Jun 19, 2010
Win one for Our Lady
I have been antsy. The excitement of starting this blog has been dampened by my uncertainty of what to write about in my first entry and what the impression of my first article will leave readers expecting from me. I was going to focus on history, connecting current ND topics to the Notre Dame of my grandpa (Frank Leahy's secretary) and my father (football office employee under Dan Devine) and waking the traditions buried long ago.
But then Clay Burton committed on Friday and I realized that all I care about is our future, winning the ‘ship, and getting to replace all of the “11 National Championship” banners hanging around my house and dorm room.
I was born on January 9, 1989, and I still have the Sports Illustrated that came out the same morning that I did: "CHEER, CHEER FOR OLD NOTRE DAME! IT'S A CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON FOR TONY RICE AND THE IRISH"
During his sophomore year at ND, my father enjoyed the 1977 national championship over Earl Campbell and the Texas Longhorns. My grandfather never witnessed Notre Dame lose a game as a student, went to school with two Heisman winners and celebrated three national championships. And I... well, other than being the curse of Notre Dame football, being a freshman during the worst season in school history, and personally attending every loss since I've been a student... I got nothing.
Since accepting the job as head football coach of the University of Notre Dame, Brian Kelly has done everything right. As of now you can chalk him up as the best PR man in Notre Dame history, but I really believe he is the man for the job. As a self-proclaimed subway alum growing up, Brian Kelly never got to experience what being a Notre Dame student was like. Charlie Weis did, and he had the opportunity to come back for "grad school," but BK is like a giddy freshman soaking it all up. His three years at Cincinnati were like his transfer process; pulling the all nighters, skipping the parties, and doing everything to his fullest to ensure that he could enroll at Notre Dame in the fall. And the recruits he is pursuing to build his dynasty are the icing on his cake, his 4.0 report card if you will.
Everyone knew Charlie Weis was a great recruiter and a wizard with an offensive playbook. What he lacked was the control, the guidance, and the discipline to lead a bunch of 18-22 year-old players to victory. There is no denying that we had the players to be a BCS contender almost every year, however, Charlie Weis was coaching the NFL Development League and building the selfish egos of promising athletes. For players, the goal was an NFL check four years from now and ‘doing what I need to do to ensure that I make it big.’ He didn't focus on the winning for Our Lady, he didn't instill camaraderie, brotherhood, togetherness. The team was not made up of Notre Dame guys.
But I'm living in the future now, a future where our head coach embraces that it is a privilege and an honor to come to Notre Dame, and if you aren't interested in winning a title for Our Lady we don't have a scholarship for you. We have guys like Clay Burton who are "trying to work hard and just getting ready to start (his) career and legacy at Notre Dame.” A guy who is already motivated to beat Urban Meyer and Burton’s older brother, a quarterback at Florida, in the national championship. Not only is he having a stint at Notre Dame, but he is ready to leave behind a legacy in South Bend. He’s not yet ready to make the big bucks in the NFL and look straight through his college career. He’s living in the present and keeping his eyes on the prize.
A national championship ring. Not a Super Bowl ring.
Clay is ready to earn his spot at Notre Dame. There are no inherited spots anymore. If someone isn't performing, Kelly will replace him with a walk-on if need be. Like Brian Kelly said during his student talk at the Mendoza College of Business, “It’s not enough to give your best. We need your all, all the time.” If you are not giving your all, if your attitude isn't right, you are not playing on this team.
Clay echoed these sentiments on Friday, saying, “I’m so honored to even have the opportunity, and I’m definitely ready to help bring Notre Dame nation to where it should be. I want to be part of the revival of the program.”
I'm right with you, Clay. I'm amped up, baby. 76 days until kickoff. 204 days until the first trophy of the Brian Kelly era. 568 days until the 23rd anniversary of my birth, the end of the curse, and a back-to-back national championship run for Brian Kelly and the Fightin’ Irish.