A Case Study On Intensity: Notre Dame Football

Matt PoloniCorrespondent INovember 30, 2008

Before Saturday's game against USC, the Irish got into a scuffle with the Trojans. To the ESPN announcers, the skirmish showed some much-needed energy from a team whose biggest knock may be their lack of intensity these past few years.

To me, it showed immaturity.

I expect the team I root for every Saturday (the Irish) to be better than that.

Pumping your fist, pounding your chest, and jawing at your opponent before a game proves nothing. It doesn't create energy, it wastes it. It isn't real.

Real intensity is when you ignore all distractions without difficulty.

Real intensity is when you don't need to say a thing to get across your message because you know your actions will do the talking.

Real intensity is when you play every down as if it could change the game because it very well could.

On Saturday, the Irish seemed to try the "fake it 'til you make it" strategy. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. You can't expect to just dial it up on gameday.

Where was it against USC? Where was it against Boston College? Where was it against San Diego State?

The defense has shown it much more often than the offense. But with the struggles that the offense has had staying on the field, the defense wears down and loses it by the fourth quarter.

That needs to change. If Charlie Weis isn't the guy who can bring that mentality, then it's obvious where the changes need to start.

Fans want to see that nasty streak that so many people talk about, but few of the Irish faithful have seen of late.

Lower your head and fight for those extra yards. Punish any defender that dares to take you on a block. Dig it out in the trenches and drive your opponent to his backside only to pick up the next guy that comes your way.

After the whistle blows, be a good sport and help the guy up. But until you hear that sound, it is your job to paint the field with his sweat and blood.

Note: Do not deliberately try to make your opponent bleed or become injured. It's just a game, man.

Confidence. Arrogance. Swagger. That's where it all starts.

Lord knows that USC has it.

Charlie seemed to have it when he came back to his alma mater. And I could only assume that those qualities may have something to do with the reported lack of friends he's made at the university.

So why don't the players show it?