Dennis Dodds has penned a story that features Brock Mealer's rehab under Mike Barwis and the Michigan S&C staff as metaphor for various college football comeback stories, including Michigan football itself. The story also includes a section on Mark Moundros and Jon Bills and the accident that almost took their lives earlier this year.
Barwis made sure his project was serious. If he wanted to go for it, Barwis and Whiteman were going to torture him.
This comeback attempt wasn't going to be half-assed. This was going to be unprecedented stuff. The doctors were going to look like fools if Brock Mealer walked again, the docs outdone by strength coaches' regimen and will. Barwis prides himself on building the perfect beast. Never mind that West Virginia went to a couple of BCS bowls under his relentless direction -- the dude once owned two pet wolves.
Rodriguez threw in a carrot. Make it upright and walking by the Sept. 4 opener, he told Mealer, and you can lead the team onto the field before the Connecticut game. That was 10 months ago. "He hadn't even made it out of the wheelchair yet," Rodriguez said.
First there were, literally, baby steps as Brock inched his way across the turf at the indoor facility.
While Barwis and Whiteman inspired Brock, Mealer could inspire the program further next month. Aided by canes, Mealer is on schedule to lead the Wolverines the 180 feet or so out of the tunnel, onto the field, under the "M Go Blue" banner to midfield for their 2010 season opener.
What started as a quest for Mealer is now a metaphor for the entire season. It is the year of the comeback in college football. Multiple teams, programs, leagues and careers are attempting to rise from the shadows this season.