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Brady Hoke says Johnny Manziel would be on Michigan bench

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner would be a bench player for the Michigan Wolverines.

Believe it or don't, but that's what UM coach Brady Hoke told the Dan Patrick Radio Show Friday when asked about controversial Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel. Patrick asked the Michigan coach "If Johnny Manziel is your quarterback ... finish that sentence."

Hoke replied: "He'd probably be playing behind Devin Gardner. Devin Gardner, I've got a lot of faith in."

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If you've not heard much of Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner, you have now. The Wolverines' new starter only has one start to his credit, but is already being looked upon as one of the college game's most exciting new starting signal-callers. Just a year after Denard Robinson capped his college career with an unexpected thud, Gardner flashed some promising signs in a blowout win over Central Michigan.

But the notion that Gardner would hold a starting job over Manziel, who already has a road win over Alabama and a bowl win over Oklahoma on his resume, is a bit tough to swallow. Does Hoke truly believe it? Based on how most coaches handle such outlandish hypothetical questions, it's a good bet that he didn't even give the thought serious consideration. More likely, all Patrick got was the instinctive response coaches give when asked about someone else's players -- to somehow praise their own.

Saturday, Gardner gets a chance to show what he can do against a far tougher opponent when the fourth-year junior takes on BCS Championship Game runner-up Notre Dame.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread

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