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Playmakers Wanted: Daniel Smith

Feb 23, 2012, 11:51 AM EDT

Daniel Smith

(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

Hi Daniel,

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.

Your bud,



  1. herringbonesports - Feb 23, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Well I find this series to be a pretty interesting idea and Keith is living on the right side of creepy so far.
    Daniel Smith is in line with a few other WRs that we’d love to see grab some of those 100 balls Michael Floyd leaves on the table. Somebody needs to grab that Red Zone/Deep Out/Deep Middle/Possession WR slot while also gaining trust in what is likely to be a more athletic starting QB. If it IS Golson – being on the same page as him early in his career could be huge when he escapes pressure and looks for WRs breaking into space. Smith has definitely been missing, but not forgotten. It’s likely this spring or never for him to make an impact.

    Also, if you guys were interested – Brady Quinn is on tonight’s TNNDN Radio/Podcast. While we intend to stick to NDFB and his NFL future prospects conversation, this whole week has added some buzz to the moment. As a lifelong Irish fan and eternal believer in Brady this is going to be pretty cool to speak to him. Hopefully we get to have Keith back on now that I’m co-hosting, because he was great and I didn’t get to talk to him last time.


    • 9irish - Feb 23, 2012 at 3:48 PM

      I think Brady and Clausen are underrated on the NFL scale. They’ve just always played for crappy teams. I think they have alot of potential, still.

      • herringbonesports - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:09 PM

        Well, I think Quinn has gotten a pretty raw deal out of the gate and his NFL numbers seem to reflect those of even the most elite QBs at the start of a career. He matches up favorably to current starters Sanchez, Stafford and Kolb in their first 10 games, but his perception is wildly screwed up in the national media, while those guys got handed starting jobs this season without question.

        I struggle to stake a claim to Clausen being an effective starter in the league, but will stop at saying I wouldn’t be surprised if he was in the right spot that he could lead a winning team. I love to trash Sanchez, but if Quinn or Clausen were on the 2010 squad I think they get to the AFC Championship or farther and both could have done more than Sanchez did in 2011. Neither Quinn or Clausen have had the chance to be propped up by a quality defense or even skill players.

        Location, Location, Location when it comes to playing in the league. I’m interested in hearing what Quinn thinks he needs to do to get back into a starter’s role.

      • nudeman - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:48 PM

        I like them both, especially Jimmy who I thought was unfairly maligned while at ND. I heard he went back to school after his rookie year, finished his degree but was booed when attending b-ball games. WTF?

        Brady … like him too but don’t know what happened there. His senior year he seemed to regress slightly. Then in the draft, damn near slipped out of the first round.

        Then when I saw him play with the Browns he looked totally lost. Throwing passes – short ones – in the dirt, easily rattled, etc.

        They seemed to give up on him pretty quickly too, and they didn’t exactly have Johnny Unitas waiting to take over.

      • bernhtp - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:58 PM

        Fair or not, Clausen’s image and consequent likability never fully recovered from his ill-conceived announcement at the College Football Hall of Fame (limo, fur coat and promise of multiple national championships) and later by his early departure.

      • papadec - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:43 AM

        9irish – you can add Golden Tate to that list of ND players underutilized on crappy NFL teams.

    • 808raiderinparadise - Feb 23, 2012 at 4:14 PM

      I agree this Stalker-type of series is creepy and quite honestly digging deep for subject matter regarding the program next year. I would rather disect the returning starters roles/goals then praying for the next Jonas Gray in a wierd stylistic form as seen in this series.

      Biggest question to me is the secondary ….. the Defense will be a strongpoint again, but the secondary has holes and youngsters all over.

      Can’t wait to watch Teo, what a joy of a career, great kid, student and being that I am from Hawaii and live by Punahou his highschool, I am all for Teo and Toma !!!!!!!!!

    • herringbonesports - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:04 AM

      Me and nude have gone all day on Brady Quinn’s pro prospects. I’m firmly behind the belief he can succeed in the NFL. I tweeted to Keith before the show started and asked him what he might ask Brady Quinn tonight. His response:

      Keith Arnold ‏@KeithArnoldNBC

      His GF in ESPN’s body issue. RT @HB_Sports What would my favorite ND writer ask Brady Quinn in an interview today? Outside GQ nonsense.

      Nice work pal, wished I’d have seen it before going on.

  2. bernhtp - Feb 23, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Floyd left a huge shadow when he played. It will be interesting to see who emerges from this now that MMF is gone. This series reminds us of how much unrealized ability there is on this team.

    • nudeman - Feb 23, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      Would like to see the next article on Roberson or Farley

  3. nudeman - Feb 23, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    I’ll take this guy any day over the clown who went to Houston

    Something to be said for a guy who’s had to overcome injuries, vs a diva like “you-know-who”.

    Hope he has a big year

  4. mdp44 - Feb 23, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    U had no problem when lynch switched from FS. Stop crying, kid wanted to go to a different school

    • nudeman - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      Big difference
      As I’ve said before, take your talents to USC or UM or MSU or a top tier school like that and
      I’d have been disappointed but would understand at some level.

      Going to Houston showed total heartlessness
      Like wanting to stay in Triple A instead of getting called up to the Bigs because you’re hitting .342 and the pitching isn’t that tough

      Several others here and on other sites have also said that long before the NSD drama unfolded, they saw him play in HS and all star games and he dogged it frequently.

      I say we may likely never hear of him again

      • dickasman - Feb 23, 2012 at 2:44 PM

        he really like the sizzurp they have down there and I do too.

      • dmac4real - Feb 23, 2012 at 3:08 PM

        “Is prone to taking plays off, but the physical tools are all there; he’s as good as he wants to be – Scott Kennedy.”

        From the profile. Figured id back you up. But TBH, I absolutely still wish he would have signed with ND.

    • getsome99 - Feb 23, 2012 at 8:55 PM

      Anybody who declines the opportunity to go to school at Notre Dame in favor of the University of Houston needs their head examined. If it was a football only decision, which still doesn’t make any sense, then ND is better off without him.

  5. sullyp18 - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    I think the reality of replacing Michael Floyd is that its going to have to be a team approach. You dont just simply replace the top WR is ND history. I think if you take a look at the guys Kelly and is coaches have been able to pull in, you will see a slew of talent that can be plugged into different positions. Notre Dame has not looked this athletic in a long time and I think Kelly has us heading down the right direction.

    • bernhtp - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:45 PM

      There’s a lot of latent talent in the receiving corps that will be unlocked once the QB position is seriously upgraded. I not only expect several WRs to step up, but also expect some two TE sets (and not just for blocking) and more pass action to the RB (Cierre, Theo, GA3 and even Davonte) to exploit the space created by a mobile and stronger-arm QB.

  6. 1historian - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Smith is the kid that Floyd told us would be the next great thing is he not?


    • schuey73 - Feb 23, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      Yes. Floyd did say in a radio interview that he believes Smith could step up big time. He also mentioned TJ Jones and Robby Toma, but mentioned Smith first and talked about him. I was expecting to hear him say Daniels, Farley, or Jones, so yeah I am intrigued by what Floyd and the coaches see in him that we haven’t seen yet.

  7. notthatconfused - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    “you’ve got hammys with the resolve of Tate Forcier”- Keith Arnold

    I’m saving this quote for future use! Good one, Keith.

    • 9irish - Feb 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM

      Tate Forcier…one of the few college athletes I ever wished physical harm to. (Todd Marinovich, Jr)

      • nudeman - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:23 PM


      • 9irish - Feb 23, 2012 at 9:59 PM

        God…those smug punk-types, doesn’t blow my skirt up. Like to see them fall on their faces.

  8. akirish - Feb 23, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    That hammy quote was pretty good. There is so much talent on this team, and its possible so much emphasis was placed on what the coaching staff deemed as absolutely necessary steps (QB research & development, running game, The Theo Riddick Project, the Michael Floyd game plan) that some of these players’ development suffered a bit. The team may get a bit “addition by subtraction” this year as well, with non-MMF receivers getting more attention. Looking forward to seeing how this all shakes out and who steps up.

    Side Note: I actually agree with nudeman concerning Greenberry. I think we dodged a bullet on that one….Houston? Really?

  9. papadec - Feb 23, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Why assume that no one will ever break Mike’s records? He replaced someone, that replaced someone, who replaced someone. Records are made to be broken. If Mike has confidence in Dan Smith – that says a lot to me. He may, or may not, set/break records – but it will be fun watching to see if he does.

  10. sullyp18 - Feb 23, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    I understand that all records are made to be broken and I am sure eventually they will especially with the change in the offensive styles. My point is, at this time we do not have a guy that has the physical gifts Mike had and until we do I believe we will need to take a collective approach to matching the offensive output Mike had.

    • bernhtp - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:19 PM

      Understand that MMF set those records with two years of substandard quarterbacking, two years of another top receiver (Tate) sharing the field with him, and had substantial amount of time out due to injuries. You can have someone with less talent than Floyd but still break his records with some of these factors changed, especially the QB.

      • papadec - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:52 PM

        bernhtp – exactly.

      • nudeman - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:50 PM

        Yes, but Tommy gave them the best chance to win.

      • getsome99 - Feb 23, 2012 at 9:12 PM

        Don’t forget about the tight ends, Carlson and Rudolph. QB play is the concern for the offense, not receivers. Eifert is a huge weapon down the field and WR’s always step up. McKnight, Stovall, Samardjiza, McKnight again, Tate, Floyd…We don’t know who it will be, but my money is on incoming freshman Chris Brown. If Golson turns out to be anything close to what we hope is, then having a go to guy to replace Floyd won’t be as critical.

  11. papadec - Feb 23, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    nude – re your post @ 6:50pm. Who are you, and what have you done to the real nudeman? If it is you, you are either drunk as a skunk, OR more mellow than Saffron. emmmmmmmm wait a second – I think I remember you posting that you weren’t going to get on TR anymore. If that’s the case, then you are being sarcastic (that’s the nude we know) OR sincere – which tight loops back to my original question.

    • bernhtp - Feb 24, 2012 at 8:00 AM

      That statement would be sarcasm from anyone on the board at this point.

    • nudeman - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:43 AM

      I think I am going to morph into the #1 Tommy fan here just to totally piss everyone off, now that the tide has turned overwhelmingly against him. Long time until any game action so gotta’ find some way to stir things up.

      • bernhtp - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:55 AM

        Just create a moniker of UAWBlowsNudemanGoats and we will understand.

      • don74 - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:56 AM


        the horse is horizontal and by the way lent started wednesday…….no TR for you till easter.

      • nudeman - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:03 AM

        Not a bad idea at all. Seriously.

  12. 1historian - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    Here I am again in defense of Jimmy Clausen.

    His announcement of where he was going to go to college was WAAAY over the top – the whole 9 yards and then some! It was stupid, it was hammy, it was about as immature as could be imagined.

    In his defense:

    He later apologized for it, he did as well as he could for 3 years behind a poor offensive line. He left ND after 3 years because he knew he would get a much better deal under the BA which was in effect at the time he left. And he came bac,k to ND and

    • bernhtp - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:09 AM

      I also like Jimmy, but as I said before, he never fully recovered from this first impression. It was a mistake that parental (and ND) guidance should and could have averted.

      Jimmy gave everything to Notre Dame, especially his freshman year when there was no functional O-line and he had an elbow injury. I bet he still has nightmares about some of the hits he took that year.

      The good part about the Davonte Neal circus was that he didn’t show up and so there is no Youtube to play and ridicule for years forward.

      • 1historian - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:34 PM

        Bern – “he never fully recovered from his first impression.” I understand that fact but what I canNOT understand is this – why not?

        The kid is 17 or 18 years old, he is a 5 star recruit and the focus of a recruiting battle between two of the most storied programs in the country, one of whom is almost in his backyard.

        He picks Notre Dame and makes the announcement in a fashion that set a standard for foolishness that stood in lonely solitude until “the decision” in the summer of 2010.

        What I am asking is simply this – why do people insist on holding on to that? Let it go. He didn’t mean it, he apologized for it, he played his ass off for 3 years, taking some monumental hits along the way, and then he came BACK to ND and got his degree.

      • bernhtp - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:27 PM

        First, I only said “Not fully.” I think that he largely overcame that first impression, but only with great effort and time.

        With that distinction out of the way, the fact is that first impressions and the identity that goes along with it are generally pretty sticky. In this case, the impression was of a kid way too full of himself and in a style that’s against what Notre Dame portrays.

        Almost every kid at Notre Dame, not just athletes, was BMOC in their pre-ND life. They were top students, top athletes, student council presidents, valedictorians, etc. Thus, when a new kid comes along and basically announces “I’m the shit” his first day, it is met with a big meh and ridicule.

        Anyway, I am a Clausen fan. He gave me many moments of joy, I respect his reasons for leaving a year early – though imagine how different the 2010 season would have been with Clausen and Tate aboard – and love the fact that he returned (with great difficulty) to honor his commitment and complete his degree. I hope his career picks up in the NFL and does great.

  13. 1historian - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    And he came back to ND later and GOT HIS DEGREE!!!

    Isn’t that what it’s all about?

    Spelling – CBA not BA

    • nudeman - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:56 AM

      Completely agree on Clausen. Solid ND career with basically below average teams.
      Got his degree.
      The other stuff is just noise.

      • 9irish - Feb 25, 2012 at 2:59 AM

        I never had any hate towards him for that stuff (no blogs then, I didn’t even know about it). He got knocked around so much his freshman year I’m amazed he survived.
        I think he and Tate would’ve come back if Weis had stayed, they just left to clear the slate (somewhat out of loyalty, which I respect…and of course, I am glad that Weis left).
        He did his duty…hope the NFL career gets better.

  14. andy44teg - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Anyone see the NCAA is moving kickoffs up to the 35? I know it’s about as boring as watching grass grow..but this is going to be useful for ND with Kyle “Cool Shoes” Brindza kicking balls through the end zone………………………………………………………sorry..i fell asleep writing that…

  15. nudeman - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Had we had Clausen this past year instead of “you know who” at QB, what would the record have been?
    Arguably, they would have beaten UM and USF. And FSU, without question.
    Possible they’d have beaten one or both of USC or Stanford.

    So that’s how close they were to having a terrific record last year.

    • bernhtp - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      Here’s the article:

      I wish they didn’t have to do that. The kick return is an exciting component of the game.

      The change might backfire too. Big-leg kickers will be motivated to kick the ball far more vertically with as much punt-like hang time as possible, especially since the kickoff is a live ball. There will be many more on-side kicks.

  16. 1historian - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    That’s a good “what if”, nudie. I would prefer you hadn’t said it but I do agree with you.

  17. mmanor01 - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    In response to Clausen and Quinn in the NFL…”Let them play!”

    In regards to our QB situation. I don’t see how Kelly can’t go with Golson, Kiel, or Hendrix over Tommy. Will the rookies make mistakes and turn the ball over? Without a doubt, but so will Tommy (until proven otherwise). So why not? Way more potential with everyone else. Even if we lose it won’t be too much mud in Kelly’s face b/c A) freshman QB, B) we were never expected to win anyways (the big games), and C) its the beginning of a new ND reign of terror.

    • nudeman - Feb 25, 2012 at 9:53 AM

      Somewhere along the line I heard a discussion of the QB situation. Think it was a recent Irish Illust. podcast.

      They gave the obligatory “we don’t know who will start in Ireland” disclaimer, then spent the next 10 minutes talking about Golson, Golson, Golson.

      Seems like practically a foregone conclusion he’ll win the job.

      • dmac4real - Feb 25, 2012 at 3:48 PM


      • nudeman - Feb 25, 2012 at 5:52 PM

        It was a podcast on Irish Illustrated.
        If you’re not a subscriber, giving you the link would do no good. You wouldn’t be able to open it. If you are a subscriber, it’s there. Was either this week’s podcast or last week. Can’t remember

  18. dickasman - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Tommy is the new Matt Mulvey, about time! He should just go straight to coaching or scouting and get a head start on his career. I can see him being a GM one day.

  19. nudeman - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Would anybody here take me seriously if I suddenly started making an impassioned defense of Tommy as the only logical choice for QB?

    Or do I need a new screen name for that?

    Please vote, “Nude”, or “New”

    • bernhtp - Feb 26, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      Just a reminder that this forum is about Notre Dame football and not the eccentric personalities some wish to project here.

      • nudeman - Feb 26, 2012 at 1:53 PM

        Well said, and I accept the mild admonishment with my usual dignity, grace and humility

        Therefore, no new personna for me

        I’ll leave that to goat/UAW

  20. papadec - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    How about newnude? Welcome back – it just isn’t you w/o TR bashing. You’ve had some really good posts lately – I can’t even remember the last time I gave you a thumbs down – even when you begged for one. I noticed a lot of us even let you slide on the Davonte Neal predictions. Maybe we’re just getting soft in our old age, or for Lent?

  21. 1historian - Feb 24, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    nakedlad – your 2:32 – “Would anybody here take me seriously if …..?”

    A loaded question i would say.

    Have a nice day.

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