Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner had an unusual 2012 season to say the least. After starting his first 8 games of the season at wide receiver, Gardner filled in at quarterback for an injured Denard Robinson on November 3rd against Minnesota. He led the Wolverines to a 35-13 victory on the road, which impressed coach Brady Hoke enough to give Gardner the starting job. Gardner would go 3-2 the remainder of the season at quarterback, including a 33-28 loss to the No. 10 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks in the Outback Bowl. Gardner threw for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns, added seven touchdowns on the ground and compiled 266 yards and four touchdowns at wide receiver in his sophomore season. I had the chance to sit down with the enigmatic Michigan quarterback last Thursday at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago.
What are your thoughts on the new targeting penalty?
I guess it’s good for an offense player, but I just feel like they’re making football a game where it’s a little soft. Obviously it’s great for me—no targeting me or anything or targeting offensive players, but I’m still playing football and I’d rather keep a guy in and be able to play against him the whole game if he’s a great player . Sometimes helmets—that’s why we’re wearing them, helmets are gonna touch, I don’t see any problem with that. I understand when a guy just spears a guy’s head with his helmet you see clearly if that happens, but when someone’s helmet makes the mistake and touches someone else’s I don’t feel like that should be penalized.
Do you think Jadeveon Clowney’s hit was legal?
It was a clean hit. He was carrying the ball—the goal is to get the ball back for your defense. I don’t know what they want him to do.
Do you think players should be paid?
I feel like we’re just here to play football. That’s not my place to talk about that. I don’t know any of the numbers—I’m not a numbers guy. I took one math class at Michigan, got a B+ in it but I’m not saying I’m a math whiz by any means and I feel like that’s just something the guys—like law makers or whoever does that has to do. I’m just here to play football.
What are your thoughts on social media?
I enjoy social media. It’s a great tool to help others. Some people are having bad days and you can put something out there that might talk someone off a ledge maybe. I have 35,000 followers on Twitter and 20,000 on Instagram.
Does it surprise you that you have so many followers?
I mean it’s weird—it’s kind of crazy. But I’m the Michigan quarterback so I guess I’m supposed to have that many but it’s weird. Everything you say 35,000 people at least are gonna see it.
What’s the weirdest thing someone has asked you on Twitter?
*Laughing* They always ask for my phone number. I just don’t know why they do that.
You don’t give it to them do you?
I DO NOT give my phone number to them.
Is it sometimes a girl trying to ask you out?
It’s usually guys it’s weird. I’m all for meeting new girls and things like that but it’s usually guys. *Laughing* It’s weird to me and I’d just rather meet more girls or something. You’d think the quarterback would have a lot of girls right?
Did Denard have that same problem?
I think Denard probably had more girls asking him, I don’t know. He has 80,000 followers so he might have more girls asking for his phone number but I have a bunch of guys, it’s weird. It’s depressing actually.
What are your thoughts on alternate uniforms?
It’s really cool and it’s good for recruitment and things like that, but obviously you can’t do it every week. I mean Oregon, that’s amazing they’re able to do that. But a school like Michigan, we have such great tradition, our uniforms are so noticeable.
What do you think of the possibility of playing Ohio State two times in a row?
I think that’s amazing. It’s just an opportunity to make history. Around the building they don’t talk about our team as much because we haven’t done anything so they always talk about those teams of old, but if we were able to do that, beat them two times, you gotta talk about team 134 for a long time.
How do you think this season will play out?
Michigan wins the National Championship at the Rose Bowl.