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Mike Hart is almost as surprised as anyone about Blake Corum’s short-yardage running game

It’d be an understatement to say Hart is proud of his junior running back.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 05 Michigan at Rutgers Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s been said countless times this season, but the fact still remains true — Blake Corum’s emergence as an all-situation rusher for the Michigan Wolverines this season is a sight to behold.

The man who once was considered one half of “thunder and lightning” has become the entire storm, and is leading the Wolverines’ rushing attack to even higher levels than last year’s already-dominant efforts. It’s something that has surprised fans, pundits, and even to a certain extent, Mike Hart.

“I mean, I figured he could do it. He’s better than I thought he was gonna be, to be honest with you,” Hart said. “But I knew he could do it. He’s strong, he runs low, has great pad level. You don’t need to be 230 to be a short yardage back, and that’s my biggest thing. So I’m just proud of him, proud of the way he does things.

“I just think when you go from Hassan Haskins, who was — you know — he got everything on third down. I wouldn’t think we could be better than that. Last year I thought it was just an anomaly, like ‘okay, we’re not gonna get every 3rd and 1,’ and we’re doing it again. So that’s hats off to the o-line, coach (Sherrone) Moore, tight ends, and Blake. I just didn’t know if he could do it, and he did it, and he’s doing it.”

Hart’s comment about not needing to be 230 pounds is a mantra he’s espoused already this season — and one he knows a good deal about. As a player himself, Hart’s physical attributes didn’t lend towards the traditional mold for an all-purpose back; standing at just 5-foot-9 and weighing 205 pounds.

What Hart might have lacked in stature, however, he made up for in work ethic. That same mindset is one he sees in all of the players he coaches, even as wear-and-tear starts to creep in this late into the season.

“It just comes down to how they work in the weight room every day,” Hart said. “You prepare all offseason; weight gain, strength, taking care of your body, cold tub, hot tub, all those things on a day-to-day basis. But (Corum and Donovan Edwards), they show up and work hard every day, they’re getting treatment every day cause no one’s ever a hundred percent this time of year.”

As the Wolverines enter the last stand of the regular season, the pressure is on more than ever. With Corum leading the way, Michigan has little reason to doubt it can’t face it head on.