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Farley provides a constant at safety

Apr 10, 2013, 7:14 AM EDT

Matthias Farley

As we push closer towards the end of spring practice, one position that deserves the closest look under the microscope is the safety position. With Zeke Motta departed, it’s a fascinating grouping that’s now fully transitioned into Brian Kelly’s personnel.

Both Chuck Martin and Bob Elliott have shown the ability to get good football out of players that didn’t always play it. As the Irish continue to figure out the back end of their defense, they’ll get to do it with players that were hand-picked for the job. Yet it’s Matthias Farley, a player that wasn’t necessarily projected as a safety, that appears to be the constant in this transition.

Elliott met with a small group of media members to discuss his troops, and had nothing but good things to say about Farley, who has continued his unlikely ascent to a front-line starter.

“Matthias Farley has really grown up,” Elliott said. “Last year, he really played pretty solid football for us. Very unexpected for that to happen. But the thing about Matthias, is that he made himself into a player. Every day he came in for extra film study. Every day, he did extra things to get himself ready, and he just got better and better and better as the season wore on. And that continues today.”

It looks as if Farley has locked himself in at the boundary safety position, anchoring the short side of the field, a physical tackler around the line of scrimmage, while also directing traffic in the back end. That leaves the wide side of the field — often times more of a center-field type player — up for grabs.

“He’s assumed a leadership position back there which is what we intended,” Elliott said. “We’ve got young guys at the field safety, so we want the boundary safety to give us more, be more of a presence.”

Right now, the young guys competing starts with Elijah Shumate, who has taken control of the job with Nicky Baratti recovering from shoulder surgery. (Expect Baratti to be heard from though.) Shumate’s physical traits are immense, Elliott lauded him for his ability to tackle, cover and do everything else that’s needed. The challenge, as it is for all young players, is to master the mental aspects of the position. At a position where a mistake could mean six points, that’s critical.

While there are finally adequate numbers at the position, a two deep seems to be emerging. Austin Collinsworth is working behind Farley, still recovering from shoulder and back surgeries. Baratti will force his way back into the conversation this summer, as will touted freshman Max Redfield. Little-used junior Eilar Hardy also has too much talent to discount, and physically he finally looks the part. John Turner and Chris Badger are finally taking their redshirts off.

Still, it appears the glue of the position will be Farley. Just a calendar year from his first days at the position, it’s impressive to see one of the under-the-radar recruits Kelly and his staff identified play such a prominent role.

“I have great hopes for Matthias,” Elliott said. “He’s still going to be a sophomore. He’s only one year away from being a receiver.”

  1. yaketyyacc - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:48 AM

    ha! a young whippersnaper! an old term. but right on the money describing
    Farley. it refers to a young person with whip experience usually attuned to an older person(the whip being snapped above the heads of a team of horses). someone displaying matturity at an earlier age. fits Farley very well, gives us more positive feeling about the 2013 Notre Dame Football Team.

    • mtflsmitty - Apr 11, 2013 at 8:10 AM

      Etymology is a new and welcomed source of content for posts on this site. thx yak!

  2. bearcatirishfan - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Anyone else think that Farley looks a lot more physically mature for a sophomore as well. I thought so last year on the field.

  3. bernhtp - Apr 10, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    The competition at safety will be fierce. Despite the loss of Motta, I expect this to be a position of strength relative to last year with further development, return of injured players, and the entry of 5-star Redfield.

  4. andy44teg - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Hey, fnc111, going back to an earlier post. You ARE always negative. You are the classic “glass half empty” guy. You see getting our doors blown off in the NC game as an embarrassment. Me, on the other hand, look at it as a place that I’ve never seen ND make it before. I’m 30, so I’m not used to annual trips to the cotton bowl, fiesta bowl, etc. I’ve seen my fair share of Independece/Hawaii Bowls to puke! I grew up watching Holtz in his twilight years running a stagnant program, only to have Davie, TW, and CW run it into the ground. Now, ND is on the way back up and all you can do is bitch about how ND doesn’t have the same razzle-dazzle offense that BK had back at Cincy. WHO F$%##@&$# CARES!!!??? Seriously now, what has BK done or shown you to make you think he’s not the right guy for the job?? Flirted with the NFL? Yelled at Dayne Crist? Went undefeated and made it to the National Championship game in his 3rd year?? (All by luck according to you) How’s the old saying go…Luck is when preparation and opportunity meet? or something like that…Anyways…sorry to everybody else for the rant. I’d just really like fnc to back his shit up or STFU.

    • ndirish10 - Apr 10, 2013 at 5:47 PM

      andy44teg, no worries. It’s ok to sometime let it out, it healthy. By the way, feel free to rant about dicklessman too. Maybe, just maybe, he will disappear….Who am I kidding?! He’ll continue to be a nudnick!

      • andy44teg - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:03 PM

        That’s a lost cause right there..But i wouldn’t wanna lose dickasman..he usually gets a laugh outta me..

    • mtflsmitty - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:26 PM

      The thing is he’ll never back anything up because every remark is the same stream of baseless vitriol. He’s not a fan. He’s not a hater. He’s just some extremely weird guy who gets off on saying stupid things and watching people fume. He’s not interested in dialog. He’s here to screw with ppl. That’s why I ignore every post. Seriously, I don’t even read ’em. Try it, Andy, you’ll feel better.

  5. goirishgo - Apr 10, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Glad to read that Shumate continues to progress. He has the tools to be special. The safety position is stacked and fierce competition will make everyone better.

    So let’s get it out of the way right now….if one of them transfers due to lack of playing time it won’t be because BK is inept or because ND can’t keep good recruits or because the weather is bad in South Bend.

    It’ll be because a kid is a damn good player and can’t get on the field in an Irish jersey.

  6. fnc111 - Apr 10, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    I see all these other players around the ncaa being granted 6th years but Slaughter gets blocked. If he played for any other program he would be allowed back. Would’ve been a big impact on this ND team.

  7. fnc111 - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    Andy, there goes the delusional talk again. Just because of one year ND is back? Some lucky breaks got ND into the national title game. They didn’t belong and yes it was embarrassing. What game did you watch on Jan. 7????? Again I realize your comprehension level is lacking right now with rose color glasses on but I’ve given honest assessments and if you don’t like it dont read them.

    You are wrong and you simply just have an agenda against me because I’m not a homer but a realist ND fan. I’ve given plenty of praise to a lot of players and situations over the last year regarding ND football. Look it up and shut up!

    But Kelly is going into year four and he has more transfers on offense than he does success stories. Pitiful offense led by him- fact. The national title game was an embarrassment- fact. Bob Diaco deserves a big chunk of credit for what he has done- fact.

    Just because Riley Nelson misses a wide open receiver to what would’ve won the game for byu doesn’t make ND ” back.”

    A 50/50 call on the goal line versus Stanford is not back.

    A missed chip shot by a Pitt FG is not “back.”

    Not playing against a healthy Matt Barkley was another lucky break.

    Was ND a nice team last year? Hell yea. But they were not a top 8-10 team.

    Force 7 turnovers against scUM and barely hold onto to a 13-6 victory is laughable. I could keep going but for once I agreed with David Pollack from espn when he said this isn’t anything but one year for ND. His point and mine: Prove it going forward now that this program can sustain 10-12 wins a year. ND has been here before under Willingham and Weis winning with smoke and mirrors.

    Last year the defense played great but the breaks that went against ND in 2011 went the other way in a positive direction in 2012. They needed a ton of them and in the end it hurt them more because they should’ve been in a lesser bowl game. I remember when USC was BACK last decade they ripped through their schedule. You have to prove dominance not prove luck pal.

    • dillonbigred - Apr 10, 2013 at 7:14 PM

      Boy you are one angry, miserable cuss, aren’t you? There is nothing wrong with that, but why don’t you just keep it to yourself, or keep a journal. I don’t think anyone gets upset with realistic outlooks or criticism of ND, but your relentless attacks of Kelly, Diaco, and others are tiresome. Can’t you find any joy in following the Irish?

      • dillonbigred - Apr 10, 2013 at 7:15 PM

        Meant for fnc111.

    • irish4006 - Apr 11, 2013 at 6:41 PM

      now, fnc, that was one post (in a million) where you tried backing up some of the things you say with examples. I may not agree with you, but this helps.

      ND is back is not an argument many of us make here. ND is “on the way” back is what a reasonable fan sees. NC game, for all its embarrassment, was also a product of Alabama playing their best game of the year and ND playing their worst. Quit whining and try to have a more positive outlook on life.

  8. fnc111 - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Lol Andy you are a real Internet tough guy. Too funny. Have you ever been to an ND game? I’m sure you were at all six home games like I was last year.. Keep bowing to Kelly like a peasant. You’ll be the first psycho on here ranting when he ditches to the NFL. Back my stuff up? Everything is either fact or opinion coming from me Andy. Loosen up its America! Freedom of speech! Uh oh maybe I should quiet down after getting threatened online. You could be a part of Jay Zs or obamas possy that will off me.

    • mcirish27 - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      fnc, this is a little….uncomfortable

    • andy44teg - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      Never once did I say that ND is “back.” On the way back up is what I said. HUGE difference. Also, never once did I threaten you. Just said to either put up or shut up…not a threat. I’m pretty sure that if Kelly bolts for the NFL I won’t trash him one bit. For one, it means that ND had another great year, and two, it proves that ND can be a contender again and we won’t have as much trouble hiring the next guy. Yes, I’ve been to ND games, but I don’t see how that has any relevancy to being more or less of a fan.
      As far as luck goes, in the Pitt game, yeah, he missed a chip shot FG, but remember when Cierre Wood fumbled into the end zone the possession before? And against Stanford, if they would’ve ruled that a TD, it only would’ve tied the game. Against BYU, that was the game right after Stanford, right? I’m pretty sure Golson sat that one out, so if you use the logic that we were lucky to play USC w/out Barkley, then BYU was lucky to play ND w/out Golson.

    • 123rkc - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:38 PM

      I’m going to re-post a comment I made on another article. One I made BEFORE reading your continued banter on this particular story.

      “I’ve been reading these articles/comments for some time. Never have I seen you make a valid point. You are allowed to have an opinion and express that opinion. Just do the university a favor and try to censor yourself when posting on an ND based site or take your opinions somewhere else. Realize the possible implications that your obvious disdain for Kelly and the current state of the program could have on potential recruits or even other fans. Perhaps one more year of on the field success will change your opinion? Who cares though. You remind me or Randy Quaid’s character from major league. A cynical, fair weather fan with nothing constructive to offer. Go home fnc. Give your ND apparel and tickets to fans who would value them.”
      -me from a previous comment

    • dickasman - Apr 10, 2013 at 4:57 PM

      Hey fnc, you’re not alone. It is scary but I am “inside the fnc” fan club. Dont get firm now, not really like inside inside but just the fan club. I agree with you on some but you seem to do better job of delivering the point than I. Even if i dont agree, i like reading the different perspective. Keep on keepin onnnnn!

      • ndirish10 - Apr 10, 2013 at 6:52 PM

        I knew it…! Damn you di……..!!!!

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Apr 10, 2013 at 8:13 PM

      So your dad took you to some games, big deal. Ask him to teach you how to spell “posse” and then maybe I will be impressed.

  9. mediocrebob - Apr 10, 2013 at 2:34 PM


    Just so you know, every team has “what ifs” every year. Alabama had a lot of them. I’m not sure I understand most of your claims.

    Success is success. Kelly’s had a lot of it. I’m not saying the Irish are the best team in the country but they are a lot closer to that than they were before he got there. Your Kelly logic is absurd. His track record is enough for you to stick your foot in your mouth.

    Bottom line: if you can’t see the improvement in the talent level and success in this program, you’re blind or pessimistic.

    • dickasman - Apr 10, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      Bob, or just human, albeit w different perspective. I think you guys should create your own website

  10. thefightinfloyds - Apr 10, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    If there are going to be anymore transfers I would expect it to come from this group of safeties. Some good potential back there but it seems like there are to many players to go around, unless someone takes a redshirt. Hopefully ND finds a way to get Redfield some playing time early.

  11. docomer79 - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    What if: K State doesn’t lose and we play them in MNC? Lots of what ifs. I was so excited for the year. Most excited since attending the 1977 Cotton Bowl. Thank you for a magical season.

  12. mediocrebob - Apr 11, 2013 at 4:19 AM


    If you read what I said, there is a difference between being “back” and being MUCH improved. You and your buddy talk about Kelly as if you’d do a better job. You two can bitch together all you want. Sounds like a miserable life.

  13. getsome99 - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    What about the beat down in Norman? Also, ND’s offense fared better against Alabama than LSU did twice combined the year before.

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