measurables. Individual endurance, will power, toughness, football instincts, style of play all are very important, and team aspects like overall talent on the team and depth also play major roles in winning games. Certainly good measurables are important, but there is so much more.
And how many on any given team?
You put too much importance on combine performance as an indicator of what that means to 95% of college teams.
good combines. Teo performed poorly in just 2 of 5 tests, though the 40 is what everyone looks at. He actually did well in the 0-20, 3-cone and vertical jump tests which are more relevant for linebackers than the 40.
We'll likely have 4 #1 picks over two years, two of which were 3 star recruits. For perspective, that's 2x as many as ND had in the ten previous years... combined. Brady Quinn and Jeff Faine were ND's only two first round picks from 2000-2009.
Last year most were talking about how well ND performed at the combine.
Harrison Smith: "He wowed at the NFL Combine earlier this week"
Michael Floyd: "The wide receiver clump began to separate at the NFL scouting combine Sunday, and the player who might have distinguished himself the most was Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd."
This year Eifert turned heads.
Tyler Eifert: "Eifert posted an official time of 4.68 seconds in the 40-yard dash Saturday, a solid mark that further solidifies him as the top tight end on the board. It's been a strong combine for the 6-foot-5½, 250-pound Eifert, who also posted a 35½-inch vertical leap and 22 reps on the bench press."
I think the first question is:
Is it fair to say that ND, over the last two years, has performed less than expected in the combine? I'm not sure that passes the smell test.
As far as reforming self-perception, the locker room speech is a small part of the "reformation project" most of that is done via hard work "deh ta deh" as Kelly drills into their heads. The coaching trick is to convince them to work hard every day so that the game is relatively easy.
Note that in his speeches he almost always talks about the fact that they deserve to be champions because they've outworked the other team and have more "mental and physical toughness". The mental comes from the physical. You can't fake that.
Anecdotally, they look far more in shape than ND teams in the past and have played that way out-performing teams late in the game. You don't do that unless you're in great shape. They've won the physical battle consistently against physical teams like Stanford, MSU and Oklahoma.
Players like Robert Hughes, Jonas Gray and Harrison Smith have gone from disappointments to leaders. That's great development.
I think Kelly and Longo deserve a lot of credit for turning around ND physically and getting players in shape. It's one of the things I liked about Kelly, his teams played viagra football, harder/longer. ND needed that mentality desperately.
Here's the question I do think is interesting:
Because Longo developed his workout routine for the spread, does that put the team at a disadvantage against a power team like Alabama?
PN has some interesting negative comments on Longo's methods below.
Stanford is also a power team and ND won that battle, but ND was completely blown out of the Alabama game.
Kelly's teams were known for very fast play and wearing out opponents with the spread rather than overpowering them.
After reading through some of the comments below, I wonder if we're preparing for the right battles with our workout routines. It seems to me that, generally, ND has and Kelly prefers longer leaner type players, which works until you have Chance Warmack and Eddie Lacy pounding at you.
Warmack has the biggest lower body I've ever seen.
Since he did not participate in the combine I haven't seen any 'real measurements'. He seemed as big as Te'o in the NC game. Is AP really that big?
They are both only 18. I could see either emerging as a power back.
He's bigger in my mind. That makes Atkinson our biggest back.
Mahone is listed at 211...one pound heavier than Atkinson. I was going off his listed weight from Rivals. Your theory stands!
Kelly had more talent his second year but a better team his third (perhaps because of the quarterback play?).
ball over and played to our defense, that is consistently made teams go a long way for a score. Golson had about the same QB rating as Rees, but he didn't turn the ball over and could make plays with his legs. Even so, the offense averaged less points than in 2011 and neither offense was very good.
Defense wins championships. That said, my bet is that Kelly opens up the offense this year and turnovers and scoring both go up.
Of course you can play the combo game for a lot of teams.