So a thread on The Mothership got me thinking today. Some people believe that Devin Gardner should get some playing time next year. Some other people even believe that Gardner should be the starting QB. I have a question for these people. Did you watch any of 2009 and more specifically the beginning of the season. Tate Forcier was amazing, the two game winning touchdown drives, the way he marched M down the field the very first time he stepped on it. He was an absolute joy to watch. I screamed myself horse watching the Notre Dame game, not from anger but from sheer joy at watching this kid play.
Now as we all know, a lot of Forcier’s problems stemmed from the injury he received in the Indiana game. He played through a large part of the year with a partially torn labrum. Now think about this, even though he is just a little guy, think of how tough you would have to be to play though pain, while getting knocked around because your offensive line can’t protect you. I can’t speak for any other Michigan fans out there, but you would have to be nuts to want to see anybody else taking snaps next year. The zone read was a problem for Forcier, who often would make the wrong reads, but with another year of experience isn’t it reasonable to assume that he will be able to execute the zone read much better. If he improves just a little bit, think of how much better this offense will be. Keep in mind this was by no means a bad offense last year.
So then what happens to Denard? I think at least for next year he continues to play Quarterback. My hope is that Rich Rod will install a WolverineCat package for Denard. If he can learn how to execute the zone read, I think a WolverineCat package could be extremely effective. Denard’s biggest problem last year was that he made poor reads. I think that a year in the film room with the coaches will allow him to make much better reads. I also (along with everyone else) expect the coaches to experiment with Denard at other positions, whether it be slot receiver or running back.
So where does this leave Mr. Gardner? Hopefully on the bench taking notes for the first year. Fwiw I think this kid is going to be amazing, but I hate the idea of starting a freshman three years in a row. I do think that in the event of a Forcier injury Gardner probably burns his redshirt.
Michigan Hoops preview coming tomorrow.