Tim Drevno, Ex-Wolverine

Tim Drevno, Ex-Wolverine

February 24, 2018

Tim Drevno (image via 247 Sports)

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:

2015: #52
2016: #64
2017: #20

2015: #13
2016: #28
2017: #117

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.


  1. Comments: 531
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    Feb 24, 2018 at 1:16 PM

    I would add the following. Your strategy with recruiting tackles is interesting although I don’t necessarily subscribe 100% to that theory.

    I think the elephant in the room in regards to the OL is the missed assignments. That is coaching. Losing Newsome and playing limited talent (Ulizio) does cause problems but at a bare minimum you need to pick up assignments. You can whiff on a block vs. having two lineman just look at each other while the blitzer just goes into the backfield is the real killer.

    This is coaching. In regards to Drevno, I wish him well. Nobody with a heart likes someone to get fired. I also had an issue with Drevno or whomever (Pep?) with some of the playcalling. See the MSU game panic mode in the storm, the last OSU drive.

    Bottom line is that Harbaugh does recognize the major issues and hopefully changes are on the horizon. The talent level looks better on the OL (Ruiz, Filiaga, Steuber, Honigford, Hudson but unless these guys know what the defense is calling and people get a body on someone to slow them down then UM won’t reach it’s offensive potential.

    Still need a qb.

    • 17years
      Comments: 57
      Joined: 2/6/2018
      Feb 24, 2018 at 1:30 PM

      About Ilizio, was it Drevno’s idea he started, or Greg Frey’s? Since Frey was Tackles coach wasn’t it him? Once Ilizio was replaced the O Line immediately had improvement.

  2. 17years
    Comments: 57
    Joined: 2/6/2018
    Feb 24, 2018 at 1:25 PM

    I think some blame for what happened in 2017 that should have been put on Greg Frey and Pep Hamilton was unfairly put on Tim Drevno.

    But, to be honest, though I like Tim Drevno, and though I think where he goes the O Line will improve, could Michigan, and should Michigan, do better than what the O Line was doing the pat 3 years? Yes.

    I’m expecting clear improvement this year with Ed Warinner.

  3. Comments: 228
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    Feb 24, 2018 at 2:27 PM

    Very good commentary…………

    My 2 sents there’s way tooo much emphasis on yardage stats in football. They’re the equivalent of base hits in baseball that counts all but home plate in the ‘total bases’ stat. Baseball Games have been lost tho the losing team pitched a no-hitter (Go to 1966 Tigers vs Orioles for an eg. at the MLB level)

    TD’s & To ratio/margin mean way more to me than just simply ‘passing yards’ & ‘rushing yards’. This offense under Drevno couldn’t put the ball in the End Zone – period; be it to’s or tooo many field goals – even in victory.

    Coupled with his inability to close on OL recruiting yeah, he had to go. I wonder too just how far Harbaugh looked for an OC beyond Drevno when he was first hired as Michigan’s HC………?? Perhaps too much familiarity? (Someone on this site used the term ‘cronyism’ & I’m not so sure that isn’t accurate -if true very shortsighted on Harbaugh’s supposedly ‘great coaching/team building ability)

    Anyway, the offensive unit is basically back to Square 1; 2015, in terms of satff and now they wait to see about whether or not the 2nd coming of Ruddock will play for 2018.
    2018 is ‘Just like Starting Over’; reminds of a song………intjohn

  4. Painter Smurf
    Comments: 253
    Joined: 8/12/2015
    Painter Smurf
    Feb 24, 2018 at 4:54 PM

    I am glad JH finally made this move. It seemed inevitable once they hired Warriner, but the delay was puzzling. I think the struggles with stunt recognition the last season (arguably the worst seen from a UM line in memory), along with a consistent inability to close on OT recruits really put Drev in a bind. The secret sauce at previous stops for JH’s offense has been strong OL – they are not going to put up a lot of fluky points or shield weaknesses like some quicker hitting offenses can. But UM has continued to roll with multiple OL starters who did not belong on the field, well into the JH era. Looks like we are potentially headed for the same problem again in year 4.

  5. Comments: 995
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    Feb 24, 2018 at 4:54 PM

    Offensive production and OL missed assignments were unacceptable. Agree
    Someone had to go. Agree

    I still don’t get though, how so many fans lay all the blame & anger on Drevno. Harbaugh overestimated him by making him a coordinator (wasn’t ready, probably never will be), while rebuilding an OL that has sucked for a decade. Harbaugh also overestimated UMs ability to recruit, leaving us ridiculously short on Tackles. I’m not sure Warriner can fix that, but at least he’ll have more options than 2017
    We’ll need to get really lucky with two guys, and the D and SpTms will have to improve enough to cover for the OL, and maybe QB too…

    • Painter Smurf
      Comments: 253
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      Painter Smurf
      Feb 24, 2018 at 8:09 PM

      Good points, but the shortage of OT’s cannot be laid at “UM’s ability to recruit”. That’s a Drevno thing. The guy by all accounts is not a particularly good recruiter. Webb is already hinting that Drev’s departure should have an immediate, positive effect with some of the regional OL prospects who have been cold-shouldering UM of late.

      JH’s mistake was thinking he could load up with NFL-type coaches on offense and the kids would flock in from all over (especially Cali, Texas, etc.). Fact of the matter is that he needs some ace recruiters on offense too, i.e, offensive equivalents of Mattison/Partridge.

      With JH arguably being slow to recognize this, and signs that JH has a blind spot for Drevno, annoyance boiled over this season/off-season. It was time for Drev to go, but this happening in late February instead of Dec or Jan only made fans more anxious. All is well that ends well though. I think they are going into 2018 with a more coherent, balanced staff than last year.

      • Comments: 995
        Joined: 1/19/2016
        Feb 25, 2018 at 1:47 AM

        Let me be clear, I’m not saying fans should be furious & venumous at Harbaugh, just unclear why the “buck stopped” with Drevno
        As for “ability to recruit,” I’m questioning the strategy & priorities. OL should have been priorty1 with how our OL was recruited by RR, and developed under Hoke. Even if you give JH a pass because 2015 was such a small window (I don’t), after spring practice they should have known the urgency! There’s no excuse for not having a backup plan for Hamilton in 2016; that class was huge. 2017 gave us numbers, but not a star, right? So how is it that in 2018, we take half a dozen DBs, but ONE OL???
        Either JH & Drevno overestimated their ability to recruit, or just plain screwed it up. But it’s on both, not just one of them

  6. Comments: 531
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    Feb 25, 2018 at 2:50 AM

    Yep. That 2nd class really was the fault of Harbaugh. He took only Bredeson and Onwenu. It was a major mistake. Harbaugh and staff were playing with fire and got burned big time.

    The biggest mistake of the Harbaugh recruiting era. I won’t blame him for Peters if he doesn’t pan out. Now the good news. This deficiency was addressed a couple of years ago but all this is old news.

    No more excuses and clearly Harbaugh is trying to rectify the bad OL play and he has talent in my opinion to get this straightened out with good coaching.

    • 17years
      Comments: 57
      Joined: 2/6/2018
      Feb 25, 2018 at 12:01 PM

      That first paragraph was sarcasm, right?

      • Comments: 531
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        Feb 25, 2018 at 2:43 PM

        No. Would you like to read it again? (sarcasm).

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