5th-years and spring practice

Submitted by 1974 on March 6th, 2015 at 7:02 AM

It seems that 5th-year seniors can participate in spring practice:


In most cases that wouldn't make any sense, but BYU has a need for a QB.

EDIT: Sorry -- I forgot the "NO-NOT-SRSLY" tag. I didn't mean to suggest that Gardner _should_ come back. (As others have noted, he enrolled early in 2010.) Just thought it was an interesting story ...



March 6th, 2015 at 7:35 AM ^

Why wouldn't it, as long as the 5th year senior in question is still in school?  The NCAA only cares about eligability when it comes to games.  This is just like having any other student walk into the practice facility at the coaches invite and workout with the team.  Makes sense to me.

Everyone Murders

March 6th, 2015 at 8:48 AM ^

Possible benefits, with the right 5th year, would include:

  • mentorship of younger QBs
  • scrimmage against 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team D
  • depth for Spring Game (e.g., if a first or second team QB is hurt)
  • ability to run drills with minimal coaching supervision

I understand your point about looking forward, not backward, but there are potential benefits.


March 6th, 2015 at 9:14 AM ^

Those benefits are minimal at best. Why would you want a guy taking time even to scrimmage against the D if he won't even be there for the season?  It would be better to put a walk on in there.  At least there's a one percent chance he'll see the field.  The QBs have had enough mentoring from the 5th year QB, and in Gardner's case, he unfortunately wasn't even very good even though he was a great guy off the field.  Also in Gardner's case, he will have no ability to run drills without coaching supervision because the coaches are all new...

Everyone Murders

March 6th, 2015 at 9:40 AM ^

I think you're thinking of the exercise of using a 5th year solely through the prism of QB development. If QB development is the only point, I suppose you're right.

But I'm thinking of it through the prism of developing WRs, DBs, LBs, TEs, and linemen who might not ever get to work with (or, in the case of the D, opposite) an experienced QB.  The reps that a third team player gets with the two-deep are typically limited, and this ameliorates that a bit.

If the walk-on in your example sucks at football, his suckitude stunts the development of anyone practicing with him too.  And if you've got a great walk-on, then you can park your 5th year back-up QB. 

(The Gardner example you use has no application to my first comment.  My first comment was expressly premised on having the "right" 5th year.  I think that Devin would likely be a poor fit in this role, solely because of the new coaching regime - I think the world of Devin.)


March 6th, 2015 at 8:42 AM ^

I believe that's the case - if you are still enrolled, you can participate in practice without being a "counter", which is basically the NCAA's fun way of saying that someone in that situation would not count against the scholarship limit. It still has to happen in the five-year window, however, or at least that's what I understand. Someone with more knowledge of the rules will hopefully correct me if that's not right. 


March 6th, 2015 at 8:06 AM ^

This pisses me off.  Devin Gardner did nothing but sacrifice for Michigan.  He changed positions when asked despite his clear talent at QB.  He went through two head coaches and three different OCs.  He never had a bad word to say about anyone, the whole miserable way through.  That guy deserves our utmost respect and admiration, not posts like this.

micheal honcho

March 6th, 2015 at 8:26 AM ^

"clear talent at QB" made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. Love me some DG. I think he was a great young man, a real team player and a shining example of exactly the kind of leadership our young players should model themselves after. That said, having watched several of his games when he was at Inkster H.S., he was anything but a "clear talent at QB". He was a chucker who was big and athletic enough to play QB in H.S. but had not developed(some of this is on coaching BTW) into anything resembling a clear talent at QB.

Having also watched Malzone in several of his HS games this is abundantly clear to anyone with functional eyes and a brain. DG finished a 5yr career at Michigan with less of an understanding and less instincts for playing the position that Alex brings with him on his first day.

Would/could DG have been a decent QB in a spread system? Probably in a RR style run to pass spread I'd say yes. Of course that really means you're a running back who can handle some throwing assignments. Not a clear talent at QB.


March 6th, 2015 at 8:30 AM ^

You must have a very quick gag reflex.

Gardner looked like a pretty darn good quarterback in 2012 and in the second half of 2013. He also had some flashes in 2014, although not as many. Was he consistent? No. 

But yes, he very clearly had talent as a quarterback. He had some record-setting performances. And if you give him a running game - which isn't his fault at all - things might have gone very differently.

I think you're confusing inconsistency and poor team performance with the idea of talent.


March 6th, 2015 at 10:02 AM ^

Gardner was a very athletic player, but not a good QB. He doesn't have the instincts or feel for the QB position. His athleticism allowed him to have the occasional great game, but by your own admission, he was very inconsistent. You can't blame that all on the line protection or lack of running game. By the way, why does that argument always get thrown out there for Gardner, who had 2 1/2 years to show what he could do, but it never is used to defend Morris who has only had 2 starts?

micheal honcho

March 6th, 2015 at 11:15 AM ^

Russel Wilson is the epitome of a QB, in fact having to overcome physical limitations(height, arm strength) and use his instincts and mental game awareness to flat out dominate at the highest level.

Jamius Winston will also(if he avoids the pitfalls of instant wealth and fame) likely dominate at the next level.

Instinct and vision know no color or race. One thing that might make it seem like we're always saying these things about minority QB's is the simple fact that all the white kids who lack these things never make it past a very low level of football before they are washed out while perhaps the black kids are talented enough to overcome these limitations in their game and stay at the QB position longer.


March 6th, 2015 at 10:35 AM ^

Yes, he was inconsistent. That doesn't mean he didn't have talent.

Furthermore, Shane Morris has played a fair amount for never being a full-time starter. His numbers are terrible overall. Not once has he shown flashes of being a good quarterback. He has shown flashes of being a mediocre quarterback, while most of the time we've seen him, he's looked like a terrible quarterback.

I really have no clue why you even make this comparison.

micheal honcho

March 6th, 2015 at 10:05 AM ^

Since the NFL has people who can and do seek out such hidden "talent".

One a similar note, did Denard also have this "talent" you speak of? He's a running back now in the NFL so to me that says all I need to know about his talent for the QB position.

Like I said, DG is a shining example of what a Michigan Man should aspire to be but it was obvious to me at a very early point in his career that he was not gifted with the tools to be a QB at any level above HS unless you're running a run to pass spread. Which makes total sense why RR recruited him. He would have been a STUD in an RR system where there's only 1 read but watching DG's eyes post snap you could clearly see that a QB in the "traditional" sense was never in his genes IMHO.

Magnus I watch a TON of HS football and it becomes very clear which kids are playing QB because they are the best athlete in their school system starting in 7th grade and which kids are playing QB because they possess a poise, sense of timing and a natural ability to slow the game down and make decisions under duress. DG was clearly the former and not the latter IMO. As are most HS QB's I see. Desmond Morgan was a QB in high school and other than a clear lack of the arm to do it at the next level, he was more suited to play QB in the "traditional sense" then Devin. I watched them both in consecutive weeks and the difference was immediately obvious. There were probably options at a big HS school like Des attended but he had the tools that made him the best able to play QB in the traditional sense. Devin was most likely shoehorned into playing QB at a young age because it was obvious from the 16 player bench Inkster had that there were not many options available. If Devin was at Macomb or Rockford or 25 other HS's in the state he would have been a WR from 7th grade on thru and very possibly been drafted a couple weeks ago in the 1st round.

Looking at it thru maize colored glasses because we love the kid(and 100% desevedly so) won't change the fact that other than in a run to pass spread he was never gonna be a stud QB.


March 6th, 2015 at 10:48 AM ^

"Since the NFL has people who can and do seek out such hidden "talent"."

I don't think any of us are really saying that he's an NFL quarterback. However, that doesn't mean he was lacking talent. John Navarre and Scott Dreisbach had talent as quarterbacks, but they never did anything in the NFL. The only difference is that Gardner might be athletic enough to play another position.


"he was not gifted with the tools to be a QB at any level above HS unless you're running a run to pass spread."

Except he WAS a quarterback at a level above high school, and he was very good at times against some very good teams (Notre Dame, Ohio State, etc.). So you're basically pointing out that you were wrong, which negates your entire argument. If he didn't have the gift to be a quarterback beyond high school, but he played well at the next level against elite teams, then what are you even arguing about?

"Desmond Morgan was a QB in high school and other than a clear lack of the arm to do it at the next level, he was more suited to play QB in the "traditional sense" then Devin."

This is one of the dumbest things I've read in a long time. Are you really sitting there and saying that Desmond Morgan - who was recruited by nobody as a quarterback - would have been a better quarterback than Devin Gardner, who was one of the top-rated and most sought after quarterbacks in the 2010 class?

"If Devin was at Macomb or Rockford or 25 other HS's in the state he would have been a WR from 7th grade on thru and very possibly been drafted a couple weeks ago in the 1st round."

I guess I didn't realize that Macomb and Rockford were pumping out D-I prospects at quarterback recently, enough so that they would have put one of the top QB recruits in the country at WR. Regardless, maybe somebody else would have put him at WR, but that's not really the point, is it? I mean, it's clear that he had talent at multiple positions (at least to me). The guy was our leading wide receiver for the first several games of the 2012 season, and he put up some very good numbers at QB in 2012, the second half of 2013, and occasionally in 2014.

And I don't know why Gardner would have been drafted a couple weeks ago in the 1st round, since there was no draft a couple weeks ago.


micheal honcho

March 6th, 2015 at 12:07 PM ^

Ha ha, with all the draft projection stuff I've read over the past couple weeks my brain must have farted and made me think they already drafted. Point being the same, his name would have been on those lists in the 1st or 2nd round as a WR had then been his position from day one.

As far as Rockford or Macomb(could have used BBR or Livonia or any "big" program) they dont select their QB's thinking of who might go D1 at that position. They pick who can lead the team to the most wins. At those places Devin at WR would be a no brainer IMHO. There's probably 5 or 6 kids on their 65-90 man varsity roster that can play QB at the HS level "good enough" to get the wins, especially with a 6'5" wideout like DG. They would not put the 6'5" guy with speed at QB then put those others at WR even though they are 5'10" or 6 ft and lack leapiing ability and break away speed.

This is not a slam on DG. He was recruited for a spread to run system where I believe he would have torn it up big time. He was then force fitted into a pocket passing based scheme where he never developed the instincts, patience, vision and game understanding to excel.

Put it this way, Tom Brady became a QB because he couldn't and wouldn't be playing anywhere else on the field starting early in HS most likely. There were guys that were better than him at running with the ball, catching the ball and blocking.

Devin became a QB because he went to a HS with a total of 35 guys on the varsity roster and he was so far and away the best athlete on the team the coach just said I want the ball in this guys hands on every play. He likely had very few options at QB(Cameron Gordon was the 2nd option when Devin was a sophmore) and thus he was QB out of nessesicity. They even changed to a spread system at Inkster(not a very good one at that) because the had DG for those years.

Des was an example I used because despite lacking arm strength(big time) and only being so-so as a runner, he was the best option at QB at a school with 70 guys on the varsity roster and 2300 students. Why?? What did he have? Instincts, vision and an ablility to make the right decisions under pressure. Same tools that have made him a pretty damn good D1 middle linebacker despite not having D1 speed or size for that position. Would he have been a better QB than Devin and Michigan?? Only if he grew 3 inches and developed an arm(which never happens) otherwise no. But he had SOME of the tools just like Devin had SOME of the tools.

I'll change my statement. Devin had the tools to be a GREAT college QB in the RIGHT system but he lacks the tools to be even a good "traditional" QB in a pro style system.


March 6th, 2015 at 12:30 PM ^

"I'll change my statement. Devin had the tools to be a GREAT college QB in the RIGHT system but he lacks the tools to be even a good "traditional" QB in a pro style system."

At the risk of wasting too much of my day arguing with the incorrect things you're saying (sorry, but it's true), I have to repeat what I said above.

Devin Gardner WAS a "good traditional QB in a pro style system" for numerous games in college (vs. Notre Dame in 2013, vs. Ohio State in 2013/2014, vs. Indiana in 2013, etc.). So to say he didn't have the tools is either a flat-out lie to fit your argument or it's just you ignoring reality. I don't know which, and it doesn't really matter. That's all I really have to say on the matter.


March 6th, 2015 at 2:37 PM ^

Yes, it is *a* talent. So is being fast. Tom Brady is slow. Does that mean Tom Brady lacks the tools to be a good quarterback?

Of course, Gardner and Brady are not in the same realm as quarterbacks, but the lack of one skill does not make anybody completely ineffective. There are running backs without great speed, wide receivers without great leaping ability, offensive linemen who are undersized, etc.


March 6th, 2015 at 4:20 PM ^

Being fast is a sufficient, but not necessary condition for being a good quarterback.

Being consistent is a necessary condition for being a good quarterback.


There are good quarterbacks who are slow, there are good quarterbacks who don't have great arms, and there are good quarterbacks who are inaccurate.


Their AREN'T good quarterbacks who are inconsistent or who have bad decision making skills.




March 7th, 2015 at 7:14 AM ^

This is really a silly conversation.

What you're basically saying is that if any quarterback out there is inconsistent, then he does not "have the tools" to be a good quarterback. (At least that's what I'm assuming you're saying, because that was how this whole conversation started before you jumped in.) 

Devin Funchess is inconsistent. Yet he can run, jump, overpower people, etc. Does he not have the tools to be a good receiver/tight end?

Matt Stafford is inconsistent. Does he not have the tools to be a good quarterback?

The truth is that the truly consistent(ly good) quarterbacks are All-Americans, Pro Bowlers, Hall of Famers, etc. These are the guys who are good week in and week out with an occasional bad game, the Peyton Mannings, Tom Bradys, Aaron Rodgerses, etc. of the NFL. I think it is downright silly to say that if you're not consistently awesome, then you "lack the tools to be a good quarterback." Because what you're really saying is you're only a good quarterback if you're a good quarterback.


March 9th, 2015 at 5:57 PM ^

What you're basically saying is that if any quarterback out there is inconsistent, then he does not "have the tools" to be a good quarterback.



If you are inconsistent, you aren't good. It's a tautology.


Consistency is a "tool" that any good quarterback must have - and if you don't have you aren't a good quarterback.


Matt Stafford (who is WAY more consistent than Gardner ever was) may, or may not, have the tools to be a good quarterback. Up to this point in his career - he is not a good quarterback. If he develops consistency (along with a good bit more accuracy) he may BECOME a good quarterback.


The truth is that the truly consistent(ly good) quarterbacks are All-Americans, Pro Bowlers, Hall of Famers, etc.


Yes.... and the not truly consistently good... are mediocre.

Mediocre - of only moderate quality, ordinary, average, middling, middle-of-the-road,  unremarkable, run-of-the-mill, pedestrian

Good - of high quality; excellent

Most QBs (at whatever level) aren't good. Most QBs (at whatever level) aren't bad. Most QBs (and most people, whatever the task) fall right in the "two sigma" range of a normal distribution. Middling. Mediocre. Average.







March 6th, 2015 at 8:31 AM ^

Impossible to know for sure, but I disagree.  I think he could have been spectacular in Harbaugh's system, where his legs would have been much better used than they were under Hoke.  It's pretty difficult to evaluate a QB who was under constant pressure or injured for much of his time as a starter.  His best games (ND, OSU 2013) reveal obvious ability to me, and I think given some decent surrounding pieces, he had all-conference talent.


March 6th, 2015 at 10:39 AM ^

Required preface when discussing Gardner: great Michigan Man, gave his all, loved him. Now that I've said that... DG is a great athlete, but whether or not it was the system(s), poor OL play or something else, he seemed to often make poor decisions when under pressure. Maybe Meyer would have turned him into a star, maybe not, we will never know, but the NFL has determined, at least for the time being, that despite all DG's athletic gifts and experience at the position he is not well-suited to be a QB at the next level.


March 6th, 2015 at 8:49 AM ^

I would criticize posts dumping on them in such an unfounded way as well, but the blasting of Devin Gardner particularly rankles me because (1) he was put in constantly difficult positions because of other problems with the offense, and (2) he was, in my view, the epitome of a student athlete who demonstrates character and selflessness.  Whatever the performance on the field, Devin Gardner made me proud to be a Michigan alum beacuse of the way he represented the place I love.  Exhibit 1A (an image I will never forget):


March 6th, 2015 at 10:21 AM ^

No confusion here.  My entire point was that because Devin did everything that was asked of him and then some, we should spare him unprovoked jabs like the post that I initially responded to.  For reasons totally independant of his play.

I also happen to think he was a much better quarterback than most people on this board give him credit for, and I think he would have been very successful on many, many teams.


March 6th, 2015 at 8:50 AM ^

Instead of 'clear talent' perhaps you meant 'flashes of promise'?!? Clear implies objectively obseravble - as in stat sheets and scoreboard. Precisely the places where his talent was not so clear. I liked DG, I rooted for DG, our fan love doesn't make him something he was not - a clearly talented QB.


March 6th, 2015 at 10:33 AM ^

To those of you denying his talent:

In over a thousand games in over a hundred years, check out the top-ten single-game QB performances.

If you see "Devin Gardner" one or more times, go slam your foot in your damn mouth.

He clearly had observable, amazing talent. When he came in as a backup after being a wide receiver (i.e., before our last staff had time to "coach" him at QB), he was amazing. Objectively so.

I mean, he has the #1 and #4 top single-game yardage performances of any Michigan player in the history of ever. His six touchdowns in a single game ties the record and beats Al Bundy by two.

That we wasted/blew/corrupted his talent is tragic. That's not the same as saying the talent wasn't there.


March 6th, 2015 at 8:48 AM ^

maybe if our OLine could block for him he would not be throwing picks and sacraficing his body to try and make plays that no one else could possibly do on our team.

The crowd ragging on Gardner and saying he is/was a horrible QB knows NOTHING - i mean absolutely NOTHING about football.  And im rather suprised how large that crowd is.

If only Morris could have played the entire year so these people could have seen how much Gardner did mean to this team. Hell, put Henne or Navarre back behind this line and they would begin to understand.  Maybe.

East German Judge

March 6th, 2015 at 9:27 AM ^

Spot on!  This is the key thing that many seem to have forgotten was the ineffectiveness of our OL.  Did anyone also check out how (not) stellar our RB production was and the embarrassing back-to-back negative yardage rushing games we had!  Was DG a consistent world beater, well with our ineffective line NO, but he had some amazing games, and even our hero Tom Brady could not have played behind the lines we had for the last few years and been good.  Perspective.


March 6th, 2015 at 7:49 AM ^

I don't think he qualifies as a "Senior".  He has played for six years (including a red shirt year and a medical red shirt year).  I think even the NCAA would as WTF if we tried to pull that one.


March 6th, 2015 at 7:57 AM ^

I mean, with new coaches (a few of whom are NFL caliber), if I were Gardner, in prep for any future workouts, i'd be working with them to enhance my craft (as a WR.)

A few coaches put in some good words, and if not drafted, then at least he'd get a serious look and opportunity.  

I'd also be curious to learn as much as possible from harbaugh and staff... who knows what connections they have (in football and in life.)