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Lincoln Riley shares the mystery ingredient in top players, and who is responsible for instilling it

Speed and strength are obvious essentials in some of the top football players at every level of football, but there's also a third ingredient that doesn't get talked about enough.

In a recent Tulsa World Q&A, Lincoln Riley shared what he believes is that third ingredient.

After explaining the new energy and momentum that Alex Grinch has brought to the Sooners defense over the past several months, Riley shared that something as simple as belief has also undergone a dramatic change. Beyond strength and speed, Riley was asked if belief is at least 51% of being successful?

Riley shared that, in the big picture of things, success is likely much more than just 51% belief, and uses Tom Brady to drive his point home.

“It’s probably more than 51 percent. It’s such a mental game. It’s the only way you can explain why there are elite players at every level who are not really physically gifted. That’s the only way you can explain how a guy like Tom Brady – a guy with (average athleticism) – might be the best football player ever. It’s amazing."

Who's responsible for instilling that belief? Coaches, according to Riley.

"Belief is everything. It’s our job to instill that, and Alex and our defensive coaches are doing a good job with that.”

Considering the success Riley has led the Sooners to in his first two seasons, along with back-to-back Heisman-winning quarterbacks, we'd all be smart to take Riley's words under serious consideration.

Next time you go to make a hire, you might want to also evaluate and reach out to references about the coach's ability to instill belief in his players as well.

Head here to read the full Q&A along with what Riley had to share about the Sooners progress on defense.