"Regarding our two quarterbacks, I'm not going to talk about it," said Hoke Wednesday. "As far as what's going on with Russell and Denard—because it's day to day and in fairness to those kids I'm not going to give day to day updates."
This new approach employed by Hoke is vastly different than the "improving" and "he's fine" comments in reference to Robinson that were made leading up to the Minnesota win last week.
Why the change? No one knows for sure.
For the future, another start for Gardner could prove vital. But neither the coaches, nor the rest of the Wolverines, are focused on the looming decisions after the season. The time is here and now, and if Michigan hopes to give themselves a shot at its first Big Ten title since 2004, Robinson's health is key—and if he can go Saturday at noon, there's no debate about who gets the first snap.
"Theres only three games left," said offensive coordinator Al Borges Tuesday. "You don't want to wait too long. The kid's a senior. If he's ready to go I want to give him a chance to play, and I know he wants to play."
Fact is, the coaches are aware that Robinson is Michigan's greatest running threat right now due to the offensive line's struggles creating holes for the running backs. While Gardner is more than capable and clearly has the trust of the coaching staff, the Wolverines can't hold back Denard, if playable, against a hungry, dangerous 7-2 football team in the Wildcats that comes to town with plenty to play for.
To watch video of Hoke from Wednesday's press conference, press play below.