Wednesday, September 05, 2007

We aren't who we thought we were.

As TOB will tell you, we are much less.

"As I said to the team on Sunday, the first thing they've got to recognize is they're not as good as they think they are," O'Brien said. "I mean, a lot of these guys have an overinflated image of who and what they are. ...

"It's something that's permeated everything here about, 'We have this great talent' and this, that and everything else that I think filters down to the team. There's nothing wrong with being confident, but you've got to recognize, really, what reality is."


"Sometimes, it's like: 'We can go through the motions because we're good enough; we don't have to practice hard ... because we're going to show up Saturday night and it's going to happen,' " O'Brien said. "That's what they have to realize doesn't work. They're not that good to do that.

"That started in spring practice: 'I don't think I'll practice today because I've got a little of this or that, but I can make it up on game day.' That was the attitude of a lot of guys that hopefully we're changing. But it's still prevalent."

Amato was able to permeate the TA McLendon attitude into every corner of the football program. Impressive. One might think that certain things take care of themselves, that events on the field will alter perspectives to the point where they better reflect reality. For instance: a seven game losing streak. An appropriately humbling experience, no? No. I guess the entire team was in denial last year. That is, before they gave up.

From WRAL:

Senior defensive tackle DeMario Pressley agreed with coach Tom O’Brien’s assessment that the Pack had an “over-inflated image” of itself going into last Saturday’s loss to Central Florida.

“In the first half, we were overconfident and maybe we felt as if we didn’t have to work that hard,” Pressley said. “Then at halftime we had to really open up our eyes and we came together.”

This is both astounding and appalling to me--that anyone on a 3-9 football team could have retained this mindset--and it goes to show that Amato quite possibly did more damage off the field than he ever did on it. It may also explain why we managed to beat Boston College and Florida State--two teams obviously among the ACC's best that were therefore granted respect by our prima donnas--while looking unfocused and losing to a handful of opponents on our level.

It's a shame it took the team an extra half of football to respond. They had an entire off season to stew and reflect, to listen and absorb, to grow. If they had, our pain would have ended on Saturday. The UCF game looked like any number of games played during the previous era, and as long as the players continue to resist an attitude shift, the games will continue to look that way.

“We’re not coming out the same way,” Pressley said. “From here on out we’re going to come out on fire.”

You had damn well better.