Before coming to Michigan, Ben Herbert was the strength and conditioning coach for Bret Bielema at Wisconsin, and then Arkansas, where he made a name for himself with a unique approach that delivered some undeniable results.
As the Land of 10 points out in a recent article, Herbert has found some interesting ways to both educate his players, and hold them accountable.
For example, at Wisconsin - while the Badgers were rattling off double-digit win seasons and contending (and winning) Big Ten titles, every workout ended with players joining hands and standing in a large circle. According to the article, "If you were late for a workout or a test, you couldn’t join in and were forced to stand in the middle as your teammates surrounded you."
Over time, the circle on the outside got larger and larger, and those subjected to being in the middle of the circle got to be fewer and fewer.
That creativity stretched to educating players on the importance of what they're putting in their body's too. Herbert apparently bought two giant house plants for the weight room and called one "The Governor" and the other "The Deacon." The Governor was fed "a diet by the book and tended to regularly," while the Deacon was fed the favorite staples of college kids everywhere - junk food and alcohol. It didn't take long for "The Deacon" plant to show the effects of a poor diet, and the two plants were seen by players daily to really send the message home.
Finding a guy that knows his stuff in the weight room and sees eye to eye with what the head coach and his staff can be tough, but finding someone that has a creative and approach like Herbert's that can connect with the kids is something really special.
It's going to be fun to see the type of players being built in Ann Arbor, with that brand new, sprawling 32,000 square foot weight room, under Herbert's leadership.