"I think we're pretty confident," said Taylor Lewan. "We feel pretty good about the game, but at the same time though they're the defending national champions and that's it. That's who they are, so it's a great opportunity for Michigan."
Part of what comes with lining up across from the defending national champion is the overwhelming population that feels Michigan is a major underdog to the Crimson Tide. Lewan and the Wolverines aren't looking at the numbers being spit out in Las Vegas, and instead are focused on the numbers that will end up on the scoreboard when the clock runs out in Texas.
"I'm sure there's some sort of spread that says we're not going to win," said Lewan. "But I feel like the standard at Michigan is we expect to win every game, and that's how we're going to go into this game—expecting to win cause that's what the goal is always."
If Michigan is to have a good shot at beating Alabama Saturday, the Wolverines must be physical at the point of attack. Since Brady Hoke became head coach practices have increased dramatically from a physical stand point but Lewan warns that it's much more than just an exertion of aggression.
"You can control how physical you can be in a game," said Lewan. "That's on you. That's a mental thing you have to take care of. It's a physical thing, but it's also mental. If you go into a game feeling confident then the sky is the limit."
With Lewan looking to set the tone for the rest of the offensive line from his left tackle spot, the Wolverines defensive line will need to have several inexperienced players step up and challenge Alabama's talented offensive line. The redshirt junior likes what he sees out of his teammates on the other side.
"I think if you were in camp with us for the past two weeks, you would see a lot of guys stepping up at different positions," said Lewan. "There's the Mike Martin and Van Bergen positions need to get filled in, and guys like William Campbell have done a great job."
"I'm excited to see what they're going to do on game day," Lewan added.
Prior to kickoff Saturday, the Wolverines announced late Sunday night that they will be sending seniors Denard Robinson and Jordan Kovacs to midfield for the coin toss as captains of team 133. While one was a highly coveted speedster out of Florida and the other an unknown student walk-on, Lewan believes the team found the right men for the job.
"If see him, and you guys watch Denard every Saturday, what he does on the field is unmatched. And his leadership qualities are just—since our freshmen year, have become through the roof," said Lewan. "Then Jordan and his story and everything he's gone through—it's just, it couldn't have happened to two better guys. I'm really happy for them and they had my vote."
A significant portion of the voting is the handling of leadership off the field. For Lewan and the Wolverines, Robinson and Kovacs are captains in the classroom just as much as they are on the field and leading by example every single day.
"Setting an example for the team and doing all the right things," said Lewan. "Never being on lists. Always being in class on time; and when class checks happen they're always in class. It's the little things you got to do to be the leaders that they are."
To watch video of Lewan from this afternoon, click play below.