Over/Under: MICH QBs

Submitted by jamiemac on April 11th, 2011 at 12:12 PM

So. eyes on the ground reports from Saturday have multiple people telling me the best QB Michigan has is Devin Gardner. This includes local coaches down here who went and could not wait to see Denard play, but instead left thinking MIchigan would be crazy not to start Devin. But, he went up against the second string all day and, well, I will go out on a limb and say MICH might have the worst second string D in the conference. Grain meet Salt

But, I'm never opposed to oddsmaking or gambling, therefore

Over/Under on Devin Gardner starts at QB in the 2011 season

O/U 1.5 starts





April 11th, 2011 at 9:36 PM ^

like right after the '09 season, most of us were wondering if Denard had what it took to be a QB, or at the very least did not feel he would overtake Tate the next year. Based on his behavior, Tate seemed to think that as well; it was truly amazing the progress Denard made during the off season. Devin fared better in his freshman year than Denard did, and I'm referring to his passing, who is to say he won't have an exponential improvement like Shoelace had? One thing is for sure, it's a pretty pleasant problem for the coaches to have, who starts, 1a or 1b?


April 11th, 2011 at 12:36 PM ^

I didn't think Denard would be able to overtake Tate last year so what the hell do I know, but I would think it takes an injury to Denard that keeps him out a couple of games, plus Gardner playing extraordinary during his absense to turn this into a real QB controversy.


April 11th, 2011 at 12:16 PM ^

It won't be through fault of Denard, but I believe that he will get injured enough to rationalize missing one start, and Devin will perform well enough that Hoke will find it safer to keep him out an extra week, leading to a sort of 1A and 1B situation again.


April 11th, 2011 at 12:18 PM ^


 I've heard the same browsing the interwebs.... but it really doesn't mean anything to me.  Because I've heard and seen a lot more about people saying that Denard is adapting well and doing a good job in the Offense during Spring Practice. 


 I'm just marking it up to a bad practice.  So under.


April 11th, 2011 at 12:21 PM ^

I might be crazy here, and me never playing football might show, but I'd think that in spring the coaches are trying to teach everything new, and come fall, if Denard is behind, they might just tweak the offense to suit Denard's progression better.

I know Borges doesn't want to run Denard twenty times a game, but if Denard just can't get to where they want him (I think he will, but it's a possibility), I've got to think they'll adjust more. Whether or not he's the best QB, he is also possibly the best returning rusher in the nation, and that seems too valuable to keep on the sideline, even for someone as talented as DG.


April 11th, 2011 at 1:06 PM ^

I think rushing is the key here. I know they want to cut down on Denard's rushes to better fit into their offense, but another big part of that is so that he stays healthy. While I'm sure they will still incorporate plays for him, I think Borges is going to try to emphasize to Denard to scramble. This might mean that they also tell him to slide more so that defenders don't get free shots at him. Overall, I think Denard's effectiveness was at its best when he was healthiest. He kept getting beat up and it took a toll on his passing. The new offense does have some benefits for Denard if they go about it the right way. 

As far as an over/under, it would have to depend on how (much) Denard is running. If he's taking the same shots as last season, I would consider the over. If they protect him more and he protects himself, I'll go under.

Competition is good. If Devin is really pushing Denard, I'm happy because that means we're going to have a guy come in who might be as good as Denard coming in if necessary.


April 11th, 2011 at 1:24 PM ^

I think the competition is good, but I don't see Devin being more valuable on the field than Denard.

I'm hoping he scrambles a lot more. Obviously the guy isn't the best off the field, but Pryor burned us (and everyone else) last year with those scrambles, and Denard is a good bit faster than Pryor. That's kind of what I'm hoping for with Denard this year; Pryor in The Game last year, maybe with more designed runs and a little lower completion percentage.

I don't think he takes the same shots as last year. He's not going to be running up the gut on at Ryan Kerrigan/JJ Watt every play, and that's a good thing. I think Denard stays healthy, we get Denarded, but not as much as last year, hopefully a back steps up and then we see DG "shock the world" with 3:30 left in the 4th when we're up.


April 11th, 2011 at 12:28 PM ^

I think Denard's experience starting last year is going to ensure the spot heading into the season. Borges said in his presser last week that it's basically written in already.  

turd ferguson

April 11th, 2011 at 12:34 PM ^

I'll probably get beaten up for this, but one of my biggest worries about the effects of the hyper-opinionated Michigan fanbase is its effect upon the quarterback situation.  Denard is great and literally might be my favorite athlete (ever).  Still, I want the coaches to feel like they can freely choose between Denard and Devin without worrying that fans will freak out about their decision.  If Borges feels much more comfortable with Gardner, then this odd notion that we owe Denard more than we owe Devin -- and that the only want to satisfy that debt to Denard is by starting him at quarterback -- is more harmful than helpful.

turd ferguson

April 11th, 2011 at 1:26 PM ^

Can you imagine the outrage around here if it came out that Devin's going to be the QB and Denard will play slot/KR/PR/CB/whatever?  Hoke and Borges would be excoriated as out of touch and incapable of adapting to their talent.  I have no idea if that's what would be best for the team, but I definitely want the coaches to be able to make that -- or any other -- decision without worrying about alienating a part of the fanbase. 

Space Coyote

April 11th, 2011 at 1:59 PM ^

They just don't have the numbers to start DG and put Denard at another position.  In reality, Michigan has 2 QBs that they could believe would lead them to victory.  Putting the second string in a spot to get injured would leave only 1.  I think if DG starts, Denard would just be a backup, just as we aren't going to be seeing DG at WR anytime soon.  Not to mention the fact that it's a new offense and it seems highly unlikely that the coaching staff wouldn't allow players to learn at least one position before trying to make them a jack-of-all-trades type player.

Still, I think Denard starts unless injured.  DG might be a more polished passer and I could see him getting reps, but this is Denard's team.


April 11th, 2011 at 12:57 PM ^

Physically, DG is the more ideal QB of the two.  In fact, DG could even be the better QB right now (undetermined, but seems to be a more polished passer.) But Denard is probably the best offensive talent we've seen since...well I can't remember when.  If DG beats him out, then that could only be a great testament to his abilities.  No matter what, Denard has to be on the field.


April 11th, 2011 at 1:29 PM ^

Is QB depth really that serious?

Assuming Denard starts, DG is (given the topic of the board) a more than adequate backup in the (hopefully unlikely) event that Denard gets injured. Now, if something happens to both Denard and DG, there's Kennedy and Bellamy (an assumed perpetual clip-board holder and a true freshman), neither of whom any of us want to see the field. But realistically, Michigan's backup is going to be much better than most places' #2s and who wouldn't be in a terrible situation if their #3 had to take over.


April 11th, 2011 at 1:33 PM ^

If there was a "Second String All-America Team" I think we would have been great at QB last year and this year.

Devin is going to be incredible, and you can say what you want about Tate, but he mostly delivered when he came in last year. Not the prettiest display of QB'ing, but he got the job done for the most part, and probably had a bigger impact on M than any other backup QB I can think of.


April 11th, 2011 at 1:42 PM ^

I completely agree about last season. Michigan had more competent depth at QB than probably any other team I watched last season.

I know people are worried about QB depth in the long run, especially if DG doesn't get his redshirt. But it seems really odd to be worrying about depth when the discussion at hand is which of the two excellent QBs is the more excellent. I was legitimately wondering if people think depth will be a problem this fall.


April 11th, 2011 at 1:47 PM ^

I'd say no, the people who are worrying are the people who worry about everything. We have one great QB, and one who's at least very good, if he's pushing the great QB. Unless we turn into Purdue, I can't think of a time we won't be fine.

Even if Gardner doesn't get his redshirt, you're looking at him, Pike (or some other 5* big time guy) and Bellomy after Denard is gone. And while Denard is here, we have a reigning All-American.


April 11th, 2011 at 1:54 PM ^

Haha, when I was thinking about other teams' QB situations from last season, Purdue was the first one that came to mind. Weren't they using their injured 2nd-string QB as their starting RB? As much as I hate Hope, I couldn't help but feel bad for everything that beset that team last season. Maybe, in part, because it's the kind of thing that could happen to any team; say Michigan's defensive backfield, for example.

I'm not too worried about long term depth, myself, seeing as we have two more years of Denard and at least one more after that of DG. So, as long as Michigan lands a good QB in this upcoming class, they'll be fine for a while, in my opinion.


April 11th, 2011 at 2:07 PM ^

I imagine Hope's face turned bright red and actual steam shot out of his ears
(accompanied by a train whistle sound) when he got the news. Bellomy might not have been the most important, needed, or hyped recruit from this class, but he definitely holds a special place in my heart. 


April 11th, 2011 at 12:39 PM ^

be the starter.  

I'm no offensive guru, but I think if Devin is doing as well as people say, we could certainly put in some dual qb/wildcat/surprise type plays.  There are endless possibilities, especially if you have both in at the same time. Imagine Devin, who I think wil be the better passer due to his height and ability to see the field better, in there with Denard by his side as a 1. RB 2. slot receiver 3. distraction 4. option play.  It might be a good Red Zone play.  You get all those players packed into a smaller space and it's harder for a smaller guy to see the field for passing plays.  A creative coach will find useful options.


April 11th, 2011 at 12:53 PM ^

Creative coaching is key - I am with you.  A friend who has been at a few practices as well said some of the same things - Devin looked much better the other day, etc.  His feeling was as much as Hopkins seems to have improved, you have a game breaker in Denard and Devin - why not have both of them on the field.  But let's face it, I don't think anyone wants to line up Denard at 2 back and run him through the line. 

So...yes, a few creative sets  with both of them on the field is the solution in my mind - maybe a little Denard all over the place. 

I am also going to assume that they will be working on Denard's weaknesses during practice and will game plan appropriately come fall.

He felt there was a major step up in coaching on D - how the kids are being coached and how much fun everyone seems to have in practice.  Really sounds like, beyond talent on the field, that there will be a major improvement.



April 11th, 2011 at 1:35 PM ^

This exact idea was brought up last off-season with Denard and Tate. Everyone was debating who would start against UConn based on Tate's on the field performance the previous year and practice reports on Denard during the Spring. Inevitably people (myself included) started suggesting a two-QB set, with Denard as some kind of hybrid-play-ever-position kind of player. Not questioning the merit of the suggestion, just pointing out that this is eerily similar to last off season.

Personally, my opinion is that given that the coaches are installing a new offensive system, I'd be skeptical of them trying to work out something as complicated as a simultaneous dual-QB set, just because they have two good QBs at their disposal. (If it's possible, I'd love to see it.)


April 11th, 2011 at 12:41 PM ^

Under. I have been around a few practices this spring, and although Devin was better this particular day, Denard has had the better spring overall in my humble opinion. Most of the people I have talked to that were there also agree that it will be hard to not give Devin run this season. We are blessed to have two special talents on our QB depth chart. Those who think that a Zeke Pike would come in here and take Devin's place are mistaken.

Devin was going against the 2's the entire scrimmage, and well, quite honestly, our 2nd string defense isn't very good outside of a few players. Marvin made a a few nice plays at FS. It's a shame he has had practice conflict with class this spring. I think he will make a run at a spot somewhere in fall camp though.However, Carvin will be tough to beat out at FS . He is a good one. Cullen made a couple of nice plays. Jake Ryan will be a future star. That kid has it.Quinton Washington is solid, but probably a year away. Other than that, the 2nd team D isn't very good, or at the very least, not ready for prime time yet.

If Devin was playing against BWC and Mike Martin in this particular scrimmage, he wouldn't have done very well either. Those two cats owned the offensive line. This was an offensive line minus Molk and Lewan mind you, but Denard had absolutely little time to set his feet, and do particularly much of anything in the passing game because Martin( who was playing some stand up rush end) and Big Will were getting so much pressure. His feet are obviously his most dangerous weapon though, and it showed on Saturday as well.



April 11th, 2011 at 12:41 PM ^

Regardless of what happens, we are extremely fortunate that we are even having this discussion, no? Many teams don't have two extremely talented quarterbacks, let alone one extremely talented quarterback. I do think Denard will start every game, but I also believe that Devin will see the field quite a bit this year.


April 11th, 2011 at 12:48 PM ^

I'll be happy when I no longer see this in Devin's throwing motion:

Seriously -- he seems to have ALL the other tools.  I don't see him starting this year, but I think he'll be great before too long.