November 4th, 2012 at 11:10 PM ^

I look at it this way.  Should the coaches have figured out by the time of the Nebraska game that DG is a much better QB than Russell Bellomy?  Absolutely.  And I'm sure they did.

But, in case you haven't noticed, our WR corps. has also been struggling all season--as a result of which, our opponents have often been able to render us one-dimensional.   We help ourselves at WR by playing DG there.

So, put yourself in the staff's shoes headed into the Nebraska game.  We have Denard, who had never missed significant time to that point in his career, ready to play QB.  Now, let's assume though that the coaches know he has an elbow issue and there's a decent chance he'll be injured in the game.  We can either prepare DG to play WR, where he will definitely be needed, or we can prepare him to be the backup QB, where he might be needed (and for how much of the game, we don't know either).  Realisitcally there is probably not enough time to prepare DG for both positions.

Based on DG's historic performance at QB, chances are we don't beat Nebraska if Denard goes out early anyway--even if DG spends the whole week preparing to back up Denard.  Therefore, prepping DG to play WR and gambling that Denard gets through the game is probably the smartest play.  It's at least a defensible decision.  The coaches have to take those kinds of risks because we don't have historical levels of depth.  Sometimes the chips fall your way, sometimes they don't.  

And of course, we don't know how much of this information the coaches actually had in advance anyway.  Did they realize Denard's elbow thing was bad enough to keep him out a whole half-plus?  Did they realize DG was capable of playing like he did that last three quarters against Minn?  Did they realize Bellomy would perform that poorly if he had to go in?

It's too bad we lost to Nebraska, but there's no sense pointing fingers at anybody.



November 4th, 2012 at 8:03 PM ^

To be fair his line couldn't block, his receivers didn't help him when he did make the throws (and he did make some good throws), his backs didn't make plays (like you said), he wasn't being prepared for it in practice, and the only other significant game time he had seen was against Alabama, the number 1 team in the country and the #2 pass defense in the country. On the other hand, he is the quarterback and it was up to him to play well.


November 4th, 2012 at 7:42 PM ^

There was some talk on the live blog that Bellomy should come in to get some good feeling going.  That made sense to me, so when they put in Kennedy I was a little puzzled.  To be sure, that's not proof of anything, but maybe that explains why Denard suited up and why Kennedy came in.  

Going forward I'm fading anything BH says on injuries.  

turd ferguson

November 4th, 2012 at 7:56 PM ^

I agree with your last point (about not taking anything this staff says about injuries very seriously), and I think that's a good thing.

If they think that keeping injury information quiet gives them an advantage, I'm more than happy to live in suspense for a few more days before seeing who's in there on Saturdays.


November 4th, 2012 at 8:16 PM ^

Injured or not, Gardner won the backup job yesterday. Barring some injury or huge setback Gardner has to be the favorite to win the starting qb job next year.

For those of you clamoring for Shane to be your qb on year one, that's just not going to happen. Especially under an old school coach like Hoke.


November 4th, 2012 at 11:31 PM ^

Agreed.  The best will play, but for all of Shane's potential, he's hardly a polished QB at this point.  It's not like he lit up his high school competition every game.  I expect him to become a good college QB, but not as a true freshman.

Section 1

November 4th, 2012 at 11:46 PM ^

Tate Forcier got off to a fast start as a Freshman, reeling off four wins in a row and then going to OT in East Lansing, in large part because he had been an early enrollee.  I think it is a very big deal if you are a QB, to early enroll.  That's a lot of practice time, including the spring game.

I can't recall what happened with Chad Henne.  Was he an e.e.?

Going way back, I remember what a shock it was, when the decision was made to start Rick Leach.  The guy he replaced, Mark Elzinga, was a very good upper classman.  It was a big surprise, for a guy who had only been on campus for a few weeks.


November 4th, 2012 at 11:59 PM ^

Chad Henne wasn't even first string until Matt Gutierrez turned up hurt (I forget, what was it?) right before the first game of the year. That was a rather memorable morning, with word of Henne's start zipping through the tailgates west of the Stadium.

Henne, and for that matter Rick Leach, disprove the assertion earlier in the thread that Morris won't start because an "old-fashioned" coach is coaching. The best player will play.

It is simply the fact that the best available player next year will be the senior playmaker Devin Gardner. But if Morris beats him in practice, Morris will be the starter.


November 5th, 2012 at 9:35 AM ^

Than the offense that Bo and his staff ran. No comparison. Had Gutierrez not been hurt Henne would not have seen the field except in garbage time. When they started Henne the coaching staff stated that they had greatly "simplified" the offense. In Henne's 2nd season the coaches were able to return to the "full" offense. If Morris proves more effective in the Borges offense than Gardner, or Bellomy then he will start. Based on Borges's own comments on the learning curve for "any" QB in the first year I predict a red short for Shane.

Duval Wolverine

November 4th, 2012 at 8:16 PM ^

If Gardner continues to get better into next season will be an overall better QB than Denard...His height helps he see over the line better, he is more accurate than denard down the field, and he seems to have a been feel for taking off when there is nothing there instead of only designed runs!

turd ferguson

November 4th, 2012 at 8:25 PM ^

Against Minnesota, in fact.

Then again, making (positive) judgments about Devin now seems no less ridiculous than making (negative) judgments after a couple of spring games and a few snaps last year.  I always found the "no one here is allowed to discuss whether Devin might be a better QB than Denard" thing annoying.  My own view is that I don't have enough information on Devin to know, but it's a message board, so what's the harm in discussing?

NYC Blue

November 4th, 2012 at 9:09 PM ^

Your position is a completely reasonable one, but my issue with these discussions has always been that few people are willing to stop at "we just do not have enough information".

Rather, they insist on drawing conclusions based on whatever limited data exists.  I suppose there is no real harm in that, but it is not all that productive either.


I hope that with the increase in numbers of offensive linemen on scholarship that the spring game is once again an actual game.  I would really be interested in seeing Gardner and Bellomy play and see where they are after spring practice.


NYC Blue

November 5th, 2012 at 1:54 AM ^

Yeah, productive was a poor word choice on my part.  Interesting would have been a better one.  There have been some genuinely interesting speculation and infomation thrown out here from time to time and some thoughtful debates.  But not going all psychotic over the same limited info.

But yes, that is the internets.


November 4th, 2012 at 9:45 PM ^

I define it as making a play when you need one. As an OSU fan, I know all too well how Denard is in elite company in this category. And I don't just mean breaking long runs. We've all seen Denard make a bug time throw against much better opponents than Minnesota. The game against Michigan State this year comes to mind as his most recent game breaking pass.


November 5th, 2012 at 12:02 AM ^

Denard is the best player at the position, but under varying definitions you seem to be correct. Devin isn't as fast as Denard, but his feel for the pocket and ability to judge whether to take off running or whether to make a pass downfield seems much better than Denard. If Denard ran from the pocket as much as Devin he would be terrifying to defenses, but that is not how he plays. 

FWIW Devin does the "scramble around and heave it" well, but some of the stuff that worked against Minnesota won't work against more talented teams. 


November 4th, 2012 at 9:00 PM ^

While we've all learned better than to fully trust anything Brady Hoke says about injuries I don't really feel deceived in this case.  It was well known and documented that Gardner was getting the majority of snaps at QB this week while Denard recovered.  Whether or not Russ is actually injured didn't really occur to me as being urgent until Jack Kennedy went in to help run out the clock.  At that point I would guess that Bellomy does have a very real injury of some kind becuase I don't see why you wouldn't trust the guy to hand off four times in a row.  *shrug*

I'm guessing that Denard was okayed to play on Saturday (thus he was dressed, etc) but that the plan was to keep him out unless absolutely necessary.  Like most injuries nerve conditions recover more with time and the risk of further injuring Denard's throwing arm when you're going to win either way is silly.  My guess is that if the offense remained stagnant or Gardner got hurt, then we might've seen Denard...  I would hope that the plan is similar for Northwestern and Iowa as well because a healthy Denard against ohio is a beautiful thing.

There's no question in my mind that Denard Robinson remains the #1 QB here.  His feet help cover up a lot of our blocking issues and his passing game is on par with Devin's.  Minnesota caveats abound and stuff...  That being said I think Devin is the heir apparent at QB and will probably make a brilliant 'transition' QB between the spread offense we've run with Dilithium and the vertical passing schemes we'll being installing soon.  He's mobile enough to buy time and grab a touchdown here and there.  He's tall enough to have great field vision and he's strong enough to heave the ball 50+ yards down field.  Defenses don't have to play his legs the way they have Denards, but if our recieving core holds up their end things should be okay in 2013.

Mr. Yost

November 4th, 2012 at 9:19 PM ^

You guys are fucking ridiculous.

What does Hoke, Borges or ANYONE have to gain by lying about this injury?

It doesn't change the fact that the kid played like SHIT vs. Nebraska. It happened, we move on.

It doesn't take any heat off of Bellomy, Borges or Hoke. Injured or not, Bellomy was awful, and if he was THAT hurt he wouldn't have played vs. Nebraska and wouldn't have travelled to Minnesota. So it is what it is, why does their have to be a motive or a lie?

Lastly, if the coaches were trying to take the heat off of Bellomy, they'd let the topic die and fade away. You wouldn't bring up an injury (true or not) and bring even more attention to the kid if the goal is to take heat off of him.


November 4th, 2012 at 9:32 PM ^


Lastly, if the coaches were trying to take the heat off of Bellomy, they'd let the topic die and fade away.

The topic won't "die and fade away" on its own, particularly with Gardner starting against Minnesota and Kennedy coming in later in the game.

Call me naive -- or stupid as was done in a thread several weeks ago -- but I'm inclined to trust the coaches.  I'd stake the integrity of Coach Hoke against anyone's on this board, including mine. 

Are the coaches perfect?  No.  Are they intentionally dishonest?  Categorically no.


November 4th, 2012 at 9:20 PM ^

Not entirely relevant but I was wondering if anyone knew what scout released about devin gardners eligibility? I saw it on twitter but didn't see the details.


November 4th, 2012 at 9:21 PM ^

I was wondering why they still had DG in on the next to last possession, as I thought it would be a good time to get Bellomy some game experience. Then, when they put Kennedy in for the last possession, I thought "what the hell?". So, an injury makes sense to me.


November 4th, 2012 at 9:54 PM ^

It makes sense considering they went with Kennedy rather than Bellomy late in the game. It would have been a perfect time to get Bellomy back out there to gain a little confidence against Minnesota, but they went with Jack instead.


November 4th, 2012 at 10:02 PM ^

and I don't think I have a right as a Michigan graduate and fan to know the inside skinny on who's injured and who's not.

Section 1 is absolutely right here: "Winning has a funny way of making a coach right."

Bo was legendarily paranoid and frequently downright dickish when it came to outsiders trying to glean info about the inner workings of the team during the season, an attitude that his successors maintained with such rigor that the term "Fort Schembechler" came about. But since Bo won many more games than he lost, there was no real squawking. If RR had a similar winning percentage, his lack of guile in public relations would be seen as charming country naiveté.

If we'd gone 8-5 last year with losses to ND, OSU, and VaTech—all of which were very tight games—the heat on Hoke this year would be appreciably greater. He got himself a huge amount of insulation with that 11-2 record.


November 4th, 2012 at 10:06 PM ^

1.  Bellomy didn't really have much of a chance.  I am betting he wouldn't have looked nearly as bad against Mini-soda.

2.  I like the return of "The Fort."  I like "coach-speak."  I like limited access to players for those "impartial" newspaper writers.  Carty's "expose" was bad, and the freep hatchet job was worse.  I am glad that Hoke can mislead the MSM with a straight face.  Let them be real journalists for a change.

3.  I'm happy that Michigan appears to have a viable option behind Denard for the rest of the year.  You never know how long it takes a "boo-boo" to heal.  Also, Devin is a better pocket passer because he can see over the line of scrimmage.  I wouldn't mind seeing both play in a game, just to see what the other team does.



November 4th, 2012 at 10:47 PM ^

Bellomy would have looked terrible against minnesota too.  There was an unblocked defender on nearly every play and Devin did a phenomenal job of evading and throwing good passes.  There's no way in hell that Bellomy pulls that off.  Secondly, the wrs have consistently dropped Bellomy's passes.  That's probably because they float for so long.  Devin Gardner is 100x the qb that Bellomy is right now.  All the Bellomy fans need to suck it up right now. 


November 4th, 2012 at 11:03 PM ^

Call me crazy but sometimes I have wondered if the wrong guy didn't switch to receiver. Coming in Denard was the obvious QB but with how the offense has run and how everything has turned out I wonder if DG may not have been the better QB choice with Denard doing ninja-like things. I don't know, I just watch the guy Saturday do some really good things without hardly practicing. This is all in hindsight obviously as the decision pre-season/Al Borges was obvious but I think it's an interesting question.