Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Morning Practices

The 8 AM practice this morning made one of the top headlines at ESPN. It's a good gesture, but a few of the quotes in the article stuck out to me.

First, Coach Brey mentioned that winning five of our next nine games will put us in the NCAA discussion. That would make the Irish 9-9 in the Big East, a record which most assuredly would have kept us out of the Tournament even before the loss to Rutgers. To say that finishing .500 in the conference would put us "in the discussion" is both unrealistic and disheartening. That's a pretty low standard to shoot for.

Also, Tory Jackson: "We have to outfight teams. We're not the tallest group. We're not the most athletic group," he said. "We have to be able to fight and not lay down or back off."

I can safely say that I have not seen a Notre Dame team in the last several years that consistently outfought its opponents. In the one big win of the year, against West Virginia, the Irish were still outhustled. The only thing that keeps ND in big games against superior opponents is a strong shooting streak, which is a tough thing to rely on.


Anonymous said...

In the immortal words of Derrick Coleman, "Whoop-de-damn-do", really spanking the boys with an 8:00 a.m. practice. John Chaney's practices were SCHEDULED for 5:00 a.m. Then you have the obligatory, "We were really getting after each other, feelings got hurt." Really? I guess we'll see tomorrow night.
Anybody catch UVA spanking Carolina the other day. The boy can coach.

Brendan O'Brien said...

"It's a good gesture, but..." Exactly right. This is nothing more then a gesture. Just as it was nothing more then a gesture when Brian Smith had to manufacture a pre-game "fight" against SC two years ago to prove that ND was tough. In fact, the similarities between this basketball team and the Weis-era football teams are staggering. This team is incredibly, incredibly soft. Consistently out-hustled, out-worked on the glass nearly every game and an inability to close out inferior opponents...again, sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

Brendan, good point, why do you think that is?

Brendan O'Brien said...

I believe it's a lack of passion/fire/killer instinct directly attributable to the coaching staff. Pundits like to suggest it has something to do with the types of kids coming into ND (smart, upper-class, etc., etc.). I don't buy this. If anything the players coming to ND want to work harder to dispell those notions. However, they need someone to show them HOW to do this. They need someone to develop and instill this kind of instinct. Isn't that what coaching is about? This ho-hum,
"9-9 gets us in the discussion" kind of talk is garbage. Even if you think these things you don't say them to the media. Talk about passionless and uninspiring.