ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan running back Blake Corum went from 200 to 212 pounds this offseason. But if you ask him, he didn’t consciously set out to bulk up. It just kind of happened.
But, it hasn’t affected his speed, he says.
“It really wasn’t the idea,” Corum said. “It was literally just putting in work, honestly — eating right, hydrating better. That’s what it led to. I really wasn’t trying to, it kind of just happened, so I feel good — 212 — I feel good right now. If anything, I feel faster. It didn’t change my game at all. Maybe bring a little more power with a little more weight with it. But nothing really (changed).”
Corum really came on in his sophomore season, going from showing some promise his freshman year to becoming one of the league’s breakout players seemingly overnight.
While Hassan Haskins received most of the late-season publicity due to a mixture of his play as well as Corum being sidelined with injury, the latter returns as the bona fide starter. Still, he’s not resting on his laurels.
Corum went back this offseason and self-scouted, as well as watched other players across football to gain an appreciation of where he could improve. What’s more, he studied the defensive side of the ball, so he could have a better understanding of how to attack once the season arrives on Sept. 3.
He feels that having that increased knowledge base should pay dividends this year.
“I watched my film quite a bit. And I also like watching other running backs, other defenses — always just trying to educate myself on different defensive schemes, and things that I could see during the season,” Corum said. “What I picked up from what I did last year, and what I can help myself on, is obviously just reading blitzes better — I can always be better by studying defenses. They could bring this blitz, they could bring that blitz. So really just my IQ for the game.
“That’s what I strive to do is just have a better IQ for the game — each day, each week. So that’s really what I’ve been working on is really just studying defensive schemes. And just so that when I’m out there, I can just ball with it. I know what they’re bringing, I know where the ball might hit before the play and things like that. So really just my IQ for the game.”
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Though Corum is expected to be one of the better running backs in the Big Ten, he tends to get overlooked when it comes to the preseason expectations. Ohio State‘s TreVeyon Henderson is generally thought of as the best back in the conference, while others, such as Minnesota’s Mo Ibrahim, perhaps have a bigger spotlight on them.
That doesn’t faze Corum, nor is it something that’s crossed his mind. For him, the only individual accomplishments he’s focused on is ways to help his team be better, so that it can make it back to the College Football Playoff and more.
“I don’t really care about those things. Because it’s all preseason. The only thing that’s gonna matter is who wins it after the season, right?” Corum said. “But even with that, I don’t even think about it. Obviously, I have self-goals. But I’m more focused on my team right now. I’m really focused on beating Michigan State, beating Ohio State again, and going to win the Big Ten Championship. We’re actually going all the way this year. That’s my focus.
“I’m really not focused on myself. That’s going to come — the yards, the yardage, yards per carry. That’s going to come but as long as you focus on the team, and that’s why I’m focusing on making sure my O-line gets better. What can I do to help them get better? What can I do to help the defense get better? I always say, ‘The team, the team, the team,’ and that’s what I’m buying into.
“It’s really not about me. At the end of the day, I’m gonna get mine, you know, but I’m here for my team. I’m gonna go all the way this year, and I think we can, as long as we lock in. But to answer your question, I don’t really care about the accolades. It’s preseason, it’s cool. It’s nice, you know, but I don’t care. I don’t really pay attention to that stuff.”
Michigan’s season starts on Sept. 3 when it hosts Colorado State.