"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.