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April 5, 2013

Q&A with junior quarterback Devin Gardner

Greg Mattison said it Thursday - being the quarterback at Michigan comes with a certain level of responsibility and spotlight. So it was fitting that junior Devin Gardner stepped in front of the media a few hours later to expand on a number of topics emerging this spring.

On wearing an orange jersey in practice: "We protect the quarterback a little bit and we're not wearing red for obvious reasons. This is Michigan. And orange is the only other color, so this is what we wear."

On whether Russell Bellomy's injury changes his approach at QB: "Not at all. I practice hard like it's a game every day. I can't really change anything because then you take a step back."

On whether he's spoken to true freshman QB Shane Morris since Bellomy's injury: "I try not to bother the freshmen before they get here because when they get here it will be somewhat overwhelming. College is a lot different than high school so I'll talk to him when he gets here."

On what he sees from redshirt freshman walk-on QB Brian Cleary: "Cleary is doing well. He's taking advantage of an opportunity. That's all you can do in college, and he's doing a good job. Coming along great."

On the identity of the offense with him in charge: "I don't think we're changing much from the end of the season last year. We want to run the ball down their throat and throw when they're not expecting us to."

On what it means to be the guy: "It helps me to lead my team better. When you produce, you can lead. When you don't, you can't lead as much as you'd like to."

On the progress of young receivers Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson: "They're doing really well. They're practicing hard. It helps a lot to have guys like Joe Reynolds and Drew Dileo and Jeremy Gallon out there to bring them along. They're doing well and I'm really impressed with the way they're playing."

On how he developed such a strong rapport with Jeremy Gallon last year: "I've been throwing to Gallon since I came to school. Even when I was playing receiver, we threw every day. You guys didn't see it but I have a really comfortable relationship with Gallon. He's my best friend."

On developing that kind of rapport with tight end Devin Funchess: "We get to go through a spring and throw more. He gets to understand and have the type of relationship that Gallon has with me."

On what stands out to him about center Jack Miller: "Jack Miller is kind of like Coach Hoke. Maybe it's his walk. He says he doesn't walk like Coach Hoke, but it seems like it to me."

On not having a scholarship quarterback to compete with this spring: "I feel like we're all competing. Brian Cleary is putting up a good fight as well. He just wasn't getting as many reps because he doesn't know the offense as well, but now I'm competing against Brian Clearly. I'm competing against myself, and every quarterback in the country. I'm competing against the defense."

On Denard Robinson's future: "I'm not a GM but I'd draft him because once he gets the ball - if you find a way to get him the ball he'll do something spectacular. You have seen that for four years, and I'm sure some GM will take a chance."

On whether he buys his offensive linemen breakfast: "I try to duck out before. I try to leave my money and go because Taylor Lewan will try to get you to pay for his meal."

On the burgeoning chemistry of the offensive line: "They go to Benny's Diner a lot so they have a lot of chemistry. They're really together. Even in the winter, they came in and did their own runs, just the offensive line. The mustache thing just shows how much they're together as a group."

On safety Jarrod Wilson compared to Jordan Kovacs: "They're both really good players. Jarrod has dreadlocks and is taller. Jordan Kovacs was a great player and I feel Jarrod has the potential to be a great player too.

"He's really good at disguising coverage, and he's getting better and better every day. I try to help the defense by telling them what things confuse me so they can confuse other teams. It's a group effort even though we're competing."

On whether Wilson has picked him off this spring: "Yes he has, unfortunately. I told him he wouldn't. I'm indifferent about it. I don't want to talk about it. He talks about it."

On whether he takes grief from Wilson: "He's just like, 'You know I picked you off, right?' He doesn't give me a chance to respond. He's pretty good at it, but I won't let him do it again."

On whether anyone else has intercepted him this spring: "Ray [Taylor] has picked me off and he lets me know every single time."

On how he would assess his leadership this spring: "I feel like I've done a pretty good job. I still have ways to go. B+."

On whether the team will have a Final Four viewing party: "That may be arranged. We may have to do something about that. Taylor usually organizes that type of thing, but I'll be there. I'll be watching it for sure."




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