Devin Gardner Is Not Guaranteed to Start At Quarterback


Apr 5, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner (98) before the Spring Game at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

As the Michigan Wolverines begin preparing for the 2014 season ,all eyes will be on the quarterback position and the competition between Devin Gardner and Shane Morris.

After being mentioned as a pre-season favorite for the Maxwell Award prior to the 2013 season, the offense struggled under Devin Gardner last year who was sloppy with the football at time throwing 11 interceptions.

Gardner’s struggles weren’t all his fault.  A poor offensive line and an even worse running game lead the Wolverines offense to depend almost completely on Devin Gardner.  That dependence made the offense predictable allowing defenses to contain Gardner.

After Gardner missed the Buffalo Wild Wings bowl with a broken foot, that opened the door for five-star recruit Shane Morris to start.  The freshman showed promise in his first start connecting on 24 of 38 passes for 196 yards.

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The competition between Morris and Gardner is a contrast comparison. The styles of the two quarterbacks couldn’t be more different. Gardner is the a mobile passer with a big arm.  Morris is a pocket passer more suited to a pro-style offense.

On the outset it would seem that Morris would have the inside track on the starting job. New offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier came from Alabama so one could assume he would want to implement a similar offensive scheme, a scheme more suited to Morris’ style than that of Gardner.

All through the Big Ten Media days Brady Hoke refused to name a starter but later said it was Devin Garnder who had the inside track.

"“Going in (to camp, there will be competition between Devin Gardner and Shane Morris), We’ve got great competition. (But) if we opened the season today, Devin would start for the Wolverines.”"

Hoke is saying all the right things here while showing his senior quarterback some respect but Morris probably has more of a chance to land the starting job than the head coach is letting on. The Wolverines have been on a downward spiral and to keep his job Hoke has to start winning right now.

If Shane Morris can win the job out of camp it accomplishes two things for Brady Hoke.  Morris could give the Wolverines a better chance to implement a completely pro-style offense.  He could also show alumni and fans that Hoke’s recruits are capable of getting the program back into contention for the Big Ten title.

Of course what fans want to see most is wins and if the Wolverines can’t muster at least 10 of them this season Hoke may find himself coaching in the MAC again.