Great story about players rallying around Gardner

Submitted by PeteM on September 8th, 2013 at 10:48 PM

I remember wondering after Gardner's interception in the end zone (and even more so after the 3 and out, poor punt etc.) if the players would start to feel the same heart tremors I was.  Instead, it sounds like they rallied around each other -- I Iove the way this article describes Schofield picking Gardner up off the turf by his jersey, and other  linemen rallying around him.

While it's a cliche of sports journalism to talk about how successful teams band together -- this team's bond seems real to me



September 8th, 2013 at 10:59 PM ^

Was at the game and watched Gardner right after he came to the bench after throwing the interception. It was amazing to see so many players, walk ons to starters, come up to him and say something, or just pat him on the helmet. This team truly is a TEAM. We have a bright future

South Bend Wolverine

September 9th, 2013 at 12:27 AM ^

This is exactly the kind of positive environment I would expect to find on a Brady Hoke coached team.  Watching him across the sidelines from Brian Kelly, I am so glad that he's our guy and not Kelly.  Kelly tearing down his kids, berating them, belittling them, on national television - it's just embarassing.  Then you seek Hoke picking his players up, encouraging them, and setting them back in the right direction with confidence.  That's the kind of coaching I'd want my kid to get if I had one, and that's the kind of coach I'd be inspired to excel for.


September 9th, 2013 at 12:44 AM ^

He does a great job of creating a family atmoshere, and the kids have bought in.  Win or lose, you stay together.  ND kids, i'm sure, do the same.....but only after their asswipe coach gets done with his tantrum on the player who makes a mistake.  Why any kid would want to play for him now is beyond me.  ND has a lot going for it, but their are a lot of places to play and get a great experience without his insanity

Prince Lover

September 9th, 2013 at 1:19 AM ^

I know a lot of sons and daughters who have been yelled at and scolded still love their parents because they understand their parents are trying to get the best out of them. Much like coaches.
Now if the coaches are locking the players in closets....


September 9th, 2013 at 10:41 AM ^

given that one of the most revered figures in Michigan history was Bo Schembechler, who is still the gold standard in terms of chewing on players.

But even a guy like Bo knew that there was a time to chew out a player and a time to build him back up, and he knew which guys would respond to being chewed out and which ones wouldn't.  Seems like all Kelly knows is how to scream.

I can assure you that Michigan's coaches know how to raise their voices but they rarely do it publicly.


September 9th, 2013 at 2:19 AM ^

It's funny, on gameday in an interview Gardner was asked about his interceptions last week and how he recovers from them.  He said he'll smile at his teammates and give them winks to let them know he's ok.  After that interception the camera showed him on the sideline and there he was smiling and winking.


September 9th, 2013 at 6:13 AM ^

This sort of summed it up, I think:

"Saturday night, under the lights, this team figured it out. That Gardner-to-Gallon could slice up one of the nation’s best defenses and make it look easy. That it could repair its leader’s mistakes. That this team was a tribe."

I really like the "tribe" concept employed by Clark in the quotes here and I think that such a thing makes the bonds between these players that much closer and more in line with being a family. In brief snippets on Saturday, you could see that this was going on - they were talking each other up, encouraging each other and it is undoubtedly an intangible component of that win. 

Great read, and thanks for sharing. 

Feat of Clay

September 9th, 2013 at 8:13 AM ^

FWIW, it was clear on TV that Notre Dame players were going over and thumping Tommy Rees between the shoulder blades and the like, rallying behind him after his flubs too.

The difference is that in their case, that's the only support that poor bastard was going to get.


September 9th, 2013 at 9:42 AM ^

capable of being published as a feature in any Detroit newspaper. I've always respected the ability of the Michigan Daily staff even after the university dropped the journalism program. It takes a great commitment to be an athlete at Michigan. It also takes a great commitment to work at a student newspaper.

A team and family are never truly tested until they face adversity and find their way through it. After the play was over, you could see the hurt in Devin's face, and you saw his teammates, the Oline members come to him and pull him up. Gardner had escaped before, and gotten away with it. Good teams study your style and recognize what you do when you are in trouble. 

When blitzers were sent to get Gardner Saturday night and missed, they were counseled when they came to the sideline by their position coach, and reminded to blitz with cautionary aggression and react to Gardner by closing off his escape route. And on that play, ND's defenders took away all of Gardner's escape routes and boxed him in, forcing him into a dumb play and a desperate pass, which was doomed now matter what. 

When you think you are invincible,  you believe you can make any play, and that is why Devin did what he did in that situation. And because his teammates know what he is capable of, and have confidence in his ability, and because they are all in it together, and believe in each other, Gardner and his guys could come back, and they knew it, even if their now stunned qb was beside himself in a surreal mode of anger and denial.

You are never tested until you are challenged by your own mistakes and adversity threatens your purpose or goal. And no team will ever win a championship until they accept the challenge and overcome it, and realize that the process is the real journey to success. There will be many more hurdles along the way this season.

But Gardner and his teammates, picking him up off the turf in the end zone in the dead silence of the multitudes, and promising to make it right with him, cleared a big one Saturday night.  Now, we will see what lessons that message has wrought. 

A great story beyond the storyline. 


September 9th, 2013 at 11:13 AM ^

We all know Devin is good at football, but I don't know if everyone fully apprecaites just how good this kid is and how high his ceiling is. Below is a list of career QB ratings for several Michigan quarterbacks. Now, on the one hand, it's not entirely fair to compare Gardner's 7 starts to guys who have played full/multiple seasons. On the other hand, only 1 of Devin's 7 starts has been against a non-conference cupcake (CMU). The others have been mostly legit opponents, including OSU, ND, SC, NW, and Iowa.

Player Name QB Rating
Devin Gardner 158.46
Elvis Grbac 148.14
Jim Harbaugh 145.65
John Wangler 145.17
Todd Collins 145.03
Drew Henson 140.82
Denard Robinson 138.65
Tom Brady 136.43
Chad Henne 133.91
Brian Griese 131.37
Rick Leach 130.03
Tate Forcier 128.62
Scott Dreisbach 125.99
John Navarre 125.76
Ryan Mallett 105.69
Steven Threet 105.26



September 9th, 2013 at 1:13 PM ^

WIth enough starts Gardner will probably have a few games that will depress his number, but as you said he's played mostly very good or solid teams.  I read somewhere that South Carolina had one of the best pass defenses in the country last season.

I don't know all the factors that go into the rating, but Rick Leach pretty much only passed on 3rd and 12 (or longer) or if the team was down by 10 or more in the 4th.  Both of those scenarios were rare back then so I think his number is probably artificially low.