NCAA Football Michigan Wolverines

Replacing Denard Robinson in Ann Arbor


Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Last night I wrote about my memories of Denard Robinson as the quarterback of the Michigan Wolverines. In closing that article, I mentioned how time moves on. Well, that’s now what I’m doing, as with any player’s exit from a program comes the entrance of the next potential star. In the case of the Wolverines, they already had to replace Robinson at quarterback late in the 2012 season. However, what they are going to do in 2013 is still a bit up in the air.

Robinson’s replacement was Devin Gardner, a man used as a receiver up until replacing Robinson despite playing quarterback in high school. Gardner performed well, especially considering the circumstances. In Gardner’s five starts at quarterback last season the Wolverines won the first three, but finished the season with losses to the Ohio St. Buckeyes and South Carolina Gamecocks in the Outback Bowl. Through it all, Gardner performed well and even did something only Robinson has done in recent time for the Wolverines: run for three touchdowns in a game. That game, a win over the Iowa Hawkeyes, also featured three touchdown passes from Gardner, totaling six in the game.

Gardner is almost assured the starting role as quarterback in the 2013 season as the only way he could lose it would be to show up lazy to off-season practices and lose it. Of course, there are only two real candidates for who Gardner could lose that starting spot to.

The first would be Russell Bellomy, the man who came in for Robinson against the Nebraska Cornhuskers when Robinson suffered the elbow injury that ended his college career as a quarterback. Needless to say, things didn’t go well for Bellomy. I don’t judge too harshly in this case because it was a pretty impossible situation for Bellomy: he’s a freshman at the time, coming in for a star quarterback in a game that the Wolverines are losing by double-digits at the time of the injury. Asking Bellomy to come in for his first real appearance in college and lead a multiple score comeback against a good team was basically asking for a miracle.

Then there’s Shane Morris, the Wolverines’ new recruit at quarterback, though he’s been committed since 2011, so he isn’t that new of a recruit. Morris will be a freshman in Ann Arbor for the 2013 season. Morris will be third on the depth chart and will spend probably all of the 2013 season on the bench learning the ropes and studying for the day when he does get his shot.

The reason for this article is that you never really know. Injuries happen, players come out of nowhere in the off-season and make a statement, circumstances could come about in a few months that make all theories and analysis up to that point meaningless. This article is looking at all of the Wolverines’ options at the quarterback position at a point where they don’t have to take a big look at those options. They don’t have to take a big look today, but in May or July or even August? Who knows, right?

Phil Clark is a writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Or check out his blog.