Why Devin Gardner Will Not Redshirt

Submitted by CollegeFootball13 on February 9th, 2010 at 2:11 PM

It seems that the common thought here on MGoBlog is that it would be in the team's best interest to redshirt Devin Gardner next season and allow him to take total control of the team in his third or fourth year on campus, as a RS Sophomore or Junior.

While I actually agree with that line of thought, it's not happening.

I'm a pretty big fan of Rich Rod's. I see the direction that he's taking this team and I like it. I realize it will take time, and I am more than willing to give him that time. I am not in charge of how much time he has, however. If he doesn't perform soon, more and more fans will be calling for his job, and they just might get their wish if this season results in a 6-6 or 7-5 record.

Gardner is Rodriguez's prototypical quarterback. More skill rushing than Forcier, more skill passing (especially after some coaching this spring) than Robinson. In two or three years, he will be a dominant force in Ann Arbor, but Rodriguez can't wait that long.

This isn't to say he doesn't have the best interest of the team in mind, but he is going to have to have at the very least an eight win season to keep the critics at bay, and even that likely will not be enough.

Nine or ten wins will keep his job secure, and the easiest short-term fix that would give this team the best chance at a ten win season is using Forcier primarily, and using Gardner much like Robinson was used last season. With Gardner in the backfield, however, there will be a little more confusion for opposing defenses. It wont be "Robinson up the gut" play after play. Gardner will be an intimidating player to line up against.

So while it would absolutely be in the teams best interest to redshirt him and maximize his playing time and impact at Michigan, even one more season under eight wins could cost Rodriguez his job, and then three years of Michigan football will have been completely useless as a coach with a more traditional style will be brought in, and there will be even more re-building to find players that fit that scheme.

As long as Gardner isn't a big disappointment at spring practice and can learn a good zone read as well as about 30% of the playbook, Rich Rodriguez has to play him this season. He won't be starting on opening day, and he may not start at all this season, but he'll be in the same role that Robinson was in last season. It has to be done for Rodriguez's job, and for Michigan's immediate future.

As for Denard.. I don't know. Slot? KR/PR?



February 9th, 2010 at 2:16 PM ^

There's no need to insert a running quarterback if the existing quarterback(s) can learn to run the read option. Forcier kept the ball way too many times last year when the defensive end was staying home, and the coaches didn't even bother running the option with Denard, presumably because the game was moving too fast for him.


February 9th, 2010 at 2:34 PM ^

compelling in the fact that we saw what happens to true-frosh QBs. I have no doubt DG will be dynamic is his time but Tate and Shoelace will have to struggle mightily for us to see DG this season. That being said, I do expect him to for #16 to a hybrid position in 2011.


February 9th, 2010 at 2:27 PM ^

Kudos to you if you are correct, but I just don't see this being beneficial. Under your theory DG will be wasted on plays when the opposition pretty much knows all of the plays in which he is capable of performing w/o death. Which IMO isnt that much vastly different then D-Rob last year. Thus it would be a waste of a full year of eligibility.


February 9th, 2010 at 2:21 PM ^

Because we have no proof that Gardner is the better option right now, the point you are trying to make is fairly moot.

I'm going to venture a guess and say that Tate is better now, and will be throughout the season.


February 9th, 2010 at 2:52 PM ^

I'm not exactly sure what you are talking about. You somehow make the jump from saying "If Gardner isn't a big disappointment in spring practice" to "he has to play next year". There is a lot of area in between, especially if the coaches go out of their way to save his redshirt.

In my opinion, I believe the only way they burn a DG's redshirt is if he is "head and shoulders" above Tate and Denard(or injury). This is simply a situation I do not see happening.


February 9th, 2010 at 2:18 PM ^

you are already assuming that an incoming freshman with 15 practices is going to be a better option than someone who has an entire year under his belt...No way I may be wrong but I just dont see it.


February 9th, 2010 at 2:27 PM ^

But assuming true freshman Gardner is better than true sophomore Robinson, which isn't too far fetched, would mean that we could end up with more wins next season with Gardner playing 30% of the snaps.

Does Gardner check down to Odoms against Iowa? It could make the difference between a seven win season and a nine win season, and with his job on the line I think that's a chance RichRod takes.


February 9th, 2010 at 2:27 PM ^

How are you so sure that Gardner is going to be better than DENARD, who already has a season under his belt and will improve during the spring and fall as well?

Furthermore, why would you move a QB away from the position when you only have 3 functional players (not counting Conelius Jones yet) at the most important position on the field, while you have a deep WR and RB core.


February 9th, 2010 at 2:29 PM ^

Did you watch Robinson last year? He was brought in as a running quarterback, and that's all he really is. His lack of passing skills cost us games last season.

And I'm not so sure. It's my opinion, which is kind of the point of the boards in the off-season.


February 9th, 2010 at 2:52 PM ^

This site is fucking hilarious. This guy gets positive feedback? The guy that uses punctuation like a fourth grader with tourettes?

And I get negbanged to hell for calmly sharing an opinion.

I love reading the content here, but this is a huge part of the reason I like to stay out of the discussions.

West Texas Blue

February 9th, 2010 at 2:19 PM ^

Gardner is raw and his mechanics are below average; he's maybe a better passer than D-Rob at this stage but below Forcier. Teams at this point won't respect Gardner as a passer and will stack the box, just like they did against D-Rob. Gardner is better off redshirting so he can go through S&C program, work on mechanics, and learn the playbook. Forcier and D-Rob combo should be fine for us this year; Gardner should only be an option if there are injuries.


February 9th, 2010 at 2:21 PM ^

9 or 10 wins keeps his job safe this year? What about 8?

Offensive Notes

- Starting a true soph QB
- Starting a brand new RB, with the leader injuring his ACL against tOSU
- Replacing a couple of linemen

Defensive Notes

- Lose two best players
- Awful last year
- The exciting part is much more depth this year and a second year in the system
- Starting at least two freshmen (RS or not)

Special Teams

- We lost the best punter in the country

So if you don't think 8 wins this year saves RR, you're a fool. Hell, 7 or 6 wins probably does it.


February 9th, 2010 at 2:31 PM ^

don't matter. The boosters matter in a minor manner. Dave Brandon, Mary Sue Coleman, and the people on the INSIDE matter. I have a feeling the insiders knew that they were making a long-term investment when making their decision to completely change the program. As long as he's getting us to a bowl next year, I think he stays, because the insiders in the program understand that this was a radical change, and that continuity is necessary and discontinuity will only set us back another few years.


February 9th, 2010 at 2:36 PM ^

I agree completely, and hope you're right.

People don't seem to be reading the original post. I'm hoping he doesn't lose his job after a six win season next year. I won't be one of the people calling for his job. I'm just saying if I were him, I'd be putting myself in the best position to win as many games as possible. His mentality is "the best players will play, regardless of age or experience."

If DG is better than DR, he will play. Behind Forcier, and only about 30% of the snaps, but he'll play.


February 9th, 2010 at 2:29 PM ^

I don't think I agree.
Forcier is much more polished as a QB than DG could possibly be and even if DG has more throwing upside than DR, I don't see him surpassing anyone who has a year of experience on him. He's just too raw and everyone has said his motion is plain terrible.

Just don't see it.

And you say yourself He won't be starting on opening day, and he may not start at all this season,so where is the value of having him burn a year when he can get in all the practice time that everyone else gets and actually perhaps be a polished QB by the time he reaches years 2 or 3?


February 9th, 2010 at 2:27 PM ^

What makes you think that Denard Robinson's career as a QB is over? He came in, as a true freshman, and made some mistakes. He was using maybe 40% of the playbook, and was put in cold each and every time he played.

You seem to think that DG will be better skilled at passing than Denard after spring practice, but you have no idea how Denard has progressed since the few times we saw him last season, or with some spring practice himself.

I don't really understand why Denard has been written off by so many different people. Most of the time Rich Rod talks about QBs, he refers to both Tate and Denard. While this may be coachspeak, it's something that you can't straight up ignore.


February 9th, 2010 at 2:30 PM ^

Denard was HORRIBLE at passing the ball. Seriously. Horrible.

He's not an option at quarterback, except for random craziness like last year. And if he plays at quarterback at all this year, it's because a) Forcier got hurt and/or b) the coaches want to redshirt Gardner.


February 9th, 2010 at 2:34 PM ^

I completely agree that he was an awful passer. But you aren't going to take into account that he came in cold, in the middle of games, with a small percentage of the playbook at his disposal, with less practice than most true freshmen that start (as he wasn't the first-team guy)?