Sam Webb's Thoughts
Gardner's Journey as Leader
When talking to Brady Hoke he made it clear there was a tangible difference in his eyes in how the team responds to Gardner, specifically when Gardner moved from quarterback to wide receiver. He saw that Gardner wasn't a selfish player. He saw how he had a willingness to sacrifice for the team. He said as a coach it made Gardner a better leader. It is the one thing they have talked about the most throughout his three years of being at Michigan in Gardner's career. He can always throw and is a great athlete, but it's his leadership that has stood out the most.
Defeating the Stereo Types
One reason making the switch to receiver was tough on Gardner was his sensitivity to the once prevalent stereotype that African-American's can't play quarterback at an elite level. To him moving to receiver played into that stereotype and was an added weight on him when he first began considering the move. Eventually he put those feelings aside and placed a greater priority on serving the needs of the team. Many of his teammates came to know how tough it was for him to do that and it made them respect his sacrifice even more.
Gordon is up for the Challenge
The Michigan coaching staff has challenged Thomas Gordon to be a more vocal leader heading into his senior season and he has responded. He learned from Jordan Kovacs these past seasons and he is responding to the positive pressure from the U-M coaching staff one becoming the new defensive leader. He feels like the secondary will not lose a beat heading into this season and expects bigger and better things by season's end.
Lewan Coming Back for the Ring
The All-American offensive tackle has the undoubted respect of his teammates after passing on millions of dollars and the NFL, but he came back to Michigan for one reason and one reason only—to win a Big Ten championship. He said the line is really coming along. His said fellow senior linemen Michael Schofield is an All-Big Ten player. He also wanted to point out that while defensive end Frank Clark is good as advertised, he is not winning his fair share of their battles in practice. But in all, Lewan came back cause he thinks this team has a legit shot at winning the Big Ten.
Josh Newkirk's Thoughts
Thomas Gordon on the Secondary
Gordon has stepped into his new leadership role with open arms. He admits he was shy in the past, but is now the vocal leader of the 2013 Wolverines. Gordon talked glowingly about the growth of the secondary. He pointed out that Jared Wilson and Delonte Hallowell specifically as two players that have stood out to him throughout spring and summer. He also said Blake Countess looks and plays like the player from 2011 and is already fully recovered. He said the secondary should be a strength again this season and he expects to be a top-10 defense when it's all said and done.
Lewan and offensive line Chemistry
Michigan is looking to replace the interior offensive front heading into their 2013 season. Lewan said the group as whole is close to becoming the power run game unit that Michigan has traditionally produced in the past. He said Kyle Kalis and Ben Braden are proving to be game changers on the offensive front. He said he sees the work ethic out the group and fully expects them to be solidified by the time the season starts.
Devin Gardner's Offensive Weapons
There has been a misnomer that Michigan doesn't have enough speed on the outside, specifically at wide receiver. Gardner made it clear that U-M has plenty of speed on the edge and feels they have playmakers at every offensive skill position. He said he hopes every team under estimates the Wolverines, and will gladly surprise his opponents on Saturday. He pointed out that Jeremy Gallon is due for an outstanding senior season and he is fully confident in all his receivers.
Brady on possibly playing OSU twice
It's not secret how Michigan coach Brady Hoke feels about his main rival Ohio State. When asked how he feels about possibly playing Ohio State twice this season, Hoke said simply "It's great!" He said it was a cool that it could happen, but pointed out that winning the two games was the most important scenario. And there is a good chance that it could happen later this fall.