Consistency Is Key
“…the day to day consistency. We’ll flash that we know how to do it at times and then we’ll not do it another time. So the consistency of doing it over and over are things you harp on.” – Frank Verducci
If you’ve read my previous article, you’ll notice that, at times, I love playing devil’s advocate. I wrote that article as much for other Notre Dame fans as I did for myself. I was one of the people who was comparing the 2007 squad to the 1988 squad and hoping for the best. As it turns out, I spent most of the 2007 season under a rock and, after a while, my friends stopped making fun of me.
Just a few days ago, I was thinking to myself, “If Notre Dame can get into the USC game unscathed and can squeak away with a win, they have a good chance of finishing the rest of the season undefeated.” Then, I had to remind myself that last year, Notre Dame lost four out of their last six games to finish out the regular season including an excruciatingly painful loss to Syracuse. What was the common denominator in all of those losses? Consistency. Do the research. In fact, Anthony has done the research and has written an article covering each of those games statistically.
When it really comes down to it, most of the questions I outlined in my previous article that are facing the Irish this upcoming season could be remedied by consistency in all facets of the game. In fact, one could argue that consistency was the biggest problem facing last year’s squad as well. The last half of last year’s campaign included several games in which the Irish gave up double-digit leads to lose the game. The Irish could have very easily won each of those games with consistency from the entire team.
Consistency, however, is not an easy thing to achieve. Really, it starts up front on the offensive and defensive lines. If the offensive line provides consistent protection to the quarterback, he can establish a rhythm with his receivers and provide a consistent passing attack. If the offensive line can provide consistent running lanes for the running backs, they can consistently gain good chunks of yardage which will not only move the ball down the field, but open up the passing game for the quarterback. Similarly, if the defensive line can provide consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks they can consistently shut down the running game with the linebackers and it provides an opportunity for the secondary to consistently cover the opposing receivers. It’s a vicious cycle.
“Every football game is won or lost in the trenches.” The old saying is true and this year, it rings true for the Fighting Irish. The Spring is not for installation and teaching technique as much as the summer is. However, the spring is a time for the coaches to observe who is playing with the most consistency thus far. Come summer camp time, those players will have the upper-hand on the depth chart. Only time will tell if that translates to the upper-hand on the opposition.