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Pregame Six Pack: Going out on a high note

Nov 22, 2013, 3:39 AM EDT

Senior Day

If the major concern heading into Senior Day was dealing with the team’s heightened emotions, a dash of reality set in on Thursday evening when the news of Louis Nix’s season-ending surgery sunk in. 

Working through emotions is one thing. Playing without the team’s 350-pound tip of the spear is quite another.

 

As the Irish prepare to take on BYU’s up-tempo, power-running attack, they’ll do so without Nix at the center of the defense. As Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated pointed out on Twitter, the Irish will go their final ten games of the season getting just 23 snaps out of the starting trio of Stephon Tuitt, Nix and Sheldon Day, a case of perpetual snakebite after a season that felt kissed by the gods. 

Still, there’s a game to play on Saturday afternoon and the Irish need to win it, sending their seniors out on a high note.

Let’s get into the pregame six pack. As usual, here are six tidbits, leftovers, fun facts and miscellaneous musings before the Irish take on the Cougars at 3:30pm ET on NBC.

***

It won’t just be another Saturday for the guys running out of the tunnel. 

We’ll spend some more time later discussing the senior class. But for a 31 players, this might be the last time they run out of the tunnel at Notre Dame. That’s a factor that Brian Kelly has talked about.

“It’s always a concern,” said Kelly. “The emotional impact is always measured because you certainly don’t want your players playing emotionally. You want enthusiasm.

“We’ll be talking about that balance between the emotions of the last game and the enthusiasm of playing in your last game. We have to make sure we balance it because we’ve got quite a few seniors like BYU.”

On his weekly chat with Jack Arute and Rick Neuheisel on SiriusXM’s College Football Playbook radio show, Kelly revealed that the team spent some time this week savoring the moment, with the hopes that the emotion wouldn’t all pour out on Saturday. We’ll see how that plays out early on Saturday afternoon.

***

With the loss of Nix, slowing down Taysom Hill will be key. 

If there’s an immediate concern without Nix, it’s the health of the front seven. The guys backing up Nix aren’t in the best of shape either.

Kona Schwenke will try and give it a go after a high ankle injury of his own. He’ll slide back inside and try to take snaps at nose guard, even though he’s not fully healed. Jarron Jones will be out of his ankle boot, forced to take important snaps at the point of attack as well, along with Tyler Stockton.

Kelly updated Schwenke’s heath situation on Thursday evening, with the Hawaiian also playing his final home game in Notre Dame Stadium.

“He’s not 100 percent,” Kelly said of Schwenke. “Jarron Jones will have to play a lot in there. Jarron’s had a great week. Really pleased with his practice. Kona is going to give it all he has. He really wants to play. It’s important to him. He’s going to play. How much do we get out of him, we’ll see.”

Whoever ends up taking snaps, slowing down Hill is going to be key. The sophomore quarterback is second in the country with 44 rushes of 10-yards or more. With an arm (and wide receiver) that’s able to more than keep you honest, the Irish are going to have to play great fundamental football to shut down Hill.

“The first thing is to try and keep the ball away from Taysom Hill,” Kelly told Arute and Neuheisel. “If you put this kid on the field and give him an opportunity to run 85, 90 plays, they’re going to score too many points.”

***

Look to last year’s game plan for hints at Saturday’s attack. 

The Irish haven’t been able to effectively establish the run like they did last season. And no Saturday last year did the ground game play more importantly than in the Irish’s 17-14 victory over the Cougars.

The Irish ran for 270 yards against BYU, throwing just three times in the second half. With the weather looking like it could be a winter wonderland with temperatures below freezing, it’s pretty clear that it’s going to be a game won in the trenches.

Kelly talked a little bit about using the running game not just to move the chains, but to also establish the playaction passing game.

“Carving out the running game is the first thing we’re going to try to do,” Kelly told Arute and Neuheisel. “If we can’t do that, the ball has got  to get down the field. Pushing it vertically and trying to make those big chunk plays is the next job at hand.”

While they haven’t been as stingy, Kelly compared Bronco Mendenhall’s defense to Michigan State’s, with the secondary bunched within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. If the Irish are going to score points, they’re going to need to hit the Cougars over the top when that happens.

“Once the safeties start making plays near the line of scrimmage, the ball has got to get down the field,” Kelly explained. (Safety Daniel) Sorensen, when he starts making plays near the line of scrimmage, what we have to do with Tommy is that you can’t read him, you’ve got to be able to throw and run your play action game.”

***

On a Saturday that’ll likely tug at your heart strings, Jaylon Smith will honor his mentor Danny Spond in a classy tribute. 

If you don’t see No. 9 out on the edge of the defense wreaking havoc, don’t worry. Jaylon Smith will be there, he’ll just be doing it in teammate Danny Spond’s jersey.

 

Smith’s star turn as a freshman came out of necessity, with the five-star freshman thrust into the starting lineup after Spond was forced to retire because of debilitating migraine headaches. Spond then turned into a student-coach, working with Smith and junior Ben Councell on the ins and outs of a position that has been one of the toughest to fill in the Irish’s defensive system.

As a thank you for the tutelage, pupil will honor master by swapping No. 9 for No. 13.

“Jaylon Smith is going to be wearing Danny Spond’s number on Saturday in a manner to thank him for his mentorship this year,” Kelly announced on Thursday evening.

***

Entering the final home game of the regular season, Brian Kelly finally came clean about the quarterback position.

Expect a nice ovation for quarterback Tommy Rees on Saturday. The much maligned quarterback will be playing his final home game in front of his family and 80,000-plus friends, who will thank Rees for his four seasons in South Bend, an improbable run that’s pushed a guy many thought would only be a backup into the school record books.

While Kelly was effusive with his praise for Rees in his radio show comments with Jack Nolan, he finally came clean about his quarterback plans on the season, acknowledging that there was never any interest in getting Malik Zaire on the field this season.

“Quite honestly, without sugar-coating it and cutting through it, I wanted to redshirt him,” Kelly said. “I wanted a quarterback that was going to be a fifth-year guy. Throughout it all, we wanted that more than anything else, and we’re going to get that with Malik.”

Kelly briefly touched on the plans for next year, with spring opening a competition between returning quarterback Everett Golson and Zaire. He also acknowledged the decision on whether Andrew Hendrix will return or not hasn’t been made.

***

Nobody feels sorry for Notre Dame. But a look at what injuries have done to this roster is pretty staggering. 

Every football team is beat up this time of year. But a look at what’s happened this year gives you a better appreciation of just how decimated this roster has become.

As we look back on the senior class, what better time to look back at what’s happened to this roster. While not all of these subtractions are because of injury, the snapshot of where this roster has gotten hit gives you an idea of why this team is struggling to do something of the ordinary things well.

Wonder why the Front Seven play has been subpar? Consider that injuries have hit Stephon Tuitt, Louis Nix, Sheldon Day, Kona Schwenke, Ishaq Williams, Tony Springmann, Chase Hounshell, Jarron Jones and Isaac Rochell.

Roster attrition also struck hard, with Everett Golson gone, Eddie Vanderdoes staying home and Gunner Kiel, Davonte Neal and Justin Ferguson transferring. Injuries robbed Tate Nichols, Brad Carrico and Cam Roberson of a career.

It was a lost season for Springmann, Hounshell, Torii Hunter Jr., Nicky Baratti and Danny Spond. Injuries ended the year for Daniel Smith, Will Mahone, Ben Councell, Greg Bryant and Jarrett Grace. Elijah Shumate missed multiple games as well.

Subtract out redshirting freshmen and Brian Kelly doesn’t need to snoop around an NFL program to know what it feels like to play with a 53 man roster.

Kelly maneuvered his way around injuries on Thursday while acknowledging there are some more that’ll be attended to after the season as well.

“There’s a number of guys. I couldn’t tell you who they are,” Kelly said, likely substituting the word couldn’t for won’t. “We’re going to have probably two or three shoulder guys. We’re going to have a couple of guys get scoped. It’s normal, end of the year, those surgeries that you have.”

  1. viktory2013 - Nov 22, 2013 at 5:43 AM

    Don’t understand the need for secrecy with Zaire; if Kelly had no intention of playing him, why not say so in week 1 and end the furor and distraction.

    As far as a warm ovation for Rees? I doubt it very much. ND fans are too classy to jeer him knowing he’ll never play in the stadium again, but an ovation? Seriously?? A polite response is probably all he even expects.

    Just have a feeling by Nix’s interviews he feels unfinished business and might go for one more year. A strong finish would certainly enhance his draft ability as opposed to limping in straight from surgery. Get the feeling he loves ND more than dollars.

    Jaylon Smith should be defensive captain in the next season or so; the kid has more fire and energy than Bennet Jackson, Farley, Calabrese, and Fox combined.

    BYU is on again, off again, but so are we. The team has been sleepwalking most of the season, so I have no idea which ND will show up; no result would be a surprise, a 20 point win or 10 point loss. Anything but a “well we gave that one away” game.

    • vanpearcysvaportrail - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:07 PM

      I’m going to drive 250 miles and give Rees a standing ovation. The guy has been thrust into an incredibly difficult situation, given his all to succeed and handled the rough spots with a ton of class and maturity for a 22-year-old.

      If you assign a whole lot of blame to him for the team’s misfortunes, you are missing the forest from the trees. Our current roster begs for a power running game with play action passing mixed in, not a “chuck it all over the yard seeking ‘big chunk’ play” offense featuring a QB with modest athletic ability.

      Blame Kelly, not Rees, both for his recruiting failures and his inability to put his talent in the best position to win. For a guy who has been “doing it for 23 years,” he often looks like he doesn’t know what he’s doing (e.g., special teams, running game, use of personnel, empty backfields, red zone offense, getting plays in on time, etc.).

    • runners00 - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      Really? You couldn’t figure out that he wanted to save Zaire for a fifth year — or a dire situation? I mean, why would he announce that? He wants Zaire to be on this team — but he wants him in a reserve role much lik Everett Golson was in a reserve role his freshman year.

      • viktory2013 - Nov 23, 2013 at 12:28 PM

        And the point of that was what? Basically forfeiting the season. With a good QB we’re probably 10-0 and in the conversation for the championship game again, instead of the Pizza Bowl in Detroit. Rees accomplishments for 3 seasons. Mediocrity at its finest.

    • penick44 - Nov 22, 2013 at 5:14 PM

      Rees is going to get a big ovation and he deserves it.

      • nudeman - Nov 22, 2013 at 5:20 PM

        Sure he does. But no more than any other seniors.
        One could easily make a case that Rees has led a charmed life at ND.
        Had starting job handed to him 3 of 4 years and was never once benched for his poor play.
        Not once.

        Congratulations Tommy. You have tried your best. You have an ND degree.
        You had some good moments.
        You’ll be fine.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Nov 22, 2013 at 9:45 PM

        Nude, you’ll appreciate this one. I was listening to the UND.com podcast where Jack Nolan was interviewing Kelly and they were having fun with some of the seniors. It came time for Kelly to say something about Tommy and he says,”If it weren’t for Tommy Rees, this team wouldn’t be where it is today.” (yeah, out of contention for a BCS bowl and staring headlong into the prospect of a 7-6 season). That about sums it up, don’t ya think?

      • nudeman - Nov 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM

        Perfect.

  2. NotreDan - Nov 22, 2013 at 6:39 AM

    “I wanted a quarterback that was going to be a fifth-year guy. Throughout it all, we wanted that more than anything else…”

    More than winning? Probably just another unintentional word substitution right?

  3. jucam1 - Nov 22, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    BYU is going to roll ND. It’s not 1960 anymore, ND can’t get the talent or the coach to win year after year. Good news is you have that TV contract and your mid level players will always be overrated by the ND fans. “Get pumped up for next year guys”…. The SEC will just be here dominating college football in the real world.

    • danirish - Nov 22, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      Please post again if Notre Dame wins with the title “BYU is going to roll ND. Opps I’m wrong.” If ND wins.

      Follow up that comment with: “Perhaps I shouldn’t troll on comment boards because if I’m wrong I look stupid! Thank God for the internet so no one knows who I really am!”

      If ND wins

      If ND loses…

      GO IRISH!

    • scottatnd - Nov 22, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      And another mindless SEC troll stops by to take a jab. yawn.. He even spelled everything correctly and managed to insert a three syllable word. Thank goodness for spell check… role tied…

      • danirish - Nov 22, 2013 at 10:30 AM

        Oh no! “role tied!” I’m am so using that on my SEC buddies! Hilarious! You’ve made my day!

    • runners00 - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:10 PM

      And in graduation rates? What is the SEC football graduation rate? I mean, if you take out Vanderbilt, what’s the SEC graduation rate?

  4. danirish - Nov 22, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    This has been a frustrating but odd year. I could see ND going 0-2 or 2-0 or 1-1 the next two games – nothing about this year surprises me.

    I will miss the seniors, TJ Jones being the main one.

    Rees played with all heart but him graduating will put a three year whammy behind ND. It will be nice to not have to have the Tommy Rees is awesome/the worst conversation anymore. Good luck to you kid!

    I love this team

    GO IRISH!

    • ndgoldandblue - Nov 22, 2013 at 9:44 AM

      You hit the nail on the head regarding TJ. The kid has been fantastic this year and will be sorely missed next year. The good news is that the receiving corps looks to be a strength next year even with TJ’s departure. Quite a few returning wideouts have proven themselves to be reliable.

      With the exception of tight end, nearly every other position on the field is up in the air. I wouldn’t call anything a strength (or a weakness) at this point, but a lot of positions are question marks right now. The O-line is losing Watt and Martin, another fine captain. The D-line is losing Nix and possibly Tuitt. Fox and Calabrese are gone. I know that they haven’t been great this year, but who’s waiting in the wings to replace them? With that much uncertainty, I don’t have a whole lot of hope about 2014.

      There are only two players that I’m glad are not returning: Bennett Jackson and Tommy Rees. Kelly has gotten to the point where he puts too much faith in Tommy, and that’s not a good thing. Kelly believes Tommy can wing it all over the yard and win him football games. Never a good philosophy no matter who your quarterback is. As for Bennett Jackson, I’m sorry to say this, but good luck to you; I’m glad you’ve run out of eligibility. As far as senior seasons go, you’ve had a tremendous letdown–the pick six being the lone bright spot. But still…good luck.

      • nudeman - Nov 22, 2013 at 10:37 AM

        ndgoldandblue
        Well said … all of it.

        But with Nix and Schwenke out, BYU might stage a track meet.
        So naturally one would assume that between that and the weather, BK would come out trying to run and control the clock.

        However, if BYU runs through ND like sh** through a tin horn, this could be another “Let Tommy throw it all over the field 50 times” type event.

        BTW, I never really understood how sh** can run through a tin horn.
        Can anyone help me with that one?

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Nov 22, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        i always thought it was “like sh!t through a goose” and i always wondered why geese had GI problems.

        as for good ol’ TJ, i thought he was too small and too slow to be big time college receiver, but all he has done is catch just about everything, and he’s made plenty of big ones in big moments. i admit i was absolutely wrong about him and i’m happy as a clam to admit it.

      • c4evr - Nov 22, 2013 at 12:15 PM

        ndg&b,

        If Kelly’s been watching the same games we have and still believes Rees can wing it all over the yard and win games, then ND’s troubles won’t end with TR’s graduation.

    • mcirish27 - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      I remember being at the Michigan game in 2010 when TJ caught a long TD as a true freshman and dropping it right before crossing the goal line – a la DeSean Jackson. They didn’t overturn it but should have, and at that moment i thought TJ was going to be a prima donna – I couldn’t have been more wrong. I hope he plays on Sundays for years to come – a great representative of the recent lineage of pass catchers from ND. Cheers, TJ.

  5. domerboyirish - Nov 22, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    I find it interesting that no one is mentioning the Jaylon Smith comment above? In a year where many of us believe that this defense lacks leadership, a true freshman takes the reigns by showing some class and respect of his mentor. This will only blossom into a leadership role for next year and beyond. It shows a maturity and respect that seems sorely lacking from everyone except Nix. I think it is great to see.

    • danirish - Nov 22, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      I have the hopeful feeling that in two year we are going to be praying that Smith doesn’t go pro early because he is projected as a top 5 pick. With two games left, a freshman is picking up the mantle of leadership? Awesome – he is going to be great!

    • nudeman - Nov 22, 2013 at 5:24 PM

      I did notice that, and love this guy
      The other day I wrote that next year’s team won’t be the wandering, leaderless nomads that this team has been, primarily because Smith and Elmer are probably poised to be vocal leaders who’s play is good/great enough to back them up.

  6. nudeman - Nov 22, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Chapter 198 in Keith’s man crush on Tommy Rees.

    Why is it that only Rees is mentioned as a guy who “will get a nice ovation”?
    There have been others who’ve contributed as much or more.
    TJ Jones and Louis Nix come immediately to mind.
    TJ lost his father shortly after enrolling, stuck it out and has been the Irish MVP this year.
    Nix seems to be the heart and soul of this team, performing at a high level and being one of the more lovable guys we’ve seen in a long time.
    Andrew Hendrix hasn’t contributed as much but has arguably been even more loyal than Rees, having come out of HS more highly recruited, yet spending 4 years mostly on the bench. His disappointment and feeling of emptiness must be profound but he stayed because he loves ND.
    Zack Martin, great OL and a captain. Came back for a 4th year, but didn’t have to.

    And then there’s Tommy who’s been gifted the job without ever having to win it, 3 of 4 years. I’m unclear: Am I supposed to feel bad for him?
    A church mouse type personality with an F-16 like ability to blow up games with his erratic play.
    And so we should all go nuts when he comes out like it’s 1964 and the Beatles?

    Sorry. I’ll pass

    • ndgoldandblue - Nov 22, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      You make great points about the other seniors. Many of them have been great contributors to Notre Dame’s success, and they’ll surely be missed. Tommy has done SOME great things as Notre Dame’s quarterback, but nothing he’s done has warranted a standing ovation over any of the other seniors. In fact, the incident with the South Bend police department is a bit of black eye on Tommy’s perceived “clean” and “rkg” persona. Let’s applaud him with the rest of the seniors, but with no more verve than any of the others.

    • danirish - Nov 22, 2013 at 11:55 AM

      Don’t forget Prince Shembo – I got to see him play in high school beating up on my beloved Sabres and he has played some good ball for ND.

      Like I’ve said, I can’t wait until Timmy Rees graduates only so the debate will be over.

      • papadec - Nov 22, 2013 at 8:58 PM

        Can I have a big “AMEN” on that TR debate being over, brother?

    • irish4006 - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      Oh boy, nude. Did you just go there? Again? Brace yourself for getsome rebuttal. I am glad that we won’t be having this debate next year…

      • nudeman - Nov 22, 2013 at 5:28 PM

        Yep, just went there, inspired by Keith naming exactly one player for a special ovation.
        And I don’t give a f*** if anyone clobbers me
        It’s Friday and I’m going for a couple drinks and a cigar

        These last three games might test us all

    • mtflsmitty - Nov 22, 2013 at 11:46 PM

      Really? You don’t understand?

      QBs are always singled out, and put on a pedestal. They are given more credit that they deserve, and more blame than is due them. How many articles on this site or any other blog have been focused on Chris Watt this year? If Keith writes a story about Chris Watt, the story begets fewer than five comments. He never would, BTW. Conversely, articles about Tommy drive pages and pages of response. Why? Because he’s the QB.

      You know darn well Keith isn’t diminishing the contributions of other guys. Nor is he saying they aren’t wonderful teammates who’ve made great sacrifices. What he is saying is, THEY AREN’T THE QB!!!

      And by the way, you already know all of what I just said to be true; and you’ve known it since you first typed this concocted “the other guys are just as special as Tommy” theme a few months ago.

      QBs have always been special. And they are even more so these days. That’s why Keith singles him out. But you already know that.

      GO IRISH!!!

      • nudeman - Nov 23, 2013 at 10:06 AM

        And everybody knows that QBs who play well are rock stars, and QBs who play poorly get a lot of heat. Much more so than an offensive guard.
        You already knew THAT.

        So, knowing THAT, why are we all being prodded to fawn over Tommy Rees?
        Because he’s been booed? Sorry, comes with the territory.

        But, you already knew THAT

  7. goirishgo - Nov 22, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    The adversity this team is facing is remarkable. A win tomorrow will be a great accomplishment. Here’s hoping the determination of winning for the seniors can carry the day.

    Go Irish!

    P.S. Ed Orgeron got the kiss of death yesterday – Lane Kiffin’s endorsement.

  8. irishdodger - Nov 22, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    As much as I hate to miss an ND game (even if they’re getting spanked), I’ll be traveling the next two Saturdays & will at least be glad I don’t have to watch Bennett Jackson & Mattias Farley get abused as I’ve seen enough of that this year. Both great kids & I wish them the best. I also realize they’re both former WRs converted to DBs but the ineptness is mind numbing. Poor Jackson can’t cover a receiver to save his life unless it comes w/ a 15 yd penalty & Farley can’t tackle. I realize the latter has been battling injury, but that just tells me how little confidence Diaco has in the back ups.

  9. irishdodger - Nov 22, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    @jucam1:

    When typing the SEC I hope you mean Bama b/c that’s all the SEC has when it comes to elite. It’s Bama and everyone else. Just like w/ the ACC…it’s FSU and everyone else. You can always tell when an SEC fan’s favorite team is horrible…they have to insert their conference name in place of the average-to-crappy team. Sorry overrated SEC but the likes of Kentucky, Mississippi St., Ole Miss, Arkansas, Vandy, Florida, Georgia & South Carolina strike fear in NOBODY. TAMU should rename themselves the Johnny Manziels b/c their D can’t stop air…I can’t wait to see what they do next year w/o Manziel. Mizzou & LSU wouldn’t be undefeated an the other big conferences either. Admit it SEC….yall are OVERRATED this year. Bend down & kiss Bama’s feet…because that’s all you socialistic Lemmings have to live for right now. That and Obamacare.

    • danirish - Nov 22, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      Actually the SEC is 3 coaches. Saben, Miles and Urban when he was at Florida. Auburn slipped in one year due to off years and Urban leaving.

      Could you imagine The 3 coaches above going to ND or Stanford…. those schools have rules!

      Saben couldn’t grey shirt, they couldn’t rely on JUCO transfers, kids would have to go to class, if they are caught cheating they would actually be dismissed. Big Lou took 19 hours THIS SEMESTER! Wonder what that felon rb for LSU took?

      • papadec - Nov 22, 2013 at 9:14 PM

        dan – Auburn had a few good years because they bought & paid for a certain player, now playing in the nfl. Also, minor point – the sec WAS 3 coaches, and now it’s really only Saban. Miles has better than average teams, that any coach could have good years with, only because of the way they recruit & dump players. Someday the ncaa may grow a set of testicles, and come down hard on the sec, including Saban & his deer antler, PED and HGH bolstered players. However, I am not holding my breath waiting for that to happen.

  10. nudeman - Nov 22, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    If any of you haven’t seen this, it’s a great read. Long but great.

    This is why ND will have so much trouble returning to prominence on a regular basis.
    The knucklehead schools who see CFB as nothing but a big pay day if they win will never again rein this thing back in. Like putting toothpaste back in the tube.

    I honestly think the day is closer that ND will go into some sort of an “Elite Academic Conference” with the likes of Duke, Vandy, and the Ivy League than ever be the ND of our (my) youth.

    http://deadspin.com/jameis-winston-isnt-the-only-problem-here-an-fsu-teac-1467707410?utm_campaign=socialflow_deadspin_twitter&utm_source=deadspin_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

    • goirishgo - Nov 22, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      Thanks for posting, Nude. It’s an interesting read on a complex subject.

      I don’t get too revved up over ND being an annual threat to win the national championship anymore. The mission of the school is a little too far askance from what needs to be done to sit at the top the NCAA football heap consistently. But I love it!

      Give me a team that’s not afraid to play anybody, is consistently Top 25 or so with the occasional shot at winning it all and I’m a happy guy. While playing highly competitive football the players EARN meaningful degrees and graduate with an ability to contribute to society and support families – whether they play on Sunday or not.

      I wouldn’t sacrifice one iota of that mission to win more football games.

      • nudeman - Nov 22, 2013 at 1:45 PM

        Good points.
        I came of age as an ND fan during the 60s and the Era of Ara and so was conditioned early on to want/expect NC runs. He won 2 and narrowly missed a third in his 11 years.

        I think those days are gone and will never return.
        Eventually it will just stop making sense trying to compete with schools and entire conferences that don’t give a sh** about academics, admit anyone, and don’t make them go to class.

        We are going to see the day, in my lifetime I believe, when ND bands together with the schools that still care about academics and they create their own conference.

        Frankly I’d be OK with it. These just aren’t the good old days anymore.

      • ndgoldandblue - Nov 22, 2013 at 2:20 PM

        nude and goirishgo, because of the points you make, I think Notre Dame should employ a Moneyball approach to recruiting. While I think it’s great that Kelly and company swing for the fences, they’ve had too many transfers and 11th hour defections for them to have quality depth, and for them to compete on a yearly basis. A coaching staff shouldn’t need to convert wide receivers to fill up their depth chart in the secondary.

        Instead of looking at the number of stars next to a player’s name, the coaches should be looking for certain tangible traits/abilities that many teams might overlook but would be useful for the Irish. One thing that comes to my mind is tackling ability. All across the football landscape are guys who don’t fit a certain profile of height, weight, or even speed. But they just have a nose for the football.

        If I’m a linebackers coach, I’d rather have a smaller player who covers well in space, takes good angles, and doesn’t miss tackles over a physically perfect specimen on paper (Ishaq Williams) who doesn’t do any of those.

      • irishaggie - Nov 22, 2013 at 3:46 PM

        So this comment is just to kind of get the opinion of you folks. Basketball and football are completly different sports since it takes 10 players to fill up your roster in basketball as opposed to 60 or 70 in football (or 85 according to NCAA). Duke University basketball has so much prestige and tradition just like ND does in football. At least to my knowledge they run a clean program and even others like Gonzaga, Marquette, and Georgetown are private schools with high academic standards that are successful.

        In football, what makes it so hard to have high academics and good results on the field. Is it most of the recruits coming from the south as opposed to private schools for basketball? Or is it the physicality of the sport? Or is it the amount of players with high academics that you have to recruit for football? Just wanna know what you guys think.

      • papadec - Nov 22, 2013 at 9:19 PM

        go irish – gotta agree with your 2nd paragraph with one small difference – Top 10 every year.

    • jrct2450yahoo - Nov 22, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      Nude, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been saying the same thing for years but no one wants to accept this reality. The glory years are but a distant memory.

      • nudeman - Nov 22, 2013 at 3:06 PM

        Yeah, it seems a month never goes by without more evidence that most of the rest of CFB is just playing by a radically diff. set of rules.

        Last year it was Manziel only taking on line classes. (I wonder who he pays to do that for him?)
        Earlier this year there was a piece in SI (I think) on OK State that was, if possible, worse than this FSU piece. Some kid could barely read and he was named an Academic All American.
        Miami has been a circus for ages.
        Florida and Urban protected Hernandez for 3 years.
        Now FSU is this week’s clown show.

        As long as ND remains clean, forget it. No chance.
        And I’d say the same for the Big 10 schools too, and any other school that has a conscience

  11. irishaggie - Nov 22, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    After such a promising offseason I am grateful this season is almost over. Starting in January, 2013 has been brutal and ND has had a 7-4 record. At this point even 9 wins would give me a happy offseason.

  12. yaketyyacc - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    what makes champions is the pursuit of excellence in all facets of university life. success on the gridiron mirrors this academic excellence. from 1957- 1961, all I heard were the same arguments as written above. some even suggested that Notre Dame was deemphasizing football and trying to become the “Yale” of the Midwest.
    Well. first of all we will never lower our standards to that of Yale. and in the time from 1961-present, only Alabama, and USC have won more National Championships. and The Ohio STATE, only one.
    fear not Nude. there IS only one NOTRE DAME. AND WE ARE IT!

  13. runners00 - Nov 22, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    I can’t imagine why anyone would think that we had a good off-season. We had a decent recruiting year but we had a brutal off-season, as Kiel and Golson departed while Eddie Vanderdoes never arrived and Danny Spond never got going in 2013. There have been others, too, who have left.

    That said, this is the last home game. This group of seniors, the individuals partly responsible for returning glory back to Notre Dame, needs to go out with a win.

    No retreat. No surrender.

  14. mayesdays - Nov 22, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Nude and all others who may care, I’m currently reading a book called Resurrection by Jim Dent. I ‘m to young to know, but during the early 60s do you think people had the same feelings about ND’s chances of returning to prominence as they do now? I’d like to believe that eventually those schools who are corrupt will eventually get caught like USC did. Either way, I hope ND continues what they are doing, because 12-0 was only a year ago.

    • ndgoldandblue - Nov 22, 2013 at 7:37 PM

      mayes, I’m afraid that it won’t matter what certain programs do to get caught, they won’t receive the appropriate amount of punishment that they deserve. The NCAA has been incredibly inconsistent in handling academic and amateur student-athlete violations. And the Miami ruling this year showed the whole country that the NCAA is now spineless. The amount of proven violations at “The U” greatly outweigh the Reggie Bush ordeal, but Miami didn’t even get much of a slap on the wrist. Their punishment was akin to going to a party expecting Sam Adams Boston Lager but getting stuck with Old Milwaukee. Not great, but you can still enjoy yourself. And the stink of it is that other programs will not be afraid to bend or all-out break the rules. The mantra will be “If Miami can get away with it, so can we.”

      • mayesdays - Nov 22, 2013 at 7:56 PM

        Ndgoldandblue, I agree.. Even if only some of SI’s article on Oklahoma St. Is true, it pretty much confirms my thoughts on what might really go on.

      • papadec - Nov 22, 2013 at 9:26 PM

        Old Mil @ a party is OK if you need something to play Beer Pong with.

      • mayesdays - Nov 22, 2013 at 10:06 PM

        Natty Light. papadec

      • papadec - Nov 23, 2013 at 2:56 PM

        mayes – I suppose when you get right down to it – whatever you can get the most of, for your money. Regional favorites rule the day and/or night.

      • papadec - Nov 23, 2013 at 2:56 PM

        mayes – I suppose when you get right down to it – whatever you can get the most of, for your money. Regional favorites rule the day and/or night.

      • papadec - Nov 23, 2013 at 2:57 PM

        Sorry about the double post – I don’t know how that happened.

    • nudeman - Nov 22, 2013 at 7:39 PM

      I read Resurrection. A great walk down memory lane.
      Some stuff in there I never knew about like the botched announcement on Ara’s hiring.
      From an English standpoint it’s a C+ in terms of writing quality, but still … a great read.

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