Former Wisconsin assistant a big part of Michigan’s National Championship-winning coaching staff

Michigan mauled its way to a National Championship last night, rushing for over 300 yards and eight yards per carry in a 34-13 win over Washington.

There is a lot about the Michigan program worth giving credit to. Jim Harbaugh has turned the program around after bottoming out in 2020, defensive coordinator Jesse Minter looks to be the next great defensive mind in the game, the players took the Connor Stalions saga and used it to their advantage and, in today’s evolving era of passing and air-it-out approaches, Michigan won a national title by being more physical than their opponent.

That last note is the one that feels the most significant, maybe because Wisconsin just recently went through a program facelift to move closer toward a high-flying passing offense. But Michigan’s approach to the game proved to be too much for Penn State, Ohio State, Alabama and Washington all in the last few months. It worked perfectly.

The person to thank for that is the program’s strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert, someone with deep Wisconsin connections.

Herbert played defensive line for the Badgers in the late 1990s and early 2000s, playing a key role in the Badgers’ back-to-back Rose Bowl teams.

He then worked for the Wisconsin program from 2002-12 under Barry Alvarez and Bret Bielema as the program’s S&C coach, before following Bielema to Arkansas in the same role.

All that said, Herbert landed at Michigan in 2018 and has quickly made an average Big Ten team into a national champion.

I don’t know exactly what the takeaway or punchline is here, aside from Michigan clearly showing that classic Big Ten football can still win, when done right. Now it will be an interesting test case to see where this Michigan program goes, and where Wisconsin goes under the new passing-centric offense.

Story originally appeared on Badgers Wire