ANN ARBOR, Mich. — For most offensive linemen, the idea of scoring a touchdown would fill them with joy.
For Taylor Lewan, recovering a fumble in the end zone during Saturday’s 63-13 rout of Massachusetts seems more like a burden that he’s had to endure.
Speaking at Monday’s press conference, Lewan quickly downplayed any expectations that he would brag about his first career scoring play.
“I wish Denard had scored the touchdown — Denard or one of our running backs,” he said. “I just fell on a ball. It isn’t a big deal.”
Still, as far as Lewan could remember, it was the first time he had ever scored in an organized game, so a little more emotion would have been forgiven.
“In the third grade, I played cornerback,” said Lewan, who was presumably much smaller than his current 6-foot-7 and 303 pounds. “The next year, I played quarterback, but I quit after a year because I didn’t like getting hit. I’m pretty sure I never scored.”
Lewan became a defensive end after that, then switched to offensive tackle during his senior year of high school. These days, he’s been more worried about improving Michigan’s blocking than doing anything with the ball.
That said, there’s a mini-controversy about his touchdown. Wide receiver Drew Dileo said after the game that the touchdown should have belonged to center Elliott Mealer — a charge that Lewan couldn’t completely deny.
“Elliott was lying on the ball, but I wasn’t sure that counted as control, so I grabbed it from under him,” he said. “He was on top of it first but I ended up with it, so I got the credit.”
Given his lack of enthusiasm over the play, Lewan would probably be happy to give the touchdown ball to Mealer, Robinson or anyone else who wanted it. The only problem? He didn’t keep it.
“I didn’t even think about keeping it,” Lewan said. “I didn’t really do anything. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I just handed it to one of the officials.”
GARDNER MOSTLY LOVES HIS NEW HOME
So far, life as a full-time wide receiver has been pretty good for Devin Gardner. He’s clear that he still wants to compete for the quarterback job next season, but playing receiver has kept him on the field in the last year of the Denard Robinson era.
“Before I think of myself as a quarterback, I think of myself as a football player,” Gardner said. “Right now, I’m helping my team by playing receiver and that’s all I’m worried about.”
Gardner has had a fast learning curve at his new position because he was certainly familiar with all of the passing patterns. He said that he’s enjoying the challenge of running routes, but there’s one aspect of the job that isn’t quite as much fun.
“I don’t like blocking,” Gardner said. “I have to do it, and I’m working hard at it, but I don’t know that I’ll ever really like blocking.”