Michigan head coach Brady Hoke has always been pretty good for a sound bite but what he said on The Dan Patrick Show today has the whole nation listening.
During the interview Patrick posed a hypothetical question to Hoke asking him to finish the sentence, “If Johnny Manziel was your quarterback…”
Hoke’s response was bold to say the least:
If Johnny Manziel’s our quarterback, he’d probably be playing behind Devin Gardner. Devin Gardner, I’ve got a lot of faith in.
…We try and educate the kids here. This has always been about the team, the team, the team. If they’re going to celebrate, and they’re going to express themselves, do it with your teammates. Do it with the other 10 guys on that field that helped you make whatever great play happen.
Here’s an extended YouTube video of the interview. The Manziel/Garnder comments can be heard around the 7 minute mark.
Now immediately one might label Hoke as being crazy or perhaps just a head coach supporting his own guy. But just how off base is the Michigan head coach, hypothetically IF Manziel actually played for the Wolverines this season?
Matt Fitzgerald of the Bleacher Report highlighted some numbers that in some ways are some what surprising when put next to each other. According to Fitzgerald on 635 total attempts (434 passing, 201 rushing) the reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel accounted for 47 touchdowns overall in 2012 which puts him right around one touchdown per 13.5 attempts.
Meanwhile Fitzgerald also points out that in limited time last season at QB (playing WR and behind Denard Robinson) Devin Gardner had a total of 18 touchdowns per 173 total attempts (126 passes and 47 rushes). That puts Gardner at one touchdown per roughly 9.6 attempts.
Now of course there’s plenty of other factors that you’d have to weigh in which still tilts heavily in Manziel’s favor like overall sample size, the conference he played in and his team. But I guess you can see where Hoke’s faith in Gardner is coming from, especially if you want to consider the off the field and between the plays trouble Manziel has gotten himself into.