To help you and me get through the drudgery of August, I will present in this space a daily scoop of MSU football-ness, as inspired by a certain ice cream chain. August has 31 days, so I'll let you work it out from there. Here is today's flavor.
Matt Balis is vertically challenged, but he makes up for that with a stocky frame, a gravelly voice and a seemingly fixed scowl that makes you give him a wide berth when he walks past. I'm not ashamed to admit this: Matt Balis scares me.
He strikes a healthy amount of fear into his players, too, and that's part of what makes him an effective strength and conditioning coach. The players' fear isn't simply composed of an aversion to his wrath, but of a great respect for Balis and what he does for them. Sure, most every strength coach in the country will be spoken well of by his players, but I've never seen the kind of devotion that MSU's players show Balis.
A common term MSU players use to describe themselves is "Balis-made." Redshirt freshman tailback Josh Robinson used that term the other day when talking about his concrete-hard abs. Senior receiver Chad Bumphis' Twitter handle, as you might know, is @ImSo_BalisMade1. The Bulldogs swear by him.
This past summer, instead of complaining about Balis' workouts, players took to Twitter to extol the joys of running in the July heat, doing bench reps and generally grindin' through the offseason regimen. That enthusiasm is borne of the results they've seen. You look at guys like Robinson, P.J. Jones and Shane McCardell, and Balis' handiwork is obvious. Balis-made, indeed.
I don't think I'd want Balis as my personal trainer. Then again, maybe I would. I guess the only two options in dealing with him are running away or getting with the danged program.