It didn’t come easy, it took some growing pains and hard work to get him into the position he is today.
One of the major areas of growth that he has had to go through was on the mental side of things. Stribling learned to not get too down on himself after giving up a big play.
Long story short, you must have a short memory in the game of football.
“Just keeping my head up,” Stribling said. “I know some of the plays I’ve had in the past were bad plays. Sometimes, I came into like ‘I’m good, I’m good’ but it kind of got me down. Just growing up again and knowing, okay, it’s college football. Everybody is on scholarship, it happens. So if it happens, you have to come back and make a bigger play.”
The bad play Stribling was referring to was the final sequence of events in regulation against Penn State in 2013. U-M had the lead in the waning moments of regulation and Nittany Lion receiver Allen Robinson out-jumped Stribling near the goal line.
Penn State would go on to tie the game and win it in overtime.
Those moments, which some people might like to forget, stick with Stribling. Who, to this day, still watches those plays on repeat. Not to agonize on what could’ve been, but to never let those types of plays happen again.
“It’s still with me,” Stribling said. “I watch the play at least once a month. It’s just knowing what mistakes I’ve made. Just knowing if it happens again, if I get the same play, it won’t happen again. It really was on me, that’s what hurt the most. That’s why it hurt the most because it was on me misjudging the ball instead of him making a great catch. Of course it was a great catch but it was mainly on me misjudging the ball.”
Stribling’s refocused and reenergized view on football is helped with an equally reenergized and refocused coaching staff leading the team for its first year in Ann Arbor.
With the staff boasting many years of NFL experience, Stribling gets the vibe that the attitude of the program will resemble an NFL-type atmosphere going forward.
“I think the coaches made a great effort to give good effort, of course,” Stribling said. “And to take the game more seriously. Not saying the last coaching staff didn’t take it seriously but it’s more of an NFL style like if you make the play you make the money or something like that. As long as you do your job and make sure you give great effort, make sure everything you put into football is 100% then you’ll come out great.”