ANN ARBOR - It's no easy task to teach a college football player how to divide his energies between two positions. Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges is familiar with that.
Borges has done it before - he's coached too long to remember the exact names and players under his tutelage who have done that, but he remembered a time when he and his staff at UCLA came to Michigan to pick up pointers on another player with prospects at two positions - Charles Woodson, who played at both cornerback and wide receiver.
This year's guinea pig is Devin Gardner, a 6-foot-4 junior quarterback who, the Michigan coaching staff said, could see time at wide receiver this season.
Borges deemed Gardner as Michigan's No. 2 quarterback behind Denard Robinson, but said that Gardner will play at wide receiver on what's essentially a case-by-case basis, if it's necessary against a certain opponent.
"At one time or another, you're forced to do some of that," Borges said. "Sometimes you're just short on depth. Particularly when I coached at the lower levels. You had to have some kids who were versatile. It was a necessity."
Borges said the expectation is for Gardner to be game-ready at wide receiver by the season opener against Alabama in Arlington, Texas.
"He's one of those guys, he's a big guy that can run," Borges said. "It would be bad coaching, probably, if he was standing next to me the whole game. We've got a guy who can help us."
Still, several of the Wolverines said earlier this week that Gardner is showing some swagger in the early days of preseason practices - a benefit of spending the summer learning the position.
"He's been talking smack to the defensive backs," receiver Roy Roundtree said. "He's gone out there and backed it up."
Said quarterback Denard Robinson: "He's a phenomenal athlete. When he gets out to receiver, you'd think he was a receiver."
Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison wasn't revealing much about his defense during Wednesday's media availability. But he talked about the fact that goals have already been set for this year's defense.
"We have a set goals that we have, written on the board, written on the wall," the second-year coordinator said. "That's every year.
"Those goals are based on Michigan. They're based on what is expected to be a winning defense. Those goals are set that if you reach those, then you're playing Michigan defense. Every team that comes in has to get to that level to be able to do that. We don't lower our standards for what we see on the practice field."
Obviously, they're tangible goals. Still, Mattison didn't elaborate on those goals - other than the No. 1 goal: Win.
Are they realistic goals?
"Do you think I would give an unrealistic goal?" Mattison retorted.