Ben Herbert Is The New S&C Guy

Ben Herbert Is The New S&C Guy

Submitted by Brian on December 30th, 2017 at 2:22 PM


"is this a strength coach" visual test: check

Former Wisconsin and Arkansas S&C coach Ben Herbert's name has been floating around as a possible replacement for Kevin Tolbert, for fairly obvious manball related reasons, and now that hire is official:

Michigan has identified a candidate for its strength and conditioning opening.

First referenced by The Michigan Insider's Sam Webb on our premium message boards last week, the Wolverines intend to hire former Arkansas S&C coach Ben Hebert to take over the S&C opening left behind by Kevin Tolbert.

Herbert was at Wisconsin for S&C coach for 11 years, the last four of which as the head S&C guy, before leaving with Bret Bielema to go to Arkansas four years ago. That didn't work out quite as well as Herbert might have hoped, but Arkansas did have some consistently enormous offensive lines, just like Wisconsin did before him. Herbert's time at UW is probably more instructive since the Badgers aren't operating at a severe talent deficit to most of their opponents, and picking someone up from the program that makes the most out of the least recruiting in the Big Ten, and possibly the nation, seems like a good plan.

Post-Barwis I'm skeptical that there's a big difference between any reasonably up-to-date strength coaches, FWIW. I didn't think Michigan's team seemed like it had any major S&C issues—the defense was dominant and the offensive line started mashing guys about midway through the season. Harbaugh's post-OSU comment that Michigan needed to get stronger didn't really mesh with what I saw, which was a team that went toe to toe with the Buckeyes and would have won with a C- QB performance. If anything might have been an issue under Tolbert it's conditioning, not raw gert-orf-me strength.

But unleash the comments, all the same.

Unverified Voracity Has Electrolytes On Its Cereal

Unverified Voracity Has Electrolytes On Its Cereal

Submitted by Brian on January 20th, 2015 at 4:55 PM


needs updating: "MILK: never heard of it"

I couldn't find the rocket fuel. Add it to the pile:

"This one time I was a kid, we didn't have any milk for cereal," says Jay Harbaugh, 25. "He put Gatorade in the cereal instead of milk. It was the weirdest thing I ever saw.

"I didn't try it. For good reason. That's not where Gatorade goes."

Later that day he poured a Red Bull on his pizza, with powdered sugar donuts for dessert. IF YOU GET MY DRIFT



DO YOU GET IT? I have to explain everything.

ANYWAY. It's not the worst idea in the world.

409? 45. When you absolutely need something burned to the ground, you could do a lot worse than calling on Keith Olbermann:

It'll never happen, but if Michigan hockey all wore "45" stickers on their helmets the next time they played Penn State I'd be real happy. 45? The number of counts Sandusky was convicted on.

Snipe. Michael Hurley is some dude in Boston who's confused why Michigan fans are high-fiving him online today. You do the Lord's Work, Mr. Hurley:

“There are well-founded whispers in the NFL that the underlings who supply towels in the visiting locker room sometimes run back to the home locker room to share what they heard.”

This is stupid. This is lazy. This is irresponsible “journalism” from Sports Illustrated. This should not be published, period.

“The Patriots supposedly stopped videotaping opponents’ defensive signals when they got caught in 2007, but opponents wonder if they are still stealing them.”

I wonder every single day if I’m going to get hit by a comet and wiped off the face of the earth. It does not mean it’s going to come true. “Reporting” on what opponents wonder is pathetic.

That is an on-point fisk of a pile of not-even-Googled Michael Rosenberg assertions about the Patriots in the wake of slightly-less-inflated-ball-gate. Someone send him an "I Oblierated Michael Rosenberg On The Internet And All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt" shirt.

I mean:

“Maybe some of this is overstated.”


A pattern arises.

JOBS (one of which some of you might be qualified for). A number of jobs have been posted on Michigan's site with which they do that federally-mandated thing, and they're interesting in terms of program direction even if you're not trying to fit in one of the gaps—a number of these are probably already decided upon anyway.

One might not be. There's a "recruiting coordinator" spot that is heavy on the twitter/vine/swipe-right-to-commit end of things:


- Create Highlight Tapes that are used on Unofficial and Official Visits
- Create Highlights of Michigan Football that are used for social media
- Create Highlights from Prospects game tape for the coaches to evaluate.
- Handle the logistics for Video Presentation at the Stadium with prospects.
- Create and Coordinate Michigan Vine Video Account

Good to see that they're going to be more out there on the social medias than Hoke was—not that Hoke was particularly hampered by not doing this until his offense died in a hole.

(Note that Chris Singletary's title is "director of player personnel" and that a bunch of these responsibilities are not currently taken care of. Singletary's staying and this spot likely reports to him.)

There's also an "offensive football analyst" spot that sounds a lot like the video coordinator stuff I know they're already doing with extra snitchin':

7) Monitor team curfew during preseason training camp.
8) Lifestyle monitoring of student-athletes. Monitor off-campus student-athlete housing.

And a "player development" spot which also seems like it will report to Singletary and help him do more.

And even though they didn't get Shannon Turley there's no question that's what Harbaugh wants his S&C program to look like. Michigan's posted a "performance manager" post that sounds like it's at the full Turley/Chip Kelly level of sophistication…

1. Clinical application and administration of comprehensive performance analytics and lifetime wellness services for student-athletes as assigned.
2. Collaborate with Student-Athlete Health and Welfare personnel and coaching personnel to assess training loads, neuromuscular fatigue, athlete readiness, and other performance factors.
3. Collaborate with Student-Athlete Health and Welfare personnel and coaching personnel to develop protocols to monitor and enhance rest, recovery, and regeneration, and athlete readiness.

Say goodbye, kids:

- Ability to work long hours, including early mornings, late nights, weekends, holidays, overtime, non-traditional work hours, extended periods of time without days off, travel, and be on-call as a regular part of the position;

They also posted a "performance nutrition" spot two weeks ago. It sounds like they're fleshing out the support staff—IIRC Harbaugh often makes requests for extra resources in these departments.

Midterm CSBs out. The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau provides an official-ish draft ranking around this time of year, and this one features a particularly prominent set of Michigan-affiliated players. (A reminder: the CSB separates Euro and North American skaters, so multiply a player's ranking by about 1.3 to get an approximate draft position.) They are:

  • #6 Zach Werenski, D, already enrolled
  • #14 Kyle Connor, F, Youngstown (USHL)
  • #34 Brendan Warren, F, USA U18 (USHL)
  • #70 Joe Cecconi, D, Muskegon (USHL)
  • #176 Nick Boka, D, USA U18 (USHL)

That's two likely first round picks, a second-rounder, a mid-round guy, and a guy who might go late. Goalie Hayden Lavigne and forward Connor Murphy are the only incoming players not ranked. Murphy was ranked last year whilst tearing up Ontario Junior B, but after a move to the USHL's Chicago Steel sees him with a 10-10-20 line in 33 games he's dropped off the radar—as 5'9" kids who aren't murdering the competition tend to do.

FWIW, if Michigan doesn't add anyone before the summer that might be an indication they expect to return just about everyone they are able to next year. The three incoming F and two outgoing D match Michigan's departures (At F: Hyman, Lynch, Sinelli; on D: Serville, Chiasson) precisely.

Michigan is carrying a longer roster than they usually do, but right now I don't think anyone is going to be in a spot where their NHL team would be encouraging a quick signing. Maybe Larkin, if Larkin wasn't a draftee of the very patient Red Wings. Maybe Werenski if he gets picked by an exceptionally jumpy team.

But it's Michigan hockey so don't believe they're there until three weeks into the season.

UPDATE: I didn't look at recruits scheduled to come in for 2016, so I missed #63 Cooper Marody and #192 Sam Miletic, both USHL forwards.

Jedd Fisch background. He's completely out of nowhere:

While most of the members of Harbaugh's staff have an immediate connection to the head coach, Fisch doesn't.

He met Harbaugh for the first time when he got off the plane in Ann Arbor. However, he does have a long-standing coaching relationship with Vic Fangio, Harbaugh's defensive coordinator for four years with the San Francisco 49ers and one year with Stanford.

Fisch does have a knack for getting good jobs, and Harbaugh's hiring history is impeccable. Hopefully that's a bright young mind in a bad situation kind of thing instead of Kiffin 2.0; I'm guessing it's the former until evidence says otherwise.

While we're on the topic, here's MGoVideo has some Jedd Fisch miked up stuff, including a moment where he yells at Denard. Not, like, Rodriguez-yells. He's much more laid back. So are coked-up hyenas. Why am I talking about this?

Etc.: Soccer alum Justin Meram got a start for Iraq at the Asian Championships. Nine caps and counting. You'll never guess where Pat Forde slots Michigan on his list of winners and losers in the coaching carousel. (If you are deliberately obtuse.)

Hello, MAAR. We're going to be seeing a lot more of you. What OSU did to Oregon, specifically.

It's never the best idea to name your blog after the head coach, but I think The Harblaug will be a good idea longer than Hokeamaniac or the late and unlamented Big & Rich Rod, which I just made up.

Hello: Shannon Turley, Strength & Conditioning

Hello: Shannon Turley, Strength & Conditioning

Submitted by Brian on January 4th, 2015 at 7:29 PM


First reported($) by 2016 OL commitment Erik Swenson to Scout and later confirmed by many places, including a lot of Stanford players: Shannon Turley, the Cardinal's Director of Football Sports Performance, is taking the same job at Michigan.

Turley has been at  Stanford for eight years, arriving with Harbaugh and staying on after his departure. He first met up with Harbaugh the year before they made the move to Stanford, with Turley taking an equivalent job at San Diego.

Turley is an ideal candidate. Stanford built its program by taking lightly recruited guys and turning them into half-hog, half-demon, all-man on both sides of the line. The first wave of Stanford NFL hits came from the two- and three-star ranks of Walt Harris's recruiting: after consecutive drafts that saw no Stanford players taken, Toby Gerhart was a second rounder in 2010 and a TE and FB went in the seventh round. Since, Stanford linemen and backs have been regular features—13 in the last four drafts, with few of them four-stars and exactly zero true blue-chippers (ie, top 50-ish players with a raft of offers).

Turley has been a large part of that success. Credited as an innovator whose techniques have drastically reduced Stanford's on-field injuries

From 2006, the year before Turley arrived on the Farm, as Stanford’s campus is known, through last season, the number of games missed because of injury on the two-deep roster dropped by 87 percent. In 2012, only two Cardinal players required season-ending or postseason surgical repair; this year, only one.

…Turley was named the 2013 S&C coach of the year and scored a New York Times encomium just over a year ago that described his Chip-Kelly-esque approach to making his players functionally strong and resilient:

His approach is grounded in physics, on the premise that low man wins on contact, that to get low requires mobility and stability and the ability to apply force in the opposite direction. His players bench press, but he cares more about how they lift — with hands closer together, without bouncing the bar off their chests — than how much. He wants them to bend all the way down when they squat.

Freshmen in Turley’s program do not lift weights upon arrival. Instead, for the first few weeks, they do “body work,” or push-ups and pull-ups and squats or lunges without weights; basically old-school, military calisthenics.

“You have all these different genres of training, and we steal from them all,” Turley said. “CrossFit. Bodybuilding. Power lifting. But ultimately, it’s none of those. It’s a system we’ve developed to train football players.”

Turley builds "real-world applicable man strength," and has done so at the place having the most success at doing so relative to recruiting expectations in the country; he has been doing it for eight years. He's young and innovative, but experienced. He's intimately familiar with Jim Harbaugh. He is currently the subject of an outpouring of well wishes mixed with regrets from current and former players on Twitter…

…and he's headed to Ann Arbor.


We have some!

Here's a podcast featuring Turley as well, and an extensive Bleacher Report article that's worth your time.



Well, with Stanford DC Lance Anderson suddenly a thing again despite the fact that DJ Durkin is, according to Sam, in town means many things are possible. Michigan's coaching staff is now this Sportscenter commercial:

RIP Stu Scott

We should know most of the names by tomorrow or Tuesday, with maybe two or three spots (RB, TE, DBs) still to settle.

Dear Diary Is Highly Spooked

Dear Diary Is Highly Spooked

Submitted by Seth on October 31st, 2014 at 11:06 AM


On the nature of Hoke, life, the universe, and everything. Upcoming Christopher Nolan movie Interstellar went to great lengths to produce the above image, the best yet of what a black hole looks like based on the mathematics of relativity—not just the lensing of space behind it but the surprising twisting of the accretion disc around it due to the warping of space where it's formed.

What's spooky about it is the thing you're seeing isn't the thing that exists. What exists is a disc around a spinning supermass, like Saturn's rings. What you're seeing however is space itself getting so warped by that mass that you can see it in 4D, bending space like a piece of paper.

Best and Worst posted a trailer for Interstellar and raved about the "our place in the dirt" quote while neglecting to mention the one in there by Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

This is how I want Michigan to finish the season: certain of its own mortality, fighting anyway. Last year's blowout to MSU was an apocalypse, but at that moment I was profoundly mad, not embarrassed. I was embarrassed when they went out flat and uncaring against Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl. Whenever I wonder if we were right to can Rodriguez when we did, I remember that act of cowardice. Whenever I wonder if we're being too hard on Brady, I think on how he gives up without looking like giving up. Bronx had a different explanation:

This might be semantics, but I don't think Hoke is a quitter.  He's (sadly) calling the game the same way in the 1st quarter as he is in the 4th quarter.  He's like the worst movie version of artificial intelligence.

So he's a robot who faces adversity by going back to his safe place, i.e. the way Lloyd Carr would coach a 1st quarter. I'm not buying it. I think he closes up shop when he thinks it's hopeless, and believes we're not smart enough to notice it.

Ron Utah nevertheless argues that at least that Brady is an essentially good man. I subscribe to the DFW method of rating people: their expectations of other people tend to be the greatest insight into how they themselves think. For example the dude on the board who thinks everything is about political warfare is just a really partisan dude. Brandon's emails were relevant not because they explain how he alienated fans—if he wrote 300 of these that's still a thousandth of the 300k waiting list his policies expunged. Rather they showed us how arrogant Brandon thinks his critics are, thus how truly arrogant Brandon is.

Hoke's goodness is best exemplified, perhaps, in his weaknesses as a coach. He doesn't ever seem prepared for enemies who want to gut him, because he doesn't have that killer instinct. Perhaps he doesn't push his players hard enough—maybe that comes from not expecting other coaches to be doing so. His players seem stunned when there's a cheap shot against them—we look at that like "where's your spirit?!"" but it could just be they're not the type of dudes who expect the other team is trying to scramble their brains.

It is a mistake to see the obvious flaws in Hoke and assume we would make better head coaches. It is not a mistake to see these flaws and assume more successful head coaches would make better head coaches. Perhaps it was our own naivety to think Michigan's particular advantages could compensate for the weakness of goodness.

This football program is as doomed as matter in an accretion disc. Some of the players in it won't be here (Peppers at least said he will be the last to leave), and there's no guarantee that the next step will take us to the dark core of the black hole or shooting out into space to form a new star. Michigan looks headed to 4-8 by Massey estimates, which LSA matrixcised.


This is mathematical reality. The above is how the universe is arranged. But what separates life from every other arrangement of matter is how we approach our doom. Life doesn't just ride the mathematics arc until it spirals into nothingness. Life rages.

It probably won't change anything, but the players on this doomed team plan to rage against that probability. It almost certainly won't change anything, but most fans have chosen to march back to the Big House, and the other home field in Evanston, and even down to the darkest place in the universe, and rage against the dying of the light.

If you'd like to do so and don't have tickets, head to this thread before 3pm today and tell us about the crazy thing you've done. I'm now up to 8 tickets to give away.

[Jump for metaphysical beings—ghouls, goblins, zombies, etc.]

Unverified Voracity Plans A Disaster

Unverified Voracity Plans A Disaster

Submitted by Brian on April 7th, 2009 at 2:53 PM

Event! Okay. It has been proposed that there should be an MGoBlog tailgate before the spring game. I am amenable, and Varsity Blue is also onboard. The current, extremely tenuous plan is to meet at 9 AM by the bus stop outside of Crisler. I fear that some guy will show up with emo hair and talk like people in Idiocracy speak and he will be set upon and eaten, but that's the chance you take.

I have no idea if this plan is feasible or not. At every previous spring game ever, it obviously would be because there would be no one else there but there's a chance people might be enthused this year or something and space might be limited. Also we need, like, food equipment beer etc. There is an official organization thread. Hopefully in a couple days it will come to some sort of consensus and I'll post final details later in the week.

I bet this is going to be a fiasco.

Riot? No, not so much. Though the East Lansing Riot Tracker ticked over to "maybe" last night, the Daily was on the scene and uncovered this scene tragically dissimilar to Children Of Men:


(Chris Dzombak from the Daily)

Dammit, Western. You've failed me for the last time. I don't know what's more surprising: friendliness between riot cops and State students or a girl at State who doesn't bleach her hair in an effort to look like a sad Midwestern version of a UCLA student.

Elsewhere in Michigan State getting housed, Orson obliterates the annoying "this will save Michigan" meme.

Name partisanry part two. Yesterday I pimped Barkevious Mingo in the Name of the Year competition several times. This is right and just. But a reader points out that we have another rooting interest: Iris Macadandang. Ms. Macadangdang is the #1 seed in the Crotchtangle regional and a recent alum. (An unusual one, too. How many people are involved with the College Republicans and Amnesty International?) She's in the sweet 16, where she is currently trailing Dr. Shasta Kielbasa.

Vote for Iris. Shasta Kielbasa is only around because of the "Dr." in front of her name and that's a title, not a proper part of the name.

(If you were wondering: yes, this section is a dense thicket of squiggly red underlines.)

And never mind. Yesterday I mentioned you shouldn't panic about the Free Press (non) story about potential Harris/Sims departures. Today the Free Press agrees… mostly:

Manny Harris is sticking to his story. Michigan's star wing has no current plans to leave Michigan this spring, following his sophomore season. But that doesn't mean he's totally ignored his future, either.

"It's an option, but not really that serious though," Harris said Monday regarding the buzz about him exploring his NBA options. "If it's something to look into, then I will, but I haven't even thought about it much. I doubt I'm going."

Okay, still not particularly worried and he should be back. Snyder does mention that Sims can put his name in and withdraw it without consequences since he's a junior. There's no reason for him not to, so he might apply, go to the draft camps and such, and withdraw.

He lurks. In the days of Gittleson there was a group of Michigan fans with thick necks and GNC memberships dedicated to the proposition that all men trained under Git were, well, gits. Or at least more git-like than they would otherwise be. One of their favorite talking points was that only two programs in the country used the machine-heavy High Intensity Training: Michigan and obviously archaic Penn State.

So where did Gittleson scuttle off to after departing Michigan? Touch The Banner, a Michigan football blog run by a high school coach—gsimmons get your gun—has the answer:

[PSU] Strength coach John Thomas brought a graduate assistant and some weight equipment into Holuba Hall. They did a session of manual resistance training, in which the GA did various exercises while Thomas used his strength and body weight to work him to failure. For example, the GA did pushups while Thomas pushed down on his back; the kid looked like he hated him for it.

The funny thing was that Thomas mentioned four or five times that he had learned some of these techniques "from a guy who's probably going to hate me saying his name, and that's Mike Gittleson." He looked over toward the opposite corner from me, as if Gittleson were over there somewhere. Of course, most of the coaches at the clinic were from Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, and New Jersey, so I don't know if anyone else recognized the name. But I immediately started looking for someone who might be Gittleson. I couldn't find him initially, but I eventually saw him. I spoke to him for a minute about resistance training, but I didn't mention anything about Michigan, since I thought that might bring up bad memories. Interestingly enough, when I got home and Googled John Duncan, one of the first hits I came across was this article in which ex-PSU players suggested that players were actually getting fatter and weaker under Duncan; those are the exact same criticisms that Gittleson suffered from fans, although I'm sure many S&C coaches face the same questions.

Penn State's been hugely erratic of late and it's impossible to tell why. They've had their share of throbbing destroyers on the lines, some excellent tailbacks and so forth and so on, so it's not like the old style can't produce some excellent players. But, hey, no one's ever accused Barwis of making them into anything other than indestructible death machines.

A delicious side note: at the open scrimmage TTB attended, freshman QB Kevin Newsome hit 3 of 15 passes.

Behind enemy lines. This is a bit strange for me, but, uh: I'm posting this weekly thing at Bucknuts now, keeping them up to date on various things Michigan. Oh, and mocking. Mocking it hard. Here's the first one. If you feel the need to bring a stone to the tailgate/disaster/fiasco, feel free.

Etc.: Speaking of gsimmons, he's got a long and interesting post on this 4-3/3-4 distinction that's worth a review; Denard Robinson is approaching the speed of light.