CHICAGO — Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner is not backing down from his much-publicized pledge that the Wolverines will beat Ohio State this fall.
"I'm not going to retract my statement," he said today at Big Ten media day at a downtown Chicago hotel. "I never said 'promise' and I never said 'guarantee.' I said we're going to work hard and we're going to do our best, and I do believe we're going to win the game. That's not arrogant."
Earlier this summer, Gardner told a Michigan radio station the Wolverines are "definitely a championship-caliber football team that will win in the 'Big House' against Ohio State."
Either way, the point is he's confident Michigan is ready to return among the nation's elite — a point underscored time and again by him and his teammates.
Though the Wolverines face many question marks, they return 12 starters while Gardner should be snug fit in the pro-style offense coach Brady Hoke has wanted to implement since arriving in Ann Arbor in 2011.
Gardner, now the full-time starter with the graduation of Denard Robinson, threw for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns and five interceptions in five games last year.
Hoke said the Wolverines' goal is the same as always.
"That's to win Big Ten championships," he said. "A year ago we were 8-5, and that's unacceptable. It's unacceptable at Michigan. It's unacceptable for us. In those five losses, we had 18 turnovers. So it tells you a little something that we need to be a little more diligent in taking care of the football. We need to be a little more diligent in making better decisions. And those are things that we've talked about. I like our football team. I usually don't say that."