Michigan Football Preview 2013

2013 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FWith Uncertainty At Therossed ingers C Backup Spot, U-M Needs Starter Devin Gardner To Stay Healthy qb Gardner (shown at this year's spring game) led the Big Ten with a pass efficiency rating of 161.7 last sesason, and with a medical redshirt granted to him for the 2010 campaign when he played only three games, he could be U-M's starter for the next two years. photo by lon horwedel Quick Facts Position Coach: Al Borges (third season). Returning Starter: Devin Gardner (4 starts). Departing Starter: Denard Robinson (36). Projected New Starter: None. Top Reserve: Brian Cleary. Wait Until 2014: Russell Bellomy. Newcomer: Shane Morris. Moved In: None. Moved Out: None. Rookie Impact: Morris. Most Improved Player: Gardner. Best Pro Prospect: Gardner. FYI: Devin Gardner's 15 total touchdowns (eight passing, seven rushing) in November represented the greatest single-month tally by a Michigan quarterback in school history … Gardner's nine career rushing touchdowns rank seventh in the modern era among U-M signal-callers, and he needs just three to tie Jim Harbaugh (1983-86) for fourth place … When Gardner and Roy Roundtree connected on a 75-yard touchdown against Ohio State, they moved into eighth place among the longest TD pass/reception tandems in the program's 134 years …  Gardner threw for 834 yards in his first three career starts, eclipsing the previous highs of 755 yards (Todd Collins, 1992-93), 746 yards (Drew Henson, 2000) and 671 yards (Denard Robinson) …  At 6-4, Gardner is the 11th-tallest scholarship QB in school history … Gardner has accounted for 26 career TDs (13 passing, nine rushing and four receiving) … Redshirt sophomore Russell Bellomy is still looking for his first touchdown after attempting 21 passes in 2012 but has a long way to go before he catches Tom Brady, who needed 71 passes before throwing a touchdown on his 72nd career throw … Redshirt freshman Brian Cleary is the nephew of current Detroit Red Wings forward Danny Cleary … Incoming freshman Shane Morris was a verbal commitment for 637 days before signing a letter of intent on Feb. 6, 2013, surpassing the previous Rivals.com era highs for Michigan recruits by 2011 signee Greg Brown (a 517-day pledge) and 2005 signee Kevin Grady (512-day commitment). M By Michael Spath ichigan's backup quarterbacks have been relatively inexperienced before; over the past 25 years, from 1987-2012, there have been six times that U-M has entered a season with reserve signal-callers that had never previously attempted a pass, including five such occasions since 2000. However, only three times in the last quarter-century of seasons have the Wolverines found themselves in the precarious position of relying on either a true freshman (Ryan Mallett in 2007) or a walk-on (Jason Carr in 1994 and Nick Sheridan in 2008) to serve as the No. 2. That is indeed the predicament the Maize and Blue face this fall, with rookie Shane Morris and redshirt freshman walk-on Brain Cleary vying to earn the second-string mantle behind redshirt junior Devin Gardner. Of course, that wasn't the plan, but when redshirt sophomore Russell Bellomy went down with an ACL tear in spring ball, Michigan was left with no experienced backup. "I don't know if Russ can come back, and I just have to assume he's out for the year," said quarterbacks coach Al Borges. "If he does come back, it's gravy, but we're preparing like we won't have him. That leaves us with two young, inexperienced kids, and that's really what they are — kids. "But we don't make any excuses in this program, and if we need one of them or both, they have to be ready." In Good Hands With Devin Gardner On the opposite spectrum, Michigan is very fortunate to have a seasoned veteran ready to take over as the starting quarterback. The Wolverine 2013 Football Preview  ■ 79

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