Although the Michigan Wolverines have already defeated the rival Notre Dame Fighting Irish and have started this season 4-0, the team has struggled mightily over the last two games.
In those two games, a 28-24 win over the lowly Akron Zips and a 24-21 victory over the winless Connecticut Huskies, who just fired head coach Paul Pasqualoni, Gardner went 27-of-53 for 345 yards with just two touchdowns and five interceptions.
“Maybe getting down on myself, as far as that goes, that kind of deters your focus a little bit,” Gardner told Chantel Jennings of ESPN.com. “When you beat yourself up about bad decisions.”
Gardner looked like a Heisman trophy candidate in the Wolverines’ victory over the Irish. He completed 21 of 33 passes for 294 yards, four touchdowns and one interception and rushed for another 82 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Gardner, despite his comments, believes he can get back to that level and his coach is confident he is making the proper adjustments to do just that.
“He has been really conscientious,” Michigan head coach Brady Hoke said. “Stepping through throws, getting his hips turned, all those things that you do as a quarterback, the timing of the drops compared with the routes, all those things, I think he has really done a nice job through all last week and yesterday.”
The little brown jug will be on the line when Gardner and the Wolverines host the Minnesota Golden Gophers Saturday at 3:30 pm EST.