Ann Arbor — Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner continues to make strides even less than a week into preseason camp.
Gardner, the starter last season, is expected to start this fall.
“He’s had a really good fall camp,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Friday after practice. “He’s, right now, the guy taking most of the reps with the (first team).”
Shane Morris, a sophomore, was the backup last season. He started the bowl game while Gardner was nursing an injury to his left foot. The quarterbacks are now being coached by offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, hired earlier this year from Alabama.
“We’re splitting them up a little bit at times,” Hoke said of the first-team reps. “If (Gardner’s) not playing well, Doug’s not hesitant in practice to make that change. They’re both taking reps with the ones — Devin’s getting the majority of them.”
Hoke said it’s still too early to say if they will try to work Morris into games early in the season if Gardner is, presumably, the starter.
“We haven’t really talked about what kind of contingency plan or plan to try to get him, if he isn’t the starter, reps in that first game, second game, third game, fourth game, whatever it might be,” Hoke said.
Freshman receiver Drake Harris continues to be nagged by hamstring issues.
Harris missed his senior year of high school football at Grand Rapids Christian because of an injury to his right hamstring. He hurt his left hamstring early in the week, Hoke said.
“He’s a guy who has taken some limited reps, but not like we’d really like to get with him,” Hoke said.
Hoke said the athletic trainers and strength coach Aaron Wellman are being careful with Harris because of his history of hamstring issues. They are determining if there’s more they can do beyond resting the injury to accelerate the healing and prevent further injury.
“Is it a nagging thing? Maybe,” Hoke said. “Some people have those things.”
Cornerback Blake Countess, who had core surgery at the end of May and said on Sunday that he has fully recovered, missed Friday’s practice because of a groin injury. Hoke said it was unrelated to the surgery.
Defensive lineman Mario Ojemudia missed practice with an ankle injury that required a protective boot.
Countess and Ojemudia are expected back at practice on Monday.
Michigan coaches are still trying different combinations with the offensive line, like last season, the question mark heading into the fall.
Graham Glasgow, who will miss the season opener for disciplinary reasons, likely will resume his position at starting center. But on Friday, he worked with the starters at right guard along with David Dawson.
Freshman Mason Cole was at left tackle, Jack Miller at center, Erik Magnuson, expected to start at left tackle, was at left guard, and Ben Braden at right tackle.
“The competition there has been really good for us,” Hoke said.