Jay Bilas: Defining toughness in college hoops - ESPN I put this on here because I think Bilas's article goes along way toward explaining what Belichick means when he talks about touch players, if you can apply to Bilas explanation to football. Toughness is not about physical aggression or withstanding pain, or even performing under duress. Instead, Bilas says, toughness is a skill you learn. When he gives you the various examples of toughness, he defines it as doing the little things, consistently, that make life tough on your opponent. It's about skills and fundamentals, attention to detail, and most importantly, a love for the game of football. Love for the game is the most important because only a player that respects the strategy and the dedication that goes with it (i.e. really working hard to make sure you're doing the maximum to take advantage of and occupy space within a team concept) will prioritize doing the little things over everything else.