The Wolverine

2020 Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 89 of 163

BY JOHN BORTON M ichigan football sports a new $ 2 1 - m i l l i o n w e i g h t r o o m , 32,000 square feet loaded with the best equipment available for turning soft flesh into steel. Some 5,000 gross square feet of mezza- nine area allow for observers to witness the transformation. Down where the work gets done, Michigan spared no expense. That facility sat empty in the spring and early summer. Meanwhile, out in Boulder, Colo., Carlo Kemp and his brother jammed bricks into an old backpack, prepping for the 2020 football season to come. Welcome to COVID-19 season. Shutdowns all over the place rendered winged-helmeted warriors the lone rangers of their own readi- ness. Michigan's fifth-year senior defensive tackle — a captain in 2019, and likely a sec- ond-year captain in 2020 — hit the bricks. "We had bricks that we had at the house, and we would fill the backpack with bricks," Kemp said. "We found some cinder blocks at our house as well, so we were doing work- outs with bricks and cinder blocks. "The backpack was the greatest thing we had. We could do squats with it, we could do lunges with it, we could do curls … we were getting as creative as possible with this backpack." Kemp and his younger brother, who plays football for Colorado State-Pueblo, did everything they could with the makeshift weights. They were their own strength and conditioning coaches, motivational instruc- tors and nutrition specialists. Oh, and they were also in charge of safety regulation, monitoring proper backpack brick loads with scrupulous attentiveness. "You want to add as much weight as pos- sible, because you definitely can't get close to any of the things we had at Michigan," Kemp assured. "We tried to stuff the back- pack to the brim as much as possible. "We've got straps ripping, we've got bricks coming out the sides, because they can't hold them anymore. We kind of had to play around with the optimal weight, where everything would just flow and fit nicely." Kemp desperately hopes everything flows and fits nicely during his fifth year at Michi- gan. He's grateful, first off, for even getting one. Kemp played against Rutgers in October of his freshman year, three weeks after mak- ing his college debut versus Colorado. That's no big deal these days, when the NCAA al- lows four game appearances while retaining a redshirt. Not so then, requiring Kemp to apply for an exemption to land a fifth year. He found out late last year that it had been granted. "I was very excited, and I was lucky enough BRICK BRICK BY BY BRICK BRICK Carlo Kemp Builds For A Strong Final Season 88 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2020 FOOTBALL PREVIEW

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