Michigan football's Blake Corum used to watch film of Mike Hart. Now he's learning from him

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Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press
·4 min read
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Before Blake Corum arrived at Michigan football, he watched film of running backs that had came before him.

That meant, of course, watching the highlights of Mike Hart, who played between 2004-07 and left Ann Arbor as the program's all-time leading rusher with 5,040 total rushing yards.

As fate would have it, Hart is now Corum's coach. And Corum is still watching Hart's old game film.

“I’ve been trying to learn from him,” Corum said. “Look at the moves he used to do when he played, just the way he attacked each and every game. So I definitely have been watching him.”

Michigan running back Blake Corum runs against Penn State safety Ji'Ayir Brown during the second half of Michigan's 27-17 loss at Michigan Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020.
Michigan running back Blake Corum runs against Penn State safety Ji'Ayir Brown during the second half of Michigan's 27-17 loss at Michigan Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020.

Corum, entering his sophomore season, seems to have already developed a rapport with Michigan's new running backs coach.

“It’s been an awesome experience so far,” Corum said. “Coach Mike Hart, he brings some spice to the table, not only on the field but in the classroom. He teaches us some things that he did as a player. He also brings some drills that we’ve been working on, so it’s been pretty good.”

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What does Corum mean when he says Hart brings some “spice”?

“He just brings some, like, oomph,” Corum said. “Drills we do on the field, different types of cutting drills, different drills that we didn’t do last year, that I haven’t done as a running back over my short career.”

It will be Hart's job to develop a running back room that fell short of its promise last season. At first, the Wolverines featured a four-back rotation, but by the end of the six-game season, Hassan Haskins had pulled ahead of all others, finishing with a team-high 61 carries for 375 yards and six touchdowns. As a freshman, Corum had 26 carries for 74 yards and two touchdowns, along with five catches for 73 yards.

“Blake, he’s a great player,” said offensive lineman Zak Zinter. “I know him very well. The amount of drive and love he has for the game is super strong. He’s always in the weight room, always doing something to get better, always doing field work. He’s a very good player and he’s just getting better every single day, every practice, he’s always pushing himself.”

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The rotation will look different this season: Chris Evans is now preparing for the NFL draft, while Zach Charbonnet, who had a promising freshman season in 2019, transferred to UCLA this offseason.

Corum, who finished with the second-most carries last season, is in position to again feature as the No. 2 back behind Haskins — and begin delivering upon the potential he exhibited as a former top-150 recruit.

“Blake, he’s been playing really, really well,” said linebacker Josh Ross. “He’s so quick and fast, so low to the ground. That guy is going to be a tremendous player. It’s a privilege to be around guys like that on your team that attack the day like he attacks it, approach the days like he approaches it and always looking to do better and get better.”

Indiana Hoosiers running back coach Mike Hart watches warmups during fall camp at Mellencamp Pavilion in Bloomington, Ind., on Wednesday, August 7, 2019.
Indiana Hoosiers running back coach Mike Hart watches warmups during fall camp at Mellencamp Pavilion in Bloomington, Ind., on Wednesday, August 7, 2019.

Corum said he has added some weight (he is listed at 5 feet 8, 200 pounds), and believes he is faster than he was last season, when he was reputed to run a 4.4-second 40-yard dash.

He has also worked on pass protection — a sign that he is getting used to the expectations of his new position coach.

“With Coach Hart, I feel like if you can’t pass (protect) then you can’t really play,” Corum said. “So I take pass protection really seriously. I work on it every practice, which I like. Pass protection is definitely a big deal in the running back room here at Michigan.”

Contact Orion Sang at osang@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @orion_sang. Read more on the Michigan Wolverines and sign up for our Wolverines newsletter. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here's how you can gain access to our most exclusive Michigan Wolverines content.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan football RB Blake Corum develops rapport with coach Mike Hart