Michigan opens spring practice next week, and returning starting quarterback Devin Gardner finally is running again.
Gardner, who will be a senior this year, posted a video from his Instagram account showing him running on a treadmill. It is the first running he has done since injuring his left foot during the Wolverines' 42-41 loss to Ohio State in late November. He missed the Wolverines' Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl loss with the injury; the severity of the injury is unknown. Michigan has called it turf toe, but there are reports that Gardner suffered some broken bones in the foot.
Earlier this month, Wolverines coach Brady Hoke -- who is feeling some heat after last season's disappointing 7-6 finish -- said Gardner will vie with sophomore-to-be Shane Morris for the starting job.
Late last week, Hoke said Gardner would be limited during the spring -- drills start Feb. 25. New coordinator Doug Nussmeier will be installing his offense, which shouldn't be all that different from the one favored by predecessor Al Borges. Still, any missed time by Gardner could benefit Morris.
Gardner (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) threw for 2,960 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2013. But he completed just barely 60 percent of his passes and tossed 11 interceptions. His decision-making was questionable and he took too many chances. The flipside: Borges did not take full advantage of Gardner's mobility and athleticism, so seeing what Nussmeier -- who was hired away from Alabama -- does with Gardner bears watching.
Michigan has numerous offensive issues. Outside of tight end, the unit has questions at every position. Even tight end has had issues, though, as sophomore-to-be Jake Butt has a knee injury and will miss spring drills. Starting tight end Devin Funchess has All-American potential, but the team has to hope Butt's injury won't linger into the season.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.