Strength & Conditioning

Submitted by caup on October 11th, 2010 at 10:42 AM

It is Year 3.  So I was surprised to see M getting overpowered in the trenches on both sides of the ball by MSU. 

And losing footraces to the endzone.

And are key memebrs of the "best conditioned team in America" supposed to get full body cramps that force them to leave the field during a critical defensive series?

Barwis may be good, but he isn't some kind of magical guru many think he is.

Just another frustrating aspect to that debacle.  Okay, done venting.

Now let's circle the wagons and beat Iowa's ass!



October 11th, 2010 at 10:46 AM ^

While your viewpoint is not going to be popular in these here parts, you raise a very valid and fair point - we were getting overpowered in the trenches time and again.  With our size and experience up front, this should not be happening to the level that it did.  I can somewhat (although less so every day) get the defense of the defensive backfield based upon injury, youth, inexperience, walk-ons, etc., but up front, there are no excuses.  We just did not look good.

The point that I do not agree with is the body cramp - as someone knowledgeable in training, a cramp is almost always not training related.  It usually results from dehydration, low sodium balance, random positioning of a limb while the relevant muscle is flexing or some other non-training event. 


October 11th, 2010 at 2:08 PM ^

Losing a footrace do the endzone for this team usually means that they took a bad angle.  It doesn't necessarily mean that they are slower.  And it's not like ALL of our players are ridiculously fast.  And I don't think these are fair points.  Until you've been out playing 4 quarters and working hard in full gear in the heat, don't complain about someone else getting cramps in the middle of an important defensive series. 


October 11th, 2010 at 10:48 AM ^

you exclude the fact the Michigan defense was well conditioned and throwing their full effort during 90-some downs against UMass. Can't be selective with your critique


October 11th, 2010 at 10:53 AM ^

Yes, UMass is a decent 1-AA, but they are a 1-AA.  I would expect that our defensive front would not wear down against them.  The true test is how we hold up against the beef machines of the B10.  While the UFR wuill be the ultimate guide, just watching the game (and then re-watching much of it the next day with my son), the D front was getting pushed back regularly. 


October 11th, 2010 at 11:02 AM ^

Indiana had 98 offensive snaps.  Per the box score, they ran 34 and passed 64 times.  Our defense was still out there chugging along.  Yes, Indiana marched up and down the field, but 100 plays from your defense is impressive.  I don't think conditioning is a real issue for the team.  Barwis may not be a miracle worker, but I contend that none of our issues have to do with conditioning.


October 11th, 2010 at 10:57 AM ^

Watching the game, there were a lot of runs we stuffed close to the line of scrimmage.  Where we got killed defensively was giving up big plays, which had more to do with positioning and instinct and youthful secondary than necessarily brute phsycial prowess.

Offensively, we were moving the ball at will in the first half, but got away from the ground game as we fell further behind.  We shot ourselves in the foot and left 18 points on the board between the two endzone picks and the overthrow of Stonum - plus blocked field goal and 4th quarter pick.


October 11th, 2010 at 11:04 AM ^

Why is there a need to "vent" on any and everyone remotely responsible for anything to do with the team instead of just realizing we got beat by the better team Saturday. As much as none of us would like to believe it. MSU is a good quality team this year and we got bet. Yes there are reasons and I'm sure they will get adressed but to come out and blame him for a kid getting cramps is ridiculous. As Geaux stated, no one was singing praises after the defense spent 3 quarters onthe field last week.


October 11th, 2010 at 11:12 AM ^

Because they didn't do a good job out there 3 quarters. They got torched.

I get the feeling that people are giving their conditioning credit for being out there for so many plays, like they have a choice in the matter.  It's not like you can say "whew, I'm tired....I think we're going to sit this series out...just let the offense do what they want". If they other team has the ball, they have to be out there, tired or not.  It's not like they're going to collapse and not play.  It just means they'll be slower, tired, and ineffective.  I can't say if they were the first two, but they've definitely been the who could tell if they're well conditioned or not? They can't get off the field.


October 11th, 2010 at 11:27 AM ^

I completely agree. They got torched. I was talking about how they spent all that time on the field with no significant injuries and actually came up with a few good stops in the second half compared to none in the first. It would seem like it would be the other way around. I wasn't implying he should be praised for their play but I don't think that someone can say this team is not quicker and gets to the ball with more speed. I am not saying he is the reason we were 5-0 going into last weekend but I also don't think he even remotely close to the reason we are 5-1 today.


October 11th, 2010 at 11:09 AM ^

Because I'm not one of those who put Barwis on a god-like pedestal just because he's good at his job.  He's not a miracle worker, we weren't THAT bad before he came (pretty apparent now), and S&C is important, but other good teams have good coaches too, so it's not like Barwis is some magically advantage.

I'm more concerned with your other point - speed.  Because we've spent 3 years recruiting smaller guys (who naturally would be pushed around vs. a bigger guy) on the idea that we were getting speed in return. And the thousands of "slot ninja's" "whooo speed" posts we've gotten when the recruiting classes come in, and we're explaining why we have the most under 6' players ever in  a class, and so forth, was all predicated on them being really fast. On both sides of the ball.  

And other than Denard, who's world class, I don't really see it.  Our receivers and running backs get caught from behind. We keep hearing about our defensive players as being too slow to be a corner...or in the case of the hybrids, a true safety....and most of the recruits we've gotten lately in the "Hello" threads have been listed as "good, not great speed".  And the few players we have who are considered fast, I don't know that they're really that much faster than the guys we've recruited in the past. We did have fast players before, too. I'm just not seeing the team-wide speed that was supposed to compensate for some smaller players.

Bo learned early on, when he was coaching before Michigan, and he thought football was all about technique, and his other assistant coach kept knocking him on his ass, that technique with size will beat technique every day.  And kinda conversely, speed does kill, but being small, without speed, is a good combination for getting beat.

We don't need or should expect 5 or 6 Denards out there.  But a few receivers and running backs who aren't a danger of being caught from behind, and some defensive players who make up for having to run a 3-3-5 by being quick to the ball and closing quickly in zone coverage would certainly be nice.


October 11th, 2010 at 11:59 AM ^

I don't know who's getting caught from behind that you thought would have been blazing fast.  Hemingway's lack of speed was why his star rating dropped.  Vincent Smith was never a blazer and is coming off knee surgery.  Roundtree always had good, but not great speed.

Our true speedsters (Denard, Odoms, Stonum, Shaw) haven't really shown that they'll get caught from behind on a consistent basis.

Cam Gordon getting outrun to the corner of the endzone shouldn't surprise anyone.  He was slow for a WR and a lot of people (including me) thought he should be a linebacker in college. 

I'm just not sure what any of this has to do with the speed we've recruited and/or Barwis.  Just because we've recruited speed doesn't mean we'll be scoring 80 yard touchdowns regularly or that any long run by an opponent will be chased down.


October 11th, 2010 at 1:30 PM ^

Vincent Smith, Tate, Terrence Robinson, Jeremy Gallon, Roundtree, Thomas Gordon, Kelvin Grady, and guys like Cullen Christensen who aren't fast for their position, but aren't small...but aren't particularly big for their positions either; which as the point. If you're not going to be fast for your position, and just average, you might as well be big. Not "not small".

(Teric Jones is small, but we haven't seen enough to say he's not fast).


October 11th, 2010 at 2:39 PM ^

Vincent Smith: Agreed

Tate Forcier: Why does he need to be fast?  He's fast enough to get the job done if he makes the right read.

Terrence Robinson: He's pretty fast.  I don't know how you can determine that he's slow based on his two (I think) career catches.

Jeremy Gallon: Again, how do you know he's not fast?

Thomas Gordon: Gordon's speed hasn't been an issue.

Kelvin Grady: I'm not sure why he's on this list - he's definitely fast.

Cullen Christian (not Christenson): He's 6'0" and 187 lbs.  That's actually pretty good size for a corner, especially when you consider that he'll probably put on 8-10 lbs. of muscle.

I think your expectations are too high.


October 11th, 2010 at 2:28 PM ^

...I'm more of an aggression homer.  I'm sure I'm not alone when I say no one wants slow and small players and I really don't think any of our guys that play are really in that category. Also finding a big fast player usually equates to a 4 or 5* athlete.  Those are hard to come by, especially when you go through a coaching change and a few losing seasons.  My bigger concern with the defense other than with Martin, Mouton and occasionally Roh is the aggression (intent to do damage).  Martin is the most consistent with his play and I believe it is due to the fact that every snap he appears to want to kill someone yet to be as effective as he is it has to be controlled aggression, which he does quite well.  Magnus, you can probably tell me a bit more about this and I'm sure scheme plays a role here but do we play with enough bad intent in your eyes?  It seemed as if MSU just wanted it more.  We seemed to play too cerebral and that showed in slow reaction times or over reacting / running the play.  We've done that all year.


October 11th, 2010 at 11:18 AM ^

Most of the pushing that I saw was MSU running backs running over Ezeh or our young secondary.  I am not sure how true freshman or bad angles by ezeh are barwis' fault?

Tha Quiet Storm

October 11th, 2010 at 11:32 AM ^

is, for the most part, something you're born with.  Cam Gordon, JT Floyd, Cullen Christian, etc. can improve their speed a little by doing squats and lower-body work to build their fast-twitch muscles, but some guys (Edwin Baker) are just faster than they are.


October 11th, 2010 at 12:44 PM ^

Cramps: Not strength and condition staff's fault. Some people are cramp prone. Some people get caught up in the game and don't keep up on their hydration. Some people live in Michigan where it's been in the 50's-60's the last few weeks and their bodies have already done a fair bit of acclimatization to the colder weather. Throw those people into 80 and sunny weather and have them sprinting all over a football field all day boom- cramps. Again: NOT Barwis's fault.

Speed: Muscle fiber composition, anatomy and geometry of the hips, fatigue- These plus other factors determine how fast you can run. You can lift and do plyometrics until you're blue in the face, but if your genetics say you're muscles will be predominantly slower (slow and slow-fast) fiber types.... you're going to be slower! Also, narrow hips make for slower runners. The only variable here that Barwis can control is fatigue. We've seen the team play well for nearly 100 plays a couple times this season. So he's done his job there.


October 11th, 2010 at 1:50 PM ^

The issue that bothers me is the 2nd half scoring trends.  I'm not smart enough to blame anyone other than we're getting our asses kicked in the 2nd half.  Is it conditioning?  Don't know, but it needs to be addressed.


October 11th, 2010 at 2:04 PM ^

We gave up the same number of points in the first half against State as we did in the second.  We gave up fewer points in the second half against IU and Bowling Green.  We shut out UConn in the second half.  For the season we've given up more points in the first half than in the second half.

What is this non-existent trend you speak of?


October 11th, 2010 at 7:52 PM ^

So I was surprised to see M getting overpowered in the trenches on both sides of the ball by MSU. 

Yes, our OL was overpowered so badly that we only rushed for 171 yards on 33 carries (subtracting the one sack), despite not having any long runs. 

I believe the UFR will show that our OL played fine.