Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 26, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 6 of 55 NOV. 26, 2018 7 UNDER THE DOME The dramatic overhaul of Notre Dame's strength and conditioning program during the winter of 2017 has reaped benefits. So has the development of depth. Upon concluding the home portion of the 2018 schedule against Florida State Nov. 10, Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly noted that all 11 defensive players that started versus Michigan in the season opener Sept. 1 were the same as the ones who left the field with a 10-0 ledger following the win versus the Seminoles. The offense lost a vital piece in game five when fifth- year senior left guard and team captain Alex Bars was lost for the season with a torn ACL, but adding senior running back Dexter Williams in that game (after a four-game suspension) and the emergence of former No. 2 quarterback Ian Book has provided a boon to that side of the ball. "Everybody would want to say how do you play better in November — stay healthy," Kelly summarized. "Who wouldn't want to be back in September when you're feeling great and you're 100 percent and you're fresh? "I think health has a lot to do with it. Our guys are in a good spot when it comes to their health, and we've taken great pains to make sure that the recovery process has been a point of emphasis this year." Luck plays a role in a team's health, because injuries on or off the field are capable of occurring any time, but Kelly said a more thorough plan also has been in place since January to at least help avoid health setbacks. This includes pacing oneself in practice as the season winds down. "You can never, through your training and through your weight training and all of your conditioning, avoid injuries — but you can mitigate in a large degree lost man hours through your training and how you practice," Kelly said. "People can say that's luck. "We would say that's a design in terms of what we're trying to accomplish of keeping these guys fresh and healthy so they can be playing on Saturdays." It's been especially manifested along the defensive line, where 10 players in the first 10 games rotated anywhere from 51 to 12 snaps per game (a strong threshold is considered around 50). "The numbers that we look at in the weight room — are they still explosive?" Kelly said the week after the FSU game. "GPS during the week, are they running 19, 20, 21 miles an hour, meaning their legs are fresh and they're able to really give us that speed that we need. "And then the eye test. … How do our DBs look? Are we running with [the opponent]? Are we breaking on the ball? All those criteria together give us a better sense of where we are in November." Travel logs also has been planned. When the Irish played Navy in San Diego Oct. 27, instead of taking the red eye back home, the team stayed overnight to get a good night's sleep and then came back home to a different time zone more refreshed. Also, instead of a walk-through in the visiting team's stadium on Friday, the team has gone straight to the hotel. "We've changed up that routine, which saves us a good hour," Kelly said. "It gives us another hour or so at the hotel to rest, stretch, nutrition, recovery. We won't do that in New York. "It's been part of a long-range plan. … It's really residual of all of that lead- ing up through going to L.A. next week." — Lou Somogyi SHOP NOW FIGHTING IRISH FAN GIFTS FOR THE (800) 647-4641 The Irish Have Been Blessed With Good Health ... For The Most Part Senior linebacker Te'von Coney and the rest of his teammates on defense have managed to stay healthy most of the season. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Blue and Gold Illustrated - Nov. 26, 2018