Gardner taking 'lot' of snaps at QB

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Devin Gardner is back practicing at quarterback at least for a week and while he’s there, he’s already making a push to play in case Denard Robinson is unable to.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Wednesday that Gardner has taken “a lot” of snaps there this week, in part to reintroduce himself to his old position after spending this season at wide receiver. However, by saying Gardner has taken a lot, Robinson has taken “some” and redshirt freshman Russell Bellomy has taken “a couple,” it sends a message the backup quarterback position is anything but secure.

If anything, it might show Gardner has pulled even with Bellomy should Robinson be unable to play against Minnesota or were to go down against the Gophers. Hoke initially said “yeah,” when asked if Bellomy was still the backup, but then backtracked a little bit.

“We’ll see who competes the best,” Hoke said. “If we decide Denard isn’t good enough -- we expect he’ll be good enough -- then we’ll make a decision.”

Considering how many snaps Hoke said Gardner is receiving in practice, it could mean Gardner could see the field at his original position Saturday if necessary. Michigan is still banking on Robinson playing Saturday, although Hoke said the decision whether he will start will be made officially around game time.

If Robinson can't play, it could give a small peek in what’s to come starting in January, when Robinson graduates and Bellomy and Gardner spend the spring trying to vie for the starting quarterback spot before Shane Morris (Warren, Mich./De La Salle) arrives on campus next fall.

For now, though, Hoke believes Robinson will play Saturday. He has thrown in practice, Hoke said, and taken snaps out of both shotgun and under center. He did say, though, that his ulnar nerve injury has not fully cleared up yet, but he is better than he was a few days ago.

If he doesn’t, though, don’t be surprised if Gardner returns to quarterback -- even if it is for one week only.