Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 12, 2016

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

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Page 4 of 55 SEPT. 12, 2016 5 FAN FORUM WEAK ON STRENGTH COACH How do you interview Paul Longo (Preseason 2016) without asking him about all the injuries Notre Dame has suffered the last several years? Does he think it reflects deficien- cies in the strength and conditioning program? What does he do to try to diminish injuries? Has he tweaked his program in any way to try to dimin- ish injuries? If so, how? If not, why not? Coach Longo's motto is "Start fast, finish fast." Why doesn't Notre Dame ever seem to start fast? They're always slow out of the gate, giving the other team a leg up. Is it a physical problem or a mental problem? What does he do to try to get the team to "start fast?" Why isn't it working? Those questions may seem "rude" but they are important issues and I was really interested in the article (and then disappointed) to see what he had to say about them. Ed Szewczyk, '73 Belleville, Ill. Mr. Szewczyk, your criticism is un- derstandable but in those quick-hit fea- tures up front there is minimal room for "big picture" overview on the top- ics with which you speak. Those were covered more in the four-page spread with director of athletics Jack Swarbrick (pages 72-75), focusing specifically on the implementation of more sports sci- ence, including the Global Positioning System, analyzing soft-tissue injuries more closely, and the addition of exercise physiology specialists, which we hope to feature in the future. There also was a sidebar on those pages on the subject of minimizing contact work in practice. Regarding the criticism of "always" being slow out of the gate, Notre Dame trailed three times in 13 games after the first quarter last year — and all three were losses to top-five teams. Nobody can start fast all the time, not even Alabama or Ohio State. It's just human nature that we remember the slow starts because they stick out more (especially in defeat). Yet not even Alabama and Ohio State win all the time, either. BE HEARD! Send your letters to: Letters Blue & Gold Illustrated P. O. Box 1007 Notre Dame, IN 46556 or e-mail to: FROM THE WEBSITE The 2016 schedule is deemed by some members of BlueandGold. com as one of the more favorable ones in recent years at Notre Dame. How- ever, here is a sampling of that debate: SFIrish: MSU and Stanford at home. Favored probably in every game? Can't count out a possible stumble but I'm optimistic we are at least 11-1 with a very good chance of undefeated. Schedule looks as favorable as I've seen in a long time. NDCorby: Notre Dame is currently favored in all but USC. Regardless, it's a misguided analysis to look at each game in a vacuum. Nobody thought UVA, Temple, or BC would be tough games last year and ND could have lost all three. Point being, Notre Dame will have some surprise tests this year that most of this board is discounting. Ebbs and flow of the year, injuries, surprise teams, bye weeks, etc. — this all matters. There are 6-7 games on the schedule that are losable, in my opinion. JoeM: From a macro view the schedule looks manageable, but when you take it game by game and figure in the grind of the season I have a hard time going above 10 regular-season wins — at least at this point. We don't play any FCS schools, and the worst opponent on the schedule (Nevada) still won a bowl game last year. And if you think my opinion is arbi- trary, then you can look at published strength of schedule rankings out there. ND has a tough schedule. Couple that with the questions surrounding safety play, pass rush and WR production, and that's where my expectations come from. Baron100: We play one true road game after October 8th. Sorry but it's never going to be easier for Brian Kelly than this. If he can't get into playoffs with this squad, this schedule put me in the camp of solid but not great coach. BigNDfan80: They still haven't recruited well enough on defense to win a championship. That's the reality. Moe38: Let's not forget our inexperienced receiving corps and two QB system. I'm thinking more 9-3 and hoping for better. Too much inexperience. Undirish3: Miami and at NC State won't be cupcakes. I agree 11-1 looks about right. It's nice to see realistic expectations of 11-1 every year. Thank God, it's been a long time coming. We had an undefeated regular season under Kelly — but there aren't going to be rebuilding 8-4 teams. Depth and talent across the board and recruiting at its finest. Inamar: ND doesn't play any FCS schools by name, but Army basically is no better than many FCS programs. Notre Dame strength and conditioning coach Paul Longo's motto for his players is "start fast, finish fast" — something the Irish were able to do more often than not in 2015. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN

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