SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Taylor Lewan can sum up the change in Shane Morris through the course of the 2013 season:
"I've gotten the opportunity to be around him, and he's gone from this guy that's worried about Twitter followers, to a guy who could truly care less," Michigan's All-American left tackle said of the true freshman, who will start Saturday at quarterback in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against Kansas State.
Imagine if all we had to worry about in our lives was Twitter followers and playing football ...
But what Saturday will prove about Shane Morris is his maturity level and his preparation level. Saturday will show what kind of progress Morris has made within the last month, as Michigan's coaches have groomed him to become a Division I quarterback and a Michigan quarterback.
"I've definitely seen an improvement in him every week, obviously from camp to now," said right tackle Mike Schofield, who will protect Morris' blind side. "In the last couple weeks, he's definitely become more vocal. Ever since Devin got hurt he's tried to take over, become more vocal and become a leader. It's kind of hard for being a freshman, but I think he's done a pretty good job of that so far."
Another aspect that will be shown of Morris: How much respect he has earned and will continue to earn from his teammates. Right now, he's the leader.
"It's important as a quarterback because you lead the huddle, and obviously, you want to be respected at at that position," Schofield said. "I definitely think he's gaining that respect. The last couple weeks, he's been taking over that No. 1 role and he's been doing a good job at it."
And, yes, we will find out about his poise and his maturity level.
"He's seemed to mature more over this past month than he has over an extended period of time, because he's needed to," center Graham Glasgow said. "That's a testament to him to getting it done when he needs to."
Morris, for the record, has more than 3,400 followers on his Twitter account, which he resurrected at the end of last month. He deleted his previous account, which had roughly 20,000 followers.
Three things from today in the Phoenix area:
The 101 freeway is awful at rush hour. Take 44th Street to Arizona 143 instead, or vice versa.
A reminder of how close we are to Mexico: I lost count of the number of Mexican license plates I saw today.
Stay hydrated in Arizona. The humidity level right now is 26 percent.
This, by the way, is as close as I've gotten to Phoenix.