Drevno emphasizing correctable details ahead of Air Force matchup

Michigan offensive coordinator Tim Drevno teaches the Wolverines to fix their mistakes as soon as possible.

Michigan offensive coordinator Tim Drevno teaches the Wolverines to fix their mistakes as soon as possible. Buy this photo
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Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 6:41pm

Tim Drevno gets a rush out of the light-bulb moments.

Luckily for him, with this inexperienced Wolverine squad, there’s plenty of opportunity for those.

“They’re young, which is great, and they’re very talented,” Drevno said. “But every day is 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. That excites me, as a coach, is being able to teach and then getting it and then understanding it, executing it.”

That dialogue may be more rampant than ever right now. Wednesday afternoon, when Michigan’s offensive coordinator addressed the media, he was quick to emphasize that practice has been focused on the easily correctable details that plagued the Wolverines against Cincinnati.

The two fumbles against the Bearcats may be the most obvious of those details, but the issues stretch beyond that.

“The fly sweeps, the motions, not fumbling the ball, not giving up a sack — I mean those are all correctable things,” Drevno said. “... Just being really detailed orientated. Those are the things we’re really focused on and we focus on them every week. 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 as coaches so they understand it?’ ”

Drevno emphasized that players have to be comfortable with making adjustments, adding that he is doing his part by “crossing every T and dotting every I” to ensure the game plan is sound. 
 
One adjustment came against Cincinnati when two defensive linemen twisted on Nolan Ulizio and Michael Onwenu twice. Both times, Michigan’s inexperienced offensive line duo were beat, and redshirt junior quarterback Wilton Speight faced pressure.

The third time, though, the Bearcats weren’t so successful. Ulizio and Onwenu each picked up on it, and Speight had the pocket to himself. Call it a light-bulb moment.

“That’s exciting,” Drevno said of the in-game adjustment. “When a guy fixes a problem that you’ve talked to him about — they fix it and they do it — and it’s like ‘Hey, right on, we’re getting one step closer to (being) really good.’ ”

Onwenu and Ulizio’s correction was only one example of a larger trend that Drevno has followed with this developing group. As he put it, Michigan’s offense is one with every player’s fingerprints on it.

According to Drevno, a process such as that happens almost universally — in practice, games and the meeting rooms alike.

And while that strategy is already working well, there is a certain sense of urgency to correcting the mistakes. After all, Air Force is the only team standing between Michigan and its Big Ten opener.

The Falcons aren’t a cakewalk, either. As Drevno explained, Michigan will face a fast and well-disciplined defense with an unconventional scheme that isn’t afraid to blitz. They are technically sound — capable of making the tackles they need to and reading routes in the secondary.

Against that defense, Drevno could use a few more light-bulb moments.

“A mistake happens — bam, you put it down and it’s done,” Drevno said. “You don’t want to ever see it again. Is it gonna happen again? It might. You don’t want (it) 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.”