- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
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One of the biggest questions on the docket for Michigan football fans is: How exactly will wide receiver/quarterback Devin Gardner be used?
On Monday, Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Gardner would take snaps at both positions and work with both groups, though Hoke hasn't decided exactly how Gardner will split reps through the season.
But according to wide receiver Roy Roundtree, Gardner hasn't wasted time impressing at the wide receiver position at Michigan's fall camp.
"He can throw that thing and he can go for the ball, too, because of his height," Roundtree said. "I feel like he's prepared and been working through that throughout the summer."
Roundtree said Gardner doesn't lack confidence either, talking smack to the defensive backs at times, but Roundtree went on to say that Gardner has backed it up with his play so far.
And quarterback Denard Robinson has also been impressed with the play and competitive nature of his sometimes backup/sometimes receiver.
"He's a phenomenal athlete," Robinson said. "When he gets out to receiver, he looks like a receiver. It looks like he has been playing there for years. And when he plays quarterback, you can tell he's one of the top quarterbacks."
So while there aren't any definitive answers yet, since he has already impressed his teammates with his versatility, it could only be a matter of time before he does it in front of fans.
Backing up Beyer
With defensive end Frank Clark suspended indefinitely, the competition for weakside defensive end is heating up. Sophomore Brennen Beyer, who was expected to compete the most with Clark, has reacted well to the change and Hoke said Beyer had done a "tremendous job" stepping up.
Beyer was expected to compete with Clark for the starting role, but with the race more open, Hoke has named a few others.
"[Freshman] Mario Ojemudia is a guy we can play at that position," Hoke said. "We can put [redshirt sophomore] Jake Ryan back down there and play him there and move [redshirt junior] Cam Gordon up and rotate some linebackers around if we have to."
Ojemudia, who came into college at 6-foot-3, 231 pounds, was expected to battle for some playing time, but the fact his name has come up so early in the discussion is a good sign for the freshman out of Farmington Hills, Mich.
Ryan would be making the move from linebacker to defensive end, though his size (6-foot-3, 242 pounds) and natural speed would help him. However, he has been criticized for not owning his technique, though Hoke believes that was one of the main focuses of Ryan's offseason.
"I think Jake probably has become more focused and intense football player so his fundamentals would improve, his technique would improve," Hoke said. "You still like some of the natural things that he does instinctively."
Ricardo Miller, who was a tight end last fall but then worked out as a wide receiver in the spring, was listed once again as a tight end on the 2012-13 roster on Monday. But it only shows how the junior will be used in a dynamic way, according to Hoke.
Hoke said he could see Miller playing U-back and wide receiver, and that he'll work with both groups.
"Well you have some depth issues, that's part of it," Hoke said. "You have some depth that you want to look at wide receiver, too. Right now he's kind of a guy who can be a swing U-back for you and play wide receiver."
6dMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy
7dMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy