Michigan Football Tidbits: Leaders on the team and the S&C program


Michigan Football Tidbits: Leaders on the team and the S&C program

In addition to the fact that Michigan was 3-9 last season, there were also all kinds of external and internal issues surrounding the football team and coaches. Despite this gloom, one aspect of Michigan football that shines under the light of “leaders and best” is our Strength and Conditioning program. This is not to say other schools do not have good S&C programs, because they do. Nor are we saying that that the Strength and Conditioning program alone wins football games — obviously it doesn’t, but Barwis simply does a fantastic job getting the Wolverines in top football shape.

The Strength and Conditioning program is very organized, very intense, but at the same time Barwis leads the workout program in a way that the players actually, at times, enjoy (minus the running of course). Barwis is a high energy coach, with a very tough, but positive, approach. Because of this, the Michigan Strength and Conditioning program is a big part of our improved player development.

The start of 2009 season has the players way ahead of 2008 mainly because most of the issues the program had with its initial start-up and subsequent learning curve are no longer there. This season, returning players are familiar with the drills and exercises so can now help incoming freshmen know what to expect and help them learn the routines. Also, the malcontents who never “bought in” to the new regime are not around to spread any negative BS.

Early leaders of the team look to be Schilling, Minor, and Brandon Graham.


A year ago at spring practice CoachBt, ErocWolverine, and MaizeMan all commented on how Schilling looked more like a linebacker than a right tackle. He had obviously lost a lot of weight and although he looked quick, he did not seem to have a ton of push off the ball. By watching film, you can see that Schilling really struggled all year, actually playing better later in the year. In retrospect, some of the decrease in his effectiveness could of been because of the change in his body make-up.

This year, Schilling looks to have regained about 20 lbs. Barwis told Schilling this could happen and Schilling is really excited about his improvement in 2009. Schilling is the leader of a very hard-working, and now dee,p offensive line group. If you remember last year, we all said that we only had seven offensive linemen ready to play.


Okay, I am going to try to put this diplomatically — Minor had no reason, nor no right, to call other players out at the end of the year. Many fans thought it was great for him to take charge and show he was a leader. Well, those were just words — and actions speak louder than words.

Let’s review what really happened in 2008. Minor was the best player in the spring, as we documented here when we went to spring practices, and continued his good work in the summer of 2008. Then in the fall of 2008 he had some injury issues, along with C. Brown. This is a very important point — injuries were NOT the reason he did not play ahead of McGuffie, early in 2008.

People can dispute this all they want, we stand by this statement. There were other issues (which we will not publicize), but lets just say everyone around the football program (players and coaches) understood why he was not playing. So for him to call out other players after he had a couple good games (calling out players who had done everything asked of them) was hard to accept, and met with skepticism if not outright resentment, by almost everyone in the program. The general sentiment was, “Shut your pie hole! We were with the program all along, where were you until now?”

So let’s hope Minor has learned his lesson and let’s hope he leads by example this year — on and off the field — for 52 weeks, 365 days. If he does, we expect a big year from him.

B. Graham:

(We will have some additional stuff on Graham later, when I talk about the new defensive coordinator.)

Graham made the right decision by coming back to Michigan. Despite what most Michigan fans think, those who always inflate the abilities of the stars on the team, Graham needed another year to further develop his skills: defending the run, being more consistent, being more of an impact player-etc. He also needs to mature in regards to his personal, and social life. Most of the bad influences in his life — most, not all — are now gone. Graham is now a senior with a bright future — and $$$ — ahead of him, all dependent upon a great performance from him in his last season, like a lot of past Michigan stars who made their mark their senior year. We are optimistic Michigan finally gets an impact performance from a defensive player in 2009.

>>> (Tomorrow Michigan Tidbits we will be talking about new defensive coordinator Coach Robinson and several defensive players.)

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Written by MaizeMan, CoachBt and ErocWolverine