Michigan Football: Brady Hoke Comfortable with Devin Gardner's Dual Role
Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
Head coach Brady Hoke has no qualms about Devin Gardner spending time at both quarterback and wide receiver this season.
Gardner, who was primarily the backup quarterback in 2011, occasionally played along side Denard Robinson in a variety of offensive looks.
With Michigan lacking experience at wide receiver, the experiment continued this spring and has become a reality this fall. At 6'4", 200 lbs, Gardner has the size and speed to be a real benefit outside.
"We've had guys be dual players before," Hoke told the press this week. "It hasn't necessarily been a quarterback and wideout, but it's possible.
"Devin is a very intelligent young man," Hoke added, "We're comfortable where we're at right now."
With Robinson and Gardner in the game at the same time, defenses have something else to think about. Conceivably, Gardner can go in motion from the flanker position and take a pitch from Robinson, then throw downfield. Of course, Robinson can fake the pitch and keep it himself.
Of course, Hoke's real concern is if Robinson or Gardner gets hurt. But the emergence of Russell Bellomy as a legitimate backup to Robinson certainly helps.
Bellomy's only real knock during his freshman year was his lack of arm strength, but he's gained over 10 pounds and should play around 202. With 4.63 speed, he can handle the read-option attack. "Russell has done a nice job," Hoke said. "He's had good (fall) camp."
Roy Roundtree and Jeremy Gallon are the only wide receivers on the roster with extensive playing time. Drew Dileo, who is best known for his completed pass on a fake-field goal attempt in the Sugar Bowl, caught nine passes a year ago while Jeremy Jackson caught three.
Roundtree, who's recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, should be ready for the opener against Alabama Sept. 1.
Regardless, Wolverine fans are hoping Roundtree can return to his 2010 form when he had 72 receptions. Roundtree, who caught only 19 passes last season, is moving from split end to flanker while switching to jersey No. 21 in honor of former Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard.
Gallon, who doubled as Michigan's primary punt returner, was Michigan's most constant pass receiver with 31 catches.
Jackson, who's the son of running back coach Fred Jackson, is getting a surprisingly long look this fall, as is redshirt junior Joe Reynolds and junior Ricardo Miller.
There's no question Michigan has plenty of numbers at wide receiver. Jerald Robinson is expected to get ample playing time, while Amara Darboh has stood out among the freshmen.
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