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Posted on Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 5:01 p.m.

Kick returners are solid, Devin Gardner update, Michigan football team injury news and more

By Pete Bigelow

Coaches elevated Jeremy Gallon to the first spot on the depth chart at kick returner, but Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez cautioned not to read too much into the move.

He said switch was made largely because Darryl Stonum, the incumbent, tweaked a hamstring before the Michigan State game that was slow to heal.

“He’s better with that now,” Rodriguez said at his weekly press conference on Monday, “but we’ve been pleased with Jeremy Gallon back there as well.”


Michigan redshirt freshman Jeremy Gallon averages 20.9 yards per return on kickoffs.

Lon Horwedel |

On the season, Stonum averages 20.5 yards per return on 17 tries with a long run of 30 yards. Gallon has returned 10 kickoffs for a 20.9 yards-per-return average. His season-long went for 27 yards.

Sore back limits quarterback Freshman quarterback Devin Gardner debuted against UConn in the season opener, saw limited action against UMass and completed seven of 10 passes against Bowling Green. He hasn’t been heard from since.

Rodriguez said Monday that Gardner has been limited by a sore back, and that the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Inkster native’s snaps with the first team have diminished because of the lingering soreness.

Gardner might be a candidate for a medical redshirt, but Rodriguez downplayed that possibility Monday. “I don’t know,” he said. “It kind of comes and goes with him.”

Rodriguez said he’d like to work Gardner back into the regular rotation to keep three quarterbacks ready at all times. Other than the injury, he’s pleased with the freshman’s progress

Injury report Rodriguez said all the Wolverines nursing injuries - David Molk (ankle), Mike Martin (ankle), Michael Shaw (knee) and Fitzgerald Toussaint (shoulder) - are healthy entering Saturday's game at Penn State (8 p.m,. ESPN).

Quotable Asked what he’ll be doing at 83, the age of Penn State coach Joe Paterno, Rodriguez said, “I hope I’m still on this side of the earth. I won’t be coaching.”

Look at middle linebacker Kenny Demens and Obi Ezeh are listed as co-starters on the team’s depth chart, but Rodriguez was upbeat about Demens’ performance as the starter against Iowa, in which he recorded eight tackles.

“Kenny Demens is a great athlete, and I think he’s doing great with the opportunities he’s gotten,” teammate Craig Roh said.

Demens leads the team with seven special-teams tackles this season.

Extra points The Wolverines, winners of two Big Ten road games over the past two-and-a-half seasons, open as three-point favorites against Penn State for Saturday’s game at Happy Valley.

Pete Bigelow covers Michigan football for He can be reached at (734) 623-2556, via email at and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.



Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 9:08 a.m.

Can't blame the MSU fans at this point. They are not use to winning with class because they are not use to winning. Good luck the rest of the season.


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 2:49 p.m.

RR is the best thing that ever happened to MSU...that and Dantonio. We are recruiting the state as well as UM, and in the past that was not the case. We are beating them regularly, which in the past was not the case, and we are establishing a brand, something that wasn't a positive in the past. All the Um fans want to keep harping on the "all-time" record between the two schools, but be very careful not to let history cloud your vision of the future. The once proud, feared, and well-oiled team that created that historical record is nowhere to be seen these days, and remember there is a lot of football to be played. Last year the wolvies started out like a house afire also, then the real games started. Will history repeat itself this year? Stay tuned, and by all means, keep RR as your coach till he's eighty three, maybe he'll have some juniors and seniors ready to go by then.


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 9:28 a.m.

Yelmonian - not at all. You are one of the more respectful MSU fans around these parts. You need to educate your buddies, redceder and trigg.


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 8:27 a.m.

It's a cryin' shame RR wasted DG's chance to redshirt this year. Imo just another example of RR's poor decision making. He knew Rate was an excellent backup so why not sit DG and allow him to adjust to college game?


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 8:10 a.m.

Please, no more Obi at middle linebacker! Demens is clearly a much better player, and with 2 more years eligibility left, I'd rather see him get most of the reps. Stonum hasn't looked as good on kick returns this year for whatever reason. Gallon may be able to break one or two, we'll see. That assumes the rest of the guys block better though! I really hope to see Toussaint in the PSU game. He's supposed to be very good - at least he looked so on the 2 carries he had this year. Go Blue!


Tue, Oct 26, 2010 : 6:36 a.m.

Why not give Jeremy Ross a try at kicking????

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 11:58 p.m.

Since Gardner has been practicing without limitations and was not listed on any injury report for the Iowa game (the half-way point, by days, of the season), he is no longer eligible for a medical hardship red-shirt.


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 10:12 p.m.

MSU has 9 wins and 0 losses but Michigan has solid kick returners. I am laughing so hard I think I will pass out. Go Green Go White!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 10:05 p.m.

Who cares what Lame-Duck, Rich-Rod thinks anymore. The real QB question is, will Jim Harbaugh prefer Shoelace, Forcier, or Gardner next year?


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 9:21 p.m.

I also agree with a lot of comments stating that Rod may be trying to position Gardner for a redshirt. Now that Tate seems to have his act together, and Robinson has clearly separated himself as the starter, if he can position Gardner for a redshirt he should do so. No need to waste an entire year of eligibility for 20 some snaps... that would be a mistake.


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 9:17 p.m.

@ Yelmonian - don't mean this to necessarily be a combative response only to you, but I want to make my points clear. Based on the raw talent (raw being the key word) shown by Gardner in high school, of course he had the chance to start. Rod has always said that every position, every year, is up for competition at the start of the year. I'm not naive enough to truly believe that is 100% true across the board (some players are clearly starters), but I do believe Gardner was given a chance if he really blew everyone away. Of course Gardner was fighting an uphill battle from the start being a freshman behind two quality quarterbacks. To your point about Tressel or Urban telling their recruits the same thing when they had Tebow and Pryor, I don't pretend to know what they were told, but if I had to guess I would probably say they were told in some fashion or another that they probably wouldn't start. However, comparing Tebow and Pryror to Robinson and Forcier is unfair, or at least it was during recruitment. If Gardner were a recruit coming in this year, sure he will have a chance to start, but everyone would know that his chance to start right away was remote. Tate may have been lazy during the offseason so he lost his wings, hence why he was put behind Gardner on the depth chart. Regardless, Tate was a good quarterback last year and has an entire year of experience playing for Michigan (and in Rod's system) that Gardner doesn't have. If you look at game tape and compare Gardner and Forcier, you would have a heck of a time convincing me that, right now, Michigan is better off with Gardner.

Sean T.

Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 8:44 p.m.

Chum up? I have no issue with a poster because he likes another school. We are enemies on the Saturday that we play each other and that's it! (Besides some honest jaw-jacking) As far as disagreeing with fellow Wolverines, the spartan posters attack me far less than my so-called Wolverine brethren. Be patient all you want, that's your prerogative. But it is against my nature to continue to shine a turd and think that it will become a diamond. The sad state of affairs you speak of was brought on by your Savior. Go Blue!!!!!!!!!!!!


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 8:19 p.m.

I'm a long time Michigan fan and I have to give MSU their due. As much as I hate to admit it they are playing solid football in all aspects and not making many mistakes. Regarding the article. I think all coaches tell players they can compete for PT. I also think this is a way to get Devin a redshirt he should never have burned. It would be nice if he could get the year back for the next coach.


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 7:56 p.m.

Hopefully Gardner redshirts. He will then be the starting QB his junior and senior year. MSU slappies on this site should enjoy their run, it will end in Iowa next Saturday. If they played Ohio State, it would certainly end there. Fake pretenders. Anyone seen Oregon? Yeah, tell me MSU could hang with them. Didn't think so, come back to reality and enjoy your three wins over U of M. You are still 30 + games in the hole in the overall series. A blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 7:40 p.m.

Camaro Dan It might be a good idea to know what your talking about first. Newton didn't leave Florida because of competition at the QB position. He left because he got into trouble for "buying" a stolen laptop. He then went to a JUCO in Tx where he got his act together and then was recruited to Auburn.


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 7:30 p.m.

Yeoman I never said anything about stretching the truth. ALL coaches say to a recruit that you can compete for PT. If you say hey listen, you have to wait your turn... not many recruits will go to your school. You do say, "Cameron had to wait." Did he change his mind after he got to Florida? No. He was told he could compete. Cam was not going to pass Tebow and Cam left, plain and simple.


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 7:17 p.m.

I don't see why DG should play again this year barring injury. Let him get acclimated to football in Div I, the classroom, the faster pace, etc. Maybe they promised him playing time to get him to sign, but it's clear that it is not easy to step right in. And DG can learn a lot by observing and practicing. I think there are a lot of fans who would take Joe Pa's 83 years old on the sideline over 44 years old on the sideline (RRo). LOL. In fact, I think the demise of M football over the last 3 years can be directly blamed on JoePa as he was foolish enough to turn down the job in 1968. Been downhill ever since!!


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 7:13 p.m.

@Truebluefan, I'm assuming you are referring to me as the troll. Didn't realize by asking questions about UM, that makes me a troll. I have stated repeatedly that I believe that the Big Ten needs UM to do well to increase the brand. If UM has a mediocre record, that doesn't help MSU's chances with the BCS if they are able to continue winning games. @CamaroDan, Don't think I mention anything about transferring. And I bet Meyer would like Cameron back. But Cameron was made aware of Tebow's status. Cameron had to wait. Meyer is not a bad coach for that. Meyer won a national championship with Tebow and was in consideration through most of last year. So what you are saying... it's better to stretch the truth a tad bit like RR did... than to say, hey listen, you have to wait your turn... like Urban Meyer did. Of course... I think UM is on probation because RR's staff stretched the truth a little bit.


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 7:10 p.m.

Metric SU is on the right track here. I think RichRod wanted his options open because he didn't know what he had in DRob and Tate and now regrets not red shirting Devin right from the start. He's building a case is all.


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 7:04 p.m.

Yelmonian, It is funny you mentioned Urban Meyer. What do you think he told Cam Newton when he was at Florida? Oh, by the way Cam transfered from Florida to Auburn. So Michigan does not have the market cornered on transfering. Do you think Urban would like Cam back now. Is Urban a bad coach for letting Cam go? If you read between the lines, which you didn't, DG is going to redshirt so he will have two years to run RR system after DRob and Tate are gone. And yes RR will be his coach when he starts. GO BLUE!


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 7:02 p.m.

I think Rodriguez is clearly angling for a medical redshirt for DG. This is the game coaches play all the time when they burn a normal redshirt and regret it later. DG likely won't see the field the rest of the year, and U-M will claim he's had back problems for a long time. This seems pretty obvious to me. It'll be interesting to see if the NCAA looks the other way and accepts it.


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 6:41 p.m.

I find it interesting that Michigan fans are quick to agree and chum up with an MSU troll who cares nothing about Michigan. On the other hand, those same Michigan fans will turn on fellow Michigan fans just because they are willing to remain patient with the current coaching regime. Sad state of affairs...


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 6:18 p.m.

MGoBlueAlways, Let me see if I have this correct. Tate and DR are Heismann quality players (as stated repeatedly by many on this site... so it must be true), but RR is going to give a true freshmen a chance to compete immediately? I'm sure that is what Urban Meyer told all his recruits while he had Tebow. I'm sure that is what Tressel is telling everyone with Pryor at OSU. And Tate is the better player?... but he lost his wings because he wasn't practicing hard enough in the off season. DG warmed up the first couple of times DR went down, but Tate is the better player? Now I'm confused.


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 5:58 p.m.

Right... because coaches are always eager to disclose player injuries. Note that Gardner has had a sore back, but he is still practicing and I would guess that if necessary he could still play. Given the choice of playing Tate or a slightly injured Gardner, it makes much more sense to play Tate. Also - giving someone a CHANCE to play does not mean you give him a GUARANTEE to play. In Gardners' limited playing time, it looked clear to me that Denard was the better quarterback (and Tate for that matter), and that is why he started.


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 5:42 p.m.

Redceder, Agree totally with you. I pointed out that either RR is lying or he doesn't like DR or Tate when he recruited this kid... because he told the kid he had a chance to start. How do you have a chance to start, if you have a kid that has started all of last year, with another kid that was supposed to be as good or better. Of course, I was scolded for my post stating that I don't know squat and just dislike RR.

Sean T.

Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 5:39 p.m.

Good point Redceder, I thought about that too! But what you may not understand is all the players that transfer....should be blamed on Lloyd Carr. You know that's why Michigan has so many freshmen playing during RR's "third" year.


Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 4:40 p.m.

Hopefully Demens starts and can add some quickness and better tackling ability as well as better cover and blitz ability! It would be a good move in my view to start him. Hopefully we see a coherant game plan on D on Saturday night, something that they have been working on over the two weeks! Kick PSU's blank!

Sean T.

Mon, Oct 25, 2010 : 4:30 p.m.

It is easy to gain 10 lbs during a football season. The kid's still growing so I wouldn't read too much into it. The Barwis guy is garbage at best!