ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Everything, Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges explained, was linked. To understand why junior Devin Gardner could spend some time at receiver, he had to see redshirt freshman Russell Bellomy develop enough as a quarterback just in case.
The just-in-case turned into a viable option for Michigan, so it allowed Borges to use some of his creativity to free up one of the better athletes on his team to go play a new position.
“It’s all one big process now,” Borges said. “It’s the way we worked it. That’s how we did it. There’s a domino effect with Devin playing wide receiver and one of those dominoes is making sure you have another quarterback.
“So we had to focus on making three of them ready. We usually at one point focus on getting two of them ready.”
Borges said Bellomy has not looked overwhelmed at all and if anything, has started to really master elements of Borges’ offense. At this point, Borges said he would feel comfortable playing Bellomy if he had to.
As for the first domino, Gardner continues to be an ironman through practice, splitting his repetitions between quarterback and wide receiver, although Borges wouldn’t say how much time he has spent at each spot.
Gardner’s progression at wide receiver, though, took no one on the Michigan coaching staff by surprise.
“He’s a very skilled guy,” Borges said. “So when he went out there, there wasn’t much that surprised me. There wasn’t much that surprised anybody.”
Toussaint looks good upon return
Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, who remains indefinitely suspended, practiced for the first time Monday.
Borges said he’s getting a “balanced amount” of snaps but that he understands a lot of Michigan’s offense.
“He’s looked good. Fitz is Fitz,” Borges said. “There hasn’t really been any difference. He’s in great shape doing what he does, but he just looks like Fitz to me. No more, no less.”
Consistency a defensive issue
Through every season of his career now spanning five decades, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is still in search of the same thing. Through every preseason camp he has had at all of the stops he has made from Evanston, Ill., to College Station, Texas, from Annapolis, Md., to Ann Arbor, Mich., he has hoped to find a defense displaying consistency early in the season.
Still hasn’t found it.
“It bothers me,” Mattison said. “But if you polled 124 defensive coordinators, they’d say the same thing. But it bothers me because this is Michigan and I don’t expect that. I expect us to go out there and totally shut down the offense every time we go out there.
“If we don’t believe we can do that and don’t believe we should do that then we are not going to get to where we want to get to.”
At Michigan, quarterback Denard Robinson presents a mitigating factor to Mattison’s consistenty quest. The DC has already seen it in flashes -- from both a starting group and a group behind the starters -- but not on a play-in, play-out basis.
“I’ll still keep looking for that team, that’s what I’ll always do,” Mattison said. “Brady, me, our coaching staff, we go out there to practice every day looking for that team that is really, really consistent.
“If you stop doing that, you’ll end up having a very average defense.”
This and that
Borges continued to indicate a three-man battle at left guard among redshirt sophomore Joey Burzynski, freshman Kyle Kalis and fifth-year senior Elliott Mealer. ... Mattison singled out safety Marvin Robinson as a player beyond the Michigan starting secondary who has stood out. On the offensive side, Borges pointed to receiver Jerald Robinson. ... In replacing the injured Roy Roundtree during practice the next couple of weeks, Borges said he will use several receivers.