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Biggest limitation

by Eric M, Western New York, Friday, December 05, 2014, 19:03 @ Kevin
edited by Eric M, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 10:56

Distractions.

Maybe that's too broad, and combines several limitations under one umbrella, but I'm sure ND football players lead the nation by a wide margin with all the distractions they face.

Obviously, the academics are a major part of that distraction. Not only in the work being difficult (and more difficult than generations past) but also in the sense of a smarter student body co-mingling and interacting with football players thus adding further distractions from football.

When you recruit for the 40-year plan you're basically admitting to the distractions involved with juggling football and classwork, right?

We're fighting an uphill battle here when 95% of the country is not. Perhaps a program like Stanford is dealing with it as well, but then we haven't added in ND's other distractions that create another layer that Cardinal players don't deal with nearly as much.

Throw in the weight of tradition, the pomp and circumstance of football weekends, the hyper media blitz, games all over the country in different locales and weather, and players from all over the country.

How many television interviews/segments/promo shots did Golson tape this year? More than Mariota? More than any other QB in the country? EG could have been going through a normal routine preparing for Purdue but instead he's getting a travel itinerary for the trip to Indianapolis and by the way can you come tape some stuff for the jumbotron for about 30 minutes that we'll show during halftime?

We absolutely lead the country in the relationship between distractions and winning being out of whack. It's one thing to be an Alabama and have to deal with all the noise that surrounds the program because of dominating. But there are even more distractions for a 7-5 Irish team.

We can talk about institutional commitment and lengthening the leash on admissions or hiring the unquestioned best coach in the country. These would help a lot. But the former brings its own problems once kids are on campus and even the greatest coach will only be around for a decade or so. Then what?

And what if we hired Saban right now? Does anyone think these distractions wouldn't drive him up a wall? There's been plenty of push back in the past in changing some game weekend activities (moving Mass to Friday, for example) so does anyone think Saban wouldn't take a machine gun to a lot of the way things are run today? Are we cool with that because he's a proven elite coach? Is that hypocritical of us? Are we making it harder on ourselves now than we should be?

It's just tough, man. I can't sit here and tell anyone Corey Robinson isn't an amazing human being. I'm assuming he was with the players that were doing charity work today for Kelly Cares and now he's probably simultaneously working through a ukulele masterpiece while reviewing KeiVarae's poetry over Skype. I also can't tell anyone that he's as viciously hungry to succeed on the football field as the backup defensive end at LSU. Corey's just got a lot more going on in his life, including his tall ass super famous dad with family in tow hanging around at every game.

This stuff runs deep and honestly there aren't any easy answers and solutions. The explosion of personal technology is a distraction for players all across the country but even that is probably magnified more at ND where the players can interact more with students, meet more students, find new interests outside football, etc.

Some might say that other schools offer major distractions in the form of nightlife. True, but it's not like ND doesn't have some of those avenues too. And in a weird way, I think wildin' out with your boys at the bar or club is a good form of team bonding that offers minimal distractions most of the time.

IMO, the biggest problem for ND is getting the team to focus at a high level every single week during the season. And to try and to string together multiple seasons of that high level of focus? I can't even imagine how much of a challenge this is for the coaching staff.

In reality we have to be more focused than the Alabama's of the world in order to make up for the academic side of things and to me that's an enormous and constant struggle. Some may say a Saban or Meyer would have the team ultimately focused, and I might agree, but there's also a chance all the distractions drive them mad and makes them burn out rather quickly. And then who do we blame? We know the administration won't budge on some issues and most of us want it that way. But there also seems to be a "let them do what they want, to a certain point" card ready for Meyer, Saban, and Stoops only. Maybe that's fair, I don't know. I just wonder if Meyer coached here and burned out Leahy-style after 4 years how we'd react to the fate of the program.

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-Ya boy Jackmerius Tacktheritrix

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