Michigan is coming off of a 2012 season where the quarterback play was below par. The season started with Heisman hopeful Denard Robinson controlling the Michigan offense, but poor play and an injured elbow led Denard to find a role at running back and wide receiver towards the end of the season.
With former prep QB star Devin Gardner excelling at the receiver, coach Brady Hoke turned to redshirt-freshman Russell Bellomy in a road game against Illinois. As many Michigan fans know, Bellomy’s inexperience and youth was visible as the dual-threat QB led Michigan into the ground and eventually tore his ACL. Moving forward, Brady Hoke began the transition of moving Gardner back to his natural position. Gardner displayed signs of greatness in his five games under center. He threw for a respectable 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns in Al Borges‘ pro-style attack. The switch to Gardner saved Michigan’s season and gave them a tremendous QB heading into a season with National Championship hopes.
Gardner, a junior gunslinger, has the chance to do great things in his final two seasons at Michigan. Last season gave him the much needed experience to come in and win games right off the bat in 2013. He is surrounded with receiving threats in WR Jeremy Gallon, WR Drew Dileo and TE Devin Funchess. Running backs Fitzgerald Toussaint and Derrick Green will take some of the pressure off of Gardner through their “ground and pound” style of running.
Gardner has the tools to be a prolific Michigan quarterback. Quality weapons and a strong Michigan defense in 2013 should allow him to put up Heisman-like numbers.
Gardner is the final key if the Wolverines want to produce magic in 2013. It’s in his hands to lead Michigan to greatness and boost his draft status for the coming years.