The Devin-ci Code: Is Gardner Right?

By Michael Citro on June 28, 2013 at 11:30a
Devin Gardner in his natural habitat.

We began the week with an interesting story out of That State Up North, in which Zach Boren’s lunch wide receiver quarterback Devin Gardner made some very confident remarks about how he sees the 2013 Michigan football season shaping up. As the week slips into weekend and we've had time to digest what he said, we should take a closer look at what those remarks.

The assertion that big things were ahead for the Wolverines came during a radio interview on WBBL radio’s “Huge Show” with host Bill Simonson. Gardner called his squad a “championship caliber” team that isn’t “inferior to anyone in the country.”

The biggest buzz came from his assertion that his team “will win in the Big House against Ohio State.”

Clearly Gardner is not paying attention to Head Coach Brady Hoke in team meetings. His use of the word “State” after “Ohio” will not go unnoticed by the Hoke-a-maniac, I can assure you. That has to be worth at least a two-game suspension for violating team rules.

Now I have no problem with Gardner being confident and saying the things he said. It’s preferable to being boring and you want your quarterback to have some confidence. Furthermore, he should believe his team can win any game, otherwise he shouldn’t be on the field.

But is he right? Let’s take a closer look.

One of the things Garder talked about was his offensive line.

"They're very strong, and the most important thing I feel like is the fact they're competing so hard against each other because nobody has a job. That competition brings the best out of everyone, and we're going to have a really good offensive line."

Wait, nobody has a job? Doesn’t Michigan have an All-B1G left tackle returning in the person of Taylor Lewan? You might remember him from his supporting role as a traffic cone in a film starring Adolphus “Diesel” Washington that climaxed in a strip sack of the very quarterback we’re discussing.

Lewan is the reigning B1G Offensive Lineman of the Year and a 2013 pre-season All-American. I mean, I’m not in the Michigan coaches’ meetings, but I’d have to assume that he at least has a job. Perhaps Gardner just doesn’t know his teammates that well. Based on the hits Gardner took, it's understandable if he forgot about Lewan.

The only photo of Devin Gardner that matters.This Devin Gardner photo should be every Devin Gardner photo.

Regardless of how Hoke solves this puzzle over who will start on the offensive line, one thing the Wolverines seemed to lack in the 2012 version of The Game was a true inspirational leader. 

According to the story, the Wolverine seniors took a leadership trip with the Navy SEALS. I would think that would be quite inspiring. But the SEALS won’t be on the field with Michigan in November, so who will the Wolverines look to?

"It's myself along with all the seniors.”

Ah. Got it. Stay humble, Dev.

The leadership thing is good, but I’m not sure it can overcome an unsettled offensive line. What could tip the balance in the Sun & Blue’s favor? Chemistry, said Devin.

“Off the field, everybody is hanging out with each other, playing video games, going to the movies, whatever it is. I feel like that's building a trust factor we can take over to the football field, where guys are willing to give up everything for each other. That makes a great team."

Well, there you have it—inarguable proof that the Wolverines will indeed be a national championship contender and exact revenge upon the Buckeyes. They play video games and go to the movies together.  It’s science!

It’s truly remarkable that Michigan has stumbled upon this secret formula for success. I mean, it worked so well for Duron Carter throughout his career. If only the Buckeyes could unlock the secret powers hidden inside hours of playing Call of Duty and the latest Fast and the Furious flick.

Mark my words, when the season is winding down, we’re going to wish Ohio State players had spent a little more time on Halo. Curse you, Devin Gardner, for discovering the power of Playstation!

All kidding aside, Gardner’s remarks were harmless fun from a kid who is confident and working on his role as a team leader. His only real mistake may have been giving Urban Meyer some nice juicy quotes to stick on the bulletin board for the likes of Ryan Shazier, Noah Spence and Diesel Washington to see. I'm all for those guys being wound up like Jefferson in Fast Times at Ridgemont High when November 30 rolls around.

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