ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- For the first time this season Michigan made a switch at the quarterback position.
Although it first needs to be pointed out that Michigan’s lack of success as an offense, and simply overall as a team, does not fall squarely on the shoulders of senior quarterback Devin Gardner, No. 98 wasn’t helping matters in Saturday’s 26-10 loss against Utah.
Once again Michigan’s offense proved capable of moving the football between both 35-yard lines, struggling to push into the red zone or even threaten touchdowns against a quality opponent.
Sacks, holding penalties, turnovers, the same issues that crept up and were exploited in a 31-0 road loss at Notre Dame found their way to the field Saturday and the results were again, disastrous.
Looking closely at Gardner though, his numbers: 14-of-26 for 148-yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions, still a far cry from the quarterback that started five games to end the 2012 season, appearing to be the answer to Michigan’s issues at the position.
But this isn’t 2012 and Saturday’s performance became too much for Brady Hoke and Doug Nussmeier to justify keeping him on the field, inserting sophomore quarterback Shane Morris after a second Gardner interception in the fourth quarter.
“Number one, I think it’s way too early for me to assess that until Doug and myself and we look at the tape and all that stuff,” Hoke said. “The one thing I can tell you is sometimes it’s good for a guy to come out and just watch and see what he can see from the sidelines and look at rotations of coverage or maybe from that standpoint.
“Look, there’s not going to be any answer to that tonight, we will compete and challenge like we have everyday and then we will have a starting quarterback against Minnesota.”
Morris’ performance wasn’t much better, put into the game with Michigan trailing 26-10, 10:50 remaining the fourth quarter and the rain beginning to build.
Prior to the two-hour delay due to inclement weather, Morris completed 2-of-4 passes for nine yards, coughing up an interception on a ball that got away from him over the middle.
Following the delay, things only got worse as Michigan needed to attack down the field, Morris then pressing and finishing his day 2-for-9 for 33-yards and a lost fumble.
Despite the lackluster performances by both quarterbacks, Brady Hoke wouldn’t commit to either quarterback as Big Ten play looms next week with Minnesota headed to Ann Arbor.
Pressed further about the quarterback situation, Hoke added the following.
“We’ll see what happens,” Hoke said. “I think that’s the best way to put it.”