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Tragedy makes football hard to discuss

Oct 28, 2010, 12:55 PM EDT

Notre Dame Accident

In the hours before yesterday’s accident, I had been preparing a column on Bob Diaco’s defensive struggles against Navy. Pulling stats from old Navy games and quotes from archived videos, I drew comparisons between Diaco’s failed gameplan against Ken Niumatalolo’s option attack to the plan Missouri put together during last year’s Texas Bowl, a game even more lopsidedly won by Navy, against a defense far more stout than the Irish’s.

The column went in the scrap heap yesterday when news of Declan Sullivan’s death came flooding into my inbox. I’ve never met Declan, only knew the type of kid that he was, but that hasn’t stopped me, or just about anyone that follows Notre Dame football, from mourning his loss.

Today, the University will hold a press conference at 2pm EST to discuss the tragedy, with vice president for public affairs and communication Jan Botz, University president Rev. John Jenkins, and athletic director Jack Swarbrick speaking. They’ll likely give some of the heartbreaking details of yesterday’s tower collapse, which will hardly mute the pain much of campus is feeling.

While I certainly won’t stop covering this story as it develops, I’m going to continue on with the regular football programming that you find here daily. I’ll try to continue writing with the same tone and mediocre wit that you’re used to, but if things are a little bit more subdued, you’ll obviously know the reason.

Barring something incredibly unexpected, football will be played Saturday, and the Irish will spend the rest of the week preparing for a game Brian Kelly called “the biggest game I’ve coached in.”

Just a quick message to let everyone know there’ll still be plenty of football here, but we certainly won’t forget Declan Sullivan.

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