Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2016

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

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10 PRESEASON 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Paul Longo is entering his seventh year as Notre Dame's director of football strength and conditioning. The Sterling Heights, Mich., native possesses 28 years of experience at the Football Bowl Subdivi- sion level and has been with head coach Brian Kelly since 2004. BGI: What's an average day like for you, espe- cially in the summer? Longo: "Well, we're here early and leave late. We run sessions throughout the day. We're here early getting injury reports and following up on all the administrative stuff. "We start our training around 2:30 in groups and that usually winds up around 8:30 at night. So, you get out of here about 9:30 by the time they are done. It's typical." BGI: What do you think separates your pro- gram from other top schools' programs? Longo: "Results over time. Over the past 30 years, we've consistently produced teams that are able to do well in the fourth quarter. We've consistently produced champions … MAC cham- pions, Big Ten champions, Big East champions. We've produced a lot of individuals, a lot of good NFL players and took a lot of guys that were walk-ons and became good col- lege players. "I always look at the total results, and it's a team-oriented thing. If we don't win, we didn't do well." BGI: What's your program's philosophy? Longo: "Our philosophy is to use ground-based movements to enhance our performance and reduce our injuries. That's the basis of what we do. It's individualized as much as possible by position and by their weakness or what's holding them back, so to speak. "All of that is put together for the coaches and our expertise and seeing what that kid is capable of carrying from a weight standpoint. That's key as far as whether they are able to play 20 snaps, 40 snaps, 60 snaps, based upon their work volume. A lot of those factors will be factored into their time out on the field." BGI: How do you go about preparing athletes to be mentally tough in the weight room? Longo: "It's part of what we do. It's not just lift- ing weights. It's learning to train. You're in training and in training to us means 24/7. "When you leave here you're still in training. You have to eat, you have to sleep. You've got to take care of all those things." BGI: What's your motto? Longo: "Start fast, finish strong. There's a big sign right above my office. That's what we're all about. "We want to come out fast in the first quarter and finish strong in the fourth quarter." — Corey Bodden Five Questions With … DIRECTOR OF FOOTBALL STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING PAUL LONGO Too Much Can Go Wrong By Bryan Driskell There are ways to make a two-quarterback system work, but I remain skeptical if Notre Dame can pull it off. Perhaps Brian Kelly and his staff can find a small role for one quarterback, but there's a reason playing two quarterbacks or anything similar to an equal opportunity rota- tion has not worked. Too much can go wrong. Senior Malik Zaire and junior DeShone Kizer are very competitive players who are alpha fig- ures, and neither seemed thrilled about having to share the spotlight. It remains to be seen if either will swallow his pride enough to make this work. No matter what the coaches do, if the two quarterbacks don't have the right attitude, it is not going to work. Both quarterbacks have a unique cadence, and it is difficult for offensive players to adapt. When Kizer replaced Zaire last season, the of- fense had five false start penalties as it tried to adjust to his cadence and voice inflection. For the receivers, catching the ball from a 6-0 left-handed quarterback is quite different than receiving it from a 6-4½ right-handed quarterback. The ball comes out of Zaire's hand at a different angle than it does out of Kizer's, which might explain some of the drop issues the receivers have had in fall camp. Too much has to go right for this to work. The margin for error in this situa- tion is paper-thin. If it's going to work, it has to work immediately. It's Difficult, But Doable By Lou Somogyi I too have doubts. Even when the San Francisco 49ers had Joe Montana and Steve Young, or the Green Bay Packers had Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, one eventually had to leave. It is a unique position of leadership not structured for timeshare. Yet there is history on the college level that it can function. Alabama's Bear Bryant often used an option QB (Gary Rutledge or Steadman Shealy) to complement a passer (Richard Todd or Jeff Rut- ledge) in games during the 1970s. Urban Meyer had passer Chris Leak (2,942 yards) and runner Tim Tebow (469 yards rushing, 5.3 per carry and a team-high eight touchdowns) during the 2006 national title march. Florida State's Bobby Bowden utilized both Jimmy Jordan (1,173 yards passing, 111.4 rating) and Wally Woodham (940 yards, 111.5 rating) during an 11-0 regular season in 1979. USC won the 1996 Rose Bowl despite splitting time between Brad Otton and Kyle Wach- holtz, and the next year Ohio State finished No. 2 with Stanley Jackson (1,298 yards passing, 12 touchdowns) and Joe Germaine (1,193 yards passing, 15 touchdowns) rotating. Four of Steve Spurrier's seven league titles at Duke and Florida were won while rotating QBs. Lou Holtz dabbled with it some, including during the 11-1 season at Notre Dame in 1993. Brian Kelly effectively used both Malik Zaire and Everett Golson in the 2014 Music City Bowl win versus LSU. Preferable? No. Doable? Yes. It should be settled as the season progresses. Point ✦ Counterpoint: CAN NOTRE DAME PROSPER WITH A TWO-QUARTERBACK SYSTEM? DESHONE KIZER MALIK ZAIRE Longo has served in his role under head coach Brian Kelly each of the past 12 years. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN

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