Preview 2014: Quarterback Comment Count

Brian August 25th, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Previously: Podcast 6.0. The Story.

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[Eric Upchurch]

QUARTERBACK Yr
Devin Gardner Sr.*
Shane Morris So.
Wilton Speight Fr.

It says somethin' about somethin' that Michigan had even the barest semblance of a Quarterback Controversy this offseason. It's not so much that Brady Hoke was going around saying it to people—football coaches' public statement are 95% motivational lies. It's more that a lot of people wanted it to be true.

By the midst of spring practice it seemed like half of the Michigan fanbase had an I WANT TO BELIEVE poster they'd adorned with Shane Morris's head in their room. Beat writers sent out a never-ending stream of WHAT ABOUT THE QUARTERBACK CONTROVERSY articles that message boards passed around, nodding sagely about, until yrs truly was twitching every time I checked twitter. Finally, the dam broke:

WHEN IS THE LAST TIME MICHIGAN REPLACED A FIFTH YEAR SENIOR QUARTERBACK WITH AN UNDERCLASSMAN VOLUNTARILY

DON'T LOOK IT UP I'LL TELL YOU NEVER

NEVER EVER

WHAT WAS IT ABOUT SHANE MORRIS'S PERFORMANCE IN THE BOWL GAME THAT CONVINCES YOU HE'S THE GUY, EXACTLY

THAT ONE SCREEN PASS HE THREW THAT WENT A LONG WAY

OR THAT OTHER SCREEN PASS HE THREW THAT WENT A LONG WAY

OR THAT END AROUND THAT TECHNICALLY COUNTS AS A PASS

I MEAN

THE DUDE AVERAGED 5.2 YPA, WHICH IS THREET/SHERIDAN PRODUCTION

HE THREW AN INTERCEPTION THE INSTANT MICHIGAN LET HIM THROW DOWNFIELD

MICHIGAN SCORED SIX MEANINGFUL POINTS

DEVIN GARDNER WAS 80% DEAD MOST OF THIS YEAR AND STILL HAD 8.6 YPA

CUMONG MAN

That about sums it up. The moment passed, people were yelled at to take their posters down, and Hoke named Gardner the starter in the middle of fall camp. But the discontent still lingers.

[After THE JUMP: SURROUNDED BY THE ENEMY STOP OUR LINES ARE BROKEN STOP SEND LOVE TO MY WIFE STOP]

SPEAKING OF THE CRANBERRIES… WE SOUR

RATING: 4.5

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unfortunately this year's OUT OF NOWHERE photoshop collage only makes us have sad feels about Gardner's ribs. [still via many valiant mgousers]

I'm not here to point the finger of blame at anyone in particular (the offensive line) as we try to diagnose the state of discontent (caused by the offensive line) that Michigan seems to have with the most important position on the field. I'm just going to say that if you put, say, an unholy Brady/Elway/Manning Frankenstein together and put it behind, uh, last year's offensive line (and tailback blocking), FrankenBraElMan's stitches would give way by the third quarter, leaving only viscera and a disembodied head moaning "I told you this was a bad idea, you never listen to me, you guys would listen to Tee Martin I bet."

It is a fact that quarterbacks get worse as they get hit, and it is a fact that nobody in the history of football took more brutal shots to the ribs than Devin Gardner last year. I counted. When Mike Spath hit up Big Ten players at media day, they had the same reaction most of us did:

"Toughest quarterback we played. By far. He took so many hits in our game and kept getting back up. And kept going back to the huddle. At some point, it's like, 'Why don't you just stay down. You're going to hurt yourself."

Also:

"I don't know how he survived our game. I think he went to the sideline once or twice and they brought their lefty in, but you couldn't knock him out. That was impressive. And we came after him. We beat him up. We beat up a lot of quarterbacks, but never like that.

"The one thing about it, and he's not different than other quarterbacks, but the more you hit him, the worse they get. … That was the worst line we played against all year, and we played some bad non-conference teams."

He had a number of problems that were his own, but you absolutely have to look at his numbers in context. Here's one: NFL completion percentage as QBs get progressively more destroyed.

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Note the steep slope at the end there, and envision that continuing. Devin Gardner is several feet to the right of where your monitor ceases.

Here's some more: I took a look at Michigan and the other major-conference teams with a sack rate of approximately 8.4%. Here are their numbers:

[Teams ordered by YPA]

Name G YPA TD Int Rating SACK RATE INT RATE
Kansas State 13 9.3 22 13 155.73 7.6% 4.1%
UCLA 13 8.3 25 9 154.11 8.4% 2.3%
Michigan 13 8.2 21 13 139.45 8.4% 3.3%
USC 14 8.2 20 9 144.87 8.0% 2.3%
Vanderbilt 13 7.9 15 16 135.36 8.1% 4.3%
Boston College 13 7.5 17 8 139.21 7.6% 3.0%
Arizona State 14 7.5 28 12 139.69 7.5% 2.4%
Minnesota 13 7.2 12 7 121.46 9.2% 2.6%
Northwestern 12 7.1 15 13 129.18 8.4% 3.4%
Rutgers 13 6.9 22 22 118.98 7.3% 5.0%
NC State 12 6.8 14 15 119.24 7.6% 3.5%
Florida 12 6.6 11 9 125.27 8.0% 2.9%
Connecticut 12 6.4 16 18 112.5 8.5% 4.1%
Iowa State 12 6.3 19 14 117.49 8.4% 3.4%
Purdue 12 6.1 15 13 111.75 8.4% 3.1%
Kansas 12 5.1 9 12 91.57 7.3% 3.6%

As mentioned above, remove the bowl game and Michigan's YPA leaps to 8.6.

This table has quite a diverse selection of college football teams. Some of them cope. Some are Purdue. And amongst the sack-heavy, Michigan's performance is on the Tyler F-ing Lockett/Brett Hundley/Cody Kessler end of things. (Yeah, Indiana. The only teams on this list that played them also had to play MSU; call it a wash.)

Since Michigan's pass protection was very likely even worse than the sack numbers suggest, it's not hard to conclude that there were very few quarterbacks in the country who could have matched Gardner's numbers given the shocking state of the rest of the offense. The teams at the top here had functional-or-better running games, for one. Life threw everything it could into Devin Gardner's ribs and he came out pretty okay.

And once you take take those sacks out, Gardner ran for 750 yards at 5.8 a pop. Take my quarterback, please. Please don't. /self high five

OKAY HE AIN'T JAMEIS

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[Bryan Fuller]

It all started so well. After a de rigueur walkover of Central Michigan, Devin Gardner took on a foreboding Notre Dame defense fresh off dragging a mediocre offense to the national championship game. The line was perforated time and again; Gardner stood in and delivered rockets. After it was over, I was rather excited:

Heisman?

Don't be ridiculous.

Aw man I'm just havin' some fu—

Heisman doesn't cover it. MacArthur genius grant is more like it.

At the time this was absolutely justified. NFL scouts who saw that were highly excited. NFL.com's Bucky Brooks said Gardner was "not only capable of playing in the NFL but has the tools to be a franchise quarterback."

There was just… you know… that. The worst play you or I have probably ever seen. At the time we tried to shrug it off as just one play. We could not; the Notre Dame game was only the first in a series of bad decisions that led to the aforementioned sourness. Some of them were mitigated by line play. Others were not. Events against Penn State were a good summary of one of Devin's three primary issues:

Penn State did a good job messing with Gardner's reads on two passing downs early; the first interception kind of seemed like a brilliant improvisation by the underneath PSU corner, who left Dileo wide open to undercut Gallon's hitch after seemingly dropping with the slot. The second interception was Zettel dropping off on a zone blitz to cover another Gallon hitch. PSU clearly entered with a gameplan to undercut Gardner's favorite receiver in confusing ways and executed that; Michigan obliged with the hitches and reacted like a scalded dog.

Gallon lock-on syndrome was a real thing. On certain plays it seemed like Gardner was going with his primary read no matter what.

Issue number two is just straight-up accuracy. For yet further context, let's bring in his 2013 UFR chart. (If you don't know what any of this means, there is a helpfully explanatory post here. You can also mouseover the column headers for brief descriptions of what each column means).

Devin Gardner 2013

Opponent DO CA MA IN BR TA BA PR SCR DSR
Central Michigan 2 10(1)+ 1 1 2* - - 1 3 82%
Notre Dame 7+ 16(1)++ 4(1) 2 3* - 1 4 4 82%
Akron 3 14(2) - 5 3** 2 1 3 1 59%
UConn 2 13(1) 1 5*+ - 1 - 5 5 76%
Minnesota 4+ 7(1) 4 1 - - - 1 2 92%
Penn State 7+ 12(2) - 5+ 2** 3 1 4 4 66%
Indiana 5 18(3) 1 1 3 3 - - 5 78%
Michigan State 1 15(2) 1 5 4* 6 - 4 1 50%
Nebraska - 17(1) 1 4(1) 2* 5 - 6 - 62%
Northwestern 5 21(6) 3 5 6***** 1 2(1) 6 4 65%
Iowa 3 12(5)+ 2(1) 5(1) - 2 2 4 3 68%
Ohio State 5 23(6)+++ 3(1) 5 3* 2 1 1 2 68%

Stars are issued for the "extreme" versions of inaccurate balls and bad reads, as those often result in interceptions. That is a lot. You're probably looking at the Northwestern column and you're just like "oh right, that."

Most games against actual defenses saw him throw five balls that were totally uncatchable, with various other problems besides. The 2011 preview has an equivalent chart for Denard Robinson in which he is putting up similar numbers for most of the Big Ten season, coming up with a lot of downfield success rates in the mid-60s. You can make that work if you're Denard Robinson.

If you're not the best runner Michigan has seen since at least Ty Wheatley, you want to push those inaccurate balls down significantly and start regularly hitting the 70s in DSR. Gardner was up and down, with an all-time performance gainst ND followed by a questionable one against Akron, of all teams, before settling in at "meh" for the stretch run. Again, it's worth pointing out the line: 2011 Denard had all of eight attempts filed under "pressure"; Gardner dealt with a whopping 39(!).

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more this, less zombie

Problem #3: Gardner struggled to disconnect himself from the high school stuff we all thought was cool when he was whipping around like a maniac against Minnesota in his first game as a starter. It turns out that when defenses have an idea of who you are, that doesn't happen so much.

Early in the year, Gardner used that high school stuff as crutch even when it made no sense, like when UConn is rushing three guys:

Gardner's pocket presence did improve over the course of the year. When he got pressure against Iowa and Ohio State he moved forward if he could and ate sacks if he couldn't, and while he's always going to be prone to revert to running around like a madman, if that happens once a game it might work.

So he's not Jameis, even if you account for the issues with the line. But could he be?

I HAVE AN IDEA: WHAT IF WE COACHED HIM GOOD

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Nussmeier and protégé [247]

I'd heard that Al Borges was not likely to get let go for most of the year. I'd also heard that if Borges did get the axe the reason was that Hoke didn't believe that Borges was an effective quarterbacks coach. (Recall that at SDSU Hoke had Borges as his OC and Brian Sipe as his QB coach.) This information comes from the gold standard, so I believe it. And when Hoke went out to get a new guy, he picked someone with a terrific track record in that department.

Doug Nussmeier coached up Keith Price, and when he left Price's performance collapsed. He coached up AJ McCarron into a Heisman contender, and when the NFL took a look at him they saw the same floppy-banged, floppy-armed 'Bama QB they always do. Hell, Nussmeier coached Drew Stanton to ridiculous heights (8.7 YPA in 2005!); Stanton backslid to 6.7 as a senior, when Nussmeier was with the Rams. Three is at trend. Nussmeier has a track record that's close to unimpeachable.

At Michigan, Nussmeier has installed… uh… a West Coast offense. Borges always called his stuff that and it may well have been in the original, San Diego Chargers sense where the deep ball is king; it seems like Nussmeier's version is a lot closer to the 49ers version of the WCO. Hello hot routes!

"He's brought a lot, and done a lot for me to be able to protect myself in the passing game and getting us in the right run checks and things like that, and it's been exciting," Gardner said.  …"if I am going to have to be hot (against a blitz), I'll know how to protect myself. Or, throw (a hot route) to a receiver. It's been amazing for me."

And stuff shorter than a million yards!

Jeff Hecklinski: “Probably the biggest difference with Doug is the amount of underneath routes we have… the amount of built-in underneath, the intermediate, the deep routes that we have, where everybody is in a different position throughout different plays.”

And being able to look at the damn defense before you snap the damn ball because you got out of the damn huddle (which you shouldn't even be doing anymore) with more than ten damn seconds on the damn playclock!

Frank Clark: "The practice tempo is way faster this year. When he first brought in during the spring, we were like 'man, five reps? Six reps straight?' Fast-tempo stuff, we call it NASCAR, we were like, 'man, how are we going to deal with this?'"

I may have just crushed a beer can with the power of my mind!

I'm not sure how much Doug Nussmeier can do with one spring practice and one fall practice, but the changing structure of the offense puts a lot more on Devin's plate. Hopefully it will give him time to make those pre-snap checks, unlike last year's Borges-coordinated snail-fest. To make smart decisions you must have information, something that the tempo of last year's offense too often stripped from its quarterback.

I don't know if the bad decisions are because of last year's chaos or a limitation of Gardner's. I mean, it's obviously some of both. But I wonder just how prepared Gardner was to take advantage of things that cropped up during games. If you go back to the MSU debacle, Michigan had a number of opportunities to score long touchdowns, but they did not take advantage. Watch Funchess become hand-wavingly wide open after Gardner comes off of him:

Was it possible for Gardner to find that? Did Michigan not see it and go back to it? If they had a tight set of plays they knew common reactions to and could adjust, would the pop-pass-whoops-touchdown thing have happened? I don't have answers to any of these questions. I am obviously hoping that Borges was the worst football coach ever, because that means we might get a GERG-to-Mattison transition.

But we won't know until we know.

LIMITLESS POTENTIAL (THAT HE PROBABLY WON'T REACH)

I know this is probably a bad idea because anything resembling Notre Dame-induced hope is a bad idea But I think we should momentarily revisit what Devin Gardner felt like in the aftermath of the Notre Dame game, when he stood in the face of rusher after rusher and delivered hot fiery death to the missionaries.

Wow.

Yes. Wow.

Jebus

Jeeebus

JEBUS

JEEEBUS

JEEEEEEEEBUS H FEIST!

I mean, look at that last one. What is that? How do you do that?

That was unsustainable in the same way that hitting six straight three pointers is, but that don't mean Nik Stauskas ain't a boss. Before he was beaten down, before defenses could tee off of the things they thought were coming and Michigan didn't have time to check out of, Gardner was dealing.

If he can be that guy… man. He is a redshirt senior who can lope away from cornerbacks and stand in the pocket to deliver. He's probably not going to be that guy just because being Tom Brady is really hard. This is why there is only one of him. But if Gardner gets locked in he can win any game on the schedule by himself.

EXPECTATIONS

Devin Gardner is a guy you can win a lot of things with. If you picked him up and put him in virtually any of Michigan's previous Big Ten champions, those teams probably get better. He put up quality numbers in the face of terrible pressure, while hardly able to breathe for big chunks of the year and literally wandering around with a broken foot against Ohio State. He is good and Michigan is lucky to have him.

I don't know how that looks behind this offensive line. Gardner suffered like anyone else would have if put under siege, and that siege looks like it may continue. But you don't come here for waffling.

Gardner is an A- guy. His decisions are not good enough from time to time even when you account for the physical and mental beatings he takes; other than that he's got everything you could want. In Nussmeier's hands he should take a step forward to be the obvious choice for first team All Big Ten in Braxton Miller's absence.

BACKUPS

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[Seth Fisher. Morris's head by Fuller.]

SHANE MORRIS [recruiting profile] may not have been a real challenger to start, but neither is anyone a serious challenger to his status as #2. Morris arrived at Michigan fresh off a mono-plagued senior year with an enormous arm and no idea what to do with it; he was forced to play thanks to Russell Bellomy's ACL tear and Michigan's unwise decision to skip a QB in the class in front of Morris.

Those worries were put away for later after a strong performance in Michigan's open fall scrimmage. He still looked young and foolish from time to time, but far less so than in the past. He moved around the pocket well and used his trademark arm strength to good effect. It looked like significant progress, to everyone's relief. He is the heir apparent.

The big question here is "can they redshirt him?" They should; imagine this year without Gardner. With Bellomy healthy there's a chance they skip the garbage time snaps and only turn to him if Gardner is out for a significant period of time. (Like, say, for something other than losing his helmet.)

We aren't likely to find out who the #3 really is, but if another guy gets in the game this year it will be RUSSELL BELLOMY. Bellomy's probably going to go down in history as the guy who was so overwhelmed in the 2012 Nebraska game, as it seems like he's been passed by not only Morris but also Speight.

Speaking of: freshman WILTON SPEIGHT [recruiting profile] should redshirt. He's a 6'6" artillery piece in the Navarre mold.

Comments

dcmaizeandblue

August 25th, 2014 at 1:02 PM ^

One of the biggest reasons I hope this season goes well is for Gardner. Guy has been through a lot and always kept his head up as far as I can tell. He's got the tools to do it so hopefully the OL can give him a bit more breathing room.

animalfarm84

August 25th, 2014 at 1:15 PM ^

Great write-up.  A healthy, well-protected Gardner is a Heisman trophy candidate--based on both Gardner's projected stats in that scenario and the assumption that the D will be good enough to win a lot of games if the offense is effective.

Of course, as has been beaten to death, the "well-protected" part of that is, at best, a huge "if".  But I'm exctited to find out starting on Saturday.

TheLastHarbaugh

August 25th, 2014 at 1:15 PM ^

The whole QB controversy thing this offseason was incredibly dumb and entirely self-inflected by Hoke.

If Devin Gardner, a 5th year senior, 2 year starter, and likely team captain, isn't a self motivator at this point your program has far deeper issues than a summer long faux-QB competition can solve.

reshp1

August 25th, 2014 at 2:07 PM ^

By all accounts, Gardner thrived on the competition, as token as it was. It also really sounds like he's taken it upon himself to mentor Morris and help him improve. It was annoying at times to have the few idiots that actually took it for a QB controversy, but in general I don't think it was a negative.

turd ferguson

August 25th, 2014 at 1:48 PM ^

It's not just that.  When coaches recruit, they tell guys that the best players will play and they'll always get a fair shot.  If you name your starters early - before guys have had a chance to compete and be fairly evaluated for starting spots - then you're not fulfilling that promise.  And it's a totally fine promise.  If Wilton Speight were secretly 2013 Peyton Manning right now, I'd want him to start.

I see nothing wrong with saying there's competition at every spot, even if Hoke knows deep down that there isn't.  Plus, it's not like Gardner and the rest of the team didn't know what was going on.

dragonchild

August 25th, 2014 at 3:40 PM ^

The QB controversy had nothing to do with motivating Gardner.  Gardner never needed external motivation; the guy almost beat OSU on a broken foot FFS.

It had everything to do with motivating Morris.  The guy's as green as a golf course, got whipped in the bowl game, just got off watching a terrible season from the sideline, the seniors had gotten a sense of entitlement and Morris has to look forward to Gardner taking back his spot in 2014.  He may not have believed the whole "QB controversy" thing from the beginning, but I don't think the point was to fool him.  The temptation here is to just coast through the season like Green did as a frosh, with disastrous results, so they're emphasizing that the team is a true meritocracy, to dissolve the sense among underclassmen that the seniors play by default.  It also implies -- by extension -- that the team would be happy to play Bellomy if Morris slacked off.  Not to say that he did (I've heard no evidence of that), but he's the QB of the future and especially given he didn't redshirt, the program absolutely cannot afford to let this guy take a year off.

If anything, odds are Gardner was in on it.  Not that Hoke ever outright said the job was his, but he probably knew the whole thing was a motivational tool for Morris and not casting any doubt on his effort.

ifis

August 25th, 2014 at 1:16 PM ^

Gardner completely won me over in last year's Ohio game.  That was one of the finest atheletic performance I've seen by any athlete, at any level, in any sport.  That is especially true when you think of the beating he endured up through the entire season.  We almost won an Ohio game we had no business competing in.  What does that game look like without Gardner?  (Watch the BWW Bowl again if you wonder what it would have looked like.)  Our offense will live or die with him, and the only reason it has a chance to live at all is because of him.

Hannibal.

August 25th, 2014 at 1:17 PM ^

I don't see us redshirting Morris.  To me, a Gardner boo-boo is not an "if", but a "when" and "for how long"?  We're going to need our 2nd string QB this year.

Space Coyote

August 25th, 2014 at 2:11 PM ^

I think there is no way Morris redshirts, and I don't think he should either. Last year? Yeah, if they had another healthy scholarship QB, sure. You can't do it this year. Not when Morris is the clear cut #2. Not when Morris will be the starter next year. Not when Morris will be demanding #2 QB reps in practice because he's clearly the #2 QB.

Morris needs to approach the game like a starter, and like he'll be playing next year. He's also an actual person and not a video game person. I just don't think there is anyway Morris will redshirt, or any real reason besides a hypothetical vacuum that he should redshirt. When he's on the two-deep, he plays.

And this doesn't contradict the DG move to WR from two years ago. DG was the #1 WR at the time, was still playing, was still learning by getting first-team WR reps (he credits that for learning quite a bit about how defenses react and such). And then in the long-term they moved him back to QB. Russ was also at least competing for the #2 spot, it wasn't clear cut as it is with Morris.

jmdblue

August 25th, 2014 at 3:06 PM ^

I view next year as critical to the program as a whole.  It appears we will be extremely talented and deep at every position group except  O-line and we should be seeing some solid play there as well.  QB is the exception.  Getting Morris game experience this year will be worth burning the redshirt even if the game experience makes him only incrementally better in 2015.  The risk here is the terminatino of Hoke and having to go back to Square 1... Square 1 really sucks.

mi93

August 25th, 2014 at 1:28 PM ^

is like being mad at Santa Claus for bringing you a yellow bike with blue trim instead of the other way around.

You'd think people would learn the game of football with all that knowledge on the interwebs.

skegemogpoint

August 25th, 2014 at 1:34 PM ^

it could be that DG is not a good leader (or Captain) because he doesn't put in the necessary work.  He does not lead by example.  Less photo ops with Rinaldo and cheerleaders, more weight room and film watching por favor.

skegemogpoint

August 25th, 2014 at 3:24 PM ^

first, you may want to re-read my post.  And before you go William Gholston on me you might consider a few things, like: 1) why didn't Hoke name captains when he has done so every previous year and has publicly discussed the importance of senior captains?;  2) if not appointed, why didn't Hoke allow the team to vote on captains?;  3) Trolling? Not likely.  I have been a member here for 6 1/2 yrs.  I'm a UM graduate, season ticket holder, likely old enough to be your father and know a few men closer to the program than most of you; and 4) I greatly admire and respect Brian and Ace's work on this blog.  In my view it is the most thorough analysis of cfb around. But, no, I will not offer any citation or link to a source - though the questions about "leadership" linger.  My hope is that all off-field concerns will be dispelled with on-field performance.

jmdblue

August 25th, 2014 at 3:34 PM ^

Curtis Greer on you thanks.  Hope that helps with my general age classification.  Why weren't capains named?  No idea, but using that as evidence that Gardner is a poor leader is a stretch.  If you know, or think you know, something happening in Ft. Schembechler, you should probably keep them to yourself if you can offer no evidence.  As for the suggestion that you're unworthy based on your MGoPoints.... My bad.  Go Blue!

bronxblue

August 25th, 2014 at 4:29 PM ^

Yeah, you might want to quit while you are ahead.  Posting semi-condescending responses to people already questioning a nebulous post isn't making your point any stronger.

Why the HC didn't appoint senior captions doesn't really matter.  Last year he appointed senior captions; how did that work out?  Taylor Lewan was named a captain last year, and to read around these parts he was a major "cancer" and a cause of last year's troubles.  I personally don't buy that, but whatever.

Being a member here doesn't mean a whole lot, especially when you barely post.  Not that it should matter, but signing up for an account 6 years ago means you were near a computer and have an email address. 

Also, "knowing guys close to the program" is the stock response people around here trot out when they want to sound like an "insider", yet by FAR the best content here comes not from these connected people but by guys like Brian and Ace.  It makes me dubious to trust people who cite that as the reason they should be trusted.

And finally, questions of "leadership" from apparently older alums stinks of "back in my day" revisionist history and being annoyed that their alma mater is struggling.  If there was any guy last year who played his heart out and didn't embarrass his teammates or the school, it was Devin f*king Gardner. 

skegemogpoint

August 25th, 2014 at 8:32 PM ^

That was a well written, caustic reply. It's a shame that boisterous even confrontational outcries like yours don't carry any real weight. They sound good, they read well, but at the end of the day your responses don't offer any insight. Rather than spew your ignorant venom, you might consider WHY Hoke is taking this approach with his captains. You might also ask "WHY would this guy (me) post questions about DGs leadership?" This is a fairly benign issue. There are literally hundreds of other juicier topics during the course of the year. No need to go deeper here. Point is there are concerns, Hoke is aware of them, others know too, and I passed along to the board what I know to be true. Guys like you can save the tough talk for another time. Your responses indicate you really don't know anything that everyone else doesn't already know. Players' concerns about their teammates matter - it also give insight and explanation to matters like 'captaincy.' Internet tough guys are of no concern to anyone.

PS. 46 years of age isn't all that old.

bronxblue

August 25th, 2014 at 9:09 PM ^

My issue isn't to be a "tough guy" on the internet; if I ran into you in person and you questioned a college player's toughness and leadership while citing "sources" I'd take issue with you there as well.  Honestly, I don't much care about  your personal beliefs and the validity of your sources; I just found your original comment to be the type of insipid, insufferable drek that inevitably gets regurgitated as "proof" by others that player X is horrible or player Y is a god.  You again fail to support your claims with anything approaching fact or believability, but that's fine.  Maybe Gardner isn't a great leader; I kinda doubt it, but if the circles you run in have some information explaining why Hoke hasn't named any captains, and not just Gardner, then by all means run with it.  Me questioning that this information is held by you and you alone, though, doesn't make me a tough guy on the internet; it makes me a skeptical reader.  I look forward to further posts from you about why Ryan, Clark, etc. aren't captains as well, and how the fact they haven't been named somehow reflects poorly on their character.  Or perhaps your sources are a bit murkier on those details.

I'm happy you don't care what I have to say, the feeling is mutual.  Enjoy this season of Michigan football; I hope Gardner's continued leadership of the offense won't disappoint you too much.

P.S. never said 46 was old.  You intimated you were wiser because of your years. 

skegemogpoint

August 25th, 2014 at 9:57 PM ^

Let's be clear: I'm not questioning anything nor am I imparting personal beliefs. Moreover, nobody to my knowledge has questioned DGs determination or grit on game day. And if you think I'm the lone wolf suggesting what I have, then you aren't paying very close attention. My hope is that all issues related to "leadership" fade as the win total rises. But for now it's a concern.

Badkitty

August 26th, 2014 at 6:19 AM ^

I see you're backpedaling on your initial scurrilous intimations that the reason why there aren't captains is that Devin has "leadership issues."  Kind of what people do when confronted to cite their evidence, or lack of.

turd ferguson

August 25th, 2014 at 1:52 PM ^

That's a really damning opponent quote about Michigan having the worst offensive line they played all season, including in the nonconference season.  Shit.  Do we know which team that guy could be from (Big Ten team that beat the hell out of Gardner such that Morris came in for a few snaps)?

Danny Bonaduce

August 25th, 2014 at 2:19 PM ^

Yeah I would say either MSU or Nebraska.  He got beat to hell in both games.  It is tough to watch highlights of either of those games, moreso MSU, because so many of the issues were on Borges (having Fitz try to block Calhoun over and over) and the OL just not knowing their assignments.  This is part of the reason why I think the OL will be much improved.  Communication should hopefully be much better this year.  I'm expecting a BIG year out of Gardner. 

BayWolves

August 25th, 2014 at 7:16 PM ^

Coach Hoke should pay Devin's health insurance for the rest of Devin's life since he damn near got him killed or seriously incapacitated because of Borges' and /or Funk's schemes/plays/coaching, etc. Talk about taking one for the team. These games were an utter embarrassment. No one should ever question Devin's toughness.