Spring Practice Presser 3-24-17: Tim Drevno Comment Count

Adam Schnepp March 27th, 2017 at 12:00 PM



Newsy bits:

  • Adding Greg Frey to the coaching staff has allowed Drevno to more fully take on the role of offensive coordinator
  • Pep Hamilton and Drevno have a nigh telepathic connection thanks to their days coaching together at Stanford
  • Donovan Peoples-Jones appears to be everything he was advertised as being; Drevno said that with DPJ, “…there’s no letdown, man.”
  • Grant Newsome is not practicing yet
  • When asked about Grant Perry, Drevno said it’s an internal matter and didn’t elaborate further
  • Everyone is being rotated through different spots to find the best five (and the best fit) on the offensive line
  • Drevno praised Cesar Ruiz’s rapid processing of information and his ability to quickly get off the ball and to the second level

You’ve got a lot of new guys. What’s your impression through the first day of spring?

“Really good. They worked really hard. They’ve done a nice job in the classroom the last couple days. Like we’ve said, just in terms of the winter condition there’s some very athletic guys that we’ve recruited, especially at the wide receiver position and other places on the offense, so it’s been really good.”

The football classroom?

“Yeah, the football classroom in terms of just the last couple days we’ve met and it’s been good. And they carried it over into today, which is really nice to see just them doing it at a high level. They learn fast and can fix problems.”

Is Mason [Cole] going to be practicing at multiple spots to make sure you get the right fit as far as tackle and center goes?

“Yeah, we’re rotating guys through there and we’ll see who the best five guys are.”

[Hit THE JUMP for more]

What kind of progress would you like to have through the spring in terms of the offensive line?

“I think just completely offensively it’s keep building on what we did from January with our winter conditioning, keep taking care of our body, keep getting stronger. If a guy needs to lose weight, keep losing weight. If a guy needs to put on weight, keep putting on weight. Just understand the concepts.

“You know, some change offensively we’ve had adding Pep [Hamilton] and Greg Frey and Scott Turner, so that’s been really, really nice in terms of different ideas. You sit in a room and you brainstorm different things, so we’re applying that to our guys out there. The new ideas that are coming out, you learn them and keep progressing with them and really understand the ins and outs of them.”

Are there guys in particular you want to see lose or gain weight?

“You know, anything just with a football player--any athlete, world-class athlete, you want to be at the best of your peak performance. Just—guys know, hey, we gotta put weight on or lose weight. Your body’s your money maker. It really is. Your body’s your money maker, so you’ve got to take good care of it.”

What kind of addition has Pep Hamilton been to your staff?

“Really good. Pep, you know I coached with Pep in 2010. Very, very bright coach. Really understands the whole big picture. It’s really been a real blessing having Pep. It’s almost where sometimes we look at each other and we know what we’re thinking because of things that we did in 2010 at Stanford. It’s been really, really nice having Pep here.

“Greg, it’s been great with Greg helping out with the offensive line. It frees me up for more of the coordinator duties. I feel like I got somebody helping me there and different ideas. He’s had very productive offensive lines at Indiana.

“Scott Turner coming in from the Minnesota Vikings, that’s really helped. He’s coached at a high level. He understands it, so it’s been really good.”

I know it’s only the first official practice today but what kind of impact have you seen Pep have on the wide receivers and on the quarterbacks so far?

“I just really like the style of his coaching. He’s very demanding and if it’s not right he’ll tell you to fix it and he’ll keep making you do it until you fix it. He tells you the reasons why you have to fix it and why we’re doing it.

“A lot of times you coach these guys, you gotta tell them why you’re doing it and why you came up with it this way because we feel like it’s the best way to do it. Point one, two, and three or whatever you want to lay out to them as why we’re doing it and how we’re doing it. He does a nice job with that.”

You mentioned freeing up some time with Coach Frey in there. How different do you expect your job to be this year?

“Yeah, I think it just really frees me up to really oversee the offense. Just coaching five guys can be a lot, and now with Coach Frey helping me out with the offensive line, it really in the gameplan, playcalling, overseeing it all, it’s gonna be very, very helpful having Greg Frey.”

Did you notice anything out of Ruiz today?

“Yeah, he did a nice job. He’s done a nice job all the time—from the first day he got here, he’s done a nice job.”

What do you like about him specifically?

“I like the way he moves. Got really good initial quickness. When he snaps the ball he can get to the second level. Runs well. Really a good student of the game. Understands and can process quickly.”

When Harbaugh put out the combine results, Donovan Peoples-Jones had the top number in like four different categories for the entire team and was a fraction of a second off from a fifth one. What does that sort of athleticism add to the offense?

“Donovan is a special, special person and player. He is really locked in, really focused, and really wants it. Very mature, has a very good concentration level. He wants to be a student of the game, wants to do it right, and wants to do it at a high level. It’s really, really nice to see. It’s—there’s no letdown, man. He is goin’.”

Is it a wakeup call at all for him right now to be doing football and the academic side? He’s obviously doing a heavy academic course load with being pre-med.

“I think he just handles it all. He handles his business. I think once he comes from the campus down here, hey, it’s football time. You really don’t see…he’s constantly locked in. He’s focused.”

Is Grant Newsome practicing yet?

“Nope, he’s still working through some things. Hope to have him back soon.”

Have you seen a difference at all from Bredeson and Onwenu as far as confidence and comfort from playing as true freshman to now where they’ve had part of an offseason to learn and adjust?

“Yeah, you do. You see Ben, you see his maturity and understands things and understands how I want the technique and what we’re teaching concept-wise. Michael’s the same way, you know. Another—this spring’s gonna really help him. You see a difference in maturity level, absolutely.

“And they all do. They all transition. They come in as freshman. Second semester’s different for them but it’s really nice to see.”

I know it’s early but how much have you learned about your team so far?

“I’ve really learned that they love to work. They love to compete and it’s really, really important to them to do it right. That’s how I really feel. They’re really, really locked into it and they understand the expectation of Michigan.”

What’s your receiving group missing without Grant Perry? Do you miss him at all with him not practicing? He’s not practicing, right?

“That’s an internal matter. Coach Harbaugh will handle that.”

What do you miss when you’re without him?

“I think we have sufficient guys out there. They’re all very, very talented and they bring a different skillset.”

You coached the offensive line, so what do you see on the other side of the ball out of the defensive line? How hard is it to get ready for those guys?

“They’re good. They’re explosive, you know. They’ve got good initial quickness. They’re powerful. Very well coached with Coach Mattison. Coach Brown’s got a great scheme over there, puts ‘em in great spots to execute. They’re very, very impressive.”



March 27th, 2017 at 12:14 PM ^

Very interested of course in the O-line development, but perhaps just as much, what changes are coming from a schematic standpoint in the passing game. Frey of course has been around the Spread for a decade or more, and Pep is well know to have a strong grasp of passing concepts. Will we be more gun oriented, spread-passing attack in addition to the Harbaugh 3-TE power and play action packages? Spread route trees out of typical power formations (is that even possible)? 


March 27th, 2017 at 5:28 PM ^

not knocking filiaga bc hes a talented prospect with a bright future but id be surprised if he earned much, if any, role this fall.  and thats expected as cole and bredeson and those type frosh tend to be the exception.  filiaga wouldnt be much behind mccaffrey and a few others if i were ranking true frosh most likely to redshirt - i just think several other frosh OL are better situated to immediately contribute


March 27th, 2017 at 12:43 PM ^

Didn't he adapt and use some of the pistol at SF with Kap?  Wouldn't be surprised to see some of that or other spread concepts taken from Frey.  The coaches clearly weren't confortable with the more advanced spread concepts and counters as evidenced by the late season Pepcat package.  Maybe a few pistol sets with Peters or read options.


March 27th, 2017 at 6:56 PM ^

The pistol changes the quarterback's position and the mesh point of the option. That's it. It is literally designed to not have an effect on RB alignments, much less say anything at all about how many receivers or tight ends are on the field. Pistol doesn't mean much at all as far as offensive scheme. DeBord could easily run his stretch left, stretch left, stretch left action pass offense out of the pistol.

It's a red herring that feels vaguely spready to us because Kaepernick ran the ball a good amount in SF. Meanwhile, Harbaugh ran it a lot with multiple tight ends, e.g. not spread.


March 27th, 2017 at 1:23 PM ^

Think Bo Jackson + Herschel Walker + Randy Moss + Deion Sanders + Charles Woodson 

Football IQ = Tom Brady/Peyton Manning

I heard he races his pet cheetah to class and Lebron and Durant used to practice bball with him, but got tired of losing the 1 on 1 games they would play.

So, not quite Peppers, but close.




March 27th, 2017 at 1:26 PM ^

The fact that Coach Harbaugh generally operates from a power set formation creates adjustment problems for defenses that spend their time preparing for the popular spread formation offenses. He's been very creative out of that "pro set".

Coach Hamilton could introduce options that would open things up, but still work within the pro set framework.


March 27th, 2017 at 1:58 PM ^

They wanted to run outside zone last season as a changeup to power, but the players couldn't run it and the coaches couldn't coach it so come gametime it was like trying to win RPS with only two out of three -- it makes the defense's job easy.

I don't know what to make of "we'll run more spread" but I'm thinking it's nothing more than Harbaugh wants to implement outside zone and zone read as ways of keeping defenses off balance.  It's not like he's going to take years and years of running gap and toss it all in the trash.  He's never been allergic to spread plays, as others have noted from his time at SF.  Heck, Stanford had four-wide and zone read plays; they just didn't run them with regularity.  There's just no point in having them in the book at all if the players can't run 'em.


March 27th, 2017 at 6:54 PM ^

I would bet the other way. When he says he's going to run more spread, I think he means he will continue to run the same power scheme with more receivers on the field. Young OL, he might have an eyes towards helping them by removing guys from the box on occasion.

Ricky Spanish

March 27th, 2017 at 1:49 PM ^

In all honesty,

Drevno doesnt seem to worried with the absence of Perry and i dont believe we should be either. Sure, Perry is an above average contributor but his producution is fully replacable. Tons of young guys fighting for that spot, without character issues.


March 27th, 2017 at 2:28 PM ^

There was a video in the Detroit News or Freep where Speight was being interviewed at the same time as Drevno.  A reporter asked Wilton if he had surgery in the offseason to which Speight recalled, "You know, I can't remember."

I loved the Harbaughness of the answer.  I hope someone can find the video again or transcribe the interview here.