A Must Have for the Irish "Strength and Conditioning"

Tim DoggContributor IJanuary 8, 2010

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 21: Brian Smith #58 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates with teammates during the game against the Univeristy of Connecticut Huskies at Notre Dame Stadium on November 21, 2009 in South Bend, Indiana. Connecticut defeated Notre Dame 33-30 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With the coaching staff coming together under Brian Kelly, there are still a few more important hires to make.  The first being in strength and conditioning.

Over the past few years the Irish have looked just plain flat at times.  Besides the fourth quarter comebacks last season, the team as a whole looked as though they were gassed coming into the second half. 

Kelly must make a strong hire and bring in someone that can turn the Irish into the second half team they need to be in order to compete with the USC's and Florida's in the FBS.

Enter Paul Longo.

Longo has proven success as a top strength and conditioning coach in a career that spans 22 years.  A recipient of the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association's Master Strength Coach Award in 2001, he has the ability Notre Dame desperately needs.

The University of Cincinnati has become one of the top closing teams in the country under the direction of Longo and Kelly.  Going back to 2007, the Bearcats were 21-0 going in to the fourth quarter with a lead and 19-2 when leading after the half. 

This is definitely an impressive resume when you consider what the Irish have tallied over the past five years.

Player development is key to the success of the Irish and a big part of the puzzle will be complete with success in the weight room.  Everyone talks about getting back to basics, and this will be an integral part in doing so. 

Learning how to finish plays and having the physical and mental toughness to give 100 percent through all four quarters of the football game will give the Irish what they need to be a top contender year in and year out.