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Weekend links: Barely football edition

Mar 9, 2012, 4:38 PM EST

ScottDaly_display_image

I’m not sure my sanity could handle digging into other Irish sports like I do football. But with Notre Dame beginning spring break and football in a bit of a lull before spring practice gets underway, here are a few interesting articles I thought were worth your time on this more-than-pleasant March afternoon.

Matt Fortuna over at ESPN.com had a nice Q&A with incoming long-snapper Scott Daly. It’s heavy on the art of long-snapping, which is one of those positions where it’s better to not know what’s happening and just be happy it worked out. Here’s a nice tidbit from Daly on his relationship with long-snapping guru Chris Rubio, and when it dawned on him that he’d get a free education from chucking footballs between his legs.

Imagine that.

“It didn’t really cross my mind until I started going to college camps and getting myself out there and being proactive about getting myself out there, being recruited by these schools. The camp I went to at Northwestern, the coaches really started approaching me and telling me that they were very interested in me and possibly talking about recruiting me and then possibly offering me a scholarship later. And it was just such a shock to me. I never thought that I’d be getting scholarships. And hearing from Chris Rubio that only a few guys at first, the top couple guys, would get scholarships.”

Fortuna also had a good interview with incoming safety Nick Baratti, that’s worth checking out too. I’ve got a feeling that Baratti could be a player for the Irish, although it might not happen until 2013.

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With the Irish basketball team winning an overtime “thriller” last night, I don’t want to completely curse the basketball team by mentioning them too much. But one article that I found fascinating was former Irish basketball player Zach Hillesland taking a closer look at Irish head coach Mike Brey on the New York Times‘ Quad blog. Brey, who has seen his star rise quite a bit this season after leading an undermanned Irish basketball team to the No. 3 seed in the Big East tournament, has done one of the best jobs in the country this season. It didn’t look that way after what looked like a lost season after Tim Abromaitis tore his ACL.

Hillesland does a nice job of reminding Notre Dame fans that not all of the head coaches beneath the golden dome are dunderheads, as some folks are prone to believe. In a particularly interesting section (to me, at least) Hillesland noted — like so many of us do after our careers are over –that his head coach was trying to help him both on the court and in life, even if he didn’t realize it.

After I graduated, I tried to get a graduate assistant’s position (something Notre Dame does not have) with the team, not because that was my dream, but because I was an 18-year-old trapped in a 22-year-old body, and I didn’t know which way was up. I was in a dark place.

When I went into the meeting with Coach, he said: “You have the kind of personality that can either heat the building … or burn it down.” What went through my head was, Yeah, well, if I don’t find some kind of life direction or employment, I won’t be able to pay for heat, let alone rent, and I’ll most likely end up burning the apartment complex down — whoa. How did you do that? How did you know?”

It would have been an entirely wrong decision to prop me up at that point in my life. It would have been mutually destructive. And he knew that, and told me as smoothly and thoughtfully as possible.

One of the first things Coach ever said to me turned out to be one of the most significant. It was during my first year, one of the very first practices, and I had forced up a terrible attempt at a 3-point shot. He pulled me aside later and said, “You don’t need to reinvent yourself.”

It took me seven years to figure out that he was not talking about on-court skills. He was talking about personality. And therein lies the rub. Don’t reinvent yourself. The guys who try to reinvent themselves falter. He is not saying, “Don’t improve,” he is saying, “Understand who you are, and translate that to the court.”

Immature players do not thrive in his system. Make yourself a man and you will have an open seat at the table. And that is not saying you cannot be a kid or that you cannot make mistakes, but when you step on the court and put that jersey on, you better take accountability for yourself and you better at least resemble a grownup.

A very nice piece of writing by Hillesland, who is doing a nice job covering hoops for a pretty impressive newspaper.

***

If Irish fans thought reeling in Gunner Kiel or Davonte Neal was impressive, the womens golf team just signed themselves a six-star recruit. Incoming freshman golfer Lindsey Weaver turned the Apache Course at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona into her own personal Golden Tee machine.

Weaver finished up her round with a ridiculous birdie, birdie, birdie, eagle finish to shoot a magical round of 59 in a PING junior tournament.

What an accomplishment, not to mention a clutch finish.

***

Lastly, ESPN brought point guard Skylar Diggins into the Sports Science lab to take a closer look at her freakish athleticism. The most popular Irish athlete on the internet, Diggins put on an impressive performance.

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  1. worstrayever - Mar 9, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    The “Barely Basketball Edition” is a good commemorative title for last night’s ND-USF game.

  2. akirish - Mar 10, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    Freakish Athlete is a great way to describe Diggins! She is awesome! I know a lot of fans have problems w/ the leap from football to basketball, and especially women’s basketball, but the top teams are full of incredibly talented athletes, and we have the best right here at ND. She is a superstar!

    Long snapping or kick snapping in general may have cost ND at least a couple games last year, so it’s no joke. I welcome Scott Daly!

    Also, if you take a look at Baratti, he seems like the sort of kid that makes an impact; he may be special regardless of where he lines up. I know the kid from S. Carolina is the sexy pick as a steal, and I agree, but Baratti is intriguing to say the least.

    Basketball note: never look a win, no matter how ugly, in the face. After the Loiusville game, I would have much rather watched a replay of S. Florida. Hats off to Coach Brey w/ what he has done with this young, undermanned team.

  3. 1historian - Mar 10, 2012 at 7:54 AM

    Q: Will the bookstore ever sell those 3 striped practice shirts? They are much cooler than the non-striped ones.

    • nudeman - Mar 10, 2012 at 9:42 AM

      Agree on the shirts.
      If it wasn’t for our admitted love for ND tradition I’d say make those the game jerseys.

      • borromini - Mar 10, 2012 at 9:54 AM

        Nah…in this case “less is more” rings true.

      • 1historian - Mar 10, 2012 at 11:08 PM

        If memory serves (sometimes it does sometimes it doesn’t) they WERE the game jerseys once upon a time.

  4. nudeman - Mar 10, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    On 4HL a poster put up a comment about a guy he met who has a son playing at Tennessee. Described many of the recruiting experiences they had, but I found the Alabama story to be the most interesting and the most disgusting. If you’re a 4HL member go to the post called “Alabama Recruiting story” and read the whole thing.

    There are the usual number of cynics who comment it’s BS, but it seems very believable to me in every regard. Hard to believe some guy just made all this stuff up.

    Here’s the ‘Bama excerpt. These kids can’t even talk about their studies without asking for the coach to help them out?

    Sad. A life disservice being done to vulnerable kids who are being used and set up for failure in life.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    I was asking him questions about his son, recruiting, and UT football. I had a wonderful time listening to him talk about the entire experience. His son was sought by every major college football team in the country. If my memory is correct, for I am writing this down from listening to the conversation a few days ago, his son was considered the #2 Offensive lineman in the country and #20 overall.

    Here are some nuggets I got from the conversation:

    ALABAMA—he was the first de-commit from Alabama after they had won the championship a few years ago. He was committed to them and went on several visits. After seeing the facade that was put on, the step father felt his son needed to go somewhere else. He tells of a visit in which they wanted to speak about the education piece. Saban arranged to allow this recruit to speak with some of the players. When the father quizzed some of the players about their majors, one in particular star player (now in the NFL–last name Cody) said “Coach” as if he needed his coach to help him with this question. This occurred several of times. Education was very important to the father and son. When they realized this was not the case, they decided to de-commit. When they got home after one of the trips they called Saban to tell him of this decision. Saban tried to convince him to stay but to no avail. Saban asked this family to not say anything about the de-commitment. The family agreed. Two days later word spread that Alabama pulled the offer. The father called Saban and asked why this happened, especially when Saban told the family to not say anything because it could hurt recruiting.

    • bernhtp - Mar 10, 2012 at 11:29 AM

      This is sadly very believable.

    • degosavage23 - Mar 10, 2012 at 2:14 PM

      i can completely see this being true considering you rarely, if ever, see somebody decommit from Alabama and you hear they’ve “removed” athletes’ scholarships left and right. If I recall, just this year around the time of signing day they had a particular recruit who they had removed the scholarship offer because they had saved their last offer for another recruit that they felt was “better.”

    • 1historian - Mar 11, 2012 at 8:33 AM

      life in the SEC?

  5. turknd - Mar 10, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Diggy’s from my high school, same as Perkins that decommitted from the football team. She a class act and pleasant on the eyes. P.S., watch for a football prospect coming out of St. Joseph, Michigan 2014.

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