UM quarterback situation up in the air

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Michigan coach Brady Hoke, after the Wolverines' lopsided loss at Notre Dame, quickly backed fifth-year starting quarterback Devin Gardner despite his second-half turnover issues.

But after the Wolverines lost 26-10 against Utah at Michigan Stadium on Saturday, he left open the quarterback situation.

When asked what the plan is moving forward — Michigan opens Big Ten play against Minnesota at home next week — Hoke was noncommittal.

Gardner was 14-of-26 for 148 yards and had two interceptions and took three sacks against Utah. For the season he has six interceptions and a fumble. Backup Shane Morris was 4-of-13 and had an interception and fumble.

"No. 1, I think it's way too early for me to assess that until Doug (Nussmeier, offensive coordinator) and myself look at the tape," Hoke said. "One thing I can tell you, sometimes it's good for the guy to come out and just watch and see what he can see from the sideline and look at rotations of coverages.

"Look, there's not going to be any answers for that tonight. We will compete and challenge like we have every day, and we will have a starting quarterback against Minnesota."

Michigan failed to reach the red zone in both losses.

Center Jack Miller said Gardner gave Morris encouragement as he went into the game as his replacement.

"When Devin got pulled and I saw him look at Shane and say, 'OK, let's go,' that's a (credit) to Devin and what kind of guy and what kind of teammate is," Miller said. "He's a competitor. I'm sure he didn't want to get pulled and I'm sure he's not thrilled with what happened out there today, but he kept his head up and was Shane's biggest fan."

Hoke reiterated, when asked if there could be a quarterback change, that Gardner and Morris will "compete and challenge" this week.

"I said we will have a quarterback for the Minnesota game, and we'll assess where we're at right now and we'll compete and challenge all week," Hoke said. "We'll see what happens. I think that's the best way to put it."