Ben Herbert joined Michigan as its director of strength and conditioning in January. He was a defensive lineman at Wisconsin.

Michigan strength coach Ben Herbert ‘knows what he can do’

Rachel Lenzi

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What do you know about Ben Herbert, Michigan’s strength and conditioning coach? What is his background? 

Ben Herbert joined Michigan in January as the program’s director of strength and conditioning after five seasons in the same position at Arkansas.

Herbert, a former defensive lineman at Wisconsin, was the Badgers’ strength and conditioning coordinator from 2009 to 2012, then worked in the same position at Arkansas from 2013 to 2017.

He’s a native of Pittsburgh who immediately made physical and philosophical changes in Michigan’s approach to strength and conditioning.

“One of my staff’s strengths is the ability to develop a rapport quickly,” Herbert told reporters during Michigan’s spring trip to France in April. “Making sure guys understand what our goals are. Ultimately, we want to create an environment that you guys are going to love being in. And really, our focus is to help you be the best you want to be, and do what it is you say you want to do.”

Bob Palko, Herbert’s high school coach at West Allegheny High School in Imperial, Pa., told Land of 10 earlier this spring that when Herbert takes on working with a team, he has a passion to commit to building a program and reinforcing his values.

“He sees what he can do and where he can take somebody,” Palko said. “He’s always been on the cutting edge. There’s always something new and different out there. He’s in the business to go find it.

“Ben’s not afraid of smart people. He’s not afraid to match wits with someone. He’s not threatened by something. He is driven by that. That’s what he gets when he develops relationships with players. They push him as much as he pushes them.”

Palko also described Herbert as a person who isn’t afraid to go out of his comfort zone. He isn’t afraid to push the players whom he works with out of their comfort zone, either.

“Because of that, he has a sense of confidence that he knows what he can do,” Palko said. “He’ll get the kids to believe how far they can go. The difference he will make, you’ll see that turnover at Michigan. Because they’re going to out-train people, outwork people and out-tough people. He’s back in the Big Ten, a conference that’s different than the SEC. He’s at Michigan, the winningest program in the nation, with a pretty high-profile head coach who understands what Ben’s going to do, and Jim Harbaugh will let him do it.”

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