There Is No QB Controversy at Michigan

DevinGardner

Contrary to popular opinion, there is not a quarterback controversy at Michigan. As long as he’s healthy, Devin Gardner will be the guy for the Wolverines this season.

COACH SPEAK
Don’t misunderstand Brady Hoke’s comments back on February 4. Sure, he said that he was opening up the competition at quarterback. But that should be true of every position after the Maize and Blue limped to a horribly disappointing 7-6 campaign in 2013.

In other words: Hoke wasn’t announcing the beginning of a quarterback derby. He was simply challenging Gardner to play better.

There’s a big difference between the two.

This certainly wouldn’t be the first time a coach has used such tactics. Remember, Gary Pinkel made two-year starter James Franklin fight for his job  last fall after a disappointing 2012 campaign (although most his struggles were due to injury). Franklin responded by having a monster year, guiding the Tigers to an SEC East Championship.

GARDNER’S JOB TO LOSE
Even if Hoke was serious about opening up the competition under center, Gardner has to be the favorite to win the job. Despite struggling at times last year, Gardner threw for 2,960 yards, which was the second-highest total in Michigan’s storied history. He also became the first Wolverine QB to throw for over 400 yards in a game, accomplishing this feat against both Indiana (503 yards) and Ohio State (451 yards).

By comparison, those are better numbers than Tom Brady, Denard Robinson, Elvis Grbac, or Todd Collins ever posted.

That hardly sounds like a guy that’s about to lose his job unless he’s not fully recovered from foot and toe injuries that plagued him a year ago.

CONCLUSION
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Gardner will be the clear-cut starter at quarterback for Michigan this fall. While people criticized his play at times last year, the fact remains that he had the second best season of any quarterback in the school’s illustrious history. Now that he’s healthy, and can participate fully in spring drills, it’s tough to see any of the other signal callers overtaking him in 2014.

Terry Johnson is a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on TwitterFacebookand/or Google+.