Wednesday Presser 9-13-17: Tim Drevno

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on September 14th, 2017 at 8:28 AM



Some of the defensive players were saying that Joe Hewlett was really helping out with the scout team in emulating Air Force’s offense. Have you seen that as well?

“Yeah, I’ve been busy with the offense. I really haven’t paid much attention to the defense, but I know that Joe Hewlett’s in there.”

Have you ever run a triple option at any stop in your career?

“Uh…no. I’ve kind of messed with it here and there.”

What does that mean?

“I’ve put in some different plays but never saturate yourself into it, so I don’t know the ins and outs of it. You try to maybe put a play in here or there in the form of a triple option but not live in it, no.”

What have you seen from Air Force’s defense?

“Great question. Very fast, well disciplined. They play an odd scheme. They love the pressure. They’re very good tacklers in the back end. Play extremely hard. Just technically sound. They know how to get off blocks, know how to pass rush. Secondary’s very good at reading route concepts, know how to break on the ball. They’re very well coached. They do a great job at Air Force.”

Do you think Jon Runyan’s a better fit at guard? He was in the mix at tackle and then seems like he’s coming in a little bit—

“Yeah, Jon’s a very athletic guy. He could play all five positions. It’s just right now he could be a guard, he could be a tackle, but he does a good job just initial quickness off the ball, with his hand placement, really athletic, feet move well,  when something moves he can cover it up. Jon’s doing a nice job and progressing well.”

[After THE JUMP: correcting little mistakes, O-line development, and Grant Newsome as coach/president. Oh, and what it means to be human]

Do you see players like Nolan [Ulizio] and Mike [Onwenu] and even Patrick [Kugler] progressing from start one to start three? It’s their first real experience on the field there.

“Absolutely. You can see them getting better every week and every day they’re getting better, and the confidence you see in their eyes and understanding what we want. We take a lot of reps and every rep they’re getting better, so it’s really nice.”

What do you say to Nolan after something where he gets a little bit too emotional on the field and has that penalty?

“You know, it’s—you don’t want that to happen. He wans to play physical; he wants to finish. Don’t let that happen again, but you don’t want to take the fight out of somebody either, so you just correct it and push on and don’t bring it up again. Just address it just like you’re talking to your child, you’re disciplining your child. You say, hey, don’t let that happen again, the reasons why you don’t want it to happen and then push on. You know there’s an unbelievable trust level there between one another that it won’t happen again because you’ve got faith in these guys.”

How have you seen Wilton handle the outside criticism the past week or two with his play?

“To be quite honest with you, I don’t know the outside criticism. I don’t pay any attention to it, so I can’t make a comment on that. I know that Wilton comes in here every day and he brings his A game and wants to be the best and knows the gameplan inside and out and leads this team. I’m very pleased with Wilton.

“We all have things we’ve got to correct. It’s not all Wilton. We’ve got to do better offensively as coaches, as players. That’s what we get paid to do. And that’s the exciting thing is when there’s things you can fix that are easy fixes, that’s the exciting thing. And keep motivating.”

In a more general sense, do you or does Jim warn players about the criticism they might face publicly and the pressure that’s put on them?

“No, because we don’t make a big deal out of anything from the outside. We keep everything inside, so it’s another day. How can we get better today? How can we lead this team and how can we lead these young people to be great? We shut out the outside noise. We just don’t pay any attention to it to make it a factor.

“There’s lots of critics out there. I mean, there’s gonna be people who critique you in your job and what you do, people who are gonna critique me and my job, but I know when we walk in every day that we’re giving the best of our god-given ability with a whole heart to be the best and that’s all you can ask somebody. If you’re giving your best and you’re turning over every stone to be the best, that’s awesome.

“You guys want the same thing, right, in what you’re doing. Your boss is going to say something to you or critics are going to say [to] something that you write: what the heck, why’s that guy thinking that way? But you know what, that’s what defines a human being. That’s what defines me. Makes me who I am and makes you who you are, so it’s a neat process.”

Been seeing quite a bit of the younger tight ends: Gentry and McKeon and Eubanks. What have you seen from them to be able to get so much time on the field and how would you rate their blocking as well?

“Really good. I mean, they’ve really progressed and improved. Greg Frey’s done a great job with them. They’ve improved in their blocking and they’ve improved in their pass routes, the feel of how to play a game, all the different formations you use and motions. They’ve come a long way, and that’s a good stable of tight ends that are progressing really nicely and the sky’s the limit for them to be really good.”

Jim talked about coaching up the handoff on the fly sweep and you just mentioned coaching up some stuff better offensively. Maybe not getting so specific, but what are some of the things that you want to improve on?

“Yeah, it starts with just with not having too many guys in the huddle, making sure the substitution’s right. The fly sweep, the motions, not fumbling the ball, not giving up a sack. Those are all correctable things. A pass set, a guy not setting too far outside. Making sure the depth of the fly sweep, where that depth is. Just being really detail-oriented. Those are the things that we’re really focused on, and we focus on them every week.

“Then when it happens in a game it magnifies like everything magnifies, and you put your eyes on it like, hey, how can we do it better to coach it so they understand it, because they’ve got to feel comfortable with doing it. Just coaching up the details. Dotting every I, crossing every T to make sure you’re looking inside and have the gameplan to be really good.”

Are you going through some of the same things as Jim, [who] talked about understand how young some of these guys are and keeping that in his perspective with everything?

“Yeah, I mean, they’re young, which is great. They’re very talented, but every day’s a new day. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fifth-year guy, a fourth-year guy, or a first-year guy, you’ve got to teach it to them like they’ve never heard it before and be dynamic the way you’re teaching it so they do understand it, and then have them ask questions back to you. And then you ask them questions to make sure they fully understand it.

“That excites me as a coach is being able to teach and then getting it and them understanding it and executing it. I get a rush out of that, you know, when you’re teaching it to them and they’re starting to get it. It’s a fun group to coach and it’s a talented group to coach and I get excited every day because the talent’s really good.”

Is that dialogue happening in practice, live reps, or is that more in the meeting room?

“I think everywhere: on the field, practice, live reps, in a game. We’ve got good feedback. In the meeting room it’s really good. Is there a better way we can do it? They players---it’s not just a dictatorship where hey, you’ve got to do it this way. We want the feedback. ‘Mason, how do you like that? What do you think of that? Is there a better way of doing it?’ And making them feel comfortable so everybody’s got ownership on it and everybody’s got their fingerprints on it but we’re doing it together. Once you get everybody to trust and get it together, you can pull one direction. It’s an unbelievable thing.”  

Cincinnati had a little bit of success with some twists against Mike and Nolan. Is that something you guys saw on film and have you talked about that with those guys?

“Yeah, absolutely. It’s something that we’re doing. You get into second-and-10, second-and-15, you’re gonna get a wide three, they’re gonna twist and try to create a pass rush and that’s what you see. They’re all fixable things. And the neat thing about it, those two guys, they brought that same twist the third time and they cleaned it up. That’s exciting. When a guy fixes a problem you’ve talked to him about, they fix it, they do it, it’s like, hey, right on. We’re getting one step closer to being really good, so it’s exciting.

After the game Wilton said that he was trying on his footwork a little bit more. Is that something that was causing some of the off throws? Have you seen that in practice from him?

“Yeah, I think anything with your footwork, your rhythm, the timing from your drop, the progression of the routes, the guy that’s running the route: It’s all part of it. I think Wilt comes out every day trying to work on his footwork, his velocity on the ball, the accuracy. Same with somebody running a post route when the ball is thrown, and so all those things that we all need to work on. It’s not just Wilton. I bet ya, you come out to practice, everyone’s working hard. We’ve got our heart and soul in this to get this thing corrected and we’re working on it.”

How have the other quarterbacks looked? Obviously we see starters in the game but we don’t know how the backups are progressing.

“Feel very comfortable with those backups. Doing a nice, nice job.”

You talked about fixable mistakes. What’s the timeline on the mistakes that you’re seeing right now? Are these one-week mistakes, two-week mistakes…

“You want ‘em so a mistake happens, bam, you put it down. It’s done. You don’t want to ever see it again. Is it going to happen again? It might. You don’t want to, but at least you’ve addressed it, you’ve coached it, and they understand the adjustments off that mistake and what needs to happen, but any mistakes you don’t want to happen again.”

Ty Isaac looks like a different back out there. When did you start seeing or did you see a difference in him?

“Yeah, I think Ty has progressed really nicely and in training camp, he had a nice training camp. He’s running the ball—he’s had opportunities to run it and he’s really getting the feel of how the guys are blocking it up front and letting the play express it self. Really, really thrilled about Ty and the productivity he’s having. He’s a definite guy. He’s a big-time player.”

Jim mentioned that Grant Newsome was kind of a student-coach right now. Is that something that if not physically better, he could be mentally more prepared to play the position because of that?

“Yeah, you know, he’s up in my office all the time and the O-line room. He makes cut-ups for us, he’ll analyze stuff, he’ll look into information on the other team. We were all talking about it: he’s going to be a better player when he returns because he’s sitting in there, we’ve got him drawing up plays on the Vizio, he’s making cut-ups, he’s helping coach on the field. He’s helping those guys. He’s going to be better because of it, because once you saturate yourself in it and you put yourself in a coach’s shoes and teach it, now you understand how hard teaching is and how creative you have to be to get some people to understand how you have to do it.”

Do you think he has a future in coaching?

“Absolutely. I’d love to have him coach. I think he probably has bigger things. I mean, Grant might be the next President of the United States.” [laughs]

Does he do a lot of coaching with the players individually?

“Yeah, he talks to them and stuff. He’s a student-assistant out there so he talks and stuff. It’s nice having him around. Grant’s a special, special young man. Like all of them are, but I’ve got a fond place in my heart for Grant.”

Do you think he’ll give you a cabinet spot?

“I hope so. I want him to, yeah. Maybe I could be his campaign manager.”

Did you ask him to start helping out?

“He just did it. He just wanted to do it. He wants to be around it as he’s doing his rehab and stuff. That’s what type of person he is. He’s all about the team. He wants to give back and wants to be good and he wants to help and he’s a trustworthy friend.”

Did he talk to you about it?

“I think it just naturally happened. I think with Jim and all of us, it just naturally happened. We wanted to make sure he’s stimulating the mind and staying active and plugged in. Don’t want to lose him.”



September 14th, 2017 at 8:39 AM ^

Before posters start nitpicking Drevno's play calling ability, they might want to consider that it's a three headed monster, including input from both Harbaugh and Hamilton as well. You can't complain about Drevno, without the other two being culpable for the same issue.


September 14th, 2017 at 9:43 AM ^

I only have one issue right now with Drevno. I wish he was on the sideline instead of up in the booth so he can be down talking to his offense when they aren't on the field.

I think at least some of Speights issues are on the line (certainly not all) and having Drevno addressing issues with them live can't hurt any of them. I know Frey handles the line too but as the OC I want to see Drevno taking control in this case on the sidelines with Frey there too.


September 14th, 2017 at 11:44 AM ^

We need to get the TEs more involved.

We need more Perry and DPJ and Black.

We need more Panda.

We need more spread to create running lanes.

We need more beef to run the ball down the opponent's throat.

This fanbase won't be satisfied unless the offense runs 100 plays per game with 8 eligible recievers and every damn play involves a lateral so more guys touch the ball.

Why is it so difficult to believe these coaches are doing the best they can with what they've got? I'm not saying they are immune from criticism but come on.

We have a QB who on any given drive can look like Tom Brady or Nick Sheridan. Wilton has never looked like an average QB. His recievers have not done much to help him out, either. The one and only tough catch any player has made this season was Perry's diving catch that was ruled incomplete.

The playcalling will look better when the players get better at executing the plays. As the players get better at executing the plays, the playcalling will get better because the offense will remain on the field.

Evans, McKeon, Wheatly, Gentry, Eubanks, DPJ, Black, Crawford, Ulizio, Bredeson, and Onwenu are all major contributors on offense. All of those guys are Freshmen or Sophomores. Thats 3/5 of the starting OL, 3 of the top 4 wideouts, 4/5 of the TE monster, and the guy who was supposed to be the best running back on the team. These guys are all still learning. This offense will improve. Its time to drop all the hot takes about what this offense needs. Lets just watch these guys learn and grow together over the next few weeks.


September 14th, 2017 at 1:17 PM ^

My understanding is that with both sports blogs and sports talk shows (tv and radio) the people who participate make suggestions about the team with the assumption that of course the coaches know better. In other words, speculation can be fun, and it doesn't have to come with the belief that one's expertise is superior to the coaches'.

So I can say "we need Peters!" without assuming that I know more about how to evaluate quarterbacks than Harbaugh, Drevno, or Hamilton.

I mean isn't this sort of speculation what forums like this are all about?


September 14th, 2017 at 1:53 PM ^

I'm all for discussion. My posts have gotten much longer around here lately.

I'm tired of the hot take artists who think they know exactly what the one thing is this offense needs and ITS SO OBVIOUS YOU GUYZ!! Discission is great. The hot takes have gotten unbearable.

I have been as frustrated by the offense as any other fan. There are many things wrong that are worth discussing. I am also excited by the knowledge that the ridiculous amount of youth I listed is improving, and will continue to improve rapidly.

EDIT: "We need Peters!" is a dumb hot take. It isn't discission. If someone were to say "I have completely lost confidence in Speight, I no longer see any downside to starting Peters" and then explain why, that is discussion.


September 15th, 2017 at 3:50 AM ^

My fear is Speight has reached or is very near his ceiling. If so, the playoffs aren't happening this year or next. Peters has a much higher upside. The roster we return next year is stacked. A second year starting QB with high potential and a stacked roster could be the recipe to get us to the promised land. A stacked roster with a QB that already peaked would be 2016 all over again...close but not close enough. If we are going to suffer through fumbles and bad interceptions with either guy I'd rather go with the higher physical talent. I'm not clamoring for Peters to start. This is obviously Speights team. Just trying to add real discussion in regard to the end of your post.


September 14th, 2017 at 8:50 AM ^

He really pulled out the old Bull Durham quote book when asked about outside criticism.

"You got to play them one day at a time. We're all just going to keep working, and, the good lord willing, things will work out..."

SD Larry

September 14th, 2017 at 9:00 AM ^

activities and coaching with the team.  Making lemonade out of lemons, his whole approach has been most impressive..  Like many here, really hoping Grant makes it back to playing for Michigan next year. 


September 14th, 2017 at 9:09 AM ^

Seems like Drevno contradicts himself re Wilton saying they don't hear the "outside criticism" and citng only positive aspects of Speight's game.  But then he goes on to say "It's not all Wilton".  My take he is trying to protect Wilton from "outside criticism" but recognizes there are problems with Wilton. 

I don't buy the "there's things you can fix that are easy fixes, that's the exciting thing" re Wilton's play.  If that were true, Wilton wouldn't be having the problems now that have been there though two spring practices, two fall practices, one full season, and two games into his second season.   He's inconsistent, doesn't respond well to pressure, throws high way too often, and can't seem to quickly decide he needs to ID secondary receivers and then do so.

What's bothersome is the seeming lack of progress with his development under Harbaugh and the lack of an ability to devise game plans that utilize his skills and protect him from his deficiences. 

UofM has been able to get by because of a very strong defense and relatively weak competition.  That disappears with stronger opponents like PSU, MSU, and OSU.  Not good, Bob.


September 14th, 2017 at 10:24 AM ^

I think Harbaugh and the whole staff understand that Wilton (& the whole team) have made mistakes.
Acknowledging those mistake & being positive about correcting them is not the same thing as "not hearing critisism" from the media & fans.

I think Speight is an average QB and his ceiling isn't much higher than it is.  Thats frustrating at times, but I'm pretty confident thaty this staff will squeeze as much out of him as possible.

Ghost of Fritz…

September 14th, 2017 at 10:49 AM ^

People keep saying Speight is 'average.'

But do you really know what and 'average' CFB QB looks like? 

Speight is not Darnold, or Mayfield, or Lamar Jackson level.  But those are the 3 best QBs in CFB right now.

But Speight is way better than an average CFB QB. 

How many Big Ten QB's are better than Speight?  Is he only the 6-9th best QB in the conference?  And hey, let's remember the QBs at the non0power 5 schools.  You want average?  How about the

Right now, even with the inconsistent play of the first two weeks. Speight is a top quartile QB.   Lots of room for improvement, for sure.  Needs to clean up some things and be more consistent.  Not elite right now.

But stop calling him 'average.'


September 14th, 2017 at 11:16 AM ^

He's definitely better than average. Maybe top 30-ish? Top 25? Problem is, that's not going to achieve the goals Harbaugh and the team have set. Along with the fans they are demanding top 10 and top 5 level performance from their players. We all expect the d line and the linebackers and the safeties etc to play like top 10 units at worst - why not the QB? We run a pro style offense that asks a lot of the passers and have an exceptional QB coach. We also recruit at an elite level. So, people want to see an elite quarterback, otherwise that position will be underperforming vis a vis the rest of the team (I think it is right now).

And look at the top teams right now with the exception of maybe Alabama - to a team they all have QBs performing at an elite level (OU, Clemson, USC, PSU). This is not a coincidence. If we want Michigan to be better than "merely" top 25 or top 15 (which seems to be the expectation of the fan base and the coaches at this point) we need an elite QB. I love Wilton and think he can improve, but if he does not I have doubts that we'll be able to make the playoff or if we do that we'll be competitive.


September 14th, 2017 at 11:17 AM ^

But Speight is way better than an average CFB QB.


I agree. He's way better than an average CFB QB.He's a slightly above average P5 QB.


Right now, even with the inconsistent play of the first two weeks. Speight is a top quartile QB.


Right now, for this season - Speight is the #102 QB (of 135) in Total QBR. Nowhere near top quartile.

Sten Carlson

September 14th, 2017 at 3:01 PM ^

I'm sorry but I vehemently disagree with your "seeming lack of progress ... " statement. I said this elsewhere, but we fans have absolutely no idea from whence Wilt came developmentally. Further, all we heard all off season was Wilt can't hit the deep ball, yet we've already seen him put several deep passes right on the money for TD's. Does that not qualify as "progress" in your estimation? Other than a few high passes -- one of which was "tip drilled" right to the safety -- have you seen Wilt make any "head scratcher" throws?

It appears that "progres" to you, et. al., is defined as "by this time in his career he should be playing mistake free football" with no mitigating factors. This kind of inflexible, polarized thinking is clouding your vision of the reality of Wilt's game. He's made a couple of mistakes, but on balance (at least to my eye) he's in complete commmand of the offense, making sound decisions/checks, and has the respect of his teammates. I'm not saying he's elite nor that he doesn't have things where he could improve. But, I think it's clear that things could be a shit ton worse.

Tighten up a few things and Michigan's offense will be extremely potent. As it is, it's not the liability that we saw for so long in the past.


September 14th, 2017 at 9:09 AM ^

I had the pleasure of being on the sideline for the UF game in Dallas and got to speak at length with Grant Newsome.  A very, very impressive young man. I really think Drevno is right, this kid could be a serious national leader one day.  Btw, he is fully confident he will be 100% by next fall (in fact, he says he's good right now).   Our OL next season will be spectacular with Newsome > Bredeson > Ruiz > Big Mike > Ulizio


September 14th, 2017 at 9:18 AM ^

Enjoyable interview with lots of coach speak, but the interviewer teed up the questions and let Drevino answer them or not.  No one in a Harbaugh-run program is going to deviate from the party line (or should they), but I  just wish Harbaugh could be a little nicer at times. Have to respect him for being committed to his players and protecting them.  You can tell he's a Dad and so is Drevino. 


September 14th, 2017 at 9:24 AM ^

I know they were beaten by Hawaii last year and lost much of their D.    But...the Cincy game, in ways, felt like the 2013 Akron game after the big W vs. Notre Dame.  

Anyone else having nightmares about this match-up?


September 14th, 2017 at 9:41 AM ^

Help me out with the Akron comparison, because I'm seeing this from a lot of posters.

Here is the link to the game and box score.

 Go read the quotes from the players.  Look at the scoring summary (took lead for good with 2:49 remaining, indicating of course that UM trailed with less than 3 minutes in the 4th).  Look at the team stats (outgained 425 to 418, 4 turnovers, 3/10 on third down, less first downs 21 to 19).

How is this like a game where we had a 2 score lead for the final 18 minutes and never trailed?

I don't think the UC game was a great performance but come on, the Akron game was as close to a loss to a bad team as possible while still managing to win the game.


September 14th, 2017 at 10:09 AM ^

In the absolute literal sense, you are correct.  My comparison was not accurate.

My expectations were so high after the first two games that season and similar to this years.  That was my point.  I simply thought we would roll over Cincy and we didn't ...especially offensively.  

Just felt ....not good. 

Very worried about Air Force.

Goggles Paisano

September 14th, 2017 at 9:53 AM ^

I am very confident we will see a much more focused and energetic team this Saturday.  When you work all offseason and go thru Fall camp with the big Florida game looming, it takes up all of your focus.  Once that game was over, it was human nature to have a let down.  They got thru it last week and will be ready to go this week.  

I also like that they put in some time in Rome preparing for this game and that triple option.  


September 14th, 2017 at 10:09 AM ^

These comparisons are terrible. Michigan was two poor plays away from blowing the Cinci game wide open. Cinci was obviously vanilla in their opener and showed a ton of new things against Michigan. They will probably be a better team than originally thought.


Harbaugh and staff are so much better at game planning, strategizing, and halftime adjustments than Hoke and Borges. Our team is on another tier of talent compared to that of 2013. The 2013 team lost 6 of their last 8 games. Do you really see that happening to this team?


September 14th, 2017 at 9:55 AM ^

I liked a previous article that refers to the curse of Navarre. Navarre took a crazy amount of criticism throughout his career, yet he led us to our last outright B1G championship in his final season. I really think Wilton's got the ability to do the same. He doesn't have to single handedly win games, just play within the scheme and limit mistakes.


September 14th, 2017 at 10:09 AM ^

Yeah, you know, he’s up in my office all the time and the O-line room

Is Newsome classified in some way where that time is not under whatever NCAA restrictions may be in place? 

I am not suggesting there's any rules-violations going on ... I trust the staff knows the rules and abides by them.  I'm just curious whether there is a separate classification for long-term rehabilitation cases such as Newsome, and if that frees them up from time restrictions that may be in place for the active players.  Anyone know?


September 14th, 2017 at 10:30 AM ^

Is that true for all players?  Or is Newsome categorized differently?

I'm curious about this because I can see how this could be exploited by some programs that want to do more "coaching" ... they could suggest that "volunteering" is really required.

Watching tape by themselves is one thing ... but spending additional time with the coaches themselves?  


September 14th, 2017 at 10:52 AM ^

Interesting PDF ... thanks for the link!

I see under "What doesn't count" -- "Meetings with a coach initiated by the student-athlete (as long as no countable activities occur)."

I read through the list of things that do count, and the only one that seems like it might apply to some of the stuff Newsome is doing is: "Setting up offensive and defensive alignment."  But I'll confess I don't really know what they mean by that.

It's clear I'm not destined for a career as a NCAA compliance officer. ;-)

The Maizer

September 14th, 2017 at 2:57 PM ^

I disagree, I think you're perfectly suited for a career for the NCAA compliance office. You read something positive about a student working hard and your first thought was how is Michigan potentially breaking rules. (Not bashing you, just a joke, I thought the same thing)