Jim Harbaugh talks about Grant Newsome's injury and how it will change the makeup of Michigan's offensive line.
Ann Arbor -- Michigan left tackle Grant Newsome, even with what would be diagnosed as a season-ending knee injury, dismissed the use of a cart to transport him off the Michigan Stadium field Saturday.
Instead, accompanied by athletic trainers and medical staff, Newsome, a sophomore and first-year starter, walked off on his own and headed to the tunnel.
“I visited him last night in the hospital,” Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight said Monday. “He’s in good spirits. He’s a strong dude. He gets picked on a lot for being one of the younger guys in the starting line. (Kyle) Kalis and Erik (Magnuson) love going at him, but even those two guys were giving him their respect, because the fact he walked off with that type of injury says a lot about who he is.
“We all respect him for that.”
Newsome is lost for the season, and Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh could not say for sure if it is potentially a career-ending injury.
“Don’t know,” Harbaugh said. “It’s as serious as a knee injury can be. But Grant is special. If there’s anybody that can come back it is Grant. He’s strong-willed, he’s strong physically, so we’ll see. It’s in his hands and the doctors’ hands. Amazing what they’re doing in the UM Health System. They’re real miracle workers.”
Harbaugh praised Newsome’s character.
“It’s going to be a tough couple weeks for him,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a reminder just how tough the game of football it is, how serious injuries can be in football. What I do know is as far as human-being character and football character, nobody has ever come through here, this football team, or this university that I know of with more of it than Grant Newsome.
“Grant is the finest. Praying for him right now. It’s not a good feeling today at all. Just being with him at the hospital – everybody’s he’s come in contact with, nurses and doctors, (he says) please and thank you. He is an amazing, amazing young man. Keep him in your prayers as he is in ours. He has some things to work through right now. He’s handling it like a champ. I know he’s got pain, but he’s tough as a $2 steak.”
Juwann Bushell-Beatty filled in at left tackle against Wisconsin last week. But Harbaugh said he and his staff will look at different options.
“We’ll assess as the week goes on,” Harbaugh said. “Definitely Juwann is a Plan A, but also (left guard) Ben Braden could go to tackle, (center) Mason Cole could even go to tackle. We’ll see what the options are.”
Michigan offensive coordinator Tim Drevno, also the line coach, makes it a priority in the spring and preseason camp to move linemen to different positions to offer versatility. If Cole moves back to left tackle, where he started the last two seasons, Patrick Kugler would play center. If Braden moves, presumably freshman Ben Bredeson would take over at left guard.
“Drevno did a great job of making sure everyone got their reps,” Speight said. “There’s going to be young guys who have to step up. It doesn’t worry me at all. Across the board those guys are all smart guys that know what to do to get the job done.”