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Weekend notes: Easter, DeCicco, Swarbrick and more

Mar 30, 2013, 2:21 PM EDT

Mike DeCicco

The Notre Dame football team took a break from spring drills for Easter, practicing on Wednesday before players took the long weekend to head home to their families or catch up on some rest in South Bend.

For Brian Kelly and his staff, the quarter-turn of their fifteen workouts gave an early assessment of the team, and helped give a glimpse into the fall, identifying some early contributors for the 2013 edition of the Irish.

One player Kelly genuinely doesn’t seem worried about is running back Amir Carlisle, who went down for four weeks with a broken collarbone, effectively ending his spring early. With Davonte Neal leaving the program and the slot receiver position wide open, Carlisle could be a key cog in the offense… if he can stay healthy.

While another injury has Irish fans wondering if Carlisle is sturdy enough to carry a significant load, Kelly spoke highly of the USC transfer, who sat out last season after nerve damage slowed down Carlisle’s recovery from a broken ankle.

“Amir has had a great spring,” Kelly said. “We’ve seen what we need to see out of him. He’ll be a very important player for us in the spring.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Kelly also took time to rave about linebacker Jarrett Grace, finally ready to step into the starting lineup with the departure of Manti Te’o. While both fifth year linebackers Dan Fox and Carlo Calabrese are back, it looks as if Grace will be the every down player while Fox and Calabrese continue their platoon.

“Jarrett Grace has obviously done an incredibly job,” Kelly said, while raving about the middle linebacker position. “He’s a really, really good football player. He’s going to be all over the field. Will he have seven interceptions? I’m not going in that direction. In terms of run fits, sideline to sideline, communication, he’s shown himself to be a really good player for us.”

If you’re wondering about the departure of Neal and Ferguson, it appears those concerns have been neutralized by the play of early enrollee freshmen James Onwualu and Corey Robinson. Kelly raved about the young receivers while singling both of them out for their work in practice thus far.

Onwualu likely worked his way into the slot receiver conversation and will probably see the field early.

“I think he’s got a chance. He’s certainly physical enough,” Kelly said of Onwualu. “He’s a smart kid. I’d say he’s a guy that’s probably going to be playing. If he’s a guy that plays a lot on offense, that will kind of take care of itself as we go through preseason camp. But he’s definitely a kid that’s going to be on the field in all of our special teams, he’s got that physical ability.”

While Robinson is certainly doing a lot of learning on the fly, Kelly said he’s been impressive in workouts, “catching everything in the area code.” Having a big-bodied receiver like Robinson will add an element to the offense we haven’t seen recently.

Let’s run through a few other weekend items as things slow down over this Easter weekend:

***

Notre Dame lost a great man when Mike DeCicco passed away this week of congestive heart failure. He was 85. DeCicco was instrumental in the Irish athletics program, not just for his work with the fencing program, but for starting Notre Dame’s almost unparalleled Academic Services department for student athletes.

The South Bend Tribune caught up with former Irish basketball coach Digger Phelps, who praised DiCicco’s behind-the-scenes work on campus.

“When you talk about the mystique and tradition of Notre Dame, Mike is one of the pillars that made Notre Dame what it is with student-athletes,” Phelps told the Tribune. “He was a great and dear friend. He and (wife) Polly were sweet people, and it’s people like them behind the scenes who made Notre Dame work.”

DiCicco coached the school’s fencing program for 34 seasons, compiling a .938 winning percentage. His teams won five national championships.

***

This isn’t a blog that spends much time talking about other Irish sports, but Notre Dame’s one-and-done in the men’s NCAA basketball tournament resurrected a lot of the grumbling that we’re used to hearing about Mike Brey and the Irish’s NCAA tournament struggles.

While the standard discussion about facilities, resources and recruiting is something I’m thankful I don’t have to tackle in a another sport, UND.com posted a quick sit-down with athletic director Jack Swarbrick, which acted as an attempt to quell any potential uprising.

But more than anything, Swarbrick talked not just about the building of the men’s basketball program, but the state of Irish athletics in general.

I found this to be a pretty impressive statement:

“In the focus on the individual sports, which we all should and do, it’s also important to step back and look at the aggregate,” Swarbrick said. “I believe there’s no school in the country that has posted a better combined won-loss record across football and both basketball teams than we did this year. I think this year we’re winning about 80 percent of the competitions we enter across all sports teams at Notre Dame. Baseball is having a great year. Men’s lacrosse is ranked number one, women’s lacrosse is ranked No. 7. Across the board performance, this is a pretty remarkable period. And as we go through each season and each sport, it’s important to take a moment and step back and say, ‘This is a special time in Notre Dame athletics.'”

Here’s the rest of Swarbrick’s interview with UND.com’s Jack Nolan.

***

***

If you’re looking for some good reading this weekend, here are a few links that caught my eye.

* As usual, Blue and Gold’s Lou Somogyi does a great job making sense of the transfers at Notre Dame. The Irish’s “Next-Man-In” policy certainly isn’t anything new.

* At the time of this posting, the Fighting Irish hockey team (my winter squad of choice), is playing in the first round of the NCAA hockey tournament, after winning the final CCHA tournament. Here’s Irish Illustrated Jake Brown‘s look at winger Bryan Rust, who rebounded nicely this year after a underwhelming sophomore season. (Inspiration for Ishaq Williams?)

* The South Bend Tribune’s Tyler James does a good job digging deeper into Notre Dame’s newest recruiting commitment Andrew Trumbetti.

* The guys over at Her Loyal Sons are doing their own little version of March Madness, recapping the best tweets of the year with their #HLSRecap Madness. I’m not telling you to go stuff the ballot box and vote for me, I’m just highly encouraging it.

* This One Foot Down staple deserves a link if only for the hilarious photo it uses.

 

 

 

  1. dickasman - Mar 30, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Any no pregnancy news is good news my friends, woo hoo! Lets keep em zipped up boyzzzz although I doubt anybody was up praying last night because its Good Friday. Which naturally makes me wonder how many nd football players were out last night shlappin some skinzzzzzzz.

    • irishfootball55 - Mar 31, 2013 at 12:02 PM

      Your an absolute fool who talks shit on blogs but that’s about the extent of your tough guy act. I would love to watch a punk like you run his mouth in public where you may actually be held accountable for your stupid remarks with a punch in the face

      • nudeman - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        Wow. That’s some tough talk. Clearly you are not a guy to be messed with
        Maybe dial it back a notch on the caffeine.
        Or whiskey.

      • dickasman - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:30 PM

        Easyyyyyy there prince FOCKING shembo! I have run my mouth in public and I haven’t gotten punched once. Usually, we laugh and become friends. You on the other hand prolly would get punched

    • irishfootball55 - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Again another Friday night acting like a punk talking trash and hiding behind your computer. Embarrassing that you have nothing better to do. Why don’t you grow a sack and at least man up and share with us who is your college football team so we can take a whack at them. I realize if it’s Alabama And you don’t want your cousins and aunts and uncles to get a verbal beating but nonetheless lets hear your team or get lost.

      • dickasman - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:32 PM

        Hey princess shembo, nd is my team dumba$$! Sorry I am not all sunshine and rainbows24/7.

  2. fnc111 - Mar 30, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Wtf is up with ND athletics? No one chokes more than ND. Did the hockey team know there was a game today????????????????????????

    • yogihilt - Mar 30, 2013 at 5:52 PM

      Did not read this troll… do not reply, do not dislike! (only like mine)

      • sharptux44 - Mar 31, 2013 at 7:36 PM

        Yogi,
        I agree that you shouldn’t reply to him (even though I did so the other day) but I welcome his sudden presence on this this web page. It just means that Notre Dame is good enough to hate again. Just like they were in the early 90’s. Where was this fnc ( I personally think fnc stands for fun-nullifying creeper) a few years ago when the Irish we not so hot on the football field? He was probably dissing on Oregon, LSU and Texas after losing their title games. So let this Festering Necrotic Chode regurgitate the same 6 sentences. A measure of your success is by how many enemies you have.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Mar 30, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      FNC,

      “No one chokes more than ND.”

      I beg to differ…Your boyfriend said you do, but eventually you swallow.

  3. bernhtp - Mar 31, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    Sad to hear about the passing of Mike DeCicco. I had many conversations with him ages ago when I was a tutor/TA for many top athletes. He was a feisty guy with very salty language when he got riled up.

    Despite some disappointments, Swarbrick clearly has Notre Dame athletics on a great trajectory.

    • irishfootball55 - Mar 31, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      He was a good man god bless him and his family

  4. irishfootball55 - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Thoughtful remarks from “nudeman”. Intelligence isn’t a gift you were blessed with. Bring something to the table about football. My bet is you can’t and you and your buddy like to stir the pot. No caffeine or whisky here I am calling you punks out for acting like big mouths when you cant back any of it up.

    • nudeman - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:54 AM

      There’s something about getting on a blog, posting anonymously behind a screen name, talking tough and hurling threats that just isn’t terribly impressive.

      Maybe I’m old fashioned though.

      Have a good week.

      • irishfootball55 - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:55 AM

        So nudeman is your name, didn’t think so. You have never brought a valid football point, observation or even a credible football analysis to the table. You don’t don’t the Irish that’s fine who is your team and lets start that debate.

    • bernhtp - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:01 AM

      irishfootball55: You effectively barge into a room with an ongoing conversation, have no idea who anyone is or what they have said over many months/years, and then start making baseless accusations and threats. Suggestion: listen/lurk for a while, introduce yourself, and then make some friendly/useful comments. That works way better.

      • irishfootball55 - Apr 1, 2013 at 3:27 PM

        I have read this blog daily and when you start having what I have always believed was a football chat turn into a slander fest I will call a spade a spade. You don’t have to love Notre Dame but to simply log on and make baseless remarks and never a valid football point is a waste. There are plenty of individuals who make valid points and ask great questions that deserve to talk football.

      • dickasman - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:35 PM

        Irish football I get it. You are the ultimate mega über número UNO ND fan! You win! (Bows graciously prior to sucker punching him in the nutsack)

  5. steeldominance - Apr 1, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Glad to hear that about Amir. I was really looking forward to seeing him play this past year but with Riddick and Wood and lingering injuries, its easy to see why he didn’t. DeCicco was a really nice guy. I got to meet him in passing during a school visit years ago. RIP.

  6. Keith Arnold - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Guys – Comments are being looked at this week. I’ve pushed people above me to get into the situation, as I don’t want to be the playground monitor anymore.

    That might mean curtains for guys like DickAsman, and I can’t say I’m sorry about that. While some of it is funny, I can think of about 1,000 better places for pregnancy, stereotype and other charged jokes to be employed.

    Let’s play nice. That includes new guys like irishfootball55. As Bern said, there’s better ways to introduce yourself. (Bern, I couldn’t help but think of Big Lebowski when you gave that speech. You might as well have been Walter barking at Donny.)

    • steeldominance - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      Mark it 8 dude. Will I be banned for having opinions that are sometimes not 100% pro ND and all of its players? Thats a serious question. Seems like if I think less of any one player’s abilities, I get called a troll, basement dweller and have several other insults hurled at me.

    • nudeman - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:59 AM

      Keith
      Your superiors might want to start with the guy who wrote this, below.
      Where did this guy come from?

      “You have issues that may only be cured by a beating you loud mouth punk. Your the village idiot who runs his pie hole and when he gets held accountable for it you hide like a bitch. There is no doubt in my mind you would talk that shit in a room full of men. Your comfort zone is behind a computer with a Dominos pizza, bottle of Mt. Dew on another Friday night. Alone.”

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Apr 1, 2013 at 1:17 PM

        He’s probably a German nihilist. They don’t believe in anything.

    • bernhtp - Apr 1, 2013 at 1:25 PM

      “Am i the only one who gives a shit about the rules?”

    • irishfootball55 - Apr 1, 2013 at 3:41 PM

      Clean up the page Keith keep it football oriented and as I said there is alot of good solid football points made but then there is also alot of ND haters who just trash the Irish without a valid point. Just pointless rubbish. I agree with your position but comments about Catholic priests and church cover-ups go to far.

      • dickasman - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:53 PM

        Irishfootball, you are right. Man, you’re so right, you’re like god! You should make your own site you’re so right, holy Christ. How did you get soooooo smart? Where did you go to school? Who’s your boyfriend?

    • dickasman - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:45 PM

      Keith before you deservedly ban me, I would like to respectfully thank you for allowing me to grace this site to voice my opinion. although i am not a democrat, this site has been very democratic, putting up with one miserable son of a gun of an nd football fan. i know plenty nd fans like myself who are of self depricating humor and nature like myself. It’s been a hoot but I had a lot more fun when there was just a few.

      For those who put up with my sht, thank you. For those who don’t, well you can get the finger, the middle. Also, I am going to vote to get rid of food stamps so you haters are doubly screwed!

  7. ajw21 - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Steel: I am assuming you haven’t followed this site long. No one have even been banned for having an opinion. Even the true ND haters don’t get banned. As long as ur comments are not personally attacking someone you will be fine. Many ND fans have criticized Kelly and ND players. KA doesn’t ban people for having an opinion, only for being disrespectful.
    Go Irish!

    • bernhtp - Apr 1, 2013 at 5:03 PM

      I don’t think that anyone has been banned, yet. Lots of deleted/edited posts, but no bans. That seems to be about to change.

      • dickasman - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:50 PM

        Before I go, Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeern, I wuv you mannnnnn!

  8. dickasman - Apr 1, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Nice knowing you all. Been a pleasure. All My ho’s have been complaining that I’m on the computer too much ever since I stopped snorting 8 balls off strippers t!ts. Back to narcotics anonymous I go…

  9. irishfootball55 - Apr 2, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Again classless remarks by a few.

  10. fw190wuerger - Apr 3, 2013 at 3:03 AM

    Keith, as someone who visits this site daily and always participates in your game chats (albeit with a different screen name), I was quite pleased to see you take note of the passing of my great Coach — Mike DeCicco.

    Thanks for pointing out that he was not just a top fencing coach, but a great academic advisor. He always pointed to our role as student first and athlete second — we weren’t going to go pro as a fencer!

    I had some lofty goals for graduate school and he made sure to keep the focus on that while also enjoying being a member of a some great ND fencing squads. Wish more coaches at more schools had his perspective on priorities — it would better serve sports and academics, and the athletes themselves.

  11. domer75 - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    As a Freshman basketball player at ND I had the luck of meeting Coach DeCicco. He was a tremendous aid to those of us who first struggled with the time and academic requirements of playing sports. Even after ending my playing days after my Freshman year, Coach DeCicco corresponded with me each semester with support and encouragement until I graduated. He was a valued member of the Notre Dame Family. My thoughts and prayers go out to his Family.

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