have problems getting through some of the obstacles. Spike is probably one of the only basketball players that wouldn't be too tall to get through this efficiently.
Jennings: There’s a part of me that just wishes redshirt freshman offensive lineman Kyle Kalis would do it because the kid is the heir apparent to the craziness that is Lewan. However, if I had to put my money on a football player doing well it’d be a skill player with endurance and strength, so I’d go with wide receiver Amara Darboh. On the basketball side, Glenn Robinson III would probably be able to get over the hurdles and high-flying obstacles.