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Tyrone Wheatley not focused on homecoming, worried more about task at hand

During his first interview since being named Michigan's running backs coach, Tyrone Wheatley discusses his homecoming to Ann Arbor.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in a very long time, Michigan will have a new face at the running back coach position. However, this "new" face also has some familiarity to it as well. Continuing with the "homecoming" theme that Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has brought with him to Ann Arbor, former Wolverine running back Tyrone Wheatley has also returned to coach the position that put his name on the map during his time with the program.

With that being said, don't tell Wheatley that. For his mind is elsewhere right now.

"Haven't really thought about (coming back to Michigan) to be honest," Wheatley told reporters on Tuesday evening. "My focus is the Big Ten Championship, National Championship and 2,000-yard rushers. I've been the type of person, once I've left here, I've left here. I was on to better things that this place had catapulted me on to do, that's where my mindset was. But now I'm back here for a totally different reason. I'm a coach now."

Feeling like an "artist with a blank canvas" in his own words, Wheatley has a lot of talent to work with.

One piece in particular is the addition of USC transfer Ty Isaac. Unable to play last season due to NCAA transfer rules, he will be immediately thrown into the mix after his redshirt season.

"I don't think it's Ty Isaac being different," Wheatley said. "He's a guy who brings a different aspect to the game. He has great feet, good vision. He's a smooth runner but I wouldn't say he's any different than any other guy."

It's no secret that the running backs Michigan has on roster vary in size. Though the smaller running backs might not be at a disadvantage as of right now, Wheatley admits having size does help but still wants to see how his players will fit into their own.

"It's still the early phases so everyone still has to prove who they are and what they are," Wheatley said. "I don't want to put the cart before the horse right now but size does help."

In terms of his artistry, Wheatley said that if he were painting a house with his "blank canvas" he would only have one brick painted. Despite the obvious growing pains, he's excited to get to work.

"They're a talented bunch and I don't think they understand who they are and what they can be at the end," Wheatley said. "It's a lot to work with and I am excited to work with those guys. Right now, we're just starting to scratch the surface. We're trying to learn how to run the ball, what to look for in the blocking schemes and that nature. We're in the infantry stages of this right now."