Does Nussmeier Hire Open Up the QB Competition?

Submitted by btjabrone on January 9th, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Like most people, I was not expected much of a QB competition this spring.  It seemed like it was Gardner's job to lose, barring injury.  Now that we have a new pro-style OC coming in, without any history with either QB, I think it could open the QB competition in the spring.  Shane Morris obviously has a lot of talent and showed good poise during the bowl game.  However, if Nussmeier is as good of a QB developer as advertised, we might finally see Gardner reaching his potential, like we've seen in a few games the past two years, more consistently.  Do you all think Gardner still has a big lead on Morris this spring?


Ron Utah

January 9th, 2014 at 11:34 AM ^

The only people who believe there is a QB controversy at Michigan are media types who want to create a story and fans who haven't been paying attention.

Devin Gardner is a damn good QB, and Shane Morris is a QB with damn good potential.

Lost in the wreckage of the 2013 season is righteous praise for Gardner, who produced the second-highest passing yardage total in the history of the program behind an interior offensive line that was about as effective as pylons with string tied between them.

Unless Shane Morris makes a galactic leap in year two and/or Gardner regresses, it is DG's job, and DG's team.


January 10th, 2014 at 12:29 AM ^

Well if Gardner is as good as you say, then he should have no trouble winning the competition between him and Morris, but there should definitely be one. He shouldn't just be handed the job. I saw too much of that with Toussaint being given the starting job at tailback simpley because he'd been there the longest, not for what he was doing on the field.

Mr. Yost

January 9th, 2014 at 12:20 PM ^

But the job belongs and should belong to Gardner.
He can clearly pass the ball with efficiency. He just needs a better OL and better play calling that allows him to succeed and doesn't put him at RPS -1 before every snap.
Morris basically gets a year to "redshirt" (whether he plays or not), learn the new system and it'll be him taking us into the new era of Michigan Football in 2015, with a year in the system under his belt.


January 9th, 2014 at 10:56 AM ^

mean, it may hypothetically be open. But isn't DG by FAR the better option at this point? Do you really believe a coach will come in and see Shane as a better fit this year?


January 9th, 2014 at 10:56 AM ^

my opinion on other than the flashes Gardner has shown; yes he does have a big lead. Very excited to see what he can do with competent QB coaching.

Monocle Smile

January 9th, 2014 at 10:57 AM ^

I was glad Morris looked okay in the bowl game, but I was hoping his performance was underwhelming enough to prevent stupid threads like this from forming.

I fail to see how the Nussmeier hire alone changes anything about QB competition. The "bench Gardner" crowd was wronger than wrong during the season and that really hasn't changed.


January 9th, 2014 at 11:00 AM ^

a stupid thread. With a new OC coming in one never knows what shakeups could occur. This thread is no worse than the "general feeling/optimism changed" thread from earlier. That one is Caption Obvious's dream thread.


January 9th, 2014 at 11:04 AM ^

You were actually hoping he would underwhelm so as to prevent threads on a blog? I hoped Morris would set the world on fire in that game for Michigan. Let the internets do whatever. The existence of an internet thread has never impacted my real life anywhere near as much as actual Michigan football.


January 9th, 2014 at 11:27 AM ^


I hope the hire doesn't change the QB competition, but only because I would expect it to be  open and spirited regardless of the OC. I also happen to believe that Gardner wins the competition.

Gardner has more than one flaw, he is far from perfect. Like any normal human being, having to stay ahead of the competition won't hurt him a bit.


January 9th, 2014 at 10:59 AM ^

Nussmeier was the OC for Jake Locker at Washington, I think he can handle a dual threat type QB.  DG is by far the best option and while I am sure there will be competition, I don't think Nussmeier will shoot himself in the foot.

MI Expat NY

January 9th, 2014 at 11:51 AM ^

And ultimately chose the more mobile Kieth Price over the less mobile Montana kid at Washington in that competition.  He may actually prefer a dual threat QB to Borges' statuesque preference (if that was indeed his preference, not exactly clear).  To echo everything above, hard to see DG still not being clearly the choice at QB.  


January 9th, 2014 at 1:53 PM ^

says this about Nussmeier, " He is one of only three quarterbacks in NCAA history to throw for at least 10,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards (1,230), joining Alcorn State's Steve McNair (1991–94) and Central Florida's Daunte Culpepper (1996–98)."

I would venture to say that he appreciates a QB who can do something with the football when the play breaks down, and who has the athleticism to add an additional dimension to the game plan.


January 9th, 2014 at 10:59 AM ^

QB competition, yes. It can only make the players better. I believe Shane can give Devin a strong run for the starting position. But in the end, I think Devin's seniority and/or experience will probably give him a slight edge.


January 9th, 2014 at 11:01 AM ^

I don't know.  I think that the separation between the two is too much.  Gardner has more experience and has just as high a ceiling as Shane.  Do you remember the hype that Gardner got in the offseason?  I think we saw glimpses of it this year, but if he stays healthy, he may be making a visit to New York.  I think he has that much upside.  A lot of that is contingent on the big uglies up front, though.


January 9th, 2014 at 11:16 AM ^

I  agree, and I think we saw more than glimpses.  DG had two problems last year - lack of protection, which wasn't his fault, and poor decision making at times, which was.  The decision making was a problem, but one that is common in a QBs first full year as a starter, and one that tapered off as the season progressed.  

If DG can pick up where he left off from a mental standpoint, and our line can give him better protection (having more of a run/pass balance will also help so that teams don't sell out) I agree he has a Heisman finalist-type ceiling.


January 9th, 2014 at 11:01 AM ^

Sure Nussmeier is going to look at all the QB's on the roster and evaluate. But, DG is the better option at this point. The only reason Shane would start over him would be if the new OC wanted to install a Pro-Style offense, and DG just couldn't run it. That is not the case IMO. I think DG is a great fit as a Pro-Style QB, especially if you can mix some spread aspects in there too. 

Just keep him clean, and don't roll him out to the left, and he should be great next season.


January 9th, 2014 at 11:01 AM ^

It was already going to be a competition. Granted, it was (and probably still is) a competition that Gardner most likely will win. I mean, we're not talking about true sophomores Denard and Tate competing; we're talking about a true sophomore vs. a 5th year senior. Not only that, but Gardner can do things with his legs that every other QB on the roster can only dream of.

If Gardner isn't the starting QB next year, it's because Morris has a 90% DSR in practice. The bigger question, to me at least, is what does Nussmeier do with Funchess and some of the position players that no longer have a position in this offense (FBs).


January 9th, 2014 at 11:09 AM ^

I don't think we will run a 1-back system just because that's what he ran at Bama. Looks like Nussmeier will adapt to different offenses based on what the program wants, and the player fits. If he can use FBs effectively, the will still have a place in this offense IMO.


January 9th, 2014 at 11:18 AM ^

I would assume at this point that we probably won't see many FBs next year just because FBs are functionally an outdated concept that has limited to no use in any modern offense when there are more effective ways to fill that player slot on the field in nearly every offense in existence.


I don't think Nussmeier comes in and runs a one-back because it's what he ran at 'Bama, I think he comes in and runs a one-back because another wide receiver or tight end gives them a better chance for success on basically every play.


January 9th, 2014 at 11:29 AM ^

Nussmeier also used an H-back in his offense at Bama, so some of the fullback types on our roster now might be used that way.  

I expect Funchess to be a WR until he graduates.  He's now halfway through his career here and hasn't really practiced at TE for a while.  They were somewhat forcing TE on him because of the lack of TEs on the roster, but now that Butt has emerged, AJ Williams is coming into his own, Khalid Hill is off his redshirt and Bunting is here (or will be) you might as well just throw in the towel and call Funchess a full on WR.

Blue Mike

January 9th, 2014 at 11:02 AM ^

No.  Simply No.


Why, as a fanbase that has been crying about how young we are at every important position on the field, do we keep trying to push Gardner out the door in favor of a to-be sophmore?  Gardner is so much better than Morris at this point, he is a fifth year senior, and he basically single-handedly carried the offense this year.  Imagine what he'll do with a real offensive coordinator who knows how to build an offense to its talent?


January 9th, 2014 at 11:03 AM ^

I amazed at people that think Shane Morris has any chance (or deserves any chance) at starting over Devin Gardner based on what happened in 2013.

Could Devin have lingering foot problems and could Shane make a 'Denard Robinson-esque' leap in his sophomore offseason to change my sentence above?  Yes.  Absolutely.

But to make this point right now when none of that is known?  Ridiculous.  I mean, for fuck's sake - Devin gave his heart and soul to the team this year, culminating in playing against OSU in the second half with a broken fucking foot.  Anyone clamoring for Shane to get his chance right now needs to remove their head from their ass.  


January 9th, 2014 at 11:49 AM ^

the negative votes, but I do know of a couple people that sincerely believe that Morris is the future and the sooner the future starts the better.  They even concede that with Gardner, Michigan in 2014 would be better than with Morris in 2014.  Doesn't matter to them, kick Gardner to curb and move on.

Reminds me of the bruhaha when Navarre started the 2000 season while Henson was sidelined for a month with a heel problem.  Look how great the kid looks....came crashing to the ground with the reality at UCLA.


January 9th, 2014 at 11:03 AM ^

I'm not anti-Gardner, but no one on offense deserves to be given a job after last year.  I think he can be great, but I also think lighting a fire under him with competition will benefit everyone.  He can and should step up to the plate.


January 9th, 2014 at 11:04 AM ^

I'm sure there will be a 'competition'...but DG will be the starter. Morris has a ways to go yet before be hops in there. DG is a solid option, for this year. But after a year with a good QB coach...Morris will be better prepared for next year.


January 9th, 2014 at 11:08 AM ^

There certainly will be competition. It's only logical to assume that would happen with any new OC hire that has not had any prior experience with any of our four scholarship QBs.

That said I would guess the job is still Gardner's to lose. Although, in the long run, Shane or Wilton may have more upside and fit the typical 'pro style mold', without a doubt Devin gives us the best chance of success in '14.

Barring an injury or setback I would imagine Devin will start his RS Senior season at Michigan. I would also suspect that his numbers improve. (most were very good this season)

If Shane does beat him out then that could be a positive for the team in the long run but I do not foresee that happening in '14.

Eiter way a little competition is always a good thing when building depth and team

talent. Here's to hoping alone with those developments we begin to develop a true identity on O.