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Posted on Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

Should Devin Gardner start at QB the rest of the way, regardless of Denard Robinson's health?

By Pete Cunningham


Devin Gardner played brilliantly on Saturday and Michigan is 3-0 with him as the starter. Should he be the quarterback even if Denard Robinson is healthy?

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Devin Gardner was absolutely brilliant on Saturday against Iowa, completing 18-of-23 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for three touchdowns as well. It begs the question, if Denard Robinson is 100 percent healthy - be it for the season finale against Ohio State, the possible Big Ten Championship game or the bowl game - who starts at quarterback for the Wolverines?

Chime in on our interactive poll and grade Michigan's performance on offense, defense, special teams, coaching and overall.

Who should be Michigan's starting quarterback the rest of the way?


The offense carved up the Hawkeyes from start to finish.


Outside of the first two drives, Iowa couldn't get anything going offensively against the Wolverines.

Special Teams

Punt team: not a factor. Punt return: not a factor. Kick return: limited opportunities. Brendan Gibbons made his extra points and the kickoff coverage team didn't give up any big returns.


The Michigan coaching staff has had to change its offense to accentuate Denard Robinson's strengths, then Devin Gardner's, and on Saturday combined the two. But why were the starters in at the end when the game was in hand?


Put it all together, and what do you get?

Check out Kyle Meinke's grades for the Wolverines.

Pete Cunningham covers sports for



Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Makes you wonder if the Nebraska game would have ended differently had Gardner been put in instead of Russell.


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 1:04 a.m.

It all depends on how much presser OSU defense puts on the QB. Denard is able to run away from many good defenses and keep UM in the game. I will say Gardner does not get as many passes batted down because he is taller than Denard but can he keep from getting sacked? The game really depends on the offensive line, they seem to have improved this week but Iowa was weak. OSU is more like Northwestern on offense and that may challenge our D.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

I think clearly, they both should be on the field together as much as possible. Especially with Fitz's injury, Denard will be critical to have in there running the ball. But having them both in the game will give Ohio fits trying to figure out how to cover them both. After watching yesterday's game, I now think we have a very good shot at beating Ohio. A big key will be how good of a job our defense does containing Miller and their running game. Go Blue!


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

The question has been resolved in my mind. Brady Hoke and Al Borges have implemented something that gives me comfort in how Denard will be used for the rest of the season. This new combo will work well and could be more successful, mainly against ohio in the snakepit. Devin is not the same struggling and scrambling back up QB we saw last year or in the Spring game. His improvement since being reassigned has been astonishing. Had he played anything like this during Spring or Fall camps, he could have won the starting QB job. Not saying he would have. The recievers, Roundtree, Gallon and Dileo are making great catches that we were only hoping for earlier this season. Denard's passes fluttered a lot but passes that were sure catches were dropped. Seems lately, we're seeing Brayon Edwards' type catches from these guys. Whatever works is fine with me. Denard is an asset on the playing field. He'll take a few snaps against ohio and proabaly throw a few passes. Apparently, Borges has several more play combos with Devin and Denard that we didn't see against IA. Let Devin start the remainder of season because Denard will play an important role, no matter what. Both are are great Michigan Men...GO BLUE!!!


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

Devin should remain the QB, with Denard moving around at RB or one of the Receiver positions. If DG can get the ball to Denard with a little space, there is no telling how far he could go. Plus, I have to think the opposition's defense would have to account for where DR is on every play with one or two defenders being tied to him. One successful screen pass to DR would be scary, and would set up a great decoy throughout the game when Devin could go deep after drawing the D to Denard. If healthy, Denard should be on the field, but I think Devin Gardner should be our QB going forward.

Ed Kimball

Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

Pete, I'm afraid you are guilty of misusing an idiom. The situation does not "beg the question", which means that a proposition is phrased in a way to assume its own answer. The situation "raises the question" of which quarterback to start.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

I Iike "beg the question". I hope to see "beg or begs the question a thousand more times.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 3:39 p.m.

Thanks, Ed. I stumbled reading that sentence until I figured out the point. It is a strangely complicated sentence for a straightforward question.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

Yesterday was the first time all year that the offense looked formidable, with Denard in the backfield. That gave us two clever runners, speed, and a more reliable passer. And Borges showed some creativity for the first time. Now, if he starts using his tight end occasionally and also throws to the backs down field a bit instead of just swing passes, they will be tough to cover. Sad to see Toussaint out. He will be missed since he was beginning to get back in form, and is superior to Rawls and Smith.


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

Should Gardner start over Robinson? Everybody loves Denard, but you cannot be sentimental in answering a question like this. The real question is: Who gives the team a better chance to win? The offense has so many more options with Gardner under center, and it has been truly explosive when he's at his best. With Robinson in the shotgun, too often the offense has sputtered and been unable to generate first downs, and Robinson's arm, though capable when healthy, has not been reliable. Start Gardner. Use Robinson as he was used against Iowa. End of story.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 10:27 p.m.

For the first time this season I was looking for an A+ box to check for the offense. I never thought, after seeing Gardner's limited play in previous seasons, that he had so much talent. He's got it all...size, skills, arm, accuracy, name it, he's got it. And with Denard in there with him, you've got the best backfield in the NCAA. Next week will be nothing like this game was, but we've got a great chance to win our last regular season game.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

Compared to their performances this year, and this year alone, Devin deserves to start next week. No question.