Michigan football shifts from wait to weights

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Detroit — Michigan’s football players spent most of this past month relaxing after returning from the team’s spring trip to Paris, but now it’s back to work.

Starting Tuesday, the Wolverines will be back to the weight room and conditioning with new strength coach Ben Herbert and his staff. Several of the players who worked at former Michigan All-American Jourdan Lewis’ camp on Sunday said they’re ready to focus on football again.

“It flew past, it’s like the blink of an eye,” Khaleke Hudson, who plays the viper role in defensive coordinator Don Brown’s defense, said of the past month. “It’s time to get back after it. The season starts Tuesday when we start lifting. That’s how I think about it.”

Hudson said the regular schedule will have the players lifting and conditioning on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and sometimes Saturdays.

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“I’m preparing myself for the worst,” Hudson said, laughing. “I just expect to work hard. I can’t wait to get after it. He’s a great strength coach. He really cares about us and he cares about our bodies, too.”

Herbert started at Michigan after they returned from the Outback Bowl and went through winter conditioning and spring practice with the players.

During the team’s trip to Paris, Herbert said there were things he was happy with when he took over the position and other things he believed needed to be changed.

“It’s just a matter of going to work,” he said this month.

Josh Uche, a SAM linebacker, said new linebackers coach Al Washington — the “pass rush guru” — has helped refine his pass-rush technique. Uche weighs 233 pounds and hopes to max out at 240 for the season.

He has stayed in shape this month.

“Honestly, all three of us can agree,” Uche said, referring to Hudson and running back Chris Evans. “We kinda wanted to start back up. Just how good things were going, workouts were going great, spring ball was excellent. We wanted to start back up.”

Evans, who is taking the 7-on-7 team of 14-year-olds he coaches out of Ypsilanti to the national tournament in Atlanta next month, is eager to get back to football-focused workouts.

“Ready, ready, ready, ready,” Evans said Sunday. “We’ve been playing Fortnite and watching movies all day. We’re ready to get back at it, just the grind, especially with Coach Herbert and the summer workout, we’re just ready to go.”

During spring practice, Evans said his goal was to get stronger and work on pass protection. He is up to 215 pounds and said he has maintained his speed, and credits Herbert for the transformation.

“Coach Herb, he’s like creating Transformers in that room,” Evans said. “The weight room is the garage and he’s just creating transformers. We’re weighing now more than we ever weighed before even during spring ball.”