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Weekend Notes: Camp at Culver, Freshman numbers and the Chuck Martin circuit

Jul 25, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT

Matt Cashore - USA Today Sports Matt Cashore - USA Today Sports

We are running out of days without football to talk about. Preseason camp is right around the corner. For student-athletes, they get one last chance to spend time with family and friends before returning to campus and kicking off camp.

Notre Dame announced officially that they’ll begin camp at the Culver Military Academy on Monday, August 4. It’s a great opportunity to get away from campus as they did last year, and Culver’s facilities — not to mention a long tradition with Notre Dame — make for a perfect fit.

“Culver Military Academy will provide a unique and rewarding opportunity for our football program as we embark on the 2014 season,” said fifth-year head coach Brian Kelly. “Culver holds a special place in my heart as my family has participated in camps on the grounds for years. We were able to initiate a successful program last year at Shiloh Park Retreat and Conference Center. Culver will significantly help improve the experience for our team this fall.”

The Irish will spend the first week of camp at Culver, opening on August 4th before returning to campus and the LaBar Football Practice Fields on Saturday, August 9. The official release calls the first week their “acclimatization portion of training camp.”

Culver is about 45 minutes from campus, and the historic military academy has a long history with the Irish football program. That, along with some top-notch football facilities, made for a great opportunity.

“We are happy to welcome Notre Dame back to Culver,” Head of Schools John Buxton said. “Culver and the Irish have enjoyed a great relationship through years dating back to Knute Rockne and Bob Peck. Lou Holtz brought his teams here in 1995 and 1996. Our teams have played at ND on several occasions and Notre Dame teams have used our facilities over the years. This exchange gives our coaches and student-athletes the opportunity to see in action the ideals we aspire to with our programs.”


While Andrew Trumbetti and Justin Brent enrolled at Notre Dame early and took part in spring practice, we’ll get our first official look at the rest of the freshman class come training camp. But for those wondering about the jersey numbers that the freshmen will take to the field, Notre Dame’s sports information department confirmed Irish Illustrated’s scoop on who will be wearing what next year.

Florida transfer Cody Riggs is taking over Bennett Jackson’s No. 2 jersey for his lone season in South Bend. The rest of the scholarship newcomers will wear the following:

No. 2: Cody Riggs
No. 5: Nyles Morgan
No. 11: Justin Brent
No. 13: Tyler Luatua
No. 14: DeShone Kizer
No. 15: Corey Holmes
No. 19: Nick Watkins
No. 23: Drue Tranquill
No. 33: Jhonny Williams
No. 43: Kolin Hill
No. 48: Greer Martini
No. 53: Sam Mustipher
No. 55: Jonathan Bonner
No. 56: Quenton Nelson
No. 67: Jimmy Byrne
No. 71: Alex Bars
No. 75: Daniel Cage
No. 82: Nic Weishar
No. 85: Tyler Newsome
No. 92: Grant Blankenship
No. 93: Jay Hayes
No. 96: Pete Mokwuah
No. 98: Andrew Trumbetti

Some additional info to add to my profiles as I keep rolling through the Irish A-to-Z.


It was a big week for new Miami (Ohio) head coach Chuck Martin. The former Irish offensive coordinator made a few headlines this week, as he was profiled by the always excellent Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports and appeared on the Jim Rome Show on Friday afternoon.

As you’d expect, Martin came off great in both profiles, with this section of Wetzel’s article particularly interesting:

[Martin] was the perfect combination of experience and acumen; a proven tactician and motivator. He could both develop talent and recruit it, both at the elite level of Notre Dame and finding diamonds in the rough in D-II.

He was on the radar of any number of higher paying programs where even if they were struggling he’d take over teams with players who scored more than two touchdowns in an entire season. Basically he wouldn’t risk the trajectory of his career on a winless bunch in the MAC.

“When he took the job, six ADs from other schools called and said, ‘how’d you get him?'” Miami athletic director David Sayler said.

Yeah, how?

“I’m just a little bit off,” Martin noted.

Then he laughed again.

Wetzel also talked about Martin’s skills on the recruiting trail, highlighting a recruiting battle Martin had late in the cycle against Rutgers for the services of receiver Sam Martin. When Martin talked about wanting to go to the Big Ten, Martin didn’t struggle to set him straight.

“He said, ‘Coach, I want to play at the highest level,'” Martin told Wetzel. “I said, ‘The highest level is the NFL. If you think they can get you to the NFL more than me, then go play there.’

“He signed with me.”

On Jim Rome’s program today, Martin talked a little bit about the decision to take a roughly $200,000 pay cut and take over a program that wasn’t even competitive last season, losing all 12 games.

“Most people that know MAC football think I’ve got the best job in the league,” Martin told Rome. “I know it says 0-12 and I know they struggled the last few years, but the combination of football and academics, and then the campus life and even the town of Oxford, it’s a pretty powerful combination to beat. And then to take over a program that has a history of being successful but is down is a pretty powerful combination as a coach.”

Martin also talked about the perfect fit he found at Miami, able to sell the marriage of academics and athletics that worked for him at Notre Dame. As you’d expect, he didn’t mince words.

“The national graduation rate is hard for me to stomach. The amount of money we make in Division I athletics in football and basketball, graduation rates should be in the 80s to 90s. We have all these resources with all these schools with tutors, and all these specialists that help Division I athletes, but we’re making hundreds of millions of dollars and coaches are making millions of dollars off these kids, and we’re graduating kids at a much lower percentage than we should.

The sad thing is that they go on and when they’re 30, they’re having a hard time functioning in the world, and we’re still making millions of dollars. To me, I’m an old Division III, non-scholarship athlete that went to school to get a degree and I played football because I wanted to do something with my free time, nobody paid me to play college football. To me, we’re committed and I’m committed to finding the schools that graduate kids and are committed to graduating kids, just like they are committed to making their hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Martin talked openly with Wetzel about recruiting players to Oxford by telling them up front that he planned on kicking their a**. He didn’t soften his sentiment at all, continuing to be the blunt and up front guy Notre Dame fans never really got a chance to know.

“If you want it easy, don’t come and play football for us,” Martin said of his recruiting pitch. “If you want it easy every day for the rest of your four-year career, I’ll do that, but that’s not going to help you get to where you want to go. I want, on the field for you to help us win championships, and I want to develop you into an NFL player.”


  1. iamgolden4life - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    First off the Culver Military Academy will be great for our team to gel for 5 days before returning back to campus to finish up August practices. Secondly a 200k pay cut is quite a bit of $$ but I wish coach Martin the best of luck @ Miami OH. He’s a darn good football coach and will better their program in time. Coach Martin makes good points when he speaks about these schools making so much money off these young men while also turning their heads when they are not succeeding in the classroom and setting them up for failure later down the road. This point here is one of the main reasons why I love ND so much, academics 1st, then football. As seen in 2012 both can be done @ ND, something 90% of schools cannot say. WeAreND!!! GoIrish!!!

  2. goirishgo - Jul 25, 2014 at 8:42 PM

    Anybody know anything about this Boucher kid from South Central Louisiana State? Seems like a real hitter.

  3. johngaltisspeaking - Jul 25, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    Coaches should not have a say in what happens to a player who has been arrested. The NCAA and that worthless Mark Emeret need to create a set of rules across the country to address this issue. ESPN just should Mark richt record over the last 4 years, 34 Arrests….This sport is out of control. If a kid gets arrested he should be terminated from the football team until he is either found innocent or guilty. If he is guilty he is out… That mean DUI charges would have ended Floyds carrier at Notre Dame. If a kid is suspended he can’t be picked up by another school until the charges have been cleared. This would clean this sport up in a hurry. What we have know is a free for all. Raped a girl and caught selling weed, no problem XYZ will sign you… This is an outrage and needs to be dealt with ASAP. Not to mention these schools are bringing convicted felons on campus. Where in the hell are the lawsuits…

  4. fnc111 - Jul 25, 2014 at 10:04 PM


    I partly disagree. 2012 does not prove that it can be done. Can ND have some good regular season success still? Yes. But that pounding by Alabama proves that ND can not be a top 5 team. Why? Because of the stringent academics. ND doesn’t cheat it’s student athletes like UNC or michigan.

    That’s why I’m for getting the Brian Kelly we saw at Cincinnati. I want to see some offensive excitement in these games finally. 2011 and 2013 were the most boring ND seasons I’ve ever watched. I know one (T) of the reasons (R) why.

    • iamgolden4life - Jul 26, 2014 at 1:07 AM

      Point was #1 team in the nation while having the #1 graduation rate. I Don’t if that has happened b4. GoIrish!!!

    • blackirish23 - Jul 26, 2014 at 2:57 PM

      I disagree with your point here FNC. Every single analyst was calling for a good ol’ fashioned football game. ‘Bama’s offense against our Defense. Bottom line, we probably just were not prepared for the big stage. It doesn’t mean we did not belong on the same field as Alabama.

      If you need a better example, take a look at what happened to the Denver Broncos at the Super Bowl against the Seahawks. Are you going to tell me the Broncos did not belong, or more likely they just became overwhelmed by the moment and could never recover? I’d bet my money on the latter, same as ND.

      • ndgoldandblue - Jul 26, 2014 at 4:13 PM

        Nice analogy, b.i. I was thinking the same thing as I was watching the Super Bowl. It actually gave me some peace of mind with regard to the national championship game. The Broncos last year were an exceptional team. They definitely deserved to be there. They just picked the worst time to have their worst game of the year. I think the same thing happened with the Irish against Alabama.

        Now, to be clear, if the Irish had played their best game of the year, and Alabama had played as well as they did, I still think the Tide would have won. It would have been close, but I think our best in ’12-’13 wouldn’t have been better than Alabama’s best. That also gives me a bit of solace. I like to think that we didn’t get beat because we crapped the bed; we simply got beat because they were the better team. No shame in that.

      • onward2victory - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:19 PM

        Plus we can’t forget that we had 2 brutal calls go against us in the 1st quarter when it was only 7-0. Long pass on third down to Eiffert that he clearly controlled in bounds but they called incomplete. And then on the ensuing punt Bama fumbled and we recovered, but they inexplicably called interference.

        Would we have one the game had we gotten those calls? Almost certainly not. But if we could have tied it up 7-7 early, who knows how that could have affected the players mentally.

  5. bernhtp - Jul 25, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    Culver has a beautiful campus and is a great place to focus on football. The only problem I see is that the Culver field is, uh, real grass.

    • bernhtp - Jul 26, 2014 at 9:05 AM

      Whoops! I just read that Culver installed fieldturf last year.

  6. fnc111 - Jul 26, 2014 at 12:08 AM

    Shouldn’t be a problem. It’ll be good practice for when ND plays on grass this season @ FSU, ASU, Fedex Field, and USC.

  7. yaketyyacc - Jul 26, 2014 at 6:06 AM

    going to Culver is like going from a mansion to a tent. is Culver as beautiful as Notre Dame. Does Culver possess the athletic facilities as Notre Dame. Is Culver going to be the school that the
    Fighting Irish will be representing? Not only is it a waste of money, but lacking good facilities it handicaps our team from developing as well as they could at Notre Dame, an atmosphere that breathes a winning spirit. It denies those students who return early a chance to watch THEIR team practice, and who by their very presence, encourage. Is the team going to hear the Victory March played as the Notre Dame Band goes to practice? Coach Kelly is a good coach, but he still is not Notre Dame.

    • bernhtp - Jul 26, 2014 at 8:16 AM

      I hate it when people have strong opinions from a state of profound ignorance.

      First, Culver is an absolutely fabulous campus. It is far nicer than all but a handful of college campuses. It is on Lake Maxinkuckee that affords all sorts of fun water sports. It has an elite summer camp program (now ending) with kids from around the world and the facilities that go along with it.

      But the facilities are not the point anyway. It is to spend some time alone together. To bond as a team and set the pattern for the mission ahead – away from the dorms, the usual routine, etc. It is a retreat in the traditional sense and I can’t think of a better place than Culver.

      • andy44teg - Jul 26, 2014 at 9:47 AM

        Very cool link, berno. Looks to me like the football team will be going from a very large mansion to a not-so-large mansion. But like you said, it’s not even close to the point. It’s all about team bonding. Yakety’s comment was almost as if he was trying to be that clueless.

      • iamgolden4life - Jul 26, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        Wow just spent the last hour on the virtual tours, That place is awesome and the team will have a good time there while preparing to take care of business. Thank you for sharing

      • mcirish27 - Jul 27, 2014 at 8:53 PM

        I was lucky enough to have played a lacrosse tournament at Culver as a senior on high school – wow what a campus. The lake. The grounds. The tradition. The Steinbrenner-funded athletic facilities. Very much in line with ND as an institution and a more than respectable place for our team to get some work done together, Yakety, take a day trip after an ND game some time this fall. Special place.

    • blackirish23 - Jul 26, 2014 at 3:04 PM

      Bern – thanks for the link, and your comments are 100% on point.

      Yak – one point I’d like to add, regular students who show up to campus early simply can not walk into a Football Team practice. What do you think this is, High School??

      Anyone who enters the practice field on-campus must be cleared as all practices are closed except for the portions that the press are allowed to see, and the one practice where faculty and staff bring their kids to watch as a University appreciation day.

    • mayo1010 - Jul 29, 2014 at 3:01 PM

      Knute Rockne brought his teams to Culver to train. So i guess by your rationale he’s not a Notre Dame man. You been drinking or what?

  8. getsome99 - Jul 26, 2014 at 11:28 PM

    Notre Dame was good enough to beat Alabama in 2012. We got dominated because the Alabama players were jacked up on PED’s.

  9. mcirish27 - Jul 27, 2014 at 8:47 PM

    Proud MU Ohio alum right here hearing all that. Go Irish, go Redhawks(skins).

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