Mike Hart knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a successful college runner.
Michigan’s new assistant is the program’s all-time leading running back after a total of 5,040 yards during his four-year career. Now he takes over a position group that hasn’t produced an NFL draft pick since he went sixth round in 2008. As the Wolverines begin their second week of spring practice, Hart has apparently made a strong first impression.
“Working with him is a blessing,” Hassan Haskins, a student in a red shirt, said Tuesday in a video conference with reporters. “It is one of the biggest. I talk to him every day. He is a legend so I am glad he came and I have the opportunity to work with him.
“He understands like the scheme and like X’s and O’s. He just understands the running back (position) because he was one, so we see the vision head-on.”
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound running back emerged as the Wolverines’ leading running back late last season and is by far the most experienced left back on the list. While he now has 182 college cars under his belt, the former linebacker has embraced Hart’s knowledge for the job.
Hart has tutored four 1,000-yard runners during his 10-year career as an assistant, with Stevie Scott last at Indiana. The 34-year-old assistant assumes the role of running back at Michigan from Jay Harbaugh, who went on to become a tight ends coach.
“Every day when I talk to him, I learn everything he tells me,” Haskins said of Hart. “Everything he tells me I keep in the back of my head. Trying to improve, whatever we talk about, I’m just trying to keep it in my head. “
Hart inherits a talented but young and inexperienced runner. Michigan’s leading running back in 2019, Zach Charbonnet, was traded in January, while Chris Evans leaves for the NFL.
With Christian Turner also transferring this offseason, that leaves four scholars on the roster: Haskins, sophomore Blake Corum and actual freshmen Donovan Edwards and Tavierre Dunlap.
Corum had 31 touches last season and is a former top 130 prospect, while Edwards is Harbaugh’s top-ranked running back pick at 41st nationally.
Haskins spoke Tuesday about taking on a leadership role on the team, and while he didn’t speculate about his role on the field heading into 2021, he’s probably Michigan’s most reliable option.
“Now I am one of the oldest, so I try to teach the younger ones and just show them the ways,” he said.
“It’s been a good feeling, just to have it going and how to lead others and just how to try to control the young people and tell them how to do it. Just get them right, get their mindset right. “
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