Tyrone Wheatley says trust involved in true freshman playing time

To be able to play as a true freshman, running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley has to be able to trust you first.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- With most of the running back group graduating after this season, the Michigan coaching staff made it an emphasis to recruit the running back position in the 2015 recruiting class. They did it successfully by signing both Kareem Walker and Kingston Davis who are both currently on campus and participating in spring practice with the team.

With a chance to perhaps steal some snaps away from the upper class on roster, the young running backs certainly weren't brought on to take up space on the roster.

However, according to running backs coach Tyrone Wheatley, the expectations for the two young backs will be tempered for now.

"Realistic expectations? They're true freshman," Wheatley said. "They're freshman, we won't know. Right now it's too hard to put anything on it. I'll put it to you this way, they're freshman. They're good freshman but the fact of the matter is they're freshman. To put an expectation on it is really unfair right now."

For now, both Davis and Walker must work hard in order to be in the conversation for early playing time in 2015. With playing time not handed out, Wheatley says there's one thing that his philosophy in playing true freshman always states.

He's got to be able to trust you.

"The philosophy kind of goes back to what I said last year," Wheatley said. "If I can trust you in terms of pass pro, not putting the ball on the ground, learning and knowing your assignments. That's the number one key, if I can trust you. Then if you can play and utilize all your skills and talents within the system and you just outwork everybody and you're the better player, that's the guy who plays. So whether he's a freshman, sophomore makes no difference. To answer the question, that's where it starts with me as a freshman, I've got to be able to trust you."

So, what's more important? Knowing your assignment or being able to pass protect? While both of those are very important facets of the game a running back must be able to master, Wheatley says the collection of factors are equal, as well as important, for being able to trust you with the ball in your hands.

"They're all equal," Wheatley said. "As a running back, you can't gain any yards with the ball on the ground. If you want to put them in order, I would say, yeah, not putting the ball on the ground and second knowing your assignment. (Pass protection is third) we can always put someone in if you can't protect (the quarterback.)"

The Michigan Insider Top Stories