Michigan Football Preview 2013

2013 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 79 of 267

Creating His Own Legacy Though he did not quarterback Michigan to a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl berth, Robinson casts a large shadow because of the way he galvanized those around him, especially in leading the Wolverines out of the abyss and back into the national spotlight in 2011. Gardner's teammates and coaches, though, are ready to turn over the reins. "The last couple years, that was Denard's team, but this is Devin's team now," said Lewan. "Denard had such a vibrant personality, and people just flocked to him," Borges said. "The fans loved him. The media loved him. His teammates and coaches loved him. But Devin has charisma, too. He's not some quiet, unassuming kid. "He's got a big smile, and he's going to grab your attention very quickly. I think because of that, the fans are going to like him, and the media is going to love when he's up at the podium. I don't think he'll feel that pressure to replace Denard because he's a confident young man." Gardner isn't unaware of his circumstances, but his five-game trial-by-fire in 2012 gave him the confidence to be his own man. "You can believe in yourself, but before you get the opportunity you're a little unsure. Midway through that Minnesota game, I felt like I was in high school again, and it all clicked," he said. "I never really thought I had to do what Denard did. I had to be me, play quarterback and win games my way." And winning will ultimately decide his legacy. "I'm not worried about all the other stuff. My only focus is giving this team a shot to play for the Big Ten title, and then winning the championship, and seeing where that takes us," Gardner said. "You can be fun, and people can like you, but a quarterback gets judged on his wins and losses, and at Michigan, it's all about the Big Ten. I want to be remembered for winning a championship." ❑ Coaches and teammates alike emphasize that while Gardner has scrambling ability, he is more of a pocket passer who will look to make a play with his arm. photo by lon horwedel First-And-10 With Devin Gardner First Car That He Drove: "It was like the 'Sanford and Son' truck. My brother told me if I got my license he would give me a truck. It was an old Dodge that was rusted out and broke down every other day." First Major Sports Event He Attended: "A Pistons game in 2003 and I met Barry Sanders. I thought I could be an NFL player because I was taller than him when I was 11. I thought height was everything." First Concert He Went To: "Shamefully, Katy Perry. I had never been to a concert until a year ago. I went, but don't want to talk about it." First Autograph He Asked For: "Barry Sanders. But not at that game. He had dinner with our football team, Inkster High School, when I was a sophomore and he signed a bunch of cards for everybody." First Loss That Made You Cry: "We lost to Highland Park my junior year. It was the worst feeling in the world because that's our rival, and I knew all those guys. [Current teammate] Raymon Taylor played for that 78  ■  The Wolverine 2013 Football Preview team, and the way we lost was pretty bad too." First Wolverine Hero: "Braylon Edwards. The things he did on the field were ridiculous. That Michigan State game I'll never forget." First Jersey He Bought: "It was a Pistons jersey, but I don't remember whose name was on the back." First Class He Took At Michigan: "English 125." First Team He Ever Played For: "Detroit Junior Buccaneers football team. I was 5. I was the running back. I only started playing quarterback because they figured they could get me the ball faster." First Rival He Hated: "Westside Cubs. Little League Football. [Current teammate] James Ross played for that organization. I hated them. I was 9, and they were really good, and it felt like they were cheating, and they wore red and white so I had to hate them." — Michael Spath

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