Denard Robinson, still bothered by elbow, might not return to QB even if healthy
ANN ARBOR -- Brady Hoke said for weeks that Denard Robinson was Michigan's quarterback, and would play quarterback whenever he was healthy.
That's no longer the case.
The Michigan coach said Monday he intends to keep Devin Gardner in the fold for the Wolverines' bowl game, regardless of Robinson's health.
“Yeah, a little bit," Hoke said, when asked if Robinson's health would impact the quarterback spot. "But I think at the same time, there’s an opportunity to expand more on some of the two-quarterback things.
“I would think (Robinson would) play quarterback, maybe wideout, maybe running back.”
Hoke was far from definitive on Robinson's role, but that itself marks a change. He was previously definitive that Robinson would play quarterback, if able.
Robinson damaged the ulnar nerve in his throwing elbow when he was stepped on by a Nebraska player five weeks ago. He hasn't started at quarterback since, although he's cycled between tailback, quarterback and receiver in the past two games.
He has not thrown a pass since sustaining the injury, including in a 26-21 loss last weekend against Ohio State.
“How the ball spins, all that stuff,” Hoke said. “I don’t think it’s spinning the way he’d like to.”
Robinson still has produced on the ground, rushing for a team-high 98 yards against Iowa and then exploding for 124 yards in a breakout first half Ohio State.
But the Buckeyes clamped down in the second half after realizing he likely wouldn't throw. Robinson didn't play at all on the final two drives as Michigan went to the air trailing by five points.
"He can throw the ball, but he can’t throw it the way and with the confidence that he’d like to throw with," Hoke said. "That was one reason we weren’t going to put him out there in a situation where he’s not throwing it as well as he knows he would like to. That would be unfair.
"The last two drives, we had to try and get points, so keeping Devin in the game and throwing the ball a little bit, and unfortunately we throw the pick. But that’s football.”
Michigan won't learn its postseason fate until Sunday evening, although it is expected to land in the Capital One Bowl if Nebraska wins the Big Ten title game, or the Outback Bowl if Wisconsin wins.
Either way, the Wolverines likely will keep their plan for Gardner and Robinson under wraps, although it appears both will be factors.