|Photo Credit: MLive.com|
In Denard Robinson's absence, it was apparent that we were lacking a game-ready backup quarterback as we saw Russell Bellomy struggle mightily against Nebraska last weekend. Though this isn't necessarily Bellomy's fault, the "ABANDON SHIP!!!" warning flares were sent into the air.
Cue Gardner this past Saturday as Robinson was not ready to go. Was Michigan really going to start a converted quarterback-to-wide receiver-back-to-quarterback as its starting quarterback on Saturday? One, might I add, who hasn't had a career start? Yep.
Now, before I go on, we must remember that this is Minnesota we are talking about. The bottom dwellers of the Big Ten, the algae suckers of the fish tank.. Okay, you get the picture. Don't get too comfortable with the fact that Gardner played great and this is a sign of things to come. Yes, it's encouraging to know we have someone that can play when needed. We just need to remember who the opponent was. With that being said, I am confident this is not a flash-in-the-pan one-time deal.
After Gardner's performance on Saturday, 12-18 for 234 and two touchdowns, Michigan fans should be comforted knowing that the 2013 campaign (and the rest of the 2012 season if needed) will be manned by a senior (or junior this year) with experience. That man should be Devin Gardner. No offense to Bellomy or incoming freshman Shane Morris, but Gardner has a much greater grasp of the offense. This should be his job to lose.
Gardner is a large guy coming in at about 6-4 and 204 lbs. A perfect size for a pro-style quarterback. While looking at our other options, I'd choose him with the game on the line if Robinson wasn't available. Gardner looked comfortable in the pocket once he settled down. He didn't seem to miss a beat, hitting his reads and check-downs with precision. He really looked like he was meant to be under center all along. As many Michigan fans might've realized while watching the game on Saturday, it looked like we were watching a mid 2000's style Michigan team. Yes, my friends, OLD SCHOOL MICHIGAN FOOTBALL IS BACK! Well, I can dream right?
At the end of the day, the best 11 take the field. Gardner has the tangibles to be a crucial part of that starting 11 on offense next year. With a cannon of an arm, great natural senses in the pocket, and the ability to stretch a play using his feet. He will be an important piece to the Michigan offense in 2013.