Arkansas announced the hire of new strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert from Wisconsin on Tuesday, and Wednesday he discussed his new position.
"He has a strong background in what we want out of our strength and conditioning program, and he has shown a great ability to produce results with energy and passion," new Razorback head coach Bret Bielema stated in Tuesday's release. "He is focused on details and consistency and is always thinking outside the box to come up with new, improved ways to make our student-athletes better. He oversees a comprehensive plan that extends beyond the weight room, and our student-athletes will benefit from his instruction."
Herbert, who will start Arkansas' Winter training program on Jan. 14, wants to get to know the players a bit first before diving right in with them.
"I have to have a good feel for the personality of the team," Herbert said. "I'm looking very forward to coming down and getting started with the guys on January 14th. I've been with Wisconsin a long time, and I'm looking forward to a new journey and getting started with a new group.
"The desire to be successful is one of the most important principles. I think when I look at the team I look at the guys as individuals," he said. "How badly do they want to be successful? Understanding you're going to have successes, you're going to have failures, but that trait is one of the strongest, most important things that really sets the table for everything."
As Bielema stated, Herbert often uses unorthodox techniques to drive home points with the players he trains. He once brought two plants into the weight room and fed one with miracle grow and hydrated it well. The other plant received proceed foods and drinks and alcohol. Guess which one flourished and which one barely survived...
"In that 18-23-year old age, I think the more you talk the less they listen. So for me, I try to use as many things visually as I can to get them to understand things," he said." he said. "If you feed a plant well and you keep it hydrated, it will flourish. The human body is exactly the same. If you feed it well and you hydrate it properly combined with ultimately training, it's going to respond very, very well."
Herbert has never been to Fayetteville but has received great reviews when he has asked about the area from those who have been there. Herbert lettered four years at Wisconsin under Barry Alvarez and started two years. Since, he has not worked anywhere else other than Madison (Wisc.).
"I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I had never been to the state of Wisconsin," he said. "It turned out to be the single most important and best decision that I ever made. It brought me to this point where I'm at a crossroads."
Herbert enjoys working for Bielema and is glad to see that others from Wisconsin are joining the team in Fayetteville, including defensive coordinator Chris Ash and defensive line coach Charlie Partridge.
"We're in constant communication. Coach and I have a great relationship in that he believes in what I do and how I prepare the football team. That's one of the most important factors from my standpoint," Herbert said.