Michigan coach Brady Hoke had some good news to share two days after a regular season-ending loss to rival Ohio State.
Hoke said on Monday a medical-redshirt request is being sent to the Big Ten on Devin Gardner’s behalf. If a medical hardship is granted, Gardner will be eligible to play during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
”I would expect that would go through,” Hoke said.
Gardner started the last four games of the regular season at quarterback. He was limited to three games as a freshman under former coach Rich Rodriguez at least in part because of a back injury.
Gardner was recruited by Rodriguez as a QB and moved to receiver this year to get on the field with Denard Robinson. When Robinson hurt his right elbow, Gardner went back under center and had success until the then-20th-ranked Wolverines lost 26-21 Saturday at No. 4 Ohio State.
”I know how terrible he feels right now, but there is some momentum and things to learn from,” Hoke said. ”He had some success, too.”
Gardner did play very well in four straight starts in place of Robinson, who couldn’t play in two games and was limited in the last two because of an elbow injury. The two were on the field a lot in a 42-17 rout over Iowa.
After Michigan coaches and players spent a week being coy about their plans to use both players at Ohio State, the Wolverines baffled everyone by not playing them together very much in Saturday’s loss to the Buckeyes.
”I would say the reason would be it wasn’t exactly the timing of it,” Hoke said. ”There is a timing of how you set things up, especially in the second half. We turned the ball over three times. So offensively, you’re a little bit out of your realm and your mojo.”
After Robinson made some big plays in the first half, including a 67-yard run in which two defenders hit him at the same time and couldn’t bring him down, he didn’t get the ball much after halftime.
Robinson did get the ball on perhaps the pivotal play of the game and got stopped for a 2-yard loss on fourth down near midfield. That ended Michigan’s first drive of the second half when it led 21-20 after Hoke called timeout to think about whether to fake a punt or to go for it.
”The only thing I wish I wouldn’t have done was call the timeout,” Hoke said.
Robinson took the blame for the result of the play.
”I’ve got to come a little tighter and then get outside a little more,” he said Saturday. ”I made a bad read on that run and that’s my fault.”
Other than wishing he didn’t call a timeout in that situation, Hoke insisted he didn’t have any regrets about how Gardner and Robinson were used at Ohio State.
Michigan (8-4) dropped one spot to No. 20 in this week’s Associated Press college football poll and will have to wait for the results of Saturday night’s Big Ten championship game, in which Nebraska plays Wisconsin, to get some clarity for its postseason plans.
The Wolverines will work out but not practice this week in part because they don’t know when or against whom they’ll play next.
At some point soon, Hoke said he will talk to offensive tackle Taylor Lewan about his future, which might include skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft.
Hoke said he and Lewan are waiting to get a response from the NFL’s draft advisory board that provides juniors with an estimate of where they might be selected if they make themselves eligible to be drafted.
Will Hoke advise him to stay or go?
”I want to gear the young man into what’s the best for him,” Hoke said.