As a writer, I deal mainly with words. However, sometimes numbers are the better way to tell the whole story. Here's a look at a few numbers that help to tell the story of Michigan football this season.
1,527 pounds: The weight of Michigan’s starting offensive line. Yes, that is a whole lot of human on the O-line. Obviously, being heavy isn’t the only factor when it comes to effective play, but it definitely helps. And the Wolverines are on par with some other top offensive lines across the country: Alabama (1,529 pounds), Stanford (1,483 pounds), Ohio State (1,551 pounds) and Oklahoma (1,550 pounds).
$51.50: The difference in price between the cheapest available Michigan-Notre Dame ticket ($288.40) and the cheapest available Michigan-Ohio State ticket ($339.90) on TicketMaster. The Michigan-Notre Dame “Under the Lights” rematch is highly anticipated but even though it’s a marquee game this season, “The Game” is still generating higher ticket prices. Apparently folks are open to spending more in order to welcome Ohio State to Ann Arbor in round two of Hoke-Meyer mania rather than catch the last Michigan-Notre Dame game in Michigan Stadium for who knows how long.
Three percent: Quarterback Devin Gardner’s body fat percentage. At 210 pounds, that means that Gardner has just 6.3 pounds of fat on his body. For comparison, running back Fitzgerald Toussaint -- who’s at a very healthy playing weight and fitness level -- is at his all-time low of nine percent, down three percent from last season. Offensive tackle Taylor Lewan has lost five percent body fat since he started on Michigan nutritionist Joel Totoro’s food regimen last winter.
1.36 miles: How far the Michigan running backs ran last season. A first down is sometimes just a yard or two and that often seems like a whole heck of a lot at the time (especially when they don’t make it). However, when you convert the yardage into miles, it turns out that over 13 games, Michigan really didn’t run all that far. Some distance runners could cover the same amount in about five minutes that Michigan covered in an entire season.
1.47 miles: How far the Michigan quarterbacks threw the ball last season. That distance is the same as the distance from Michigan Stadium to the Whole Foods on Eisenhower and Ann Arbor-Saline Road. From the Big House, Mapquest.com estimates that would take you three minutes to drive, six minutes to bike and 35 minutes to walk.
Eight: True freshmen in the three deep. The Wolverines might be relying on some youth this upcoming season. Defensively, five freshmen are in the three deep, and on Tuesday, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison mentioned all of their names as young guys who could see early snaps. Offensive coordinator Al Borges wouldn’t commit to anything but with a true freshman backup QB and a game against Central Michigan this Saturday, there’s a possibility Shane Morris could see his first snaps this weekend, as could tight end Jake Butt as the Wolverines’ have installed more multiple tight end packages.
56 pounds: The weight gained by defensive end Frank Clark in just over two years at Michigan. Clark came into Michigan at 217 pounds and now, at 273 pounds, is the rush end that several of his teammates are bragging about. As a senior in high school he clocked a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash and despite his staggering weight gain, he claims he could run faster today.
273 ounces: The amount of olive oil Lewan will consume from the Central Michigan game until the Ohio State game. With his new diet regimen, the redshirt senior takes one shot (one ounce) of olive oil with every meal. At three ounces a day, seven days a week, and 13 weeks between those two games, that puts him at 273 ounces total. The average olive oil bottle is 500 mL, which is 16.9 ounces, meaning he’ll consume more than 16 bottles of olive oil this season.
13 inches: The difference in height between the team’s tallest players (offensive linemen Lewan and Erik Gunderson, 6-foot-8) and the team’s shortest player (wide receiver and returner Dennis Norfleet, 5-foot-7).
5,719 days: The time since Michigan won a national championship. It can also be calculated as 15 years, seven months and 28 days. Meaning, the large majority of children who do not currently have a driver’s license were not alive the last time the Wolverines won a national title.
13 starters: The players who were initially or completely recruited to Michigan by Rich Rodriguez rather than this current staff. This group includes Lewan, Gardner, Drew Dileo, Jeremy Gallon, Jibreel Black and Quinton Washington. Redshirt sophomore Blake Countess, who signed with Hoke’s first recruiting class in 2011, initially committed to Michigan when Rodriguez was coach and chose to stay with the Wolverines after an in-home visit from Mattison.