How much further can we go with Wellman than with Barwis?

Submitted by iawolve on March 10th, 2011 at 2:52 PM

I keep reading how the guys are pushing harder than ever in the weight room, but Barwis pushed them pretty hard as well and had them post some pretty impressive gains. I wonder what that ceiling is on how much better shape our guys can actually get into? At some point we can't actually be getting much stronger simply due to physical limitations pertaining to body structure, tendons, etc.

One thing that would be interesting to see is difference in the bench or other upper body pressing since Barwis was more of an Olympic, explosive lift guy. I know it was something that Wellman called out shortly after he started how weak we were in this area. I know Georgia replaced their S&C coach with a new hire that would put less emphasis on the Olympic lifts since their defensive and offensive linemen lacked "punch" so they are going to emphasize more traditional lifts. 

No sure if anyone has any insights regarding our new approach.


Young Pretty a…

March 10th, 2011 at 4:12 PM ^

From Coach Montgomery

"He's working harder than he's ever worked - that's from his mouth," said Montgomery. "I'm excited to work with him. He reminds me of Baltimore Ravens film on Haloti Ngata, a big bodied, big, strong kid. He put up 275 pounds 24 times. That's pretty good. Not 225, but 275."

Thats amazing!!!!


March 10th, 2011 at 3:04 PM ^

I think S&C is very important, but overrated (the Barwis effect) on this site in terms of wins and losses on the field.  Our defensive alignments wouldn't have stopped a pee wee team even with Lou Ferrigno teaching weighted hip thrusts to Will Campbell.

King Douche Ornery

March 10th, 2011 at 4:46 PM ^

We all bought into Gittleson being outdated, and REALLY bought into Barwis being the second coming. FAIL.

S&C is important, but nothing more important than the players' desires to work their butts off.

Barwis' voice earned him a lot of love here and on another forum--and proved that the Big Uglies are still what you need to get the job done. Mount Cody can attest to that.


March 10th, 2011 at 3:08 PM ^

This kind of talk will happen every spring from now until forever. It is what they call fluff. What really matters is what the players do when they leave campus and the coaches aren't watching over them. That is when champions are made my friend.


March 10th, 2011 at 3:09 PM ^

I don't think our conditioning was a problem at all under Barwis. I doubt we will be significantly more impressive in that category. Frankly Barwis' resume is more impressive than Wellman, but he's young so we'll see.


March 10th, 2011 at 3:18 PM ^

I loved the almost folklore mentality that the fanbase had for Barwis, but honestly, most big time S&C coaches are pretty good.  There are still the hold outs to the old days of just put on weight, but most modern day guys are all pretty good.  I don't expect there to be any difference between Wellman and Barwis.  The team was conditioned with Barwis, and I expect them to be conditioned under Wellman.


March 10th, 2011 at 3:34 PM ^

S&C is fundamentally a branch of biology.  It ought to be something that can be quantified and scientificized the point that there is really just compitent and not.  I assume both Wellman and Barwis are in the former category.  That said this team is older, more physically mature with more time in a college weight training program than than last year, so I assume the team will be bigger, faster and stronger for that reason alone.


March 10th, 2011 at 3:36 PM ^

I don't think there's a significant difference between S&C coaches like Barwis and Wellman. They're both similar, so I can't really believe that one is better than the other. It's important to have players in shape for the fourth quarter, but I doubt that it really makes any difference if the team isn't talented or well-coached.

Blue Mind and Heart

March 10th, 2011 at 3:42 PM ^

While I don't doubt that Barwis was an excellent S&C guy, the whole cult around him was counterproductive.  That a S&C guy was a difference maker always seemed dubious on the face.  However, I think that the Kool-aid was consumed throughout the football program.  RR called Barwis his most important hire (At least that is how I remember it).  I had various members of the Athletic Dept., including DB,  tell me that various players were going to be world beaters once Barwis got a hold of them. 

This misplaced belief that a S&C guy could make up for coaching, recruiting and Xs and Os was one of the factors in RR's failure at Michgan.  I look forward to a program that has its focus on areas where they can gain an advantage over other teams.




March 10th, 2011 at 3:57 PM ^

I remember a fair amount of talk from last season that one of the ways that Michigan could make up for some deficits was their ability to keep from getting gassed out by the end of the game like other teams. Specifically, people speculating that the D would give up points in the 1st quarter, but would out match the opposition by the 4th.

Not saying it was a popular opinion (certainly not a very rational or accurate one, either), but there was definitely talk about Michigan being better than opponents at playing all 4 quarters because of Barwis's conditioning.


March 10th, 2011 at 5:28 PM ^

I think your memory is just as selective. Maybe you didn't buy in, but there were plenty of people on this site, including Brian, who appeared to be convinced that Barwis was going to be a real difference-maker. There were constant statements about such-and-so recruit who was going to be a monster "after Barwis gets ahold of him." Remember "eeeeeeeBarwis?"



March 10th, 2011 at 9:32 PM ^

One of the key areas outside of S&C Barwis did have an effect was in recruiting.  If you go back through the recruits comments about Michigan durign his time, Barwis gets mentioned more times than many of the position coaches.  So yes, a S&C coach can have an impact on the program beyond strength and conditioning.  Mad Dog has a similar impact at UTexas.


March 10th, 2011 at 3:55 PM ^

I doubt Barwis just ignored upper body.  I would imagine even if they did a lot of squats and deadlifts that they did plenty of bench and rowing-type exercises.  To my knowledge, Olympic style lifters are going for strength, including all these exercises.  Maybe you're thinking of more of a bodybuilder type workout where you're going for size and looks too, like the guys at the gym who spend hours doing biceps curls.


March 10th, 2011 at 4:22 PM ^

I think as long as Wellman's training approach doesn't include suggestions like "eat more pizza" or "milkshakes are a good toothpaste substitute", we should be fine.


March 10th, 2011 at 4:38 PM ^

Echoing what many have said, I think that both of these guys are great S&C coaches - along with about another 75 S&C coaches at other big programs - so they are both more than capable of reaching their goals.

However, I think that different S&C coaches focus more heavily on different aspects of training.  Under RR / Barwis, I think that there was an emphasis on speed - RR / Barwis may have been willing to give up some size for speed.  Under Hoke (and therefore Wellman), I would imagine that we will be accept slightly less speed in exchange for more size.  These goals will affect how the S&C coaches go about their jobs.  (Note:  Not commenting on which approach is better / worse - obviously, the focus on speed never hurt RR in the past).

So, I would expect to hear more stories over the next few months about how much weight and strength our guys have put on than we did during the prior two offseasons.


March 10th, 2011 at 4:46 PM ^

I just want to add whenever you have a change there is always praise for the change.  It's just the way things go.  Look for the articles coming in a couple of days saying it is more of this or that.  Look for buzz words of tougher, accountability, flexibility, simpler, aggressive etc..   9 times out of 10 it's all bullshit. 

Both appear to be top strength coaches they won't save the team, but they won't hurt us either.  Michigan players have done very well at the combine since Barwis has been here.  Will Johnson set or came close to the record, BG did well, Schilling did well out benching Boren, etc.. 

We're going to be fine and Barwis was great.   No need to compare let's just move on.


March 10th, 2011 at 5:01 PM ^

Regarding Wellman:  Wellman is a behind the scenes type of guy, and that is the reason there is very little hype surrounding him.  Out of all of our coaches, Mattison and Borges should be the best judge on this (because they have worked with so many S&C coaches) and both feel he is the best.  What Mattison and Hoke have said about him is,  Wellman is amazingly good at getting guys to thier optimal weight.  What that means is he gets a guy to whatever weight he plays the best at, for his position.  I think that is a good thing, because some guys are just maullers and aren't meant to be quick and fast.  If a big, strong guy plays meaner and stronger at 310, but is a little quicker at 280, I'll take 310.


March 10th, 2011 at 5:23 PM ^

and turn them all by himself into All-Americans. When he had somebody with drive and talent to work with, like BG, then his methods worked just fine.

When you add in the inept coaching on the defensive side of the ball, eeeeBarwis was never going to be what it could have been.


March 10th, 2011 at 5:51 PM ^

By my calculations, Michigan football players will go 1.37% farther in leg strength, 2.82% farther in arm strength, 1.16% farther in core strength.