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Building a Playoff Contender: Consistency Is The Key

Written by Justin Turner ⏐ Contributor ⏐

Photo By On3.com


How do you build a College Football Playoff contender? Is it having tons of 5 star players? That seems to be the best way in terms of proven results, but is not iron clad. Is it having a hall of fame coach? Without question that helps. Is it having the best availability to give out NIL deals? Money always talks. But I would say the most sure-fire way to become a College Football Playoff contender is consistency.


As we sit at the quarter poll of the 2023 Notre Dame Football season, that is the word and theme that continues to show itself to me as I watch this team. Consistency in the messaging from the coaches. Consistency in the hate that we receive from the outsiders. And consistency in the effort and play from the players on the field.


With that said, has there been any part of this team that has been more consistent than the quarterback? Steady, smart, arm talent, able to make something out of nothing and most importantly: not turning the ball over. When was the last time you were able to say all of that about a Notre Dame quarterback? Sam Hartman has been everything we as fans hoped he would be. How many times over the last 2 decades have we seen Notre Dame quarterbacks go on the road, start the game off as bad as the Fighting Irish offense looked before the heavens opened and simply never recover? Not only did Hartman recover - he was incredible. And there were two plays that perfectly illustrated that for me. At the end of the first half, 2nd & 10 and your own 21-yard line, Hartman rolls out as the play has totally broken down, keeps his eyes down field and hits a wide-open Chris Tyree for a 65-yard gain. And if that wasn’t good enough, the very next play is an absolute laser of a pass between 3 defenders, in a window that us normal human beings would not have been able to see, for a touchdown to Jaden Greathouse. Not to mention going 15/24 for 284 yards, 4 TDs and 0 INTs. Getting that type of consistent play at quarterback is the stuff that all playoff contenders must have.


We don’t have to spend much time addressing the run game. What more can we really say? Audric Estime’s ability to be a power back when the time calls for it, but also be a home run hitter is something that has not been seen too often. And to get that kind of effort consistently is giving Derrick Henry, Najee Harris, Josh Jacobs, Eddie Lacey vibes. You can see where I’m going with that. Also, to have that depth at that position too is a plus. 5 RBs is a lot. Let’s not kid ourselves. However, they all bring something a little different to the table. But the one thing that they all have is that ability to take every hand off to the house in the blink of an eye. And that’s what separates the playoff teams from the others. Anyone we give this ball too can score. How often did you see Alabama skill players almost seem interchangeable and everything continues rolling? No pun intended. Same for Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State. When was the last time you have been able to say that about a stable of Notre Dame running backs? Or even TEs or wide receivers for that matter?


Photo By Yahoo Sports


The defense! My lord the defense. One thing that we can all admit while being Notre Dame fans is that there will absolutely be days and match ups where we do not have the best athletes on the field. I don’t think that is hard to say. But when was the last time you have watched 3 straight Notre Dame football games and you have not seen a single player get beaten by a better athlete? You haven’t seen major chunk plays given up? When was the last time you’ve seen this team go on the road, against a veteran QB and weapons and come away with 3 interceptions? That is the consistency that is needed. This unit looks fast, smart and they arrive violently at the ball. And most importantly, they take the ball away! Yes, the big bad wolves of college football offenses are still to come on the schedule, but again if this unit continues to consistently play this way, Notre Dame will have a shot against anyone.


The teams that have dominated college football for the better part of the last 2 decades have all had the same formula. A consistent QB that will make great decisions with the ball and leads the team to wins. Offensive weapons that show up vs any team that they play, while striking fear in opposing defensive coordinators, and a defense that you can rely on. Holding teams in points and taking the ball away in big spots. Having those elements of your team that you know are going to be there game in and game out no matter who is on the other sideline is the way you become the gold standard. Being consistent will get this Notre Dame team to the destination that we all want them to be at. Being consistent will get this Notre Dame team into the conversations and narratives we all want them to be in. And being consistent will get this Notre Dame team into one of those final four spots. Being consistent is the key to hanging that next banner and restoring the glory.




1 comentario


Invitado
13 sept 2023

I hope so. Yes, in college football especially the way the set up now is you pretty much have to win every game to make the playoff. This is even more so for Notredame without being in a conference. They won't get in over a 1 loss conference champion in my opinion. Look at Ohio State last year. They were 11 and 0 and leading Michigan 21 to 17 at the half. They were outscored in the second half 28 to 3. Losing 45 to 24. If Usc would have beat Utah even 1 of the 2 games they played each other Ohio State would not have been in the playoff. Can Notredame go 12 and 0 this year. I…

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