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Notre Dame Football

What's the Difference Between Notre Dame and Ohio State?

March 14, 2017
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Chase Hounshell had the unique opportunity to play college football for six seasons. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound tight end played his first five seasons at Notre Dame and then was part of Ohio State’s football program for his final season of eligibility in 2016.
 
The Kirtland (Ohio) native will return to South Bend to take part in Notre Dame’s Pro Day on March 23rd to showcase his talent to NFL scout but also to help his good friend and former teammate, DeShone Kizer.
 
“I wanted to do both, but of course they were on the same day,” Hounshell told Irish Sports Daily. “I feel more comfortable at Notre Dame, I was obviously there for five years, and DeShone is one of my great friends.
 
“DeShone also threw me my only ball of my career. I figured it was probably the way to go.”
 
Hounshell was part of successful teams at both stops, but what is the difference between the two programs? Not as much as one would think from the outside looking in.
 
“Notre Dame and Ohio State are two of the top-tier programs in the country, and that’s pretty much how they are run,” stated Hounshell. “They are run similar in a lot of ways. A lot of stuff is regulated by the NCAA.
 
“Each program is run by the head coach. The head coach pretty much decides everything. He decides when you’re working out, how the team travels, eating and the mood in the locker room. The head coach determines a lot.” 
 
Each program is run by the head coach. The head coach pretty much decides everything. - Chase Hounshell
The Buckeyes and Irish enter each year with high expectations from those within the program to the fan base. Hounshell left Notre Dame as the Irish were coming off a Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State, but the Buckeyes had won a National Title the year before.
 
“Everything is super important, and all eyes are on you at all times at both schools,” explained Hounshell. “There are huge expectations at both programs every single year.
 
“Thankfully coming from Notre Dame, I knew about the expectations already. There is a lot of pressure on you every single day, especially on the coaches. The transition was smooth coming from Notre Dame.”
 
When it came to the practices and workouts, the two programs did have some differences. At Notre Dame, the staff had a particular script and planned every detail, while Ohio State was about work ethic.
 
“When I was at Notre Dame, I think the coaches were smart, and everything was planned out,” Hounshell said. “All the reps were planned out and knew how many reps everyone was getting. Everything was super thought-out at Notre Dame.
 
“Everything was thought-out at Ohio State, but I think their plan was to work you as hard as they could at all times. That was the huge difference in the programs.”
 
The workouts under Ohio State’s Mickey Marotti were intense and competition-based, something that has arrived at Notre Dame under new Director of Football Performance Matt Balis, who worked under Marotti at Utah and Florida. 
 
“You worked hard at all times of the day at Ohio State,” said Hounshell. “There was always a competition going on and eyes watching you. You’re always just in competition. There is always a winner and always a loser at Ohio State. It made a lot of kids compete.”
 
The Buckeyes’ competition was team-based but also individual competition on a daily basis. The one-on-one battles are what stuck with Hounshell as it brought out the best in each player every day.
 
“At Notre Dame, we didn’t have any competition going one-on-one with someone,” stated Hounshell. “At Ohio State, you would walk into the weight room and on the board was who you were going up against for the day. There was a winner and a loser. The loser has to do some type of punishment. You are grinding out every day in the weight room trying to do better than the guy they put you against so you don’t have to do the punishment. That made guys go pretty crazy.”
 
Hounshell says he loved former Notre Dame strength and conditioning coordinator Paul Longo and felt the Irish were strong during his tenure, but it came down to two different styles. 
 
“It’s really just two philosophies,” Hounshell explained. “Looking back at both, I can’t really tell you which one was better. I loved playing at Notre Dame and liked how everything was run. I loved how Urban ran everything at Ohio State too.” 
 
You got a binder at Ohio State. You got a binder at Notre Dame. They had almost the same exact stuff. - Chase Hounshell
When it comes to game preparations, Notre Dame and Ohio State were once again very similar. Hounshell felt the Notre Dame scouting reports might have been more in-depth, but over the course of the week, the game prep didn’t differ much.
 
“When we got into the meeting rooms on Monday morning – pretty much everything was identical,” said Hounshell. “You got a binder at Ohio State. You got a binder at Notre Dame. They had almost the same exact stuff. A lot of Notre Dame’s coaches went to Ohio State, so it was almost like I was looking at the same thing I had seen at Notre Dame.
 
“At both schools, you’re watching film of opponents. You were getting packets of what plays work against them, what plays to expect, favorite plays and impact players. They were close to equal regarding scouting reports.” 
 
Another difference came on gameday. With the two massive fan bases and tradition, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Hounshell to be a part of both.
 
“It’s definitely different, but I wouldn’t say either one is better,” laughed Hounshell. “Both gameday environments are crazy. There is nothing like gameday at Notre Dame across the country. Everyone is together, the camaraderie around the stadium, it’s just insane.
 
“At Ohio State, the whole city shuts down, and you have hundreds of thousands of people coming to just tailgate. During the games, there is a much larger student section and a lot more chanting going on. It’s obviously a little bit louder too.
 
“Again, it’s just different gameday experiences. It’s a little crazier at Ohio State.”
Discussion from...

What's the Difference Between Notre Dame and Ohio State?

shamrock16
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R
Very interesting insight. Pretty cool that Chase got to experience both.
mniemann
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Great read Matt! Let's hope ND is finally closing the gap in regards to competition and strength training.
wbizzle
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P
If I recall there is a poster that is close with Tony Alford. I always thought it would be cool if he shared some of these program differences.
dunwoodyfan
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Great idea for a story. Really, really interesting insight.

Re: the one-on-one competition. There was a video that came out a couple of years ago featuring a lot of those one-on-one competitions at OSU, I remember thinking, "he (Urban) is making some some sons-of-*****es." My thought was a complimentary one. Football games aren't won by nice guys (on the field). The competition came of as very, very intense. It's what I envisioned when Charlie said that he was going to field a nasty team.

I have to think ND did more of that than Chase remembered at the time of the interview. But who knows?
NYNDBLUE
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''You worked hard all the time at all hours of the day at Ohio State.' How important is this quote?

Absolutely see the benefit of competition. However is this quote indicative of a culture that is 'all football' and limited academics. Doubtful that Hounshell wants to create a problem for Ohio State. Was this quote a way of stealth fully describing a key difference?
socalirish1
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Cool stuff.

Teams like Clemson, Alabama, and Ohio State just seem to find the right talent and maximize what they have. ND player development has been suspect. Sounds like the new folks are going to turn up the heat. There is a danger of creating a tight overly intense culture too. With ND academics, not sure the pendulum can swing too far without kids going insane.

The best coaches I have seen keep it very competitive, very fair, but also very fun. If you are intense, you have to give these kids some escape.
ndkj1
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we are a private catholic school with a national following ... that is a big difference ... we are also a school where academics is number one ...football is a distant 2nd for our players ...no P E majors and no basket weaving classes ... that is a huge challenge for our players to overcome ...
jrjr
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Great read!
mattfreeman
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Staff
NYNDBLUE said:

''You worked hard all the time at all hours of the day at Ohio State.' How important is this quote?

Absolutely see the benefit of competition. However is this quote indicative of a culture that is 'all football' and limited academics. Doubtful that Hounshell wants to create a problem for Ohio State. Was this quote a way of stealth fully describing a key difference?
You're reading too much into it. He also stated:

""They are run similar in a lot of ways. A lot of stuff is regulated by the NCAA."

irvinejack
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Chase was extremely diplomatic in what he said and if all of it is true, there are very few differences in the two programs beyond the intense weight room and one-on-one competitions. Those two and the comment about full-time intensity at OSU could be BIG differences though.

I wonder what he would say to a good friend in private about the differences.
ohiondfan
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What's the difference?

About 4 wins a year.

Let's close that gap.
RB
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mattfreeman said:

NYNDBLUE said:

''You worked hard all the time at all hours of the day at Ohio State.' How important is this quote?

Absolutely see the benefit of competition. However is this quote indicative of a culture that is 'all football' and limited academics. Doubtful that Hounshell wants to create a problem for Ohio State. Was this quote a way of stealth fully describing a key difference?
You're reading too much into it. He also stated:

""They are run similar in a lot of ways. A lot of stuff is regulated by the NCAA."


My guess is that this is true for most top programs. Was anything said about significant differences in facilities, etc? My guess is that the differences may be significant at a Texas, Bama, Clemson, but not most places. Whatever we are doing to upgrade facilities probably closes some of the gaps.
mattfreeman
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RB said:

mattfreeman said:

NYNDBLUE said:

''You worked hard all the time at all hours of the day at Ohio State.' How important is this quote?

Absolutely see the benefit of competition. However is this quote indicative of a culture that is 'all football' and limited academics. Doubtful that Hounshell wants to create a problem for Ohio State. Was this quote a way of stealth fully describing a key difference?
You're reading too much into it. He also stated:

""They are run similar in a lot of ways. A lot of stuff is regulated by the NCAA."


My guess is that this is true for most top programs. Was anything said about significant differences in facilities, etc? My guess is that the differences may be significant at a Texas, Bama, Clemson, but not most places. Whatever we are doing to upgrade facilities probably closes some of the gaps.
Ohio State has better facilities, but most of the football complex is off campus.
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