Dec 11, 2012, 2:00 PM EDT
When you comparing dorm life at Notre Dame to other perennial football powers, a cinder block room on north quad probably doesn’t look too appealing for potential student-athletes. And while schools like Oklahoma erect $75 million living quarters that feel more like penthouses than college dorms, there’s a certain charm to campus life at Notre Dame, where students and athletes live together.
Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde spent a little time on campus last week for a story on dorm life, trailing Irish football players KeiVarae Russell, Romeo Okwara, and Matthias Farley. The entire story is worth a read, but there are some wonderful tidbits worth sharing here.
On KeiVarae Russell finding his place in Sorin Hall.
KeiVarae is a freshman starter from Seattle. They’re two of several players living in Sorin, intermingled with the general student population.
KeiVarae’s roommates are from Brazil, Michigan and North Carolina. None plays football.
“I’ve really enjoyed that,” KeiVarae said. “A lot of schools I visited, the players were isolated from the rest of the students. This makes you fit in.
“Football players, I know how we got here. I didn’t know how my roommate got here from Brazil, or how guys got here from Michigan or North Carolina. I’ve learned a lot.”
Last Thursday, KeiVarae walked a visitor through Sorin introducing him to a wide cross-section of students: the studious kid who is always in the dorm’s basement kitchen on his laptop; the preppy kid who dresses like a male model; the kid who plays saxophone in the marching band; the kid from Mississippi on his way out to buy a gift for the dorm’s Secret Santa freshman present exchange.
Russell lives in Sorin with walk-on defensive lineman Grant Patton as well, along with story-stealer Alvin Hu, a computer science and engineering major with Asperger Syndrome, who is enjoying this title run.
Here’s Romeo Okwara on the challenges that come with jumping from high school to Notre Dame, especially for a (ridiculously large) 17-year-old.
As a freshman, Romeo has a mandatory two-hour study hall Sunday through Wednesday. There are tutors and academic advisers assigned to the players to help them as needed. If they attain a certain grade-point average their first year, they don’t have to attend study hall.
“In high school I felt like I could breeze through,” says Romeo, who is from Charlotte and hopes to major in accounting or finance. “Here, you have to do a lot of studying on your own, outside of class.”
Finally, Forde catches up with safety Matthias Farley, who is on the inside track for being the team’s true Renaissance Man.
Even with math out of the way, Matthias’ days are full. He’s taking 15 credit hours this semester, which means many of his weekdays go like this: weightlifting from 8-9 a.m., class from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., meetings at 2:15 p.m. and then practice. After dinner at the training table, it’s time to study for a few hours.
“If you manage your time, you have enough hours in the day,” he says. “I learned last year that I can do it – I can manage the academic load, the social aspect and football, and still be fine and sane.”
This year he lives in Dillon hall with two teammates, but that’s not who he spends all his time with. The night before his last Satire class, Matthias was playing soccer video games with a bunch of non-football friends.
“I feel like living in a football dorm would really limit you socially,” he says.
When the Irish are a five-loss team, stories like this from student-athletes can be used to explain why Notre Dame might never make it back to the top of college football’s mountain. But when the team is 12-0 and playing a program like Nick Saban’s Alabama team — run more like an NFL squad than anything collegiate — well, it feels a little bit like Nuke Laloosh’s shower shoes.
Oct 29, 2014, 3:32 PM EDT
Drop your questions below or on Twitter @KeithArnold.
Oct 29, 2014, 2:11 PM EDT
For a man that’s had more success against Notre Dame than any of his predecessors over the past two generations, Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo certainly doesn’t think he’s figured out the Irish. In fact, for his Midshipmen team to win, Niumatalolo acknowledges that it takes more than just his team playing near-perfect football. He needs Notre Dame’s help as well.
Oct 29, 2014, 12:21 PM EDT
With last night’s announcement had all eyes on the first announcement of the College Football Playoff rankings, the immediate concern is Navy. While we can spend the next five weeks worrying about the view from 30,000 feet, credit Brian Kelly for understanding that the Midshipmen present the most clear and present danger.
Oct 28, 2014, 8:44 PM EDT
The first College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday evening. And Notre Dame has some work to do. The selection committee’s first ballot has the Irish slotted in at 10th in the country, a middle-of-the-pack one-loss team according to the 12-person voting panel.
Oct 28, 2014, 4:33 PM EDT
With a week off between Florida State and Navy, Brian Kelly and his coaching staff had an extra week of preparation for Ken Niumatalolo’s triple-option attack. Allowing his team to leave campus during the university’s fall break, Kelly afforded his players a chance to recharge their batteries after being on campus since June.
Oct 27, 2014, 2:09 PM EDT
Among the many reasons Charlie Weis lost his dream job coaching Notre Dame was the Irish’s stumbles in November. Even with a guaranteed 10-year contract, Jack Swarbrick couldn’t watch Notre Dame melt down in November for another year, with Weis’ final two seasons ending with Notre Dame going 1-9 after Halloween. That’s a scary movie franchise that needed killing, no matter the expense.
Oct 25, 2014, 2:31 PM EDT
Before we have an Irish-free Saturday, let’s get to some questions. For those of you wondering what you should do on a day usually committed to football, the world is your oyster. Or you could watch some of Notre Dame’s opponents do battle.
Oct 24, 2014, 1:09 PM EDT
When Brian VanGorder’s name surfaced as Notre Dame looked for a new defensive coordinator, there wasn’t necessarily a lot of buzz behind the hire. While VanGorder fit many of the criteria that went along with a Brian Kelly hire, the big-picture reaction wasn’t one of universal support.
Oct 23, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT
There is no football game this weekend. For a Notre Dame football team that just played three-straight tight games, that’s a good thing. (For Irish fans, it’s a victory as well. Go buy a pumpkin and get outside in the fall weather.) As promised, let’s look back at the first eight weeks of the season. Notre Dame sits at 6-1, with a place in the College Football Playoff still very much in play.
Oct 23, 2014, 10:41 AM EDT
For the second time in a week, Notre Dame’s recruiting class landed a playmaking linebacker. During a press conference streamed live on ESPN.com, Florida’s Tevon Coney pledged his commitment to the Irish, picking Notre Dame over finalists Miami and Florida.
Oct 23, 2014, 12:07 AM EDT
Drop your questions below. Or on Twitter @KeithArnold.
Oct 22, 2014, 11:43 AM EDT
With Notre Dame’s scheduling agreement in place with the ACC, Jack Swarbrick and the Irish athletic department can find some certainty in their future slates. That certainty was announced Tuesday, with dates for five ACC games in place through 2019 and matchups set through 2025.
Oct 21, 2014, 7:28 PM EDT
After eight weeks, the forecast for the first College Football Playoff is coming into focus. After falling to Florida State last weekend, the Irish lost pole position. But as a one-loss team now likely competing for one of the final spots in the four-team event, Notre Dame remains one of the top dark horse candidates.
Oct 21, 2014, 12:14 PM EDT
At this point, it doesn’t matter that the ACC has reversed course, deciding that the pass interference penalty was on C.J. Prosise after all. And that they’ve acknowledged that the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty they missed for P.J. Williams removing his helmet should’ve set up Notre Dame with a 1st-and-goal at the 9-yard line.
We’re moving on. (I promise.)
Oct 20, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT
Usually, Brian Kelly gives his team 24 hours to celebrate a win or get over a loss. That rule was likely tested — and you couldn’t blame him if it was slightly relaxed — after Saturday night’s 31-27 loss.
“We need to give our kids a break. They’ve been going since June,” Kelly said on Sunday. “Our first bye week we kept them here to stay on top of their academics. We’re going to give them a little time off. But we’ll come back recharged, ready to go.”
Oct 19, 2014, 3:56 PM EDT
Upon second inspection, Brian Kelly hasn’t gained any clarity on the offensive pass interference call that took a game-winning touchdown off the board. While the head coach has moved on, with the Irish getting some much-needed time off during fall break, Kelly’s opinion on the play — now that he’s realized the penalty was on Will Fuller, not C.J. Prosise — is even more muddled.
Oct 19, 2014, 2:37 AM EDT
With 13 seconds left, Corey Robinson caught the 4th-down pass from Everett Golson and walked into the end zone, all but uncovered. And for a moment, it looked like Notre Dame pulled off a win for the ages.
Oct 18, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT
It’s finally here. Not just the biggest game of the year, but the ultimate test for this Notre Dame football team. Entering Doak Campbell Stadium against the defending national champs and Heisman Trophy winner, we’ll see if the Irish have what it takes to upset the Seminoles.
Oct 18, 2014, 6:08 PM EDT
With the big showdown just a few hours away, let’s get to the mailbag questions.
Oct 17, 2014, 12:41 PM EDT
It wasn’t too long ago that an undefeated Notre Dame team was about to head into some of the most hostile territory in all of college football. A double-digit underdog for a primetime, ESPN game, many expected Brian Kelly’s flawed, but surprisingly undefeated squad to be no match for their opponent. Then the Irish pulled away in a tight game and beat Oklahoma 30-13.