Michigan Football: Brady Hoke Must Leave Devin Gardner Under Center vs. Buckeyes

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 17: Devin Gardner #12 of the Michigan Wolverines looks on from the sideline while playing the Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan won the game 42-17. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

With all due respect to Denard Robinson, Devin Gardner should be starting under center for the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday when they take on the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes.

When asked about who would line up under center when the Wolverines take on the Buckeyes, Michigan coach Brady Hoke was noncommittal (h/t Detroit Free Press).

“I’d say Denard continues to get better every day, so it’s probably up in the air," he said. "He’s throwing the ball. I think he’s close to 100% now."

There's no question that Robinson is a dynamic player. And typically, starters don't lose their jobs due to injury. But this is about what's best for the Wolverines—which, incidentally, might wind up being the best thing for Robinson as well.

Gardner has been ridiculously good for Michigan over the past two weeks. He's completed 65 percent of his passes for 600 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. Gardner has also carried the ball 18 times for 84 yards and five touchdowns.

Two weeks, 10 touchdowns?

Sounds like something Denard Robinson would do.

But Gardner throws the ball far better than Robinson does. He gives the Wolverines offense a whole new dimension that it simply didn't have with Robinson under center.

That's not to say that Robinson shouldn't step under center, because he should. But not as the starter, not as the primary passer for the Wolverines.

Gardner under center and Robinson in the backfield makes Michigan's offense incredibly dynamic—and dangerous. It's almost impossible to prepare for, because with Robinson's athletic ability, there are countless ways that Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges can use the duo when both players are on the field at the same time.

Gardner under center and Robinson running wild gives Michigan the best chance of finding success at the Horseshoe against Ohio State.