The starting quarterback spot will be up for grabs when Michigan's spring practice begins Feb. 25, coach Brady Hoke told multiple media outlets Monday.
Gardner, who passed for 21 touchdowns and 2,960 yards last season, will be "limited" when spring practice begins because of a foot injury suffered during the Michigan-Ohio State game in November. The injury caused him to miss the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, but it doesn't explain the struggles earlier in the season for the interception-prone QB.
When Gardner does return in a full capacity, his main competition will be Morris, who started the bowl game and impressed coaches by throwing for 196 yards and rushing for 43. He is not nearly the dual-threat quarterback Gardner is, but he was steady and effective in his first start.
"I thought [Morris] did a really good job of being composed. He did a great job with his preparation and I thought he represented himself well in that game," Hoke told mlive.com. "I think he probably surprised some people with how athletic he is. ... He surprised me even a little bit.
"The way he prepared I thought was really good. The way he performed, first time out being the starting quarterback, [was really good]. Are there things he needs to do better? Yes. Are there things he did well? Yes."
Hoke also said early enrollee Wilton Speight has shown a good learning curve in his short time in Ann Arbor and that Russell Bellomy, who missed this season with an ACL injury, is "back in the mix."