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Freshmen step to the forefront

Aug 24, 2012, 10:59 AM EDT

Davaris Daniels

Brian Kelly made his biggest headlines with the announcement of Everett Golson as his starting quarterback. Yet he dropped a few other bombs in his post-practice comments yesterday that help put into focus the team he’ll be trotting out in eight days in Dublin.

Most notably, Kelly seems to have doubled-down on the youngsters on his roster. After spending much of spring and preseason camp extolling the virtues of veterans like Theo Riddick and John Goodman, the Irish have initiated a veritable youth movement on offense in 2012, putting more pressure on young players than in any of Kelly’s two previous seasons.

Whether it was intentional or not, Kelly seemed to let his plans slip for the wide receiver position, where many assumed seniors Goodman and Robby Toma would start alongside junior TJ Jones. Kelly seemed to tip his hand when discussing the roles freshmen (true and redshirt, respectively) Chris Brown and Davaris Daniels will have in the offense, as well as underclassmen like Troy Niklas and George Atkinson.

“You’re starting with DaVaris Daniels and Chris Brown, two guys on the perimeter who are going to play a lot for us that are first-time starters,” Kelly said. “George Atkinson didn’t play very much at running back. You’re going to see a lot of him. Troy Niklas, I could go on and on. Everett Golson. There are four or five guys right there that are going to be impactful in the game. Certainly, there’s going to be some learning there, but the one thing we don’t have a lot of time on is that curve. We’ve got to come out running, doing our thing right away.”

It’s a veritable youth movement on offense when you consider Golson, Daniels, Brown, and Niklas will be taking their first offensive snaps ever against Navy. Same goes for Davonte Neal, who I expect to see a lot of time in the slot. Atkinson only ran the ball in mop-up duty last season, and when the Irish finally get Amir Carlisle healthy and up-to-speed, that’s a ton of underclassmen depth at offensive skill positions, and all of them are hand-picked by Kelly and company.

The reliance on youth won’t just be happening on offense. Kelly made the surprising announcement that true freshman KeiVarae Russell will be starting at cornerback, finalizing a stunning ascent for the Everett, Washington native who made the official transition to defense just before the team’s first practice.

In the school’s media guide, Russell is listed as a running back whose only mention as a defensive back was some playing time as a sophomore in high school. Now Kelly is trusting him to play one of football’s most demanding positions. The head coach was openly complimentary of the work Russell did in fall camp and how smooth the transition has been.

“There’s always a kid or two in a class, this is my 25th year in college, there’s always a couple of kids that have it,” Kelly said. “He’s a great kid. He’s so confident in his ability. He’s extremely athletic. He’s picked it up so quickly. He’s still got a long way to go, don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready to put him in the Hall of Fame. But he’s a kid that really picked it up quickly and it was a comfortable transition for him.”

Another young defender that might be too good to keep off the field is Romeo Okwara. The 17-year-old should probably be starting his junior season of high school, but instead he’s fought his way into the Dog linebacker battle and earning high praise from his head coach.

“Romeo is really the No. 2 there,” Kelly said, placing Okwara behind another youngster, sophomore Ben Councell. “Young, athletic, he’s going to be a star, he’s going to be a great player. He’s just a young kid. But really love his length and athleticism.”

I’m trying to recall the number of times Kelly has heaped that type of praise on a player and I’m coming up empty. It’s another nice reminder for fans of recruiting that you just never know what you’re getting until someone is on campus.

Kelly also announced Davonte Neal is taking over the punt return job. It’s a big commitment to another talented youngster, and takes Theo Riddick out of a role he’s never felt overly comfortable in.

  1. nudeman - Aug 24, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    How is it that Okwara “should be starting his junior season in HS” but is a freshman in college?
    It would have to be more than an early birthday; did he skip a grade somewhere along the way?

    • bernhtp - Aug 24, 2012 at 1:03 PM

      This article says he began school at age 3. Maybe his size and ability to tackle 3 and 4 year olds made them put him in with the 5 year old kids.

      http://articles.southbendtribune.com/2011-08-15/sports/29891175_1_romeo-okwara-irish-opener-prince-shembo

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Aug 25, 2012 at 11:01 AM

        When he was in preschool people kept mistaking him for the teacher.

  2. gtizzo - Aug 24, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Keith this is a great move,

    This isn’t a time for worry, or fear, this is a time for cheer. Starting that much youth on offense allows these players to grow into there positions together. BK is setting the foundation for skill positions heading into his 4th and 5th year as head coach. This is the year to start the youth movement because he doesn’t have job worries. Starting a young corner…is was going to happen eventually. You wrote about how ND got to this point with there secondary. There was going to come a time when the secondary was going to be young…but talented. Navy isn’t going to just be a win for ND, it is going to be a coming out party for the ND offense.

    • cameronemclaughlin - Aug 24, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      Not only will Golson have a smooth, successful first game, I think Atkinson is going to put on a show next Saturday.

    • joeschu - Aug 24, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      It is a PROGRAM building move. You’ve got to take your lumps and develop the “scar tissue” that provides toughness in the future. I wish we could have started this about 10 months ago, but it feels GREAT to see youth being served.

      • c4evr - Aug 25, 2012 at 1:22 PM

        10 months ago?? How about 2 years ago?? Kelly’s first couple of years have been nothing more than a colonic enema. He’s even said as much with the ‘your recruits, my recruits’ fiasco. What waste… waiting Weis’ guys to move through the ranks. His handling of these past few transitional years has been questionable and revealed about his character than he’d like. I predict more of the same old same old. Let’s see if he can prove me wrong by keeping his startingQB for the whole game. I really hope he proves me to be the biggest horses arse, but I just don’t see it. Maybe a winning record well cause all to forget the numerous gaffes and idiotic calls he’s made since arriving on campus.

      • joeschu - Aug 26, 2012 at 10:33 AM

        C4ever: I think if you look around the comments from last year, you’ll see plenty of evidence of my record as a Kelly skeptic. One thing that many ND alum share is a penchant for perfectionism. In our desires to optimize everything, we fixate on the bad in an attempt to fix it or criticize it out of existence.

        Brian Kelly, has had his fare share of “the bad,” but fixating on it overshadows “the good.” We were so quick to crown Willingham and Weis the new saviors that we were willing to ignore their inability to build a program. They won quick, but lacked the foundation upon which to build a winning program.

        Kelly has done some really stupid and questionable stuff. You point out a lot of it c4ever. However, he also brought in Golson, Tuitt, Neal, Keil, etc. He’s held on to Nix and got guys like Teo, Eifert, and Floyd to buy in to his program. He brought Coach Longo with him. Diaco whiffed the first time against Navy and stumbled a bit against FSU, but on the whole, this is a defense that is headed back to the quality we saw back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and Diaco is a dynamic personality and great representative of the university. Chuck Martin, at least so far, seems to be a fabulous coach, and another wonderful representative of Notre Dame.

        We all know the narrative… Kick the FG vs. Tulsa, why are you sticking with Rees, purple face, “not my guys,” etc… none of those were good moments, but on the whole, do you feel better about the direction the Fighting Irish Football PROGRAM is headed? Barring a 6-6 meltdown, I know I do.

    • 9irish - Aug 25, 2012 at 5:09 PM

      I agree, I am feeling very optimistic, not only about next year but this year. You have to figure, they have really only been BEATEN about 4 times in the past two years…all the others they let slip away by their own fault (turnovers and coaching). I think they are going to play like a young, pissed off football team with something to prove. Always a good thing.

      So we shall see

      Go Irish

      • mayo1010 - Aug 27, 2012 at 1:03 PM

        @joeschu….just to fill u in, when C4ever posts on here it’s ALWAYS a BK bashing. He for some reason has a hard on for him…The divide between Weis’s players and his recruits (or fiasco as he puts it) is alive only in his mind! It was over before it happened but he wants to keep it alive. Only 1 player from the Weis era has left early ((K. Rudolph), including all 5th year seniors–and that was because he was going to be the 1st tight end selected in the 2011 Draft. Not 1 of the players under Weis that have graduated under him have said a negative word about him. In fact, they speak glowingly of him. So when you respond to him just know where he’s coming from…Different words but same premise always for C4ever!

  3. mtndguy - Aug 24, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    When talent starts to overtake experience, you’re on your way to reaching the next level. It’s only a matter of time before these talented young guys multiply that talent with experience. I’m moving closer to buying a ticket for the BK band wagon.

    • nudeman - Aug 24, 2012 at 12:07 PM

      Jump on
      Eventually it’s gonna’ be a good ride
      Maybe even this year

    • obie1818 - Aug 24, 2012 at 6:17 PM

      Here come the Irish !!! I’m all in let’s see what are talent can do. Look how many freshman play in the SEC I love these moves by BK we can live with mistakes because we may have game breakers to make up for it. All the sudden the future looks great can’t wait to see what these guys have, they may not be perfect but their fast and athletic and that is what wins in college football these days!

  4. ndrocks2 - Aug 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    I can’t believe any of these young players can fair catch better than Goodman.

    • bernhtp - Aug 24, 2012 at 1:06 PM

      Goodman has provided a bunch of [i]fair[/i] catches, but this year we need good ones and at least a few great ones.

    • alsatiannd - Aug 24, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      Catching is not the problem. Jam the gunners and lay some freakin’ blocks

      • jameszuro - Aug 24, 2012 at 1:49 PM

        There are no gunners anymore in college. All lineman can release at snap. That’s why the rugy style kick is more in vogue, to give the coverage team a little more time to get down field. That’s why there are fewer returns across the board in the NCAA, not just at ND.

  5. joeschulz - Aug 24, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    This is the natural result of outstanding recruiting. Sure they are “young,” but look at that talent. Kelly never had talent like this at Cincinnati or Central Michigan. He has mixed up outstanding coaching and great talent. Now he intends to bake the cake. There will be a few mistakes along the way; but he is throwing in with the ‘glass is half full” guys and intends to serve up a great team, maybe this year; but certainly next year. And, don’t forget, the Irish Mob is watching. Could it be more exciting for them?

    • gtizzo - Aug 24, 2012 at 2:19 PM

      I like your post. I also believe that as Notre Dame head football coach you can’t coach from a position of fear. You have to recruit the best talent you can and get them to the field and let your coaching staff make up for the lack of experience. ND doesn’t take JUCO and they don’t red shirt (in the traditional sense at least) and “grey shirting” will never happen at ND.

  6. bernhtp - Aug 24, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    The emphasis on youth has a number of positives:

    – Recruiting: showing recruits that they can start sooner than they thought.
    – Longer careers: using the top athletes for more time.
    – Depth: getting depth by giving the new kids experience, especially in the first two games that should be easier. We still have the older and more experienced kids around in the event they’re needed.
    – Upside. Some of these kids are clearly superior athletes and have more upside than the older ones.
    – Kelly culture: These are Kelly’s recruits and he gets to have more control over the team culture.

    There is also some downside:

    – Exacerbates the “my guys” divide, though all of the key older guys – Te’o, Eifert, C Wood, Z Martin, etc. – are given their prominent place on the so-called A-Team. Regardless, this will be naturally gone within a year or two through attrition.
    – Puts inexperienced kids in critical situations where they can (and will) make important mistakes.

    • bw1980 - Aug 25, 2012 at 1:08 AM

      I would also add that this is one hell of a good way to signal to the kids who have verbally committed as part of the 2013 class as well as the 2014 recruits that if are more talented than the incumbents at your position, you’ll play.

      It breeds competition. It excites recruits. It send the message that nobody is entrenched–keep working or the guy behind you is going to have your job.

      I think the so-called divided team idea is overplayed as well. Manti Te’o loves Notre Dame and so do Eiffert, Wood, Martin, et. al or else Te’o and Eiffert, at least, could have left school and been selected in the first round of the draft this year. They are back to win and if their friends and teammates over the last three to four years don’t provide the best opportunity then so be it–that’s how I think they view things.

  7. bernhtp - Aug 24, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    For fans of the Jumbotron, will anything short of eclipsing the sky with lights and deafening sound suffice for graduates from these schools?

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/highschool-prep-rally/texas-school-installs-750-000-jumbotron-largest-prep-103931861.html

  8. andy44teg - Aug 24, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    I love these moves by BK, and here’s BK’s train of thought IMO:

    We’re going to have a not-so-great year anyways due to the BRUTAL schedule, (aka: my job is safe THIS YEAR) so why not get all my young, super-talented guys in there right away and start building for a National Championship run for 2013 or 2014 when the schedule lightens up a bit (AND when my job will be on the line).

    • irish4006 - Aug 24, 2012 at 2:58 PM

      @andy, couldn’t disagree more with your assessment. If you are starting off thinking we are going to have a not so great year anyways, you are headed to a terrible year. Even with this schedule, I don’t see a team outside of USC and OK where we are not at least even in terms of talent and capability. If we play well, this may turn out to be a very good year.

      I don’t think Kelly is planning for 2013 or 2014, he is doing what he thinks will win him games in 2012. Our O-line is solid, RBs are very good, TJ or Goodman are not proven game winners. If Kelly liked what he saw in Daniels and Brown (and if they are physically up to it), I don’t think it is too big of a gamble.

      • andy44teg - Aug 24, 2012 at 3:15 PM

        I would also like to live in the land of rainbows and unicorns, too, but I’m just being a realist, here. We play 5, FIVE, top 25 teams this year. THREE of which are in the top ten. Can you remember the last time we beat TWO top ten teams in the same year, let alone three. I hope I’m wrong, and I hope you’re right, but with a gun to my head I say our record is going to look more like 8-4 (or even 7-5) than 10-2.

      • irish4006 - Aug 24, 2012 at 3:49 PM

        There is a middle ground (where I like to live) between “rainbows and unicorns” and throwing in the towel even before the season starts. I recommend you keep your tv unplugged this season and comeback in 2013 or 2014 when we are making a run for national championship. Our coaches (and players) will have to go into every game believing they can win this thing and plan accordingly. How we really fare on the field maybe different, but if you are already thinking 2013 or 2014 and giving up on 2012, you are doing it wrong.

      • irish4006 - Aug 24, 2012 at 3:53 PM

        Also, one of your 3, THREE, top 10, TEN teams is Michigan; a team that we should have won against in each of the last 3, THREE years (if not in 2009, 2010 and 2011 for sure). I have not seen anything yet that suggests they will be dramatically different (or superior to ND) this year.

      • halfwhitey - Aug 24, 2012 at 3:54 PM

        I personally think a land of unicorns sounds really scary.

      • andy44teg - Aug 24, 2012 at 4:58 PM

        So how good do you really think this team can be this year, irish4006? If you’re predicting a 10-2 year, then pass the dutchie over this way, cuz that’s some good shiznit.

        I’d love to see this team win 10-11 games this year, but, seriously, let’s put the pom-poms down and look at ND for what they are; a pretty good – not great – team with one helluva schedule, starting a whole bunch of freshmen and redshirt freshmen at skill positions.

        I’m going to be sitting in my living room chair every Saturday, just like you, thinking and hoping they’re going to win. But unlike you, I won’t be shocked when we don’t…

      • irish4006 - Aug 24, 2012 at 5:11 PM

        When I am daydreaming, I am thinking 11 wins (including one against OK or USC). Realistically, 10-2 will be a good year (quite happy), 9-3 is decent (okay with the results) and 8-4 will be underperformed (disappointed). Of course it all depends on how we execute on the field, but I expect good QB play (from whoever is starting, anyone not named Rees) and all around better execution in Kelly’s 3rd year.

      • andy44teg - Aug 24, 2012 at 7:15 PM

        You, sir, are on some fantastic drugs. If, after an 8-4 season, you think that they under-performed, then you are in for a very stressful season. You are the kind of ND fan that Colin Cowherd rags on for expecting a National Championship every fricken year…cripes, man….live in the real world for a change.

      • irish4006 - Aug 24, 2012 at 8:01 PM

        I may not be as delusional as you think. Of course I love my team, but being disappointed after an 8-4 season is not unreasonable. Let’s speak the language you are speaking. There are 5 teams ahead of us in rankings, in top 25; agreed. Are they truly better (more talented, capable) than us? Do you mind explaining why MSU or Stanford (or even Michigan) is so much better than us and likely to win, esp. after losing their best quarterbacks in recent memory to NFL? MSU has a good defense and a good running game, Stanford has an overall solid team (not much changed since last year except the fact that Andrew Luck will not be leading the offense); is there a valid reason why we should not expect to compete well and (possibly) win those games.

        Michigan I think will be much improved this year and it will be a tough, tough, tough game; hopefully, this time it will go our way.

        Do not just look at the schedule and assign a W-L number to our season even before it starts. Please try to look a little deeper and provide some reasons. Ranking (esp. pre-season ranking), my friend, is not everything. Even if it was, it is not too unreasonable to expect 2 wins out of 5.

      • nudeman - Aug 24, 2012 at 11:59 PM

        Andy
        Come on Dogg
        It’s getting better. There’s no way one can conclude otherwise
        I am a product of the Era of Ara
        Even then I remember when they’d lose an occasional game thinking “I’m tired of Ara; let’s get some new blood”

        So we can get down about anyone/thing/time

        I am incredibly more excited now that even a few weeks ago
        Golson, Neal, Brown, Niklas, Carlisle, Russell

        I follow recruiting much more closely than ever before, but can NEVER remember such an infusion of talent & speed

        As Lou once said:
        “We’re not where we WANT to be;
        We’re not where we OUGHT to be;
        But thank God we’re not where we WERE”

        GO IRISH

      • jimpy49 - Aug 25, 2012 at 9:03 AM

        Well said Irish4006 – are any of these teams truly that much better than ND? USC and Oklahoma OK, but the rest are beatable if ND doesn’t beat themselves. Go Irish

      • c4evr - Aug 25, 2012 at 1:32 PM

        At least we can all agree that, since ND is on par talent-wise with the entire schedule, coaching will be the difference this year.

    • obie1818 - Aug 24, 2012 at 8:04 PM

      Andy,

      I myself don’t ride a unicorn nor am I on drugs… However I believe last yr we beat ourselves in every loss. Where I don’t share undefeated optimism or live in la la land. I think without all those turnovers last yr we are 9-3 or 10-2 look at Michigan St. No turnovers and we destroyed them. I think we would’ve beat Michigan by 2 touchdowns and South F the same… Who knows what could happen this year!!!

      • 9irish - Aug 25, 2012 at 11:44 PM

        Oh, I concur…what the hell is up with this “the schedule is too tough” crap? It’s always been tough…we just used to beat the hell out of them. ND losing was like front page news.

        Teams go up and down….we should have a 3 year win streak against Michigan, instead of the other way around. Some of these “mighty” teams might not be squat this year, who knows. Time to turn this thing around

        I do not like defeatism….”Oh, boo hoo, we can’t beat these guys” Suck it up…put your pack on

        Go Irish

      • andy44teg - Aug 26, 2012 at 12:52 AM

        Guys
        Never said the “schedule is too tough” I do believe I said “brutal”…which it is…

        I’m not throwing in the towel by any means here. I’m just not going to be devasted like years past when we don’t win 10 games and don’t make a BCS game. Thats not having a defeatist attitude in my opinion.

        I do think we’ll beat some of the teams on the schedule we pry shouldn’t..either Michigan or Oklahoma. I think MSU is going to be VERY tough..pry a coin flip… and I think we’ll beat Stanford this year. Unless USC doesn’t have Matt Barkley and one of the two best receivers in FBS Football, I think we can chalk that one up as a loss. I do, however, think that due to the enormous amount of youth on the team that we’ll lose to a few teams that we shouldn’t, like say BYU or Wake.

        If we do have a great year and finish with 10+ wins, I’ll be the first guy on here saying I was wrong..and I’ll say it with a huge-ass smile on my face. You’ll just have to trust me about the smile..since this is a blog and all….

      • 9irish - Aug 26, 2012 at 11:00 AM

        Andy, I wasn’t directing that at you, in particular. There have been others that are just complete gloom and doom. Looking at the schedule, it’s pretty normal….it’s just that some of the teams are better right now. Can’t change that. Throw Oklahoma in there, but we played Nebraska for a few years, played Penn State…so it’s really nothing new to me. We definitely need to stop losing the games that we should easily win, and focus on the big ones.

      • 9irish - Aug 26, 2012 at 11:17 AM

        We played 8 of the same teams in 1988. So, replace Penn St with Oklahoma, Air Force for BYU, Rice for Wake Forest, then throw Boston College in there. Where I’m going is that anyone that says that they have gone whacky on the schedule is incorrect…some teams are at a peak maybe, but it’s the same damn schedule they’ve always played.

  9. bearcatirishfan - Aug 24, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Ok who is this that hacked nude’s account and is posting using his name?

  10. runners00 - Aug 24, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    I think that this is generally a good idea (at least at this point).

    I don’t know who is better than whom because I am not in practice everyday. But I am tired of losing.

    If you go back to 2010 and 2011, you see a lot of losses and not all of the losses are against great teams (or even relatively okay teams like Michigan). I mean, we lost to Navy and Tulsa in 2010 — in addition to Stanford, Michigan and Michigan State. Likewise, in 2011, despite returning nearly everyone, we lost to South Florida, Michigan, Southern Cal and Stanford.

    We did beat what turned out to be a very good Michigan State team (just like we beat a very good Southern Cal team in 2010), so it’s not been a terrible ride these last two years, but it’s been frustrating.

    Perhaps the newer guys — some of whom are playing because of injuries to their teammates and some of whom beat out their older teammates — will change this culture. Perhaps when they’re up 27-7 in Ann Arbor (or, in this case, in South Bend), they go out and put the foot to the throat and win 41-7, instead of losing. That would be a far more enjoyable experience than what we’ve been through these last two years (and, actually, these last several years).

    I’m thinking that it will work out. On paper, this was a very good recruiting class. And last year was, too. So let’s get them out there and kick some Navy tail.

    • nudeman - Aug 24, 2012 at 2:49 PM

      I can’t think of a time when there was such an injection of speed into this team in a single recruiting year. Brown and Neal especially stand out. Russell is fast. Mahone is quick for a 200lb+ guy. Shumate, Baratti, etc

      Combine that with some terrific OL and DL talent and Anzalone and Jaylon and Zaire on the way… WOW.

      You can’t look at ND now and conclude they’re the same program as 5 years ago.

      Hope I’m still singing that tune in 4-5 weeks

  11. masalaswag - Aug 24, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Kelly is putting out an athletic and balanced unit on offense. There’s a nice mix of playmakers (Wood, Riddick, Golson), size/hands (Eifert, Daniels), and speed (Brown). This season is really going to be a team effort with each of these guys playing their roles well in concert with a strong offensive line.

    It becomes a lot easier to teach things to people when they specialize in a specific role. Tasks just become easier when they’re simplified and less numerous. The way Kelly seems to be setting things up, everyone just fits into the cookie-cutter of categories. His recruiting works that way (Skill, Big Skill, Power) and now you can sort of see it in his depth chart with more playmakers (Neal), speed (Atkinson), and size (Niklas) all waiting and learning.

    I don’t know if it will yield results, but I do appreciate what seems to be Kelly’s very thoughtful approach to things. I thought this is what we would get from Weis but every successful coach in college is methodical and executes a very specific plan. I’m starting to see Kelly’s plan – now the focus will be on his execution.

  12. kiopta1 - Aug 24, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Nude you should still sing that tune cause the guys you mention are either young and growing or not even on campus yet.

  13. Patrick Hannegan - Aug 24, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Okay, really guys? Stop hating on Goodman. Its not his fault that he calls the fair catches. He has a couple of defenders running right at him and does the smart thing. He would get hammered if he tried to catch the ball. He is hard working and loves Notre Dame. I havent seen a major, game-changing(for the worse) play by him at all (i might be wrong but dont recall any). So, i dont understand why people hate him so much.

    • irish4006 - Aug 24, 2012 at 4:06 PM

      I don’t think fair catching on punt return is the reason here. It didn’t seem like his choice, rather what the coaches wanted him to do.

      It’s the lack of production on the offense that worries most of us.

      • Patrick Hannegan - Aug 24, 2012 at 6:29 PM

        I agree that he hasnt and probably won’t be an affective player. All that I think he is, is a leader and mentor for the young guns and a good locker room presence. By no means was I defending him and saying he should get praise, I just don’t understand some of the criticism about the fair catches. He should get his share of snaps as a 2nd string veteran and maybe some more if he proves a threat but he wasn’t ever going to be the homerun threat as a punt returner, especially with defenders on top of him every punt.

    • ibleedirish - Aug 24, 2012 at 4:37 PM

      Nobody hates Goodman, don’t be so sensitive. We DO hate 0.6 yrds/return. Lack of field position changes the game more than most people realize. I also think that its rather insane to expect that after four years of failing to meet expectations, that he’s going to become the electric receiver that todays college game requires. Goodman seems like he’s Irish through and through, and appears to be a class citizen. But he is a depth player and thats it. And thats ok.

      • Patrick Hannegan - Aug 24, 2012 at 6:34 PM

        Maybe it’s my bad for just reading into the comments about him, I was just shocked at how many comments were about fair-catch Goody. I do agree that he isn’t worth a starting position and just a leader, but dont think he deserve the criticism.

    • bodonnell1120 - Aug 24, 2012 at 6:54 PM

      plain and simply, pat. He is not good enough to play at a high level on this level of football…reality is these freshman walked onto campus as better/more complete players with a much higher upset and potential for game breaking plays

  14. bearcatirishfan - Aug 24, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Yeh one wrong move and you’d skewered by a mythical horn, I don’t like that at all.

  15. smurphdoggy29 - Aug 24, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Jaaaaayzus Maaary N Jooooseph !

    Lighten up Francis !

    You have but one week until your lads take to the fields of glory !

    Focus on the positives !

    Coaches have built the foundation and apparently are going to use it ! Production and results will follow ! Pass Catchers BLOWing up ! Mark it down !

    Keith see you at Brazen Head !

    GO Irish !
    Soundly defeat Navy !
    Strike fear into Purdue Pete !
    Irish fans regain perspective, it IS a game and they ARE kids !

    WOOHOO !

  16. nudeman - Aug 25, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    Any truth to the rumor that they have some cool new unis fir the Shamrock Series?

    • 9irish - Aug 26, 2012 at 11:34 AM

      Yes….black helmets with the Golden Dome on the side, and glittery yellow uniforms. It’s all about recruiting!

  17. degosavage23 - Aug 25, 2012 at 3:09 AM

    I haven’t posted on here in quite some time, but I figured I would share my perspective just because of how STOKED I am about these moves.

    –For starters, the move to start Golson was a thing of beauty considering the fact that he is BY FAR the most talented, gifted, poised and electric QB on the roster–not to mention he has the most upside. The TR arrest, although unfortunate for him since he is a good kid, has turned out to be the greatest blessing BK and ND Nation could ask for. He had no choice but to go with Golson, and after he lights up the field in the first couple games, there will be no going back.

    –Also, I love the moves to get fresh starts at the skill positions. Brown and Daniels are true perimeter options with their size and speed. Jones was always too small and never stepped up when a game changer was needed, and the same goes for Goodman.

    –You would have to be stupid to not let Neal return punts, he’s by far your best option there and can open the game wide open with one move and burst down the sideline past everyone with his blazing speed.

    –And of course, there’s Russell. I also like this move because it gives him time to develop and he also has good speed and decent size for the position.

    –The only gripe I have is that Williams should be starting over Shembo, but he’s gonna see plenty of time anyways so I’m not too concerned.

    Overall, it looks like BK is finally starting to turn the page to a new chapter and do some evolutionary things compared to the norm that we’ve seen from him in the past. I’ve always said you can’t replace talent and you can’t keep it off the field. At the end of the day it’s not how well you know the offense or defense, it’s how many more points you score than the other team.

  18. nudeman - Aug 25, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    - Williams over Shembo: I don’t have a strong feeling there about Ishaq starting. I’m assuming Shembo outplayed him, and as far as Ishaq goes, I hope he’s not one of these guys who wakes up halfway through his senior year and says “Where did the time go?” At some point he needs to step up and show us why he had 5 stars

    – Daniels: Surprised he’s starting. I haven’t read much that says this guy is an emerging star or even starter. No “WOW” highlights I’m aware of. More an indication of Goodman’s inability to grab hold of the job than anything special about Daniels. Hope I’m wrong but I’m not sure this will last.

    Russell: I’ve always liked him; he sort of got overshadowed in all the Neal recruiting drama, but the fact that he went in there, switched positions and won the job AS A FROSH … pretty impressive.

    • dmac4real - Aug 25, 2012 at 1:10 PM

      -Its hard to say Williams should be starting over Shembo when none of us even see the practices. You’re right, Shembo prolly just outplayed him somewhat. I wouldn’t worry about Ishaq being a Jonas Gray type though. Kelly has raved about him lately, and he was only a freshman last year. Just give him some time.

      – Kelly did say Daniels had been getting more consistent and better…At least I think i remember that.

      – Hard not to like Russell. Sounds like hell be a stud.

  19. turknd - Aug 25, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Good article as a change of pace:

    http://www.thepostgame.com/commentary/201208/better-without-em-northern-manifesto-southern-secession-chuck-thompson-sec-bcs

    This article makes me hope that Michigan beats Alabama (the only time I will be rooting for Mchigan) to bump our ranking way higher when we beat them.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Aug 25, 2012 at 10:39 PM

      as most of you already know, i’m a math nerd…so i routinely route for ND scheduled opponents, except when they’re playing ND. If Notre Dame happens to lose a game, i’m pulling for that team to lose twice and then routing for them again.

      Simple math dictates that if the wins and losses that i’m cheering for happen, ND has a higher ranking. Granted, i realize that my cheering doesn’t actually have an effect on the outcome. But, it’s a great reason to find meaning in a Purdue vs. Illinois “showdown” or BC vs. Virginia Tech, etc. etc.

      I don’t know about the rest of you, but college football saturdays for me aren’t just about ND. That’s the most important game, but I’ll soak up 8-10 hours of other FB games every saturday too.

      I’ve even taken to making a schedule of all games available on my TV. My wife HATES CFB saturdays, but she get’s the other 35-ish Saturdays of the year to take me shopping for paint colors or light fixtures or visiting grandma’s in retirement communities. So, i just ask her to tolerate the 13 weeks of CFB and sqeeze in the Bowl games that i can.

  20. rrussellndfan - Aug 25, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    You know what I think is funny is how I was watching college football live on ESPN and one of the commentators said Florida State would make the national championship game. I mean seriously notre dame owned them all game long and they would this year too. All we are missing is floyd which is a big time player but they will make up for him for

  21. rrussellndfan - Aug 25, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    ND had a tough schedule but every game they match up well. They could win every game on their schedule. If Golson is consistent all year long the defense will keep them in the game

  22. rrussellndfan - Aug 25, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    I agree yeah we play Oklahoma and USC but big deal I can’t stand all the critics. ND beat every team on their schedule last year but Stanford and this year they ate more than capable than an undefeated season. Oklahoma is over rated and If they can make it past both michigan teams USC better watch out this team is the real deal. They have grown into a family from what I see and that’s a big deal in sports and any other thing in life. ND will be the team to watch

    • nudeman - Aug 26, 2012 at 11:34 AM

      So you think they “beat” USC last year?
      And if they beat UM, FSU and USF but couldn’t finish, they didn’t beat them

      Sorry; that’s the talk of losers
      “We woulda’ won if we didn’t have those 9 turnovers and if we held them to under 200 yards rushing, and if we ……”

      Garbage

      They lost 5 games last year
      They were a 5 loss team
      “Beating” someone but losing on the scoreboard is worthless

  23. rrussellndfan - Aug 26, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Actually that’s not what I was saying nude. We were in the games and we looked better at most positions and throughout the game. If Golson can fill the void of tommy and dayne those turnovers wont be there. So yeah I do think we would have won those games against USF and FSU. As for UM, ND was better but poor corner play lost the game or should I say bad play calling by Diaco. I’m not making excuses I’m stating the facts. USC looked better than ND that night but like I said about filling the void THIS year. They were a 5 loss team last year and I’m not putting it as we woulda won if…….I’m saying the holes will be filled and ND will be great! More like confident not loser. I look at things from last year and compare them to this year and they only got better. Which in my eyes is a pretty good team who will be in every single game.

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