July 28, 2014 at 1:00 am

Devin Gardner improves practice habits with tips from Tom Brady, Peyton Manning

Michigan QB Devin Gardner at Big Ten Media Days
Michigan QB Devin Gardner at Big Ten Media Days: He sees his job as making sure coach Brady Hoke "isn't on the hot seat."

Chicago – Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner has no intention of giving up his starting job, but has every intention of helping the teammates also competing for that spot.

Gardner, the starter last year during the Wolverines’ challenging 7-6 season, said he has picked the brains of Super Bowl-winnining quarterbacks Tom Brady, the former Michigan quarterback, and Peyton Manning, and understands he must practice consistently.

He will face competition during preseason camp from sophomore backup Shane Morris and freshman Wilton Speight, an early enrollee, but Gardner clearly has the edge and has a strong handle of what new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has brought to Michigan.

“For me, one of the biggest things I learned from Tom Brady, he said every day he’s going to come into work like his job is on the line and prove to everybody he’s the best quarterback for the team,” Gardner said Monday during the first day of Big Ten Media Days. “I feel like that’s something I’ve worked hard at doing, and I feel like I’m doing a good job of that. If the coaches feel Shane Morris is the best quarterback for the team, that will be their decision. My job is to make sure I’m the best quarterback for the team, and he should do the same.”

The quarterback job at Michigan has been advertised as a “competition,” but it does appear Gardner has it locked up. That doesn’t mean Morris won’t have a shot.

“I think he has a legitimate chance, but I would also say, Devin’s done a nice job of working every day to try and solidify that,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said.

Hoke praised Gardner’s ability to adapt to Nussmeier, while Gardner praised the high-energy approach of his new coordinator.

Gardner also has focused on examining what he did right last season and what he did wrong as he continues to make progress as a starting quarterback.

“Devin did a nice job of processing, in my opinion, his performance from a year ago,” Hoke said. “He played two really good football games. We won one and lost one. He has taken all that knowledge and experience and done a nice job with seeing how he can change and how he can work to be better.”

The players were asked during the offseason to write down personal goals.

“And my two goals were to be the most consistent quarterback for this team and come in every day and fight for my job whether it’s on the line or not, and my second goal was to make Wilton Speight and Shane Morris the best quarterbacks I could possibly make them.”

Gardner missed the bowl game after suffering an injury to his left foot during the third quarter of the final regular-season game at Ohio State. He surprised the coaching staff by participating in spring drills from the first day, and he said he’s completely healthy now.

“I knew (I was healthy) when I was in the summer drills, I was able to beat guys that I had beaten before, and be just as fast as our running backs, like I’ve always been,” Gardner said. “That was exciting for me, because that (injury) was something scary and the doctor said you never know with an injury like that. I’m very excited I’m able to perform.”

Talking MSU

Gardner several times was asked about the success Michigan State enjoyed last season.

There’s no doubt, the Wolverines did not enjoy witnessing the Spartans’ march to the Big Ten championship game and Rose Bowl victories.

“You don’t ever want to see a rival win a championship, especially if they beat you to get there,” Gardner said. “My job is to make sure that doesn’t happen this year.”

Michigan State has beaten Michigan five of the last six years. Michigan won in 2012 in Ann Arbor. For the second straight year, the teams will meet in East Lansing.

“I think it’s time for us to beat them,” Gardner said.

A quirk in the Big Ten schedule released after the conference decided to move to two divisions after the additions of Maryland and Rutgers has Michigan playing consecutive years at Michigan State.

“We’re going back to East Lansing this year, two years in a row, so what? So what?” Hoke said. “Who cares? You’re going to play 12 football games. When those decisions are made, embrace it. If not, you’re going to make excuses and we, rightly, don’t believe in excuses.”

Michigan’s three rivalry games this season – Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State – are all on the road.

“That’s a great opportunity to do something great, something that is not done often -- we get every single rival on the road, and it’s going to feel good to get a chance to go in and defeat them in their own house,” Gardner said.

Underdog status?

Gardner on Michigan, based on preseason magazine predictions, being somewhat under the radar: “I don’t ever feel like an underdog or anything with the word ‘under’ in front of it. If we’re perceived as that, that’s perfectly fine. I would love for teams to come in and take us lightly and read all those clippings. We’re going to come in, we’re going to be confident, we’re going to play hard. If our best isn’t enough, so be it. But I feel we have the talent that our best will be enough a lot of times.”

Extra points

Hoke said he has no timetable for finding out whether running back transfer Ty Isaac will be eligible to play this fall. Isaac transferred from USC and requested a hardship waiver from the NCAA. “We don’t know of anything,” Hoke said. “We expect Ty to report on Aug. 3, and we’re still going through the hardship with compliance and all those things.”

… Hoke would like to have the offensive line starting lineup determined after about two weeks of preseason camp.

… On playing Notre Dame for the last time for the foreseeable future: “It’s a shame that series is over with, because of the national rivalry that is carried with it,” Hoke said.

… Hoke continues to say he has “hope” tight end Jake Butt, recovering from an ACL injury suffered earlier this year, will be ready by the start of the Big Ten season.

Devin Gardner answers questions from reporters on Monday at Big Ten Media Days. / Paul Beaty / Associated Press