Feb 23, 2012, 11:51 AM EDT
(Note: This is the second in a series of fictional memos from Notre Dame’s No. 1 fan to key players for the 2012 Fighting Irish. The first featured senior wide receiver John Goodman.)
To: Daniel Smith
From: Goldy Domer, #1 Irish Fan
Subject: Your upcoming breakout season
See what I did there? That’s called optimism, a trait some people think is rare in a true Irish fan like me. But I can’t help but feel like you’re due for some good luck. As a guy that’s spent quite a few autumn weekends in South Bend, Indiana, I’ve been watching you terrorize defenses since we were both younger spryer versions of ourselves. Ten catches against Penn as a freshman in high school? Over 200 yards in the section championship your senior year? Some people might have thought Charlie Weis was just offering the hometown kid, but I knew better. You were the most dominant player on the football fields of South Bend.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t carried over to that big field, the one with Touchdown Jesus looking over it.
But for some reason I’ve got a hunch about you. While the rest of the gang might be looking at youngsters like Justin Ferguson or Davaris Daniels, I’m not going to let some fluky leg injuries that kept you out of all but two games let me give up on a six-foot-four, 215-pound wide receiver! Last I checked, that’s the biggest guy at the position group, including that guy who just got done wearing No. 3.
Listen, I can spin a yarn as good as the next guy about you, but it’ll be mighty nice if you picked up some of the slack. Don’t think I forgot about that big fumble recovery against Utah your freshman year. But you’re going to be a junior now — a real junior, not one of those guys that carry around a shirt that’s red and doesn’t get discussed until you’re almost out the door.
There’s a reason the coaching staff was buzzing about you last spring. And it wasn’t because they needed to get more locals to come out to the meet-and-greats at Meijer. So let’s do some goal-setting, shall we Danny?
First goal: Stay healthy through spring practice. That means you’re going to need to drink plenty of water (or those fancy Gatorade drinks) and do some stretching. From the sounds of it, you’ve got hammys with the resolve of Tate Forcier. Second goal: Stay glued to Mike Denbrock. While people had you pegged as a tight end coming out of high school, it’s okay to work with Denbrock now, he’s coaching wide receivers. It’ll be good to get a fresh set of eyes on you — a pair that just so happens to be coordinating the passing game this year. Third Goal: Dominate summer workouts. There’s no way for you to be home sick, so lay off the R&R (Rocco’s and Ritter’s) and spend plenty of time at Longo Beach.
And maybe buddy up with that Golson kid, if you know what I mean.
It’s okay to take baby-steps this spring Danny. But be ready to come running out of the gate next fall.