When at the NFL Scouting Combine about his transition from quarterback to wide receiver, Denard Robinson brought up a player who made the exact opposite transition in 2012 for Michigan: Devin Gardner, who started the last five games for the team at quarterback.
Robinson said that the end of the 2012 season was helpful for his mental switch from being a college quarterback to a player who projects as a pro wide receiver. After an elbow injury suffered this past season Nebraska, Robinson would only throw one more pass in his college career. With Robinson hurt, Brady Hoke shifted Gardner - a quarterback by nature, but playing wide receiver with the dynamic Robinson the first-choice under center - to the starting quarterback role, a period Robinson spoke about at a press conference in Indianapolis:
Did it take a while to get used to mental change in position?
Not really because toward the end of the season Devin (Gardner) was playing quarterback and I was coming in the huddle and he was telling the plays. I was just in the huddle listening. He basically was in charge of everything.
It's not a surprise - even when Gardner and Robinson appeared on the field down the end of the season, Robinson was often lined up as a running back, carrying the ball 36 times for 322 yards in his final three games at Michigan with three catches, while throwing the ball just once, an incompletion - but its still interesting to hear that Gardner, a junior getting consistent snaps quarterback for the first time in college was running huddles over Robinson, a senior with loads of starting experience, regardless of position.
Robinson's injury wasn't good for the 2012 edition of the Wolverines: after starting off the year 5-2 with losses only to eventual national champion participants Alabama and Notre Dame, Michigan was blown out against Nebraska in the game Robinson was hurt and lost their final two games against Ohio State and South Carolina. But it was good for Gardner's development - the likely starter for Michigan this next year got his feet wet, and played nicely, completing 59.5 percent of his passes for 1,219 yards, with 11 touchdowns against just five picks, giving Michigan blog Maize N Brew hope for the upcoming season. And it was apparently good for Robinson's development as well.