CHICAGO – Michigan reports to fall camp Aug. 4, and Brady Hoke remains mum on who will back up starting quarterback Devin Gardner in 2013.
Would-be backup Russell Bellomy tore his ACL during spring practices, leaving walk-on Brian Clearly and freshman Shane Morris as the team’s only options for the No. 2 quarterback spot.
"I think Brian Cleary and obviously Shane Morris are two guys that we feel very good about," said Hoke at Big Ten Media Day on Wednesday. "It would either be one of those two guys if (Gardner gets injured)."
Neither of those unproven options should make a coach feel comfortable.
Although Michigan fans are used to watching the starting quarterback get injured, like Denard Robinson in 2012, Hoke is optimistic Gardner will play the entire season without missing a considerable amount of time.
"In 32 years or 33 years of coaching, I try and think how many times you’ve gotten to your second quarterback on teams that you’ve coached," he said. "It hasn’t been very many."
For a short amount of time this offseason, Michigan searched for a transfer option or JUCO player who could immediately assume the role of backup quarterback. That searched finished empty handed and ended before the summer started.
"We looked around to try and find maybe a guy who had graduated early and could transfer," he noted. "We looked at some junior college prospects. And we just didn’t feel comfortable enough."
Regardless, the team is happy with its starting quarterback.
In three seasons, Gardner has completed 93 passing attempts for 1,480 yards and 13 touchdowns.
"I think Devin's maturity and understanding that what it is to be the quarterback at Michigan, I think he’s absorbed that," Hoke added. "He understands the decisions that we have to make as a football team and the decisions that he makes as a quarterback. They’re going to be very important."
Brandon Folsom can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter for additional information about college football, basketball, and recruiting.