Impact of Tolbert at SC coach over one month

Submitted by iawolve on February 28th, 2015 at 4:08 PM
One item that keeps coming up in the practice interviews is how much better the team "looks" and is conditioned which is attributed to Tolbert. This is mentioned again a few threads down in Bolden's interview for MGoBlue. I am not doubting Tolbert's ability, I am glad to have him. My question is what could he have done with these guys in a little over a month? Is it more attitude and belief or did Wellman simply have no idea on how to run a SC program? I have not seen the team yet so I don't have a way to compare with the eye test. Interested in any insight here. Hail Harbaugh.



February 28th, 2015 at 5:30 PM ^

You see test results within the span of a month b/c studying is not equatable to working out. One can study 2 hours a day for said test or cram 8 hours a day for 2 weeks and still get the same scores.  

You can't cram working out to 1 month and expect results of 8 months. It doesn't work that way regardless of who the SC trainer is. 

You don't see groundbreaking results in only 1 month. Everyone who works out knows this. 


February 28th, 2015 at 6:12 PM ^

as a s c coach...I'd love to hear your reasoning other than...just cuz it can't. I will support, oh yes it can to start. First, You have college specimines who have a base to begin with. If a coach (Wellman) spends most of his focus on core, agility, flexibility, and high volume rep would have minimal strength gains and size gains, and potentially a rash of ACL injuries if you did not properly load and organize your training.
Let's then say you have a guy (Tolbert) who comes in after training NFL monsters and pushed OFF SEASON MASS building, power lifting, load, reps, rage and put kids through the paces compared to say coach stretchy one month you could see 50 pounds difference in maximal range on major lifts which translates to size and confidence.
What is really happening is you are underestimating AND misjudging the impact of a GOOD S/C coach...just...cuz.


February 28th, 2015 at 7:01 PM ^

No, I'm estimating that 1 month is not a good indicator of anything. Obviously it depends on types of workouts/goals you are going after. This is football. 

If we're purely basing our results on being able to lift shit w/ full rom, then yeah sure you could make some reasonable gains. Does it translate to the football field? Not necessarily or else all the benchpressers and weight monsters in the combines would dominate the NFL. 

I don't believe that S&C was the main issue with Hoke's football teams. If you kept Wellman and had a competent coach who could teach proper techniques etc during practice, we would be a lot better vs. Hoke and ... say Tolbert or Barwis. 

This analysis of how important S&C is coming from the perception that our team is "slower" than everyone else. I think it is misplaced/overblown. 



February 28th, 2015 at 9:57 PM ^

I think the impact of a given S&C coach is generally underrated, even by people on the internet.

Like head coaches, these guys come in with radically different philosophies and personalities, and some of these philosophy/personality combinations work more effectively than others.

Like head coaches, these guys coach the entire team.

The body reacts differently to different training styles, and different bodies react differently to the same training. Moreover, different positions have radically different physical needs. Like a head coach figuring out who fits best doing what where on a team, an optimal S&C coach must make dynamic adjustments for each player. Like with head coaches, not all S&C coaches do this with equal skill.

In football, each play consists of a number of mini-wars. At elite levels, the margin between victory and defeat in each of these wars is often quite small; winning a critical mass is often what's needed to move or stop the chains.

The S&C coach helps tremendously with these individual wars. A 5% strength/stamina/speed advantage, when shared simultaneously across all 11 men on the field, can open up any number of opportunities. You hit the quarterback the second before he can throw the touchdown pass. You get that foot of separation between open and covered. You stretch that half-yard to move the chains. You hold your block that half-second longer. Football is replete with small moments that add up to big victories.

Sanderson has done an amazing job in basketball. Let's hope Tolbert can do the same.


February 28th, 2015 at 7:57 PM ^

Of course there could be someone employed who is bad, but how is someone who doesn't know about weightlifting going to get a job at a major college program? Yeah, sure if the team just jumped rope 5 minutes a day, no one would make games. Therefore, what? Wellman is a terrible S&C coach? Wellman was doing exactly the thing you're talking about with Tolbert.

We've had this dumb debate with every new S&C coach. The new guy is a weightlifting God/genius (one isn't enough), and the old guy didn't know anything. That has happened with Barwis and Wellman and now with Tolbert.

Again, it's not that having a good S&C coach isn't important, it's that anyone at this level is going to be good. Also, there's no real secret to weightlifting. Yes, there are a lot of things you can tweak and optimize and all that, but if you've got a an S&C coach worth a damn, he's going to have 98% of what you need. Football changes because of philosophy and rules and a bunch of other stuff, so having a coach who hasn't fallen behind in the game is important, but our bodies are still the same. It's not like some coach is going to come in and do, I don't know, pyramid training, and all of a sudden the team is twice as strong and fast as any other in the nation.

Whatever difference there is between S&C coaches is made totally insignificant in how the players are taught the actual game, recruiting, time management in games, etc.


February 28th, 2015 at 11:17 PM ^

We could say this about any head coach at any power five conference.

And yet we can all agree these head coaches are not interchangeable. Although all may be considered pretty damn elite in their professions, some are definitely much better than others.

Why do so many people act like this same dynamic doesn't apply to S&C coaches?

Of course some S&C coaches are significantly better than others. And this matters. No, not nearly as much as the HC, but more than enough to make a material difference.


March 1st, 2015 at 7:51 AM ^

"Of course some S&C coaches are significantly better than others." Given what evidence? What S&C coach can you point to making a material difference over another?

I talked about it in my post. Running an entire football program is a massive endeavor with a lot of things that can go wrong. A lot of that also involves staying up on the latest trends, being a master tactician, being a great recruiter, just plain luck, etc. Yes, fine details may make a small difference, but S&C isn't nearly as complex. Plenty of average dudes get strong and fast just following a decent routine on a weightlifting website. Probably the most useful aspect of an S&C coach isn't actually having some great wealth of knowledge but making an exercise and diet plan that makes it easy for players to stick to it and to make sure they follow through with it. A lot of people want to think there's some magic formula that's some shortcut to getting big in the gym, and there's not.

"Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but nobody wants to lift no heavy ass weights." - Ronnie Coleman


February 28th, 2015 at 9:09 PM ^

Most literature supports the idea that hypertrophy typically happens starting at 4-6 weeks. Most changes prior to this are usually attributed to neurological changes. However, I do recognize that high level athletes are typically the exception and not the rule. I do not think 50 lb improvements in major lifts are going to happen in 1 month unless that is the only focus of the program ( even then I am doubtful).
I also wish we could slow down the ACL talk around here unless we are willing to differentiate between contact and non-contact ACL injuries. We also have to consider that non-contact ACL injuries can be due to a host of other factors not related to quads, hamstrings, and hip abductors strength.


February 28th, 2015 at 4:47 PM ^

No what he's saying is the following:

1. All S&C coaches have some measure of competence or they wouldn't have been hired in the first place.

2. That people on the internet fawn over whoever the current coach is claiming that NOW we've got the guy who will make all the difference and demonstrate real, tangible results.  

3. That the impact of the indivudal coach is vastly overrated.  That the players themselves and their willingness to put in work makes the difference (for the most part) in performance.

4. That the overall mpact of S&C coaches in general is greatly overrated

5. That if we did hire Garfield the Cat we'd be reading reports about how impactful GTC's workout's are and the amazing, increadible changes he's making in the team's conditioning and that a bunch of people here would agree.


February 28th, 2015 at 5:14 PM ^

If it's our current S&C potato then it will obviously be the most amazing, physically transforming potato EVER.  They players will remark how this potato "gets it" and his workouts have produced absolutely stunning results that will surely translate into fourth quarter dominance and win and win this fall.  You will see before and after pictures demonstrating visually the positive impact this potato brings to the S&C table.  

If it was the previous S&C potato then no.  That idiot knew nothing (obviously) and is now probably just french fries.


February 28th, 2015 at 6:39 PM ^

See Barwis, Mike for the amazing impact top shelf S&C coaches have on wins and losses.

The point wasn't that they don't matter-they obviously do. The point was their impact is greatly overblown relative to the team's performance and I happen to agree with that statement.


February 28th, 2015 at 9:46 PM ^

MGrowOld, Gulogulo37, dcallen39 and I all gave proper respectful rebuttles to your assertions of us being ignorant of strength and conditioning. I'm sorry you can't handle it when the going gets tough. 

MGoBlog has various points of view disagreeing with everything. Just make sure you can back it up b/c this board isn't made up of slouches. I'm sorry for your hissy fit. 

Haywood Jablomy

March 1st, 2015 at 2:27 AM ^

Honestly, if that means just continue typing then I see what you mean. On the other hand, one might connote you posted some research to uphold your argument and bolster your position using data. Nope.

 A bulleted recap of expressed ideas isn't exactly the best example of backing it up which any slouch could do. TBH.  

However, he is in the postion of going up against the over zealous bartener w/a wee bit of power and an eye for your girlfriend as he cuts you off.  Arguing will only make it look worse.


March 1st, 2015 at 9:43 AM ^

a hissy fit. All you said was you estimate and you don't feel...bottom line is, one month with HARD work and a well designed program based on athlete need can have an impact over four weeks of intense training. Simply because you took PE classes and have a winged helmet avatar doesn't cut it. I've seen dramatic results with athletes in a month. I've seen measurable strength gains in athletes in two weeks, after training them for over a year, simply by adjusting rest period, rep range, exercises, and plate load...just because you don't think it's possible doesn't provide any validity whatsoever...maybe the base you have hasn't been doing it right. I'm not hailing Tolbert as the next hero, but I felt MANY of the staff hired by Joke were inferior and the level and number of muscular and connective tissue injuries was more than bad luck. have a great day at Planet Fitness...I hear Sunday is free pizza day for you guys.


March 1st, 2015 at 3:19 PM ^

The point you are apparently unable to grasp is that NOBODY here is saying S&C coaches are irrelevant or interchangeable.  What we are saying is that the on-field results have a slight degree of variance between the very best S&C coach and the very worst.  And that no matter who we have in charge - there is universal acclaim that the current guy is WAY better than whoever he replaced and the results are just amazing.




March 1st, 2015 at 6:52 PM ^

YOU are missing is...Welman wasn't very good at doing what was necessary to A)reduce injury risk, B) build speed and explosiveness, C) create nasty disposition and confidence in players creating bad mofos...not once did I say Tolberts efforts in one month would translate to a National championship, 11 win season, etc...infact I mentioned the Barwis effect didn't start the payoff unfortunately until Hoke had the luxury of inheriting it. Sadly you and Occa have your heads so far up each others asses you won't bend to see it...which I think many call that Meechigan arrogance. Telling me odds and ends observations and using it as your basis for your opinion is worthless...having spent 25 years conditioning myself, high school, collegiate, and professional athletes...I have data and time earned backing up my stance. In one month, kids at the caliber of UM athletes CAN show significant growth and mental gains when properly trained and pushed. This CAN later translate to onfield production as opposed to having half your roster looking for medical redshirt because they weren't properly trained. Hell EVEN Gittleson and his dinosaur ass did a better job than Welman. It's not about Tolbert being a's about Harbaugh surrounding himself with great coaches that CAN have an early impact...and off season training is the first card in their deck right now...done arguing with dipshits who read an article in Men's Fitness and are suddenly exercise physiology experts (my master's degree fwiw) again...if you don't've been doing it wrong and buy into a load of shit that it's not possible because someone said so...


March 1st, 2015 at 9:46 AM ^

for impact of Barwis...came in to an 11 win season based on what Rich and Mike established...and then with Welman progressively declined each and every season until it not only cost Brandon a job, but Hoke as's a viewpoint of which you have no clue other than your Mgoblog existence...Period.