Wednesday Presser 9-21-16: Tim Drevno Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 23rd, 2016 at 10:00 AM



Talk about the line play through three games. Some room for improvement, do you think?

“Yeah, absolutely. There’s always room for improvement. They’ve done a good job and we’ve got to keep on getting better just in pass protection, which is—we’ll do that, and communication. But they’ve done a nice job, and we expect a big game this week.”

Do you see guys still playing too high at times?

“Yeah. You always can improve on the offensive line with pad level. You’ve got to get lower and get your eyes in the right spot and be physical with your hands and move your feet and know where you’re going and communication and targets and that sort of thing still needs improvement. Every day you’ve got to work on that and that’s important.”

Do you still see a rotation with the two Bens at left guard?

“Rotation’s always open. Rotation’s always open.”

Talk about Bredeson’s progression.

“Done a nice job. Really has. He plays, like I mentioned before, quick twitch and smart and can process quickly on his feet. Like all those other freshmen, has done a nice job transitioning there and really improved.”

What did Wilton show you in that game? You take the first game interception and then the big hit and coming back in.

“Wilton’s a true competitor and he’s a tough guy. I think anybody who plays the quarterback position’s got to be a tough guy. You’re gonna take hits you don’t want to happen, we don’t want to happen, but it’s how they respond. I mean, that was a tough hit on him and he bounced up and he led us the rest of the game and took us back from being behind. Just really pleased with what he did. It shows his true character and how important it is, the team to him and him being a competitor and winning every down.”

[After THE JUMP: what’s up with the Morris/O’Korn thing, complimenting large gentlemen plying their trade, and a big compliment for Speight]

What about using Shane [Morris] and John [O’Korn] the way you did?

“Yeah, it’s always an option for us. We love to have that option.”

What do you see Shane doing going forward?

“That’s always an option. Stay tuned.”

Talk about what you get from De’Veon [Smith].

“Hard running. Hard, physical, breaks tackles, good pass protector. Just—you’re going to get yards out of him when he hits it up in the hole, and really pleased he’s really letting the play express itself and finding the holes. He’s done a nice job.”

We haven’t seen him turn the corner real often.

“Yeah, that was neat, wasn’t it? I was real happy for him to turn the corner and go score a touchdown. That’s fun.”

What was your reaction to the blocking on that play? Pretty much no one came close to him. What goes through your head as an offensive coordinator when you see that?

“Right on, man. We’re coming back. It was exciting. Any time you break a long run like that it’s exciting when you see that, and just knowing that guys got hats on the right people and what you’re coaching during practice is working. It’s fun.”

How much concern about not being able to run between the tackles?

“You know, I’m not concerned about that. You do different things different weeks, you know.”

Jabrill got in on offense a couple times last week. How much does he need to practice to be—to know your offense?

“We’re not going to talk about anybody’s reps or what we do at practice. That just stays in here.”

But he’ll be used going forward?

“It’s always an option. Stay tuned.”

Harbaugh liked a lot of what Khalid Hill’s doing. Can you talk about some of the things he’s giving you?

“Yeah, he does—for a fullback the first step is so critical, that initial quickness and your hat placement, and he does such a great job doing that and bringing his feet and being physical at the point of attack, and he can catch the ball out of the backfield, which is really neat. And he can do something after he catches it—yards after contact. He’s really done a good job and really pleased with his progress.”

Is that something you saw last year and you kind of had this idea all along, or was it something in the offseason?

“No, we saw that last year and then we got into the spring [and] I think it showed more and more. He needed to step up, which he did. But he’s always had that skillset that’s pleasing to the eye.”

Do you like the push you’re getting from the front five in terms of the downhill stuff?

“Yeah, I do. I think it’s good. There’s room for improvement. We’ve got to stay on blocks better and finish a little better, but there’s always room for improvement. We’ll just keep getting better every week.”

When you say stay on blocks I know what that means, but how do you go about teaching them?

“Strain to finish. Practice it. Rep it.”

How are the MAs this week compared to the first two weeks?

“Uh, it’s about the same. Yeah, about the same.”

So are you pretty pleased through three games with those guys?

“Yeah, they’ve done a nice job. They’re communicating and we’ve got to keep getting better, but for the most part it’s been really good.”

Put into words the attitude of your offensive line.

“Veteran group. They understand the expectation of what it is to be an offensive lineman here and play in this group at the University of Michigan. Hard-working group, and it’s important for them to be right, not to be wrong. They take it really, really personal when it’s not right. Really personal, which is neat. That’s a neat thing to coach. They take pride in their work.”

What does Jake Butt have to do to improve his blocking? Where can he get better?

“I think Jake does a nice job block. I’ve coached a lot of good tight ends like Coby Fleener and Zach Ertz. He’s up with those guys. Those guys were blockers for us at Stanford, and Jake is just as good or better than them at this point in his career.”

Last week Kyle [Kalis] said the last couple years—more 2013 and 2014—the offensive line was a scapegoat. When you inherited the group did you sense that from them, that they’d been sort of beaten up?

“No, I didn’t really pay much attention to what happened in the past. When I walked in [it was] I’m here to improve the guys, we’ve got to coach them and just push on. Every day that I’ve walked in this building they’ve always given their best and worked very hard and asked questions and really want to be good at what they do.”

In that regard, did they have a sense of ‘let’s prove them wrong’ kind of mentality?

“Well, I think anytime—if you’re a football player and you’re competitive…there’s doubters out there. There’s contrarians, people that want you to fail, that are rooting for you to fail. I think in any position, you’ve got to have that kind of chip on your shoulder. You’re backed into a corner, you’re swinging to come out. And then if you want to be really good at this profession and what you do, you’ve got to have that type of attitude when you walk in every day [which] is I’m going to outwork people, I’ve got a chip on my shoulder, I’m going to compete every down, I must win this. So I think they have that attitude.”

What did you think were the reasons for the lack of downfield passing game. Was it Speight’s elbow? Was it your receivers not getting open?

“I think it’s just—there’s different things. Protection was one issue, right. I mean, you saw that. You know, just maybe a missed throw, maybe not precision timing on a route, maybe not being in the right spot. But, you know, I’m pleased. The week before we threw for 312 yards.

“There’s no finer thrower than Wilton throwing the deep ball in college football. That’s hard to do. Not a lot of post routes and things that I’ve seen have been completed. It’s just, they understand the expectation level and we’re going to get the passing game fixed. We will. With Jedd and Jim and myself, we’ll make sure we get that cleaned up this week.”

Mason had a tough assignment on Saturday. How do you think he handled it, and is he still sort of a work in progress there?

“He’s doing really good. That young man from Colorado’s a really good football player, and you see out of the 32 teams I’d say 25 [or] 24 play a 3-4 front. A 3-4 front is very difficult to run the ball into. It’s very sticky. That nose tackle’s like the most important thing because he’s got to hold ground. That young man from Colorado’s going to be a high draft choice in the National Football League, so I thought he did a good job. Are there a couple plays he’d like to take back? Yeah, but that was two good football players battling it out that are going to have healthy careers in this profession.”



September 23rd, 2016 at 10:30 AM ^

But those answers seem to say more "nothing" than the average press conference.  Did I miss something or did he just keep saying everyone did good and working to improve to most of the questions?  Seems like the submarine is operating on a high alert level. 


September 23rd, 2016 at 10:30 AM ^

I know that everything said in press conferences should be almost completely disregarded, but one thing that really seems to come through in reading all of these is that the offensive coaches (Harbaugh, Drevno and Fisch) all seem to think really highly of Wilton.  There is a real level of confidence that comes through. 

I know that Speight did not have his best game - or even a good game - this weekend, but perhaps all of the hand-wringing about him being the starting QB is overblown.  Clearly, the coaches see something in him.  And, competition adjustments aside, he made some pretty damn good throws in the first two games.

Hoping that this isn't entirely Maize-colored classes, but I am confident in Speight going forward.

Blue Ballin'

September 23rd, 2016 at 11:02 AM ^

Did anyone else wonder if Speight's arm was bothering him after that early hit? It was a big hit and he rubbed his arm several times on the sideline during the game. The guys around me were wondering the same thing, but we concluded if he was really dinged badly he'd have come out. I know Jim likes a tough QB, but doubt he'd leave him in if he thought there was damage.


September 23rd, 2016 at 1:51 PM ^

You can get cleared to go back but be not quite right. Throwing is such a precision movement and even if you don't tear anything, just the swelling and bruising can be enough to throw you off.

Personally, I'm almost more worried about him for this week. The hit could have effects that are actually worse a day or two later and if that's effecting his practice time, he may come out erratic again this week. 


September 23rd, 2016 at 10:38 AM ^

How much concern about not being able to run between the tackles?

“You know, I’m not concerned about that. You do different things different weeks, you know.”


September 23rd, 2016 at 11:36 AM ^

Disagree with this take. They tested the middle a couple times and it was clear CU's front is strong up the middle due to their monster 3-4 nose tackle, competent linebackers and strong man coverage corners (allowing an extra box defender).  That defensive strategy left the edge more open. It was a deliberate adjustment and it clearly worked.  Do they need to run the zone stretch better? or execute certain individual blocks much better? ID and communcate on blitzes better?  Of course.  But to say the o-line and the offense as a whole is an utterly hopeless disaster on the level of post-Saddam Iraq (and that the coaches are in denial about it) is as unfounded as it is extreme.


September 23rd, 2016 at 11:54 AM ^

I mean, my post was mostly tongue in cheek, but let's be honest here. One good player in the middle on the opposing defense shouldn't be able to shut down our run game cold between the tackles. Especially in the context of the expectation that Michigan is a B1G championship/playoff contender.

Yes we were able to adjust and find yards elsewhere, but are those yards going to be there against better teams? It's one thing when a team takes away something by being completely unsound elsewhere (UCF stopping run at expense of pass), but it's another when you get beat straight up in one or more aspects. Like I said, I'm very happy the coaches are willing and able to adjust and find weaknesses, but against better teams, those weaknesses might not be so easy to exploit.

Pepto Bismol

September 23rd, 2016 at 11:21 AM ^

I try not to care about bad questions, but somebody seriously had Tim Drevno staring down the barrel of their recorder and said:  "Talk about what you get from De'Veon."

What do you possibly expect to get back from that "question"?  What do you imagine we will learn about De'Veon Smith at this point from such a generic prompt?


As a whole, this was pretty protective.  They're doing great. He's doing great.  I'm doing great. We're all doing great. 





September 23rd, 2016 at 11:31 AM ^

Contrast this press conference with Brown's ... Brown was very open and talkative about things and Drevno is much more close-to-the-vest.

I wonder how much of that is just the nature of offense vs. defense?

Obviously Drevno can't say: "Well, this week against PSU we're going to use Peppers in situation X ..."  And he can't very well say, "The offensive line struggles on run blocking when the opposing defense does Y."  For an OC, it's all about being opaque about what's up his sleeve.

For the defense, though, it's a reactive role.  Brown can talk all day about athletic responsiveness to play X or play Y.   And that's really what Brown's press conference was -- a candid discussion about style and attitude, but he didn't reveal anything about what he may do against PSU this Saturday ... other than be aggressive and go 100mph.


September 23rd, 2016 at 1:13 PM ^

That and I think Don is more defensive (unintentional pun, sorry) about his side's performance when reporters ask leading, negative questions.

Perhaps as the new guy Brown is more invested in squelching potential perceptions about his scheme like the "you're just going to give up more big plays because of the blitzing, right?" question.

Both deflect attempted reporter blame, just different ways of doing it.


September 23rd, 2016 at 12:13 PM ^

These questions were better than usual.  And by better, I mean they did not all totally suck.  

There were a couple of good ones that tried to pin down Drevno on what is going on with the OL blocking and assignments.

Drevno did not actually answer those questions, but hey, at least they were asked.

Brown presser:  Better answers than questions.

Drevno presser:  Better questions than answers.



September 23rd, 2016 at 12:44 PM ^

I like Drevno but holy mackeral he is a master at generalized coach-speak.  There's a whole interview there of multiple questions and I'm not sure I knew much more than when I first started reading it.

Bertello NC

September 23rd, 2016 at 12:51 PM ^

Kalis had a sub par game. In fact I feel like both guards are struggling some. I re watched the game and Kalis and Braden were tripping over a phantom foot, not sustaining and struggled with combo blocks and then disengaged. Its almost as if they just aren't quite athletic enough. I can't really figure it out. But It's hard to say if it's a talent thing or something different. Hope to see some improvement this week.

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September 23rd, 2016 at 12:56 PM ^

Our offense has been very vanilla so far. As Drevno said, "Stay tuned." Our staff didn't want to show anything out of the ordinary in out of conference play. When you can win using mostly base plays and standard formations, you're going to have openings against other teams. It'll help bringing a formation on the the field that no one has film on yet. The D will be lost.

You Only Live Twice

September 23rd, 2016 at 12:57 PM ^

are really just about conversations, and Drevno carries his side of the conversation.  The reporters get their needed quotes and that's it.  I never expect much substance from these, and if it were up to me, coaches wouldn't waste as much time with them.


September 23rd, 2016 at 3:44 PM ^

don't lean on that "We didn't execute" garbage, which was just a way to deflect attention from their bad coaching and cast the blame on the players.

I think it's safe to say: We have better coaching than we've had in quite a while. Right?!? Am I right?


September 23rd, 2016 at 4:41 PM ^

Things are going great? The coaches are funny and accommodate the questions.

Things not going so well? The coaches are not cooperating and stonewalling.

It's a Rorshach inkblot - you will leave with whatever you brought with you.