UM's Drevno: QB Brandon Peters an 'even-keel' playmaker

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

The way Michigan offensive coordinator Tim Drevno sees it, redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Peters is a “flat-liner.”

And that’s a good thing as Peters will make his second-straight start on Saturday at Maryland.

Drevno, appearing Wednesday morning on the “Jamie and Stoney” show on The Ticket 97.1, was asked about Peters’ quiet nature and how that translates on the field. He described Peters’ even-keel personality.

“Brandon Peters is a closer with bases loaded coming out of the bullpen to go close the game out, and he’s a flat-liner,” Drevno, who also coaches the offensive line, told the show. “That’s what you want as a quarterback. You don’t want to get too high, you don’t want to get too low. You want to stay within your zone, because you don’t want to get emotionally hijacked because that could take you in a different (place) and spin you out.

“Brandon has that DNA makeup to be an outstanding football player and quarterback here at Michigan and that’s what you’re looking for in a quarterback — a leader and even-keel, and a guy who can make a play when there’s no play to be made.”

More: Two-deep Michigan D-line never too short on talent

The run game took over in Michigan’s victory over Minnesota last week, gaining 371 rushing yards and scoring four touchdowns, two apiece for 200-yard rusher Karan Higdon and Chris Evans. Peters opened the game going 3-for-3, including a 20-yard touchdown pass to Sean McKeon but finished 8-of-13 for 56 yards.

“He did a great job,” Drevno said. “Brandon did a great job commanding the huddle, leading us, getting in the right situations that we needed to on the field that the defense was dealing us. We were just using what was working on Saturday.

“There will be an opportunity for Brandon to show his throwing talents and our receivers to catch the ball. Bottom line, we came out with the win and you just keep working and keep using what’s working for you and don’t back off until they stop you.”

Here are some other highlights from the “Jamie and Stoney” show:

On whether the offensive line play improved dramatically: “It’s taken huge strides forward every week. I think they’re settling in and getting to understand our concepts better and understanding the techniques and working with each other. I think that’s huge. The backs are getting a feel how we’re blocking up front and letting the play express itself. They’re making strides every week. We’ve got to get better. A lot of things we have to fix up front. We’ve got to be the hardest critics on ourselves to get better and every week’s a new week to do that.”

On how tough this offense is for young receivers: “One thing, the transition from high school to college is a huge jump in terms of the speed of the game and how people play press coverage and use their hands. And there’s a young kid standing across from a 21-year-old, a corner that’s three, four years into it, so there’s a transition. Our system is very receiver friendly. (Pass-game coordinator) Pep (Hamilton) and (offensive graduate assistant) Joe Hastings do a great with the receivers. They’re getting better every week, but I wouldn’t say we’re a complex system. We’re getting better at the receiver spot like any position on the offense.”

On what is it about the red zone that makes it so difficult to succeed: “Coordinators do what they’re going to do in the red zone week to week. They’re going to play different coverage, they’re going to try and pressure you to get you out of field-goal range or make you kick a field goal, not score a touchdown. When you get to the plus-25 going in, people are going to change what they do defensively, play a different coverage, bring a different pressure, bring a pressure you’ve never seen before, play a different front. You have to do a good job of looking at the red zone but understand you’re going to have to adjust throughout the game when you enter the red zone to attack the red zone defense.”

On Jim Harbaugh being a quirky guy and what it’s like to work with him every day: “I wouldn’t say he’s quirky. I’d say he’s a true competitor and a phenomenal man and a great leader. Working with him every day, it’s like every day I come in here, it’s like, ‘Wow, I get to work with Jim Harbaugh.’ He brings so much to the table in terms of thinking outside the box. He’s a true leader. He makes decisions. Great father, great husband. You don’t find anybody better than him. I’ve been with him a while and we’ve been through a lot of different things together, and he’s a great football coach. Great mind and I feel very privileged to be at the University of Michigan and be able to coach under Jim Harbaugh and his leadership with his team.”

On how good Karan Higdon can get: “Very good. He’s 196 yards from 1,000, and he’s playing at a high level right now. Those backs the other night, I’ve never seen anybody break so many tackles, yards after contact. They saw the hole well. They let the play express itself when the ball was handed off. Karan is playing at a very high level, and Chris Evans had a breakout game and I think we have three backs at 500 yards each or more, and I think we’re one of the only schools in college football to have that besides Clemson and USC.”