When Devin Gardner got some limited playing time in the non-conference part of the season, I joked with friends that Michigan will have to come up with an injury so he can apply for a medical redshirt. At the time, Gardner was really only playing because Tate Forcier was in the doghouse. As Forcier showed against Bowling Green and Iowa, he is the clear No. 2 quarterback, so looking back it was kind of pointless to waste a year of eligibility for Gardner -- that is, unless he can get that year back.
Although earlier in the season I was only joking about Gardner suddenly suffering an injury that necessitates a medical redshirt, it looks like that is what may have actually ended up happening. Rich Rodriguez said earlier this week that Gardner has been dealing with a back injury, and a medical redshirt is not out of the question.
"It comes and goes," said Rodriguez. "It was bothering him a couple of weeks ago, but he’s working pretty hard. I think he sees, too, that we have two guys that have a year ahead of him in the system who have been playing pretty good football.
"He’s going to continue to get better. He’s got a great future, Devin does. As much as we can do, more than anything else with guys in that position, it’s just learning what we’re doing. There’s so much to learn in any offense, especially ours with what we put on the quarterback’s plate. Hopefully every week he’s picking up a little bit more."
Rodriguez said on Wednesday that Gardner is going to make the trip to the Penn State game as the "emergency" quarterback.
I'm not going to speculate about whether this injury is legitimate or not, but I think all football fans can agree that the smart thing to do from the get-go was to redshirt Gardner so he has an extra year of separation from Denard Robinson and Tate Forcier. Since he played this season, the only way to do that is by getting a medical redshirt, so I can't say I have a problem with this one bit, even if the injury is less serious than Rodriguez is making it sound.