Griese on WTKA gives Gittleson major props for 97 National Champs

Submitted by Blue boy johnson on May 14th, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Brian Griese on WTKA gave major credit for the 97 season to the off-season work of Mike Gittleson, and the workouts he put the team through. Griese then went on to commend the team on their focus, dedication and teamwork in the 97 off-season. Griese made it sound as if the team gave a renewed and increased dedication to not being denied by anything in 97, in other words the players were all in.

Gittleson gets a lot of unwarranted grief on this blog IMHO, despite all the stellar players that came through and developed under his watch. Recently Mike Barwis has gotten a lot of credit for the development of Brandon Graham (I would give more of the credit to Brandon).

Should Mike Gittleson get equal props for the development of David Harris, a lowly 2 star recruit, who blossomed under Gittleson's masterful tutelage?


Blue boy johnson

May 15th, 2010 at 10:20 AM ^

The devil is in the details here. Brandon Graham as a senior is a perfect example of this, had everyone bought in and played/trained with the tenacity of Brandon Graham, this team would not have had a losing record. This is not to say the other players were lax, however, they couldn't reach Brandon's level of commitment. Age and personal experience play a part here.

Professional players routinely have their best seasons in contract years, college players often are their most dedicated in their senior season. It would be unreasonable to expect Tate to be as dedicated as a freshman as Brian Griese was as a 5th year senior. This is not a knock on Tate, who was probably far ahead of freshman Brian Griese in terms of commitment, when Tate is a senior he will be much better equipped to dial up his level of commitment to a championship level.


May 15th, 2010 at 11:46 AM ^

While I agree with most of your points, I'm pretty sure Tate has been hitting the weight room and the offseason conditioning program ever since he arrived on campus (and media reports regularly come out lauding the results of that effort).  While he might not have the maturity/experience to play at a championship level, I don't think we're going to have to hear about how he decided to start hitting the S&C program hard after 3-4 years already on campus.  It just doesn't appear to be an option under this regime to not put in the time and effort outside of practice in the S&C program, whereas the commitment level seemed to swing wildly under the prior regime (with the "rededication" before the 1997 and 2006 seasons as prime examples). 


May 15th, 2010 at 2:02 PM ^

Agreed.   I recall listening to a radio interview and hearing , I think it was Henne, saying how much better in shape they all were in (in 2006), after being frustrated by  all the 4th quarter losses in '05, and how they had all worked out a lot more and so on.

My immediate thought was "why don't you guys do that every year?"

Although I don't know if it was a question of not being on board or just relatively old S&C methods.   Who knows at this point.    However after Barwis arrived nearly every player claimed they were in much better condition than before, so it's not a stretch to say Barwis has our guys in better shape than they were under the previous coaching staff.

Now if only the being-in-better-shape will translate to some wins....


May 15th, 2010 at 5:44 PM ^

I wonder how many of the people with opinions about Gittelson know a thing about what they're talking about. How many know a thing about D-I level conditioning programs? How many are trainers?

I'm guessing the answer is "less than 3".


May 15th, 2010 at 6:06 PM ^

At least twice under Gittelson (after the 1996 and 2005 seasons) you had a number of players claiming that the team lost close games because they felt they weren't in as good of physical condition as they could've/should've been.  They then put in increased effort during the offseason S&C program and improved dramatically the next season both times.  This criticism has nothing to do with Gittelson's program/technique/approach, but rather the program wide emphasis on S&C under Carr/Gittelson.

I don't think you have to be a D-1 athlete or trainer to lament the fact that players on the team thought Michigan lost games because of a failure to place a high enough priority on the S&C program and their offseason workouts, and also wonder what might have been if that same focus had been evident every year during that time.


May 15th, 2010 at 6:42 PM ^

I'm not quite sure your point, is it that since large numbers of players didn't cite failures in the S&C program as the cause of losses during that particular period that things were for the most part being done well?  I would probably agree with you, though it is possible talent or other factors played a large role in the team's success and that other factors (having to play Navarre before he was ready, for example) played a bigger role in the losses.

I certainly have no inside knowledge of how things were done then or how they are done now.  Still, I think it is clearly a problem when players attribute losses to things like "we didn't work out hard enough in the offseason" and "we weren't in good enough shape late in games."  I don't know who is/was responsible for that or why it occurred, but it certainly isn't a positive even if it isn't the norm.

Like I said in an earlier post, the idea that "the game passed him by" when from what I understand other teams still use Gittleson's techniques is silly.  The Barwis/Gittleson technique debate doesn't interest me at all as both know way more about what they do than any of us.  Still, I like the fact that the current coaches are very vocal about how high a priority they place on the S&C program and I don't suspect we'll hear players attribute losses in the future or the recent past to a failure to workout hard enough in the offseason and stay in great shape.