Wormley Working Way Back to Form

Chris Wormley appeared to be on his way to cracking the lineup last fall when an ACL injury sidelined him for the season. Now a full year removed from the injury he is working hard to pick up where he left off. He chatted recently with GoBlueWolverine the mental side to recovery, the competition at strongside end, and more.

Sam Webb: So Mr. Wormley, I know last season I think Craig Roh called you the next stage of evolution.

Chris Wormley: "Oh, gosh. Craig’s a funny dude."

Sam Webb: (Laughing) He said you gained like 20 pounds of muscle in camp and you were ready to go. Take me back through that experience. How was last fall’s camp going for you before you got injured?

Chris Wormley: "It was going great. I was just trying to learn the system, learn Michigan football. The physical-ness of it. The mental part of it and everything. Like you said, Craig Roh was my mentor through it all and he was a big part to make me get through the injury and everything else."

Sam Webb: Alright. So you make it through the injury and you come back for the spring. What’s been tougher; was it the physical recovery or was it the mental recovery when you get on the field and take a hit? That kind of thing. What’s been the toughest part?

Chris Wormley: "Getting through it, you know, you ether do it or you don’t do it. Through the recovery and through, you know, starting with spring ball and everything; so you either you’re going to feel it and you trust your knee or you sit back and say, “’no, my knee doesn’t feel that well.’ So, definitely the mental side of it."

Sam Webb: I talked to Blake [Countess] about the same thing and he said he’s still making that mental recovery. Physically he’s ready to go, but he still kind of has doubts from time to time about his knee. What about you? Where are you in that mental recovery stage?

Chris Wormley: "One of our trainers [Paul Schmidt] said, ‘once the year is up you can’t think about the knee anymore.’... but it’s still there. I try to stay away from piles. But overall, it’s just…you’ve just got to go. You just got to fly around, you know. Make plays and do what you have to do to get on the field."

Sam Webb: Coach Hoke said he feels like the young guys are making some strides at that strong-end position. Talk to me about how competition has been for you on the field so far. How do you feel you’re doing?

Chris Wormley: "I feel I’m doing pretty well. [I’m] trying to work in, learn the plays all over again and just making sure we’re taking the right steps, the right mental reps and everything like that on the sidelines. But, the competition is great. We have three or for defensive-ends that are all fighting for that one spot and we’re all going to rotate in, hopefully. So, competition is great and we’re ready to see what happens August 31."

Sam Webb: I know you haven’t had the opportunity to be on the field for the team, but still you’ve practiced against guys. You’ve practiced against Taylor [Lewan]. You’ve practiced against [Michael] Schofield. So tell me, where do you feel you’re best compared to when you stepped in as a freshman other than just being stronger? Where do you like feel you’re better?

Chris Wormley: "Definitely knowing how to take the steps technique-wise. Because, if you don’t have good technique, you can be the biggest, strongest person on the field and be awful. So, just having good technique and just being a smarter football player is something I think I need to improve on still but definitely have gotten better."

Sam Webb: Are you just working at strong-end or are you sliding inside any?

Chris Wormley: "It depends on the different packages we have. It all depends on where Coach [Greg Mattison] wants us all. And wherever I can get on the field, that’s where I’m going to take advantage of it and hopefully contribute to the team."

Sam Webb: Where are you right now weight-wise? How much do you weigh and where do you want to be at weight-wise?

Chris Wormley: "I’m right around 285 - 290 right now. If I stay at that weight and just keep putting on the muscle and [keep] becoming a smarter football player like I want to be, I think that’ll be a good weight for me."

Sam Webb: Just the overall the competition up front…I know it’s heated but Coach Mattison said he wants all you guys to play. He wants you to come in in waves and he wants you guys, as a front, to get pressure with just the front four. Do you guys feel like you’re there?

Chris Wormley: "We’ve definitely taken strides, even in this first week. We’ve seen it on film. We’ve worked every day in practice on the pass rush moves and everything. So, I think taking the steps and becoming a fresh defense, the waves of rotation we’re going to have hopefully have made us the four-man rush team we want to be."

Sam Webb: I know it’s all about winning the Big Ten title for the team, as the team goal. But individually, what’s a successful season for Chris Wormley other than winning a Big Ten title?

Chris Wormley: "Just contributing to the team and making sure that we win the Big Ten championship and doing everything I can to contribute to the team."

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