Previously: Jim Harbaugh, DJ Durkin, Greg Mattison, Kyle Kalis, Brian Cole, Chase Winovich, Drake Harris, Jabrill Peppers, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Willie Henry, Jourdan Lewis, Wyatt Shallman, James Ross III
Tim Drevno, a driving force behind Stanford’s mauling offensive lines during Harbaugh’s tenure, takes the reins not only of that position group but the entirety of the offense (at least in part) in 2015 as O-line coach/offensive coordinator. He talked about where his line was coming out of spring camp, what he’s looking for in his starters, and the progress of Michigan’s running game at Michigan’s Media Day.
What are some of the traits you want to see from your starting five?
“Yeah, I feel good about going into training camp. I think those guys had a nice spring, a good offseason in the weight room and things. I want to see us get better every day. Fix a problem; take two things and fix it and get better every day and then we’ll be on course.”
Do you feel like that’s the key to opening up the rest of the offense is how well you guys play up front?
“Well, everybody knows it’s about the offensive and defensive line, [and] it’s about the quarterback. If you’ve got those three things it makes your life a lot easier. Not saying the other positions aren’t important, but it is one of the lightning rods of being competitive and successful.”
How early in camp do you like to have your five? Does it change team to team?
“Ehh, it changes team to team and where you are and what you’re doing. I couldn’t tell you, but you get a feel as you go and see who the best five are. But I couldn’t tell you an exact date.”
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Once you get a five is it open season every day for people to take over a spot?
“Every day you’re rolling the balls out and everybody’s getting better. Everybody’s competing for their jobs. It’s not like, ‘Hey, I got my start, now I can hang back.’ And that’s what makes you better. That’s what makes you drive to be great.”
MGoQuestion: When Coach Harbaugh was talking about the quarterback battle he said that he looks at stats, he looks at charts, but it really comes down to feel. How does it work with offensive linemen? How do you evaluate them?
“I just evaluate every day. Are they getting a guy blocked or they’re not, you know, and they know where to go and how to do it. And the chemistry of it, and the mix of guys working well side by side. The execution level…guys who are executing at a high level.”
MGoQuestion: Coming out of spring, how close did you feel to having a solid starting five?
“Ehh…no, we need this time to get it right. I couldn’t say. If we had to play a game we’ll play a game, but that’s what spring ball’s for and that’s what training camp’s for, to groove that.”
Were the tackles a little bit ahead of the guards? Did you feel that?
“No. I think that they’re all about where they were. Some guys a little bit better, some guys not as good.”
How much of an advantage do the guys that started have?
“I think any time you have game experience it’s important, but it’s no the end all be all. Last year when I was at my former employer we started three true freshmen on the offensive line, so it’s find the best guys. Age is not an issue. We want guys that can make plays.”
MGoQuestion: How did you feel about your running game coming out of the spring?
“Uh, it’s a work in progress. We’ve got a ways to go and it’s, uh…we’re excited to see where it goes.”
Some guys like Ty [Isaac] you didn’t get to see much in the spring. How important is this camp for him?
“Oh, it’s really important. It’s important for everybody. You can’t have enough running backs. We’re going to run the ball. We’re excited because it’s a time to get healthy, and we’re excited to see him do some stuff in training camp.”
Did you go back and watch any old footage on him or old footage on Drake Johnson since you didn’t get to see him?
“Yeah, I’ve gone back and watched some. I was actually with Ty at my former employer so I saw him there. He was there at the same time.”
What can we expect to see from him?
“I mean, he’s a big guy to bring down. He has tremendous measureables. I think he can be one of those guys who’s a physical running back and be a short yardage/goal line type guy and utilize him like that. The durability in a four minute situation- there’s a lot of different places you can use him.”
When he was injured he talked about how frustrating it was a year ago to not be able to help and not be able to play even though he was healthy. Have you had conversations about how to manage that and how to get back in the flow? He’s probably going to want to dive in and hit the ground running.
“No, not really. I was just encouraging him when he was going through a tough time when he was banged up a little bit in spring; ‘Get yourself healthy.’ The most important time, every time is important, but going into training camp is the most important.”
With you and Coach Fisch and Coach Harbaugh having your hands on the offense, what’s that dynamic like? Who does what?
“It’s a really good dynamic. It’s fun everyday. Everybody’s got great ideas. It’s pretty cool. Lot of braintrust in there. Lot of guys who’re intelligent guys, which makes everybody’s jobs easier.”