There is no QB controversy in Ann Arbor.
After 1 game against Minnesota, there are some Michigan fans out there that now want Devin Gardner to start at QB and suggest that Denard Robinson should be starting at running back. That is absolutely crazy. Robinson can barely stay healthy at QB, how could anyone expect him to stay healthy at RB when he would be taking bigger hits more often?
Denard Robinson will be the starting QB when he is healthy enough to play and still gives Michigan it’s best shot at winning.
Devin Gardner did a great job filling in for Denard, but look at the circumstances. It was against Minnesota, a terrible Minnesota team. Some will argue that Minnesota was a decent team since it came into the game with the same record as Michigan at 5-3. But, if you look at Minnesota’s record and schedule, they only have 1 win against the Big 10. The other 4 wins come from playing an extremely weak non-conference schedule.
Gardner put up some nice numbers against the Gophers, going 12-18 with 2 TDs and 1 INT, but he did start off a little slow. He was sacked during Michigan’s first series and went 3-and-out. He had a terrible interception in the 1st quarter and also made several questionable decisions. He did settle down and put together back to back scoring drives of 90+ yards and showed Michigan fans that he will probably be the favorite to start at QB in 2013. However, he is not the favorite to finish out this season as the starter, nor should he be.
This is still Robinson’s team. Now granted Robinson isn’t the perfect QB, especially for the offense of Al Borges wants to run. What Robinson can do though is keep the opposing defenses off balance, he can create a big play at any point of the game, and he can put this team on his back and give Michigan the best chance to win.
It can be frustrating to watch at times, but hell, so can the entire offense this year. The offensive line has been bad this year. Coach Hoke even admitted last week that some of the backups will get some practice reps with the starting unit. The usual starting 5 will start against Northwestern this week, but don’t be surprised to see Hoke rotate in several backups during the game.
The running backs haven’t been productive all season. No running back, including Toussaint, has rushed for over 100 yards in a game this entire season. Toussaint’s best game was against UMASS when he gained 87 yards, but other than that he has rarely topped 60 yards. Using a 2 back rotation of Toussaint and Rawls has helped a bit, but still hasn’t opened up the running game.
Last week against Minnesota, using a 2 back system, Michigan running backs finally combined to break the 100 yard mark. Toussaint had 74 yards and Rawls 43. If you take away Toussaint’s one run of 41 yards, neither back averaged more than 2.7 yards a carry.
In fact, Robinson is the only player on Michigan that has consistently ran the ball for over 100 yards in most games.
My point is that with Robinson on the field, he can help hide some of these flaws on offense. His elusiveness and running ability can make the offensive line look better than it is and take some attention away from the running backs. That, along with with his playmaking ability is the reason he is Michigan’s best option at QB and why he will be the starter if healthy.
It was good to see Devin Gardner have success at the QB position and he gave Michigan fans a glimpse into how the offense might look next season. Gardner showed that the WR experiment is only a one year deal and that he will enter camp next season as Michigan’s starting QB. All of the fans who are screaming to start Gardner for the rest of the season will all be screaming again next season to sit Gardner in favor of Shane Morris or even Russell Bellomy. Life of the starting QB.