Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner did not end his spring on a high note, but despite some sluggish play in Michigan’s spring game on Saturday the incumbent starter feels confident that a competitive atmosphere helped him improve this spring. Whether or not you believe there actually is a quarterback competition in Ann Arbor or not, Gardner remains sure the job is still his to lose.
“Oh my goodness, it was amazing how much better (the competition) made me,” Gardner said after Saturday’s spring game, according to MLive.com. “I found myself just trying to be super perfect in everything.”
Earlier in the spring head coach Brady Hoke alluded to the quarterback position being up for grabs between Gardner and Shane Morris, who started for the Wolverines in Gardner’s absence in the bowl game at the end of last season. Though he has not closed the door on the conversation, it appears Gardner has the edge judging by Hoke’s comments following he spring game. Gardner’s spring was a difficult one at times, coming off injury and getting adjusted to a new offensive coordinator behind an offensive line looking to gel, but everything helped fuel Gardner to be a better player overall.
“Obviously you can’t be perfect, but you have to play as best as you can when there’s guys behind you competing and wanting to play,” Gardner said. “It puts a sense of urgency on you.”
The starting job should be his to lose, because Morris did not have a brilliant enough spring game to take advantage of a poor afternoon by Gardner. Even if Gardner is officially named the starter, whenever that may be, it will be critical to show a high level of consistent play in the fall. With the pressure rising on Hoke to reverse the trend Michigan has been on since he took over, no job in the field should be assumed to be safe, including Gardner at starting quarterback. If Michigan struggles, giving Morris a chance to play may not be that far out of the question in search for a spark.