Michigan Wolverines: Shane Morris Could Start Against Miami


The late hit Michigan Wolverines QB Devin Gardner suffered near the conclusion of Saturday’s 31-0 loss to Notre Dame might keep him on the sideline for tomorrow’s matchup with hapless Miami (Ohio).

The crushing blow, which  was administered by Notre Dame’s Max Redfield  during a last-second interception return, drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and cost the Fighting Irish a meaningless touchdown.

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Both Redfield and Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly condoned the “cheap shot.”

Five suspended players

“So I hit Gardner the way I was taught,” the Notre Dame safety said. “If I knew I was going to get a penalty for it, I wouldn’t have done it.”

Kelly, who already has five players on the suspension list, obviously wouldn’t care for a sixth.

“Max did not size up somebody or target a player. We felt like in that situation he was doing his job,” he said.

Gardner accepted the hit in stride.

They got me, but it’s football, right?” the 6-4, 216 lb. redshirt senior added.

Hoke not fond of reporting injuries

While Michigan head coach Brady Hoke does his best not to discuss injuries, word that Gardner is questionable for Miami (Ohio) has been reported in USA Today‘s injury comprehensive report.

Gardner’s head  injury might not keep from starting, but Hoke should give backup Shane Morris plenty of playing time, especially since the Wolverines are 31-point favorites and the RedHawks have lost 18 straight over three seasons.

Dec 28, 2013; Tempe, AZ, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Shane Morris (7) against the Kansas State Wildcats during the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Morris could use the reps since Michigan is running a new offense under offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who came over from Alabama in the off-season.

Could Morris win the job?

Morris, a five-star recruit from Detroit De La Salle,  has mainly done mop-up duty,  except for his only start in last season’s 31-14  loss to Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. The left-handed signal caller completed 24 of 36 passes for 196 yards and ran for another 43.

His reviews were good enough for some to suggest Gardner moving back to wide receiver (16 receptions in 2012) and Morris taking over at quarterback.

Smith could win tailback job

Sophomore  De’Veon Smith, who’s been competing for the top running back spot,  will have a great opportunity Saturday to separate himself from Derrick Smith, Justice Hayes and Drake Johnson. With size, speed, power and agility, Smith is the most versatile. Thus far this season, Smith  has 145 yards in only 15 carries good enough for a 9.7 yards-per-carry average (see chart below).

RUSHING         GP-GS  Att Gain Loss  Net   Avg  TD Long Avg/G
Green, Derrick   2-2    28  202    7  195   7.0   1   62  97.5
Smith, De'Veon   2-0    15  146    1  145   9.7   2   61  72.5
Hayes, Justice   2-0     6   45    2   43   7.2   0   18  21.5
Johnson, Drake   2-0     3   28    0   28   9.3   0   27  14.0
Norfleet, D.     2-2     2   20    0   20  10.0   0   13  10.0
Gardner, Devin   2-2    16   56   42   14   0.9   0    9   7.0
Shallman, Wyatt  2-0     1    5    0    5   5.0   0    5   2.5
Total..........  2      71  502   52  450   6.3   3   62 225.0
Opponents......  2      67  250   43  207   3.1   2   27 103.5                                                                                                                                          

Bolded players and coaches are linked to Sports-Reference an enhanced statistics website.