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Posted on Thu, Apr 5, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

Michigan tinkering with Devin Gardner at receiver, but emphasis remains developing him as quarterback

By Kyle Meinke


Michigan junior Devin Gardner appeared in nine games last year at quarterback.

Melanie Maxwell |

Al Borges made it clear Thursday afternoon: Devin Gardner remains the Michigan football team's backup quarterback, first and foremost.

But the Wolverines' offensive coordinator also conceded that, yes, there's some experimentation going on this spring.

Someone who has observed several spring practices told that Gardner has practiced regularly at receiver, running with both the first and second units. The person went as far to say Gardner has been "definitely one of their best options at receiver."

He also is taking his regular snaps at quarterback.

Borges has yet to directly confirm Gardner is practicing at wideout, but continues to maintain he would like to get the junior on the field in whatever way possible.

"He's going to be (the) No. 2 quarterback, and then see how things go," Borges said, when asked about Gardner's role. "Our approach with Devin hasn't changed too much. We got to find a way to get him on the field, because he's got skills that go over and above your average quarterback."

Gardner is a physical specimen at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, and was ranked the country's No. 1 dual-threat quarterback coming out of Inkster High School in 2010. His snaps have been limited at Michigan, however, because starter Denard Robinson has emerged as one of the nation's most explosive players.

Gardner appeared in nine games last year at quarterback. Borges devised a set of plays he came to refer to as the "deuce formation," which featured Gardner at quarterback and Robinson either at tailback or receiver.

It appears the Wolverines now are tinkering during spring camp with expanding Gardner's role. However, Borges said the focus remains on developing him as a quarterback.

"Spring, part of it is experimentation, but it's not really the emphasis," Borges said. "What we do as coaches is re-install our offense, refine our offense, because we're constantly evolving, trying to professionally enrich ourselves. Just take little bits and pieces that we learn in the offseason and apply them during spring football, and test them a little bit.

"But that's a small percentage of what we're doing. That's basically just testing schemes. We're much more interested in seeing to it these kids develop in the system, and that we can evaluate their skill levels so that when it comes time to play, we can decide who deserves to."

At quarterback, that appears to still be Robinson, then Gardner. But coaches also have praised the development of third-stringer Russell Bellomy, who seemingly has gained ground on Gardner.

"No one is far and above anybody right now that I can think of," Borges said, when asked if Gardner was the clear No. 2. "Russ Bellomy, he's got people's attention. Russ is another kid, very athletic, can throw the ball.

"He probably doesn't get mentioned near as much as he should. He's a good little player."

Borges said Bellomy needs to get more repetitions at quarterback to continue his development, but already has "taken a step in our offense."

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Sat, Apr 14, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

The more I think about it, this is the best bet for Gardner to get more play time.


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 9:40 a.m.

This guy Ted can't be no more than 13 yrs old. Aye bruh, stop playing on our site and just keep it real. GO BLUE!!!!


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

DB, he is keeping it real that's why he sounds 13 ish.


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

Our quarterback situation sure has come a long way since the days of Stephen Threet, Nick Sheridan, David Cone, and Justin Feagin. To those players' credit, though, they might have been more effective in a non-Rodriguez system.


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 1:34 a.m.

Denard is the one who should be working in at receiver. Out of the deuce he needs to turn up field and just fly and hope that Devin or Russell can hit him in stride.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

So there's Robinson, Gardner, Bellomy and now Morris in the QB lineup. This talented group is like a Uranium 235 nucleus: it could split at any moment in an awesome release of offensive energy. Is Michigan preparing to unleash "nuclear football" on its hapless opponents? In 148 days, we may see it happen.


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 7:43 a.m.

The science teacher in me absolutely loves this comment.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 8:31 a.m.

My prediction: Denard Robinson gets injured this coming season, Gardner steps in and shows us why he was the #1 dual threat QB in his class and not a WR.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:51 a.m.

Well what the heck, the guys gotta be good if he plays for the good guys.


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:31 a.m.

This Michigan team is getting deep with talent. We are rolling, Ohio (of columbus) is sinking fast. It won't be long before all those excited nut fans are crying in their kool aid when their former Florida coach leaves because the pressure is giving him a tummy ache. Then they will sink further in disarray and wallow at the bottom of the B1G. Michigan fans will pine for the day when games against ohio used to be competitive. My how things have changed


Thu, Apr 5, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

It was interesting to see the big ten coaches rankings... Meyer has not coached one game yet, but he still tops the list. Hoke is second. I have to say, it is fine with me that we more than frequently seem to be in second place to Ohio St. They have such a strong program. In any other conference we would be number 1 ! , I am very proud to say we are #2.


Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

Thank God we have Oscar as head coach in Cbus to set the bar so high for us


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:52 a.m.

40-34 says otherwise...


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

Good stuff Ted, reading your posts should remind everyone not to take themselves to seriously. Good stuff Ted. Go Blue !


Thu, Apr 5, 2012 : 9:49 p.m.

As someone who is in the know, it should be noted that Borges is makes up what he is saying as he is going along during these interviews. Not only is what he is saying not making any sense, but he gives his cluelessness away with his darting eyes and facial expressions. As I watched him in his video interviews, his non-verbal language cues are screaming, "Oh my gosh, I hope no-one figures out that I have no idea what I am saying right know." After every sentence he completes the look on his face says, "do you believe what I just told you?"

Robert Toner

Sat, Apr 7, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

it should be noted that Borges is makes up what he is saying ........ARGGGG another english major


Fri, Apr 6, 2012 : 12:49 a.m.

Go get em Ted, I like your style. Ted, you keep me in stitches. As I read your funny posts I think to myself, do you believe what old Ted just wrote. Get em Ted, you are one funny bucknut. Ted, they should have you by ol Urban's side so he can stay loose with your humor.

Nic schweigert

Thu, Apr 5, 2012 : 11:46 p.m.

So is that you or Borges thats " in the know"? U think Borges cares what u think. Long as he keeps getting results who cares what he says to the media


Thu, Apr 5, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

It is very commendable that Devin has remained and will do what he asked on this team. Given the rash of transfers recently, Devin's dedication to this football program is a testimate that he is a Michigan Man. Good things goes to those who wait.

Steve McQueen

Thu, Apr 5, 2012 : 7:51 p.m.

From the limited amount of footage this spring of Devin under center...he is looking more comfortable in the offense and seems to have more confidence in his ability to make the drop, the read and get the ball out on time. If that is the case, then Michigan is in a great situation under center... it would be great to see some clips of Bellomy to see how he is doing as well. All 3 QBs are athletic as heck