Notebook: Devin Gardner returns in full to first spring practice

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By Greg Garno, Daily Sports Editor
Published February 25, 2014

Devin Gardner looked a little bigger, a little thicker around his shoulders and arms as he stood to talk to media for the first time in 2014.

The fifth-year senior quarterback is heavier — nearly 15 pounds so — than the end of last season after he said he dedicated more time in the weight room. Last year, Gardner said he regularly came in at about 205 pounds. Now he says he’s 218 pounds, but “sometimes 220.”

“I was just doing everything in my arms,” Gardner said. “I was getting on arm bikes, pulling ropes and doing pretty much anything they make up for me.”

But just because he’s added weight doesn’t mean he’s slowed down. In the Michigan football team’s first spring practice of the 2014 season, Gardner returned to running through drills with teammates after he injured his foot in November.

So what did he do?

“He played football,” said Michigan coach Brady Hoke. “He was a quarterback. I mean, just throwing, play-action passes and all that stuff.”

Gardner last played in a loss to Ohio State, but finished the game despite breaking his left foot during the third quarter. He subsequently missed the Wolverines’ game at the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Dec. 28.

The injury, which Gardner called “the worst pain of my life,” kept Gardner from competing in winter conditioning with teammates. But on Tuesday, Gardner returned to practice without complication, albeit in only shorts and a helmet, using just a plate in his shoe for protection.

Gardner has been rehabbing his foot and bulking up in his time off his feet, and Hoke said he was pleased with the fifth-year senior’s speed in drills Tuesday.

“He looked great,” Hoke said. “I was more surprised, as much as anybody.

“His mobility was awfully good. I think that’s what surprised me.”

Both Hoke and Gardner said they expect the quarterback to do everything with his teammates for the remainder of spring practice.

POSITION CHANGES: Hoke announced a number of position changes to open up Tuesday’s press conferences, most notably at the linebacker position.

Fifth-year senior Jake Ryan moved from strong-side linebacker to middle linebacker, switching with redshirt junior James Ross. Junior Royce Jenkins-Stone also moved to the strong-side linebacker position.

Senior Desmond Morgan moved from the middle to weak-side linebacker, where Hoke said he has practiced well.

Redshirt junior Keith Heitzman moved from the defensive line to tight end, a position he held in high school. Heitzman should fill a void left by sophomore Jake Butt, who is out indefinitely as he is scheduled to have surgery on his ACL.

Junior Devin Funchess will not move back to tight end and instead will stay outside as a wide receiver.

LINE SHUFFLING: After a tumultuous 2013, the offensive line still creates concern with a pair of redshirt freshmen missing time in the spring.

Erik Magnuson will miss the entire spring practice because of a shoulder injury, while Logan Tuley-Tillman should miss a few weeks because of hand surgery.

For now, Hoke will put redshirt junior Graham Glasgow at center, and sophomore Kyle Bosch and redshirt sophomore Kyle Kalis at left and right guard, respectively. Redshirt freshman David Dawson and redshirt sophomore Ben Braden are at the top of list at left and right tackle, respectively.

“I think competition that’s there is really healthy for us,” Hoke said. “Is it a concern? Yeah it’s a concern, but we’ll just keep working every day.”

HAGERUP RETURNS: After he was suspended last season for team-specific reasons, redshirt junior Will Hagerup has returned to practicing with the team.

Hagerup, who made the Big Ten’s first team his junior year, was hitting the ceiling in practice, according to Hoke. Al Glick Fieldhouse, where the team trains in the winter, has a maximum height of 80 feet.