When offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier was hired earlier this year, it was said that he was bringing an offense with him that was more of a pro-style look, meaning that his quarterbacks would be taking more snaps from under center and there would be more elements of a one-back, power running game.
One of the biggest keys to success in 2014 is of course developing redshirt senior quarterback Devin Gardner, but they also want to do keep him healthy and on the field at all times.
Gardner, who is one of the better all-around athletes in college football, will not be scrambling for his life like he did last season, where Al Borges‘ system called for him to run 165 times in 12 games. Nussmeier wants him to be a pocket passer who can create when things break down, and he has the ability to do so.
“We don’t want our quarterback to take a pounding for three quarters and expect him to make good throws in the fourth,” Nussmeier said to CBS Sports’ Jeremy Fowler. “You’ve got to be able to win games in the fourth quarter. You have to be able to execute when you’re tired, when you’re uncomfortable.
“Learning to execute when things aren’t exactly the way you want them.”
Granted, there were several times throughout last season where the poor offensive line play contributed in Gardner having to scramble out of trouble, so development in that position group is key, as well.
Michigan has had problems keeping its quarterbacks healthy down the stretch of the last few seasons, mainly because they have tried to use the athleticism of their passers to make up for deficiencies at other positions on offense.
They believe they have the guys to make plays around Gardner now, so they want him to be able to focus on getting the ball to his playmakers and letting them do the rest.
Gardner is a great athlete, but he is completely sold on playing quarterback. Many believe it is better for the team if Shane Morris was to start and Gardner moved back to wide receiver, but that simply isn’t the case.
Devin Gardner will be your starting quarterback in 2014, and he has the resources available to him to be one of the best in the Big Ten conference.