The oldest cliché in football is that games are won and lost at the line of scrimmage. It’s also the smartest cliché.
But probably no aspect of college football benefits more from senior leadership than the offensive line. It’s a position where freshmen and sophomores usually don’t step into very quickly. The more experience on the offensive line, the more consistently and potentially explosive your offensive attack is likely to be.
With that in mind, it’s no wonder why Michigan coach Brady Hoke and his staff may have thrown high fives to each other earlier this year, after hearing Taylor Lewan’s decision to return as a NCAA fifth-year senior.
Lewan, a three-year starter, was named to the Associated Press’ All-America first team. He has been a starter 27 consecutive games at left tackle. The state that drew the media and coaches’ eyes to Lewan is that the line gave up a Big 10-low of 15 sacks in 2012, and opened holes and quarterback protection for a Wolverine offense that averaged 385 yards per game.
Lewan said he’s looking to graduate and also work with the younger linemen. He also wouldn’t mind playing for the Big 10 title and a trip to the Rose Bowl.
But Lewan also figures another chance to play at the collegiate level will get him more ready for the NFL. He’s likely to be drafted high by NFL teams desperate to solidify or rebuild their offensive lines. The fact that he wanted to play his senior season also shows how dedicated he is to a cause.