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Monday, December 17, 2007

Bob Lichtenfels is inadvertently breaking all sorts of coaching news these days. From a premium article on Nebraska recruit (until Callahan got axed) turned West Virginia recruit (until Rodriguez left) turned kinda pissed off young man (resolution pending) DJ Woods:

“We did speak with Coach (Rich) Rodriguez today and told us he is taking most of his staff including S&C coach Mike Barwis with him,” [Derrick] Woods said. “Barwis was one of the reasons that D.J. liked West Virginia.”
Gittleson: gone, and with him goes the antiquated HIT system that only Michigan and Penn State still use. I've never known how much credence to give the S&C wailers, but I think we can all agree that when it's just you and Penn State doing something you're on the wrong end of the innovation bell curve unless the something in question is the Charleston. And every time Brent Musberger brought up Michigan's totally sophisticated system for beefing up Pat Massey -- literally "eat a lot of pizza, son" -- I wanted to throw a shoe at the TV, and then I wanted that shoe to magically transform into a defensive lineman who could stay within five yards of the line of scrimmage. So Git gone == good.

Who is this Barwis guy? Well, if you listen to the fluff put out by the West Virginia athletic department he's got the Ferrigno touch, turning everything he comes across into 230 pounds of twisted blue steel. Try not to drool, o wailers:
“I listen to people and they don’t understand what it’s like until they get here. They get here and they say, ‘Oh my God, what I was doing was a joke,’” Barwis said.

One of those, Florida State transfer Barry Wright, has exceeded all of his personal training bests since he joined the Mountaineer program last fall as a walk-on.

“He told us he had never been through anything like this,” said Barwis.

Today’s strength and conditioning program is much more than simply lifting weights, says Barwis. It encompasses nutrition, flexibility, speed, agility and even psychology.

Fluff, perhaps, but this is not fluff, especially given the widespread internet rumor that Michigan's voluntary workouts were sparsely attended this offseason:

“Today starts full-go,” he says of the team’s eight-week voluntary summer training program.

The last two weeks following the conclusion of the spring semester was for informal workouts where the players could come in on their own three times a week.

“We had 90 during that time,” Barwis says in his familiar raspy voice. “We had open lifts Monday, Wednesday and Friday and they finished last week.”

During the same period last year, Barwis estimated about 50-60 players took advantage of the open period. When the conditioning program began last summer every single scholarship player was in town for the entire eight weeks.
Alex Mitchell is weeping softly into his cheeseburger milkshake.

Ryan Mundy transferred over the course of the offseason and had this to say in August:
As far as the strength and conditioning program is concerned, Mundy says West Virginia’s program is much more intense than Michigan’s. Other players that have transferred to West Virginia have said similar things in the past, explaining that at some other places the players coming into the program are physically bigger and more explosive. West Virginia develops it.

“Down here we do a lot of Olympic lifts – squats, power clings, hang clings and things like that – and I hadn’t done that type of stuff since high school,” Mundy said. “I had to get my body back used to doing those types of movements. As far as the practice down here we run after practice and we never ran after practice at Michigan.”

No doubt this is part of how West Virginia got excellent results out of mostly average recruiting classes, and part of why Michigan disappointed in recent years. The two stalest parts of the Michigan program were its offensive philosophy and the S&C; both of those things have been swept away and replaced by cutting-edge innovation.