This is “old news” by now because it was announced yesterday and I posted a link last night, but I wanted to share a few thoughts on the departure of offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Tim Drevno.
Some of Michigan’s offensive line numbers over the past few years:
ADJUSTED LINE YARDS
ADJUSTED SACK RATE
Hit the jump for more.
Taken as a whole, those numbers aren’t terrible. When it comes to running the ball, Michigan’s offensive line was in the top half of the country for the first two years and jumped all the way to #20 in 2017. Running the ball generally wasn’t an issue this past season.
When it comes to passing the ball, Michigan was actually very good in 2015 and 2016. It helped in 2015 that Jake Rudock scrambled pretty well, and it helped in those first two seasons that Michigan had some very experienced linemen.
The wheels came off in 2017 for a number of reasons, some of which we’re probably not even aware. Albeit with the loss of Grant Newsome – who was recruited by Brady Hoke – Michigan under Drevno has been unable to develop (and possibly recruit) elite offensive tackles. I didn’t come up with this statement, but it has been said elsewhere that Michigan was playing with five offensive guards for the past couple years. And that’s true. Erik Magnuson (a right tackle at Michigan) is an offensive guard in the NFL, Ben Braden (a part-time left tackle at Michigan) is a guard in the NFL, Mason Cole (a two-year starter at left tackle under Drevno) will probably be drafted as a center, etc.
I posted a guide for scouting tackles (LINK), and while I’m not claiming to be 100% spot-on when it comes to offensive line recruiting, I think it has been pretty clear that Michigan has been reeling in subpar candidates to play tackle at Michigan. Nolan Ulizio and Juwann Bushell-Beatty were always going to be projects who should only be looked to for help as redshirt juniors or fifth year seniors, but Bushell-Beatty was relied upon some in 2016 and then both were needed in 2017 when they were a redshirt sophomore and a redshirt junior, respectively.
Meanwhile, Erik Swenson is at Oklahoma and Devery Hamilton is starting at Stanford. While I still have doubts about Swenson, who is a third-stringer for the Sooners, both of those guys could have potentially been options if they had remained committed to Michigan. Whether it was Jim Harbaugh or Drevno, someone dropped the ball in their recruitment.
I will say this again, in simpler terms than I’ve said before: If you want 15 linemen on your team, recruit about 13 tackles and 2 centers. Your guards can be failed tackles, and centers require a special skill set. I thought Patrick Omameh would be a solid tackle, and he’s starting at guard in the NFL. Erik Magnuson, too.
The last critical thing I will say about Drevno – and it’s more about the organization – is that someone’s head had to roll. After an abysmal performance like what happened in pass protection this year, it had to be Harbaugh, Drevno, or passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton, and Harbaugh isn’t going anywhere. I was a little bit appalled when some people started saying that Drevno and Hamilton would both return. Drevno made the most sense to leave, because he had three years to make a difference, and the results were mixed.
This needed to happen.
On a final note, I hope Drevno finds success wherever he goes next. He’s obviously a capable football mind, because he had success at San Diego, Stanford, the 49ers, and (some at) Michigan. I also think he carries himself well. It just didn’t work out in the long run for him at Michigan.
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