After just three days of practice, football coaches have many more questions than answers. In fact, after three days they usually don’t have any answers – which brings us to Thursday afternoon.
Michigan Offensive Coordinator Tim Drevno stood in front of a crowded room of microphones and cameras at Towsley Museum inside Schembechler Hall and was asked for answers. He did his best but even he admitted, answers are tough to come by after three days.
Drevno, now in his third year running the Wolverine offense, faced the faces of reporters with his back to the giant “This is Michigan” wall and barely took a breath before the first question – and obvious question – was passed to him from the front row.
“How do the quarterbacks look?” After day three?
“Good,” he said with pinpoint accuracy and bravado. “We’ve had three days of practice completed and it’s just been very good.”
The quarterback competition is just heating up and the last man standing will be standing behind center on Sept. 2 when the Wolverines open the season against Florida in Arlington, Texas. There are sure to be some rises and falls for all three: fourth-year junior Wilton Speight, redshirt freshman Brandon Peters and fifth-year senior John O’Korn.
“They’re leading well, throwing the ball well, focused in meetings,” said Drevno. “They’re really off to a good start.”
The quarterbacks are going to be referred to as “they” for a few more weeks. Or at least until “he” starts to emerge.
As for using “they” in the same game?
“You could do that,” he said when asked about using more than one quarterback against one opponent. “At times there are different packages and things. Going into a football game you’re always looking for the best way to attack a defense, and if that’s something that presents a problem for the team you’re playing, then that could be an option.”
There are going to be some growing pains at quarterback and on offense for the 2017 Michigan Wolverines.
Last season with a veteran lineup, Michigan’s offense produced the fifth-highest single-season point total in program history (524 points), trailing only the Point-a-Minute Teams of 1901-04. U-M led the Big Ten in scoring (40.3 points per game) for the second straight season, ranking 11th in the NCAA.
The Wolverines led the Big Ten Conference in scoring offense, red-zone offense, turnovers lost, interceptions and fourth-down conversions. They achieved their success through efficiency and balance, averaging more than 210 yards on the ground and through the air.
But that was last year. The core of that group has moved on. The players moving in, however, show promise, hope and commitment – at least after day three.
If we learned anything on Thursday it’s that all quarterbacks are created equal during the first week of football practice.