April 17, 2013

Gardner: what they're saying

The quarterback always draws an inordinate amount of attention on any football team. But in this situation, with Devin Gardner stepping in for the biggest yards producer in Michigan history, the scrutiny gets ramped up even more.

Here's a sampling of what the Wolverines were saying about the redshirt junior quarterback in the days leading up to and just after Michigan's spring game this year:

Fifth-year senior safety Thomas Gordon: "He gets more competitive day by day. He's a fun guy to be around. I love him. He's my teammate.

"If I get him, I'm going to be on his head, and the other way around. That's the only way we're going to get better, being competitive like that."

Fifth-year senior offensive tackle Michael Schofield: "He's definitely become more of a leader. We can all see that. When times get tough for the offense, he's the guy trying to get everyone pumped up, get everything going for us. He really never did that before.

"This year, he's the guy. He's our quarterback. He's not hiding behind Denard [Robinson] any more. He's the guy who stepped up.

"Last spring, he was doing wide receiver and quarterback, and now, he can just focus on quarterback. That's going to be huge for him, because he doesn't have to worry about doing two things at once."

Offensive coordinator Al Borges: "Any time you start experiencing some success, you can become a better leader. It doesn't necessarily follow. But once the team gains confidence in you, it's a lot easier to invoke your leadership. When you're not doing as well, that's a lot tougher to do."

Head coach Brady Hoke: "He's more confident. He sees things a little better. You're reading coverages and can see two high safeties or one. Man coverage, alignments, whether to run to or away from the three. All those things."

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