One doesn’t need a PhD from the University of Michigan to figure out what’s keeping Brady Hoke’s Wolverines from being a good football team. A look at the stat sheet reveals it plain as day — Michigan can’t stop turning the ball over and can’t force turnovers either.
The Wolverines have a nation-worst minus-10 turnover margin, forcing just two turnovers and committing 12 over the course of the last four games. Quarterback Devin Gardner has been the worst part of that issue, having a hand in at least seven of the 12 turnovers by the Wolverines.
Seeing those numbers means a change at quarterback appears to be exactly what needs to happen, and what is going to happen.
Hoke avoided naming a starting quarterback on Monday, but did say the world will know the answer on Tuesday.
“We will make a decision tomorrow,” Hoke said on Monday. “We will make the decision tomorrow.”
The only problem with the expected cure is that sophomore Shane Morris appears to have been inflicted with the same turnover disease Gardner has.
As Morris took up for Gardner late in Saturday’s contest things didn’t get much better. In three possessions to end the game Morris threw an interception, fumbled and oh by the way nearly was sacked for a safety. Furthermore, Morris has made five appearances in his young career, throwing four interceptions and exactly zero touchdowns in the process.
Not exactly confidence building material to point to when dealing with an offense that is turnover prone. Head coach Brady Hoke indicated that much during Monday’s press conference.
“I think they both know what they need to do better, and they will,” said Hoke. “I think both competed and made some good decisions, also.”
That last part is a bit hard to believe, because Michigan hit a massive brick wall anytime even minor success occurred against Utah. Michigan only reached Utah territory seven times on Saturday, and then went directly backwards on four of those occasions.
However, some may say there’s still nothing to lose in switching to a quarterback who needs experience to likely overcome those issues.
After all, Gardner has had nearly two years to fix his turnover issues and never really has. Why not give a quarterback who has just one start to his name the opportunity to show he can improve and learn from his mistakes?
One thing is for sure, Brady Hoke expects his team to rally no matter who the quarterback is.
“The frustration level people may have, don’t think those kids don’t have the same frustration,” said Hoke. “Don’t think that’s not part of it. But what they do have is a great belief in each other and a great belief in this program.”
We’ll see who Hoke believes in at quarterback on Tuesday (all signs point to Morris). There’s little doubt that that decision could be the last big one Hoke makes on his own at Michigan.