Jeff Hecklinski: "No, not one bit, not one bit. He's preparing to play in Alabama, and until we know differently – you know, have to let the healing process and the rehab take its course here, and we'll know more in the next couple of weeks, but he's a kid that you can give him four or five days, and he's ready to play." Question: I assume you spoke to him after that. How was his mood?
Jeff Hecklinski: "Of course, great. Wonderful. Roy's great. He always has a smile on his face, and this was no different. This was no different. If anything, shoot, he'll probably be a little bit fresher heading into Alabama. He's had a couple weeks off, just rehabbing. So he's handled everything great. In the grand scheme of things, in terms of everything involved with the knee, you know, an arthroscopic surgery is very minor. You know, it's just now the healing process and the rehab, and nobody – no doctor, nobody, can predict the time frame on that. So when he's ready, he's ready, and we'll put him back in, and away we go."
Question: Besides Roy, who are your best deep threats this year?
Jeff Hecklinski: "I think they all are. You know us, we'll just throw the ball up and go get it. There are no issues with that. You don't have to have speed to be a deep threat. Obviously, it helps, there are no questions about that, but you don't have to have speed. You have to have ball skills to be able to go get it, and I think there's not a kid in that room that we would hesitate to throw that ball to."
Question: So Coach, Michigan is going to be honoring a bunch of legends this year. The first one is Bennie Oosterbaan, probably the greatest athlete in Michigan history, a receiver. What are you guys doing to maybe educate your unit and the team about some of these guys? And I know it's probably not what you're thinking about right now, but do you have plans to do that?
Jeff Hecklinski: "You know what, Coach Hoke has a plan in mind, and that's really something more for him because that's really more of a team education process of everything. The first thing when Coach came here was educate the team on Michigan, because a lot of them didn't know what the history of Michigan was, and what it was to be a Michigan football player, or a Michigan man."
Question: To what extent does he educate you guys? I mean, you guys came from all over.
Jeff Hecklinski: "We did, and we all had to educate ourselves, to be honest with you. I mean, we're reading a lot. We're doing a lot of research on what we're going through, and who those guys were, and just what they represented, and what they meant to Michigan during those time frames. "
Question: I know that they're going to have the unveiling for the game, so I know you're not going to tell me, but have you thought about who might be wearing the #87?
Jeff Hecklinski: "You know what, you're talking to the wrong guy. That's a question for the big man. That's all Coach Hoke, and those are all questions for him, because what he wants us to focus on is our kids, and getting ready for Alabama, and then he'll handle the administrative side of that with Dave Brandon, and obviously Dave Ablauf and Justin Dickens."
Question: How much can you say about Devin Gardner playing receiver?
Jeff Hecklinski: "Nothing (laughter). Look, he's – obviously, he played some receiver in the spring. We've continued that same rotation. His role at that position is going to be determined by Coach Hoke and Coach Borges, when that time comes. We're so few practices in, and we still have a lot to go. We have a lot of room for growth. What we need to do is just let Devin get settled at both positions, and then at the end of the day, as we get closer to Alabama, let Coach Hoke and Coach Borges sit down and decide where he's going to be."
Question: Coach Heck, year one, you guys are getting your feet wet, getting to know the guys, going over film. Year two, what's the biggest improvement you've seen in the wide receiver unit?
Jeff Hecklinski: "Confidence. I mean, these guys believe in what they're doing. They believe in their techniques, and they believe in us, and we have a greater belief in them. I think confidence is a huge part of that. Being year one, you're kind of ‘what do I do on this play?', where our guys break the huddle now, and they know what they're doing, and they're focusing on techniques, and they're focusing on coverages, and that's all that comes with confidence, and understanding ‘hey, this is what I do; I'm good at it, and let's go play the game'."
Question: Staying with Roundtree for a minute. What about his leadership? I know he's down right now. Talk about the leadership you've seen in him.
Jeff Hecklinski: "Roy's been great. He's now down, and you know, just because he's not on the field doesn't mean he's not a leader. We talked a little bit earlier about his help in the room; his help with the guys, and the young guys. Teaching things that he knows, and another set of eyes at our practice, helping – ‘hey, you didn't move your head and eyes this way' or, ‘hey, you're stepping to far this way'. You know, those are things that a leader does. Being on the field is a part of it, but it's not all of it. Obviously, we're going to miss him on the field, but you know what, it's not like we're going to miss him on the field for the next six months. We're talking a two to three week healing process, and then he'll be right back in it. So, it's going to be a short period of time that he'll be rehabbing, and the guys will feed off his energy in the rehab, and he'll feed off the guys as he's rehabbing. So it all works hand in hand as we go through this".
Question: How much has Roy been helping you guys with the freshmen that are coming in?
Jeff Hecklinski: "I think all of those guys have done a good job helping the young guys. Not just Roy, but all of those guys. You know, they've been really accepting. A year ago, we didn't have this, because we didn't have any new guys in the room, so it's really the first time where we've added some new guys. And everyone in the room has really taken to those guys, and really helped them out, and it's been good. Like I said, those are hard working guys. It's a hard working group of guys. If I were to describe us, I'd describe us as blue collar, hard-nosed, and tough, and that's what you want at that position."
Question: What do you like about Drew Dileo?
Jeff Hecklinski: "I love everything about Drew Dileo. I love his toughness. I love the fact that he's a little pitbull out there. You know, he'll go and hit a 250-pounder just like he'll hit a 190-pounder. No difference, and no fear. And he gives you everything he has. Those are the guys that win you football games at the end of the day. You have your guys who obviously are very talented, but it's the guys who are behind the scenes – the guys who make the plays that maybe the fans don't see during the game – that win football games, and Drew is at the top of that list, so he's very important. Drew will always have a role here at Michigan."
Question: What do you think about Russell Bellomy? I heard he's looking good.
Jeff Hecklinski: "He is. He has. I think those are all questions for Al and Coach Hoke, because I really don't coach that position, so I think anybody that gets under center, there's an expectation at that position, and Russell's certainly learning to live up to those expectations, but you know, someone who can go more in depth for you is Al and Coach Hoke."
Question: I know it's early, but you keep saying ‘expectations'. For the freshmen coming in – I know you guys like size in your receivers, and they have size – so what are you expecting from the freshmen? Are you expecting them to contribute this year?
Jeff Hecklinski: "We don't have any expectations for the freshmen right now. Honestly, we haven't had them very much, because they're finishing up summer school right now. We know when we have them, they're very hard working. They're here to learn; they're intelligent. But anything else beyond that, what we need to do is get them done with school, get them here full time, and then we'll have a better assessment – we'll have a better assessment into early next week."
Question: The two freshmen receivers coming in – 6'2" and 6'3" – Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson. Talk about them, their development. Does it seem to be too much for them right now? Sometimes it can be for freshmen. How are they fitting in?
Jeff Hecklinski: "I think they fit in great. I think they fit in wonderful. They have great personalities. I don't think we can make an assessment on any of this, because we haven't had them, and we're finishing up school, with school being the most important thing right now. We have to let them finish, and we have to get them back over here then, and get them involved full time, and then once we get them involved full time, we'll know more about that."
Question: How does Devin look to you at wide receiver?
Jeff Hecklinski: "Obviously, he's very talented. I mean, he's a talented athlete. You could put him with our basketball team and he would stand out. You could probably put him on our track team and he would stand out. That's how talented we think he is. But until that point, what we need to do is just allow him to be able to play both, and then let Coach Borges and Coach Hoke decide his role."
For additional comments from Hecklinski on Gardner, Amara Darboh, and more, press play below.