Hoke has back of his quarterback

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan coach Brady Hoke is unwavering: Junior Denard Robinson is his starting quarterback, and it will remain that way.

"We're 6-1, and a lot of that is because Denard is our quarterback," Hoke said.

But after Robinson's game against Michigan State, in which he completed just 9 of 24 passes for 123 yards, fans began chiming in about whether sophomore quarterback Devin Gardner would be the better option for the rest of the season.

"They have an opinion," Hoke said of the fans. "It doesn't carry much weight, but they have an opinion."

Hoke admitted there are certain plays that he and offensive coordinator Al Borges prefer to have run by Gardner, but they don't expect him to play a full series anytime soon.

That right is reserved for Robinson.

Senior center David Molk said he and his teammates believe the coaching staff is going to choose the best-suited quarterback depending on in-game situations.

"Whatever they choose is right, that's what I think is right," Molk said. "They're both very dynamic players, and whichever one is on the field is going to make plays. It just depends on what kind of plays they're going to make."

Gardner came in for Robinson during the fourth quarter after a particularly rough hit that forced Robinson to leave the game. Hoke referred to it as a back injury but said Robinson should practice this week.

Last week, Robinson spoke about how he has been healthier this season since he has been taking better care of his body, but after that hit in the fourth quarter athletic trainers decided Robinson shouldn't return immediately.

Molk said it was a physical, tough game against Michigan State. Robinson, who was sacked four times, took several hard hits. And in Michigan's win over Northwestern last weekend, Robinson had to leave the game for a few snaps due to a left-hand injury that looked as though it could be problematic, but he returned.

In order for Robinson to get sacked, hit or injured, it means there were people in front of him who didn't control their positions.

"There were a lot of missed assignments," Molk said. "There were a lot of unblocked plays. There were a lot of plays that could've been better, but they weren't."

Like Hoke, Molk took up for his quarterback.

"He's a great player," the captain said. "He's a great kid. He's a great human being. And just to get kind of battered by people who really don't know how hard it is, it's not fair."

Robinson, despite his low numbers against the Spartans, is averaging nearly 180 passing yards and 109 rushing yards per game. But the statistic that seems most worrisome is Robinson's 10 interceptions. He threw just 11 all of last season.

Hoke doesn't seem bothered by the figure and says he has seen an improvement in Robinson's passing this season. The coach will argue with anyone who suggests his quarterback simply isn't accurate.

"That's not true," Hoke said. "That's a bogus statement, because he can throw. He's proven it a couple different times this year."

Chantel Jennings covers University of Michigan sports for WolverineNation. She can be reached at jenningsespn@gmail.com or or on Twitter @chanteljennings.