Despite what Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com says about Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner, there is no way the senior-to-be will be a serious contender for the Heisman Trophy in 2013.
If Wolverines fans are looking for a savior on the football field, Gardner is not that player.
In the four games that Gardner played with Michigan this season—started because senior QB Denard Robinson was injured and playing poorly—there is no doubt the replacement played well.
Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke told Kyle Meinke of MLive.com about Gardner’s momentum heading into 2013 and how he is going to have to earn the starting job:
I think there is some momentum. I know how terrible he feels right now (after the loss to Ohio State), but there is momentum and things to learn from. He had some success too. He’s going to have compete and earn (the starting job next year), but he’s done a good job with what we’ve asked him to do.
Gardner went 57-of-90 for 1,005 yards and 15 total touchdowns (eight through the air, seven on the ground) in his time as a starter. However, as impressive as those statistics are, they are skewed.
Opposing defenses didn’t have much tape to study on Gardner and the looming possibility that the injured Robinson could play at any time forced the Wolverines' combatants to formulate two game plans.
In 2013, the Big Ten and everyone else will be ready for Gardner’s dual-threat abilities.
While the lack of elite offensive talent around Gardner will stifle his overall numbers, there is almost no question that as long as the senior QB stays healthy, he will have a solid season.
As much as Wolverines fans want another Denard Robinson circa 2010 and 2011, Gardner just won’t be worthy of the Heisman Trophy unless Michigan has another skill payer step up and help the young QB become a star.
If the offense continues to use the same schemes that they used with Robinson under center, Gardner’s season will never be elite.
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