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Aug 31, 2010

IBG: Let’s Get This Party Started Edition

Thanks to Frank at UHND for writing the questions for the ND v. Purdont week Irish Blogger Gathering. Check out our responses, and feel free to let us know what you think:

1. Name one offensive player and one defensive player you are most excited to see in the new systems and why.


Kyle Rudolph - Wildcat possibility is a savage wrinkle.
Darius Fleming - The mike makes the calls, but the cat makes the big plays.

Theo Riddick - Playing slot WR in the spread will give him opportunities to unleash his talent and rack up YACS.
Ethan Johnson - Returning to his rightful position as a DE will set him up for a breakout year.

2. What’s one reason you think Brian Kelly is the right coach this time. What’s one reason you think he might not be?

- He went 34-6 at Cincinnati.
- I prefer a run-first power offense, although Kelly’s preference for the pass is generally overstated because of last year’s departure from his usual balance.

- BK understands the true significance of his job as the head football coach at Notre Dame.
- Trick question, he is the right coach.

3. A lot of people are labeling Purdue, Boston College, and Michigan State as toss up games. Considering Notre Dame beat all three of these teams during the disappointing 2009 season, do you consider these games toss-ups or games you expect Notre Dame to win?

tendomer: Notre Dame is heavily favored against and will defeat Purdue. BC and MSU are toss-ups largely because they’re on the road and likely both at night, and I expect ND to split this pair.

TheNDleprechaun: Unfortunately for Purdue, they drew the unlucky slot as the first opponent BK and the new Fighting Irish will face. Also, I don't care what the circumstances are, every Domer should always expect to beat Backup College. As for little sparty... this picture should sum it up:

4. What’s one reason you think Notre Dame could shock the world and pull of another 1964-type season? What’s one reason you’re concerned we might see more of a 1997-type season?

tendomer: The parallels to the book Resurrection are startling, and Kelly's recent admission that he could not imagine ND being his first head coaching job evokes Parseghian's quote about needing every one of his previous years as a head coach. BK's 19 seasons means there's no chance of a '97 repeat.

TheNDleprechaun: BK inherited extremely talented players, and the changes he has already made since coming here will produce a newly energized team focused on doing everything possible to win.

5. Which freshmen do you see contributing the most on the field this year (outside of TJ Jones – that’s too easy)?

tendomer: Austin Collinsworth: Occasional minutes at WR will supplement his time starting on all four special teams units with fellow freshman Danny Spond, whose spot behind Manti Te’o means he won’t play much outside special teams

TheNDleprechaun: Do redshirt freshmen count? Cierre Wood will be the next big time Irish RB to become a household name. Start preordering your #20 jerseys now.

6. Other than Dayne Crist (too easy again) who is the one player Notre Dame can least afford to lose to injury for any significant period of time?

tendomer: Ethan Johnson: The drop off from starters to reserves is steep at both ends in the three-man front.

TheNDleprechaun: Manti Te'o...then again... you can't hurt steel...

7. 2010 Season Predictions

a. Notre Dame record
tendomer: 10-3
TheNDleprechaun: 13-0

b. Bowl game for Notre Dame with opponent
tendomer: Orange v. VT
TheNDleprechaun: National Chamionship v. Boise St.

c. Final ranking
tendomer: 14
TheNDleprechaun: 1

d. Opponent with the highest final ranking
tendomer: Boston College
TheNDleprechaun: Stanford

e. Notre Dame’s offensive & defensive MVP
tendomer: Dayne Crist, Manti Te’o
TheNDleprechaun: Michael Floyd, Manti Te’o

f. Best opponent offensive & defensive player
tendomer: Ronald Johnson, USC; Greg Romeus, Pitt
TheNDleprechaun: Andrew Luck, Stanford; Greg Romeus, Pitt

g. Best opposing coach
tendomer: Kyle Whittingham
TheNDleprechaun: Lane Kiffin...wait, best for our program or for theirs?

h. Game you are most excited to watch
tendomer: Purdue
TheNDleprechaun: Witnessing the Fall of Troy when the Irish storm the Coliseum

i. Game you wouldn't mind watching on DVR
tendomer: Re-watching the game is the only acceptable answer
TheNDleprechaun: What is Tulsa?

j. National Champion
tendomer: Alabama
TheNDleprechaun: Notre Dame

k. Heisman Winner
tendomer: Mark Ingram
TheNDleprechaun: Michael Floyd

l. Purdue game prediction
tendomer: Notre Dame 45, Purdue 21
TheNDleprechaun: ND 41 - PU 17 (haha their initials are PU)


Aug 28, 2010

Historic Reckers

Reckers returned to all-night availability Tuesday, but it won’t receive heavy traffic until this weekend. At the dawn of another season for the late-night ND favorite, here is a little background on its namesake.

Clement Reckers was the first-ever ND student, according to Brother Gatian’s early attendance log.

There’s some debate about this distinction, as Rev. Arthur J. Hope, C.S.C., admitted in his book, Notre Dame: One Hundred Years. Theodore Alexis Coquillard claimed to be ND’s first student, but Gatian’s reputation for “meticulous” note-keeping gives Reckers the upper hand in this race.

The records don’t indicate the specific date on which young Clement arrived or began his studies, but the log says he “paid in work” starting in the winter of 1842-1843, foreshadowing the immigrant work ethic that defined the next century of ND history.

If Gratian’s log had not survived, students living on campus today might end their post-parietals Friday nights at a place called Coquillard. Not to take anything away from the other claims, but Reckers just sounds like it was meant to be.

Aug 27, 2010

Irish Creed Exclusive: Interview with 2010-2011 Leprechaun Part II

Irish Creed recently released Part I of an exclusive interview with Leprechaun Diz, the official face of the Fighting Irish for 2010-2011.  We continue our interview today with Part II:

An Interview with the 2010-2011 Fighting Irish Leprechaun:

TheNDleprechaun:  How have you been preparing yourself for this season?  I remember thinking I was in top shape before the home opener against Nevada last year, but after we started scoring early and often in the 85 degree heat my green suit was swet soaked by the end of the first quarter.  How many pushups can you  do these days?  Also, do you have anything special prepared for this season that you might want to give our readers the inside scoop on?

LEPRECHAUN DIZ: Working with you last year I was able to see how grueling an entire game can be in that late summer heat and a three peice suit. Luckily though, I spent the summer in Africa right on the equator running and doing push-ups during my free time, so I'm pretty sure I'll be accustomed to the heat. As far as the number of push-ups that I can do, I'll fill you in on a little story; when Coach Kelly first arrived on campus last fall I ran into him in the dining hall and introduced myself as next year's Leprechaun. He simply smiled and said, "Well you better start working out now because come next fall, you're going to be doing a lot of push-ups." I took him at his word and I promise that there will be no shortage of push-ups on my end. When the team scores the points, I'll do the push-ups. As far as special preparations, I'll tell you this: I can't divulge a lot, but we may have a brand new flag leading the team out onto the field this year that took a little inspiration from Coach Kelly's last name. Also, we're working to move pep rallies around to accomodate students and other fans as well. We've got a lot of new surprises for those, so I wouldn't want to miss a pep rally if I were you.

TheNDleprechaun:  My best memory from last year was the final hour leading up to our home opening kickoff.  My adrenaline was flowing from the beginning of the Step Off Parade until we reached the stadium, where I pounded about 5 bottles of water before getting ready to lead the team out onto the field with the ND monogram flag in front of 80,000.  You will have many moments like that throughout this coming year.  What are you looking forward to most?

LEPRECHAUN DIZ: I'm definitely looking forward to leading our team out onto the field in the new Yankees stadium and then on the following Satuday doing the same thing in Southern California. As great as these two moments will be though, there's no way that it will compare to the feeling I'll get as I lead our new team, new coach, and new hopes out onto our own home field on September 4th, to start a brand new era of Notre Dame Football.

TheNDleprechaun:  There was some controversy over the pep rallies last year, and student attendance was way down mostly due to the venue (it definitely had nothing to do with the MC, who was phenomenal.)  We did have a few great rallies though, including a student-only send off before our team travelled to Michigan and an electrifying night prior to our showdown with Cal Southern.  How do you plan to revive the rallies this year?

LEPRECHAUN DIZ: As you know, there are a lot of factors that go into choosing venues and speakers, but we have been working together to make sure that this upcoming season will be full of phenomenal rallies. We've actually only set the first three venues so far, so we're going to be interactive in making sure the students and fans are able to have a little bit of a say in where the rallies are held. There are also some other changes taking place including some parades leading up to the rallies and a little bit of extra fun. No matter what though, there's an electricity in the air this year that tells me we could have our rallies on the North Pole and we'd still bring out more crazy and loyal fans than any other university in the country.

TheNDleprechaun:  Finally, if you could deliver one message to every Fighting Irish fan out there as we get ready for the 2010-2011 year, what would it be?

LEPRECHAUN DIZ: I'll make it short and sweet. This University and this team are bigger than any one individual. We have an amazing oportunity this year to be a part of something special as our brand new coach brings the intensity, tenacity, and the fight back to the Fighting Irish. So I challenge you right now: Band together, break out the war paint, come out to the pep rallies, get louder in the stands, and support your football team. If we do this, we can show every other university that they should fear playing Notre Dame, because we are the Fighting Irish and we will beat up on any team that steps on the field with us this year.

Leprechaun Diz sends a volley cheer on high

Many thanks to Leprechaun Diz for sharing those inspiring words with all of us.  We wish you the best of luck this year as you take part in reviving the fighting spirit of Notre Dame.

 Be sure to follow Leprechaun Diz on twitter as he keeps the Fighting Irish Faithful up to date on his life as the Leprechaun:  @NDLeprechaun10

Aug 26, 2010

Irish Creed Exclusive: Interview with 2010-2011 Leprechaun Part I

Last year I had the tremendous honor of serving as the official University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish Leprechaun.  I was blessed to be in a position that allowed me to witness the indescribable Spirit of Notre Dame in a way that very few ever have, and very few ever will.  I also learned that the Fighting Irish Faithful proudly carry on our Spirit from coast to coast (everywhere from Palo Alto to NYC).  It was a year that I will cherish forever, and I experienced enough unforgettable moments to last a lifetime. 

After my time as the 2009-2010 Fighting Irish Leprechaun was up, I put my potential replacements through a series of grueling tests during a month-long tryout process.  I could not have asked for a better man to take over as the next Fighting Irish Leprechaun, and I was proud to pass the legendary shillelagh on to my good friend Leprechaun Diz.   I fully expect him to carry on our legacy in grand fashion, and I have no doubt that he will become the perfect fiery source of energy that will spark our return to glory.

I also know from experience that Leprechauns are always busy, and I appreciate the time our new Leprechaun took to answer questions for our readers.  I present to you Part I of our series:

An Interview with the 2010-2011 Fighting Irish Leprechaun:

TheNDleprechaun:  First off, could you share a little about your background with our readers?  Were you born and raised a Fighting Irish fan?  Did you always know you were a leprechaun, or did that realization come later in life?  What specifically made you want to try out for the position?

LEPRECHAUN DIZ: That’s a great question, because it’s been such a long and unusual journey that has led me here to this extremely exciting time in my life. I actually grew up only an hour away from Notre Dame but both of my parents attended and graduated from Purdue University. I grew up following Purdue until my older brother was accepted into Notre Dame in 2000. We attended a game with my brother that year and I was immediately transformed into a Notre Dame fanatic. Right away, I knew that Notre Dame was the school for me. I worked hard in high school and applied for admittance to this great institution in the spring of 2007. Unfortunately, however, I was not accepted and was devastated when I received the letter. I picked myself up, however, and actually attended Purdue University my freshman year and was a member of their wrestling team. I enjoyed my freshman year at Purdue but something was always missing, so I reapplied to Notre Dame and was finally accepted.  When I arrived at Notre Dame in the fall of 2008, I originally thought of trying to walk on to the football team, haha. I was first team all-state as a safety in Indiana my senior year but I don't think Notre Dame was looking for a 5'6 150lb football player, so I looked to something a little more realistic. My family and friends knew that I had loved this university and its sports teams from the first moment that I stepped foot on campus, and as my sophomore year progressed I heard a little bit of a buzz about leprechaun tryouts. I looked into it and after hearing what it entails, I knew that I had to give it a shot. I was awarded the back-up position last year and had the most enjoyable year of my life cheering on Notre Dame's soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, and basketball teams. Then, just this spring I was awarded the main job and will now be the official Fighting Irish Leprechaun for football and men's basketball games.

TheNDleprechaun:  You’re in a unique position as a transfer student who has now become the face of our university.  What does that mean to you, and do you think that experience will help you bring something special to your position as The Leprechaun?

LEPRECHAUN DIZ: Absolutely. More than most people at this university I have experienced first-hand how lucky we all are to be students at Notre Dame. I have experienced another school and all that it had to offer, even playing a sport there. But nothing in the world compares to the spirit and tradition surrounding our wonderful university. I love Notre Dame with all of my heart and now that I have been given this opportunity to become the face of this university I will do everything in my power to make every Notre Dame fan proud.

TheNDleprechaun:  It seems like the stars aligned when you became the Leprechaun.  Either that, or you just have impeccable timing.  You step into your new role amidst a frenzy of anticipation with Brian Kelly taking the helm as leader of our football team.  Our home opener is against Purdue, a university you once attended.  The Shirt is finally green.  Tell us how you are going to take advantage of all these positives as you begin your year as the face of the Fighting Irish.

LEPRECHAUN DIZ: I like to think that I just have impeccable timing. All of the things you just stated are culminating quickly into what is bound to be one of the most exciting season openers that Notre Dame has seen in quite a long time. Indeed we are playing my old school on 9/4 and the shirt is finally green, but these are not the most exciting things by far. We finally have an Irish coach who embodies everything that Notre Dame stands for. I have had the privilege of hearing him speak several times since returning to campus and I cannot listen to that man without getting chills. Maybe call it my Leprechaun sense, but I'm certain Coach Kelly has certain intangibles that are going to lead our Notre Dame football team and university back to greatness.

Leprechaun Diz surrounded by the lovely ND Cheerleaders

Stay up to date with Irish Creed for Part II of this interview.

Here's to hoping that Diz's "Leprechaun sense" is tuned in this year.  Be sure to follow him on Twitter as he keeps the Fighting Irish Faithful up to date on his life as the Leprechaun:  @NDLeprechaun10

Aug 24, 2010

Ten Domers Who Most Influenced ND

As Notre Dame undergraduates begin the fall semester today, let's remember ten of our predecessors who contributed the most to Notre Dame:

10. Rev. William Corby, C.S.C.

Twice served as ND president; represented ND at Gettysburg, where he conferred General Abolution to Irish Brigade; led the building of today’s Grotto after Sorin passed

9. Arch Ward

Worked as an early ND SID; corresponded with Rockne and advocated for ND in the Chicago Tribune; gave ND a recruiting advantage with saturated coverage

8. John Cardinal O’Hara, C.S.C.

Started ND’s business school; tied religion with football; initiated tradition of Communion for football players before away games

7. Frank Leahy

Played under Rockne; revived ND football as a powerhouse; four-time national championship coach, counting the legitimate ND way

6. Rev. Matthew Walsh, C.S.C.

Started at ND in ninth grade; officially accepted the “Fighting Irish” name; expanded South Quad; maintained ND’s Catholicism during early questions about its identity

5. Jesse Harper

Although he is not a Notre Dame graduate, as athletic director during the formative years he combated regional unwillingness to play ND in football by expanding the schedule nationwide

4. Rev. John Zahm, C.S.C.

1871 grad; focused ND on university instead of prep school; made ND first college lighted by electricity; Rev. J.W. Cavanaugh, C.S.C., called him “greatest mind produced by the university”

3. Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C.

Dramatically increased endowment, professors, student body, campus buildings; admitted women; brought ND honorably through Civil Rights Movement

2. Knute K. Rockne

Greatest football coach of all time; changed the game forever; turned ND football into a national institution; foresight to fund Notre Dame Stadium and build two residence halls (Alumni and Dillon), as well as South Dining Hall with surplus cash

1. Rev. Edward F. Sorin, C.S.C.

Founded and named ND; set a golden standard based on his vision; went against wishes of his superior to gild the Dome in real gold; lobbied successfully for campus post office and South Bend railroad station

Aug 23, 2010


Fitzy: "Where's your boy?"
Captain Queenan: "Studying law at Notre Dame."
    -The Departed (2006)

As my first day of classes at Notre Dame Law School winds down, I find myself reflecting on the decision I made to continue my education at Our Lady’s University.  I chose to attend our nation’s oldest Catholic law school not because I found it too difficult to tear myself away from campus after just four years or because I wanted three more chances to witness a national championship football season as a student (although both may have been slight contributing factors).  The real reasons that I chose to stay at Notre Dame have to do with my passion for the community that I have grown to love, the family that I have become a part of, and the standards that I hope to live by.

Hopefully this excerpt from the personal statement I included in my application to NDLS will resonate with all those who continue to share in my experience at this magical place:

  Tears streaked down my face as I stood on the field during the fourth quarter of our football game against the University of Southern California Cal Southern.  They were not tears of sadness, but of joy and appreciation for the beauty of the moment.  As the Fighting Irish fought back within one score of our longtime rival, I looked around at the players and coaches on the sideline, the band in the corner of the end zone, the student section in the stands, and the thousands upon thousands of fans inside the stadium.  I thought of my family and friends who joined millions more throughout the nation as they watched the final seconds tick away on television.  This momentous event represented so much more than a game to so many people, and as it came to a close my tears continued.  Once again, they were not tears of sadness.  I was completely caught up in the overwhelming emotion of the moment, and I let it show as I faced the entire student section while we all sang our alma mater.  The Fighting Irish had lost, but they had fought until the very end.  The bond of brotherhood I felt with the team, the inseparable connection I felt with everyone in the student section, and the rush of pride I felt as a representative of Notre Dame hit me in a way that I will never forget.  I left it all on the field that day.  As I limped back through the tunnel after hours of running and cheering until I could barely walk or speak, I knew that I would remember how I felt at that moment for the rest of my life.

  What I felt inside Notre Dame Stadium on that autumn afternoon was the full force of the Notre Dame spirit hitting me all at once.  The powerful bond that is shared by every member of the Notre Dame family is more than enough to bring anyone to tears.  In addition, the unparalleled sense of pride and passion that I feel for Notre Dame can only come from the kind of experience that I have been blessed with as both a student and a representative of my university.  There is something special about Notre Dame that cannot be conveyed through words alone but must be felt.  It comes from our tradition, our commitment to Catholic values, our pursuit of excellence in everything we do, and the respect that comes with the name we have made for ourselves.  Most importantly, though, it lives on through the people that make up the Notre Dame family.  Our family members uphold the honor and devotion that stand as symbols of hope for so many.  As a part of Notre Dame, each one of us is capable of having a tremendous influence not only upon other members of our family, but upon all those we actively reach out to as well.

Love thee Notre Dame.

October 17, 2009, Notre Dame Stadium
ND: 27  SC:  34

Aug 19, 2010

Next is now: Eifert

"Next man in" is a BK hallmark, but strength coach Paul Longo noted in early 2008 that his previous two editions "started the same 22 guys at the beginning and end of the year."

The two ideas work together in the Kelly-Longo model: preferred first-string continuity means injury prevention, and substitutes keep starters fresh and healthy in a system that disregards time of possession.

Kelly, Molnar, and Martin all mentioned the philosophy this month, and Shaq Evans made it clear that the players get the message: "The motto is "next man in." That's our motto and that's what we live by."

Another string of lingering injuries surfaced during Thursday's media availability, but the "next man" making the most good on his chance is Tyler Eifert, the sophomore TE who wasn't in the two-deep two weeks ago. He's played well enough that Kelly opened the door on multiple TE sets in the spread.

Kelly said Eifert is "as good as I've coached" at tight end, except Rudolph because "I really haven't coached Rudolph yet," he admitted.

Eifert not only gives ND the "next man" to start if Rudolph's hamstring doesn't heal quickly but a great practice option so that Rudolph and Ragone aren't rushed back too soon out of necessity.

A seeming paradox, Eifert is playing well enough to help his cause for PT and also well enough to hurt his chance to start because he's made it easier to rest the starter whom ND prefers.

Eifert exemplifies the "next man in" brand of functional depth that spreads playing time to minimize injury while preserving assets like Rudolph as long-term starters.

Aug 14, 2010

New look for ND Stadium

The finishing touches of a new project are currently being put in place outside the main entrances to Notre Dame Stadium.  In years past, fans entered the house that Rock built through gates that were identified by letters.  Starting this year, five of the gates will also be named in honor of all five head coaches who have won national championships with the Fighting Irish.

The North Tunnel, which faces Touchdown Jesus, is now known as Knute Rockne Gate.  The bronze statue that was dedicated to the legendary coach last year is now located outside the tunnel as a tribute to the greatest football coach of all time who won three national championships at Notre Dame in 1924, 1929, and 1930.

Gate C, which faces the parking lot south of the stadium, is now known as Frank Leahy Gate.  Now fans lucky enough to tailgate next to the stadium can do so in honor of the new King of Tailgating, the man who won a national championship as head coach of the Fighting Irish in 1943, took a break in order to fight in WWII, then came back to win 3 more in 1946, 1947, and 1949.  The familiar statue of Leahy is now located outside this gate as well.

Gate B, along the side of the stadium, is now known as Ara Parseghian Gate.  His statue, previously located inside the stadium, now stands proudly outside this gate in honor of the man who woke up the echoes with two national championships in 1966 and 1973.

Gate A, also along the side of the stadium, is now known as Dan Devine Gate.  Although Devine is the only national championship winning coach who is not honored by his own statue outside the stadium, it is good to see the university properly honor the man who won it all during the magical 1977 season that included the famous “Green Jersey Game” against Cal Southern.

Finally, Gate D is now known as Lou Holtz Gate.  The recently completed bronze statue depicting the man who most recently coached the Fighting Irish to national championship in 1988 also stands outside this gate in its new more visible location.

Prior to this project, I never would have thought that any changes should be made to the most sacred football stadium in existence.   In the Cathedral of College Football, named after Our Lady, no advertisements or video boards get in the way of pure tradition.  Walking through the hallowed halls of our stadium is like taking a step back in time to a simpler, more pristine era.  It’s a purist’s dream, complete with its beautifully crowned emerald field of natural grass and its simply painted white stripes in each endzone.   Anyone who has experienced a game inside our stadium knows that no other tradition in the world of sports can come close to the mystique of football inside Notre Dame Stadium.  For these reasons, I initially cringe whenever I hear about new “game day initiatives” intended to “improve” our tradition.  Such efforts are usually artificial and forced.  By definition, tradition can not be “improved upon” because it grows through an organic process that comes from within.  

Even so, I appreciate the foresight that went into this project and I applaud those who completed it in elegant fashion.   I see it as a great way to pay homage to those who have carried on our tradition of excellence by leading us to the mountain top.  These new gates serve as great reminders of who we are and what we stand for.

The only question that remains… how long do we have to wait until we can hoist the words “Brian Kelly Gate” aloft?

Aug 13, 2010

Clausen comfortable in Carolina

In his preseason debut as an NFL quarterback, Jimmy Clausen put in a solid performance while looking comfortable at the helm of the Carolina Panthers offense.

Panthers head coach John Fox had already named Matt Moore as his starting quarterback prior to the preseason, but he also stated that he was “anxious” to find a reliable backup that he could depend on. Fox may have found just what he was looking for in Clausen, who has embraced his role as a rookie after experiencing a bit of a reality check when he left Notre Dame early only to fall to the middle of the second round in the 2010 NFL draft.

Since entering camp, Clausen has reportedly focused on putting himself in the best position possible for future success. Moore, the quarterback that Clausen hopes to replace on the depth chart one day, even went so far as to say “I never asked questions like Jimmy Clausen asks when I was a rookie. This guy is way ahead of the game.”

Clausen continued to draw praise in his first appearance for the Panthers, as ESPN commentators Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski marveled at how comfortable he looked with his new team. They both attributed his preparation largely to the experience he gained while putting up big numbers in a pro style offense while at Notre Dame. In fact, his current offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson previously coached for the New England Patriots on the same staff as Charlie Weis. Throughout the game, it was easy to see how Clausen’s growth over three years at Notre Dame has helped him progress much faster than is usually expected of a rookie quarterback.

Clausen came out of the game after connecting on 8 out of 15 passes for 80 yards. While he did throw an interception early in the second half, his targeted receiver slipped on the rain soaked field during a timing route. Overall, he showed off his impressive ability to get rid of the ball while under pressure, his confident pocket presence, and excellent pre-snap recognition. He even came close to throwing the Panthers’ first touchdown of the preseason with a fade to the corner in the endzone which would have been caught by Tate or Floyd but instead fell through the hands of his target. The most telling part of his performance was the way he conducted himself, and it looks like he will find himself at the top of the depth chart sooner rather than later if he can continue to build on top of the excellent foundation he established while at Notre Dame.

Sidenote: On the other side of the ball, former Fighting Irish cult hero Tom Zbikowski held his own while playing with the Ravens starting defense as a replacement for injured safety Ed Reed. Not only did Tommy Z have 4 tackles, but he also caused a fumble on a sack of Matt Moore before returning a punt for an impressive 28 yard run on the very next play.

Have a look at this reel featuring Clausen and Tommy Z from last night's game:

Aug 11, 2010

Diaco’s Battle Cry: B.I.A.

Pardon the slang, but ND’s defensive pursuit drill just got real. Watch and listen to Bob Diaco motivate his first, second, and expanded third units in Irish Illustrated’s Wednesday practice clip:

“Can’t force it. It’s gotta be real,” said Diaco as he hustled left to right across the frame in a green long-sleeved shirt and a hanging ND beach hat that is en vogue with the new staff.

“I'm gonna keep it real today...we're gonna be the team we want to be, we're gonna be the team we want to be for real.”

Coaches and players transition units by shouting, among other chants, the acronym B.I.A.: Best In America.

Brian Smith, in an August 8 interview, suggested Diaco’s message isn’t lost in the emotion: “It’s just a new philosophy. We want to be the best in America. We don’t wanna be the ‘Oh, those guys are good’ or ‘That was great.’ We want to be hands-down the best in America. And we strive to do that every day in practice so come game time it’ll be second nature.”

Any coach could say it’s a goal, but what’s impressive is how Diaco has turned it into more than hard-to-reach motivation. With B.I.A. and related chants, Diaco has infused excitement and camaraderie while still increasing focus on actual football skills.

Our players looked more engaged in the drill than they did right before most of last season’s games. Their swaying and bouncing motions suggest that Diaco is coaching swagger into them. Former coordinator Corwin Brown was animated, but Diaco takes it to a new level.

It doesn’t hurt that Diaco runs on and off the field with players during unit switches. The players look like they want to get to work and, most importantly, Irish defenders looked prepared to run through a wall for their coordinator.

Irish Creed Exclusive: Interview with 2009-2010 Notre Dame Drum Major

The Band of the Fighting Irish... those words alone stir deep emotions inside the hearts of lifelong fans. Its unmistakable sound can make hair on the backs of necks stand straight up for miles around, rattle the foundations of stadiums across the nation, overawe inferior opponents with dreadful intimidation, and literally shake down thunder from the sky. Started in 1846, the University of Notre Dame Marching Band has become synonymous with the Spirit of Notre Dame. Anyone who has ever heard the echoes of drums or the brass blast of the Notre Dame Victory March fill our entire campus with energy knows just how crucial every member of our band is to our glorious tradition.

Irish Creed writer TheNDleprechaun was fortunate enough to catch up with a good friend who led the most famous band in the land last year to ask him a few questions about his experience. Here it is, an Irish Creed exclusive featuring 2009-2010 Drum Major Aaron Hernandez:

LEP: Aaron, thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for the Fighting Irish Faithful. Can you share a quick background about the path that brought you to Notre Dame and how you became one of the most recognizable symbols of the Notre Dame Football tradition?

AH: Well my path was an unconventional one for sure. For years I had been an ardent Longhorn fan and it was a well-known fact that I'd be going to UT when I graduated. About half of my closet was burnt-orange! I never thought I could get into Notre Dame, much less make any type of contribution to the school. Well after a very disappointing visit to UT and not getting any recruitment mail from them, I decided (with influence from my High School principal Dr. G) that it was time to expand my school search.

The decision came down to Notre Dame and Harvard. ND flew me out for a visit in April of 2006 and I signed the scholarship papers right there. I was sold. Who wouldn't be? Best decision of my life. Then I later made my next best life decision which was to join the Notre Dame Band. I was a pretty blessed decision-maker in 2006!

LEP: Leading the Band of the Fighting Irish as Drum Major is an incredible honor. What process is involved in earning the position, and what are the necessary qualifications?

AH: You're right, it's a huge honor and I owe everything I ever accomplished in that organization to the incredible peers I had. Let me tell you something, no better group of young adults on campus. I would do anything for that group.

The audition takes place over a month long period that covers a marching routine, conducting routine and several interviews. It starts at about 35-40 people and we eventually get down to the Drum Major and two Assistant Drum Majors. This past year it was me, my great friend John Queally and our new team member Noah Franske. They were both awesome to work with.

You gotta be able to march, conduct and show leadership qualities. I would say when I auditioned every one of the people trying out covered all of those bases. Every person in that band is so talented and driven, which makes it very humbling that I was chosen. Like I said, I owe all my success to those great band members.

LEP: The Band of the Fighting Irish is the oldest and most prestigious collegiate marching band in the nation. Tell us what it means to carry on that proud tradition as a Drum Major.

AH: We have a motto in band: "Tradition, Excellence and Family." It's always been my opinion that our program is the best of its kind. As far as tradition goes, it was really neat getting in touch with old Drum Majors (like the great Hunter Young from the '05 season) and looking back into the archives to see the lineage. It's awesome to think you're one of only a handful of people that got this gig, especially when you're following someone as great as Lauren Nolan ('08 season DM).

But those two things (tradition and excellence) mean nothing without family. That band is my family. I remember conducting Concert on the Steps throughout the year and how special it was to be able to do that with thousands out on Bond Quad. The tradition was neat and having a great band that knocks you over with sound was awesome, but nothing compares to the feeling that goes through your veins when you look into those members' eyes and you don't see them as just band members; you see them as family. It sends chills down my spine just thinking about those faces. What a great group of people.

LEP: The Notre Dame Victory March is widely known as the most recognizable fight song of all time. I will never forget the first time I ever heard it on campus as a new student. I almost leapt out of my skin when I heard the drum line, and when the Fight Song began I would have ran through a wall for Notre Dame. When did you first hear our fight song, and when was the most memorable time you played it at Notre Dame?

AH: I can't quite remember the first time I heard the song, because of its wide popularity. I probably heard it watching Rudy as a kid or maybe even from a local high school band. I can remember the first time I played it as it was my audition piece for band at ND. I still remember when I got through the piece the whole way. I called my mom out to the back and played it with a recording in the background. Don't judge…

The most memorable time playing it at ND was in the tunnel of the stadium when we played Washington this past year. They were talking smack the week leading up to the game and it was about our fight song. Never get our band members upset, they'll come after you, and boy did they ever that day. When both teams were done with warm-ups, ND came up the tunnel and we played the fight song for our boys. Usually we stop and stay silent as the visitors come through, but that day they were going to hear us loud and clear. We were going to send a message to them and that message was to never pick a fight with the Band of the Fighting Irish. It was BY FAR the loudest rendition of the fight song I had ever heard and we were playing it right in their faces. When we cut the song off, every single band member started yelling and jumping. It was the most pumped I have ever seen our organization before a game. What a moment.

LEP: Everyone knows about the storied rivalries between Notre Dame and USC or Notre Dame and Michigan. Plenty other universities wish they could be our rivals as well (Backup College, Purdont, etc.). Does the Band of the Fighting Irish have its own particular rivals? If so, what other bands became our biggest rivals during your time as Drum Major?

AH: A wise person once told me: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all...except if it deals with USC. Then shout it out!"

We get booed so badly in some places and other bands feel the same pain, so the bands kind of develop the best sportsmanship out of anyone on game day. Take Michigan for instance: Awful fans and the football team is loaded with jerks but that Michigan Band treated us so well every time we saw them. They would even come over to the band building after a game at home and we'd hang out with them. I met some pretty cool people, including their drum major Cody Martin (who like me was from Texas!!). Same goes for Michigan State: Disgusting fans, jerk football team, fantastic band. They were always such a pleasant bunch.

This great sportsmanship went for other bands too that we had the pleasure to work with: UCLA, Purdue, UConn, North Carolina, Duke and Penn State come to mind. They were all very talented too.

The exception to this rule is USC. “
Cal Southern” is already known for its less than moral football program (and they fully deserved that billing after interacting with their players/coaches), but their fans were some of the nicest people we ever dealt with. Usually the fans treat the band terribly, but theirs were great. Their band, however, was anything but great. We've gotten the bird from their members, had obscenities shouted at us, and have even got in shoving matches with them (which they of course didn't stand a chance in). Furthermore, they were hands down the least talented band we ever came across. We'd absolutely wipe the floor with them year in and year out. Our staff made it no secret that this was the goal too. At the ND pep rally in LA, our director got on the stage and told the crowd of a couple thousand people that we'd "wipe the floor with that band" the next night. He drew a raucous reaction from the crowd and we completely out-did them in their own stadium. The USC crowd gave us a standing ovation and gave the Trojan Band a whole lot of silence. It was easy to see why. You've got a group of high school band kids dressed in cheap capes, plastic helmets and tacky sunglasses versus the Band of the Fighting Irish. No contest… I'll take our band against anyone, any day.

LEP: Finally, I believe the Band of the Fighting Irish to be the single most crucial element of the tremendous spirit that exists at Notre Dame. The band drives the energy of the student body, and our teams feed off that energy. How would you describe the Spirit of Notre Dame, and what is the best way for the band, the students, and everyone involved to revive that spirit in 2010?

AH: Many people label 2009 as kind of a disappointment, but I think it was a win for spirit. Week in and week out, that stadium was rocking. A football assistant I know even pointed to the Washington thriller in 2009 as being "louder than USC in 2005." (I'll say that a lot of that noise came from a very angry Irish Band!) Sure, the nail-biting games helped out plenty but I'd say our football crowd was finally starting to get away from the "wine and cheese" group they are so well-known for being. It's great to finally see our stadium on par with some other hostile football environments that I've visited over the years. That Washington game was noisier than any of my visits to Penn State, Michigan or Michigan State.

That being said, one thing that has to happen for our spirit to improve is a change to pep rallies. The Rally on the Green is just plain not working. People used to complain about the JACC rallies being lame and corporate. I personally always loved them with the whole lights-out effect and such. I bet those people who complained would gladly welcome them back after a year of this "Irish Green" debacle.

The Irish Green pep rallies were just embarrassing. I literally counted about 5 students at several pep rallies this year. The best pep rally of the entire year was at the Alamo in front of an amped-up Texas crowd. I think our best pep rally of the year should not be away from Notre Dame before playing a cupcake team. I am not sure what the reasoning is behind the Irish Green, but it sure does put a damper on the whole game day experience. I don’t think achieve the Spirit we're looking for until we get rid of these buzz kills. It is too far away for the students, clearly not focused on the students, and it's too awkward of a venue.

I am going to be at Marquette Law School this year and I'll be back for a game or two. I fully expect our spirit to pick up right from where we left off last year. We've got a great band, a great new drum major in Glynnis Garry, and a great new football coach! Even if we're stuck with those Irish Green rallies for now, all those things more than make up for it. I hope all of you Irish fans are ready for an exciting season! The band is going to bring the noise and you had better do the same! Make ND a hornet's nest for all of our opponents this year. Get Your IRISH UP!

Thanks again Aaron, we could not have said it better ourselves. With all the anticipation mounting on campus and our band leading the way, our fans have a real chance to turn the house that Rockne built into one of the most intimidating stadiums that our opponents will have to deal with in 2010.

As an added bonus feature, check out this OK Go music video featuring the extremely talented Band of the Fighting Irish, complete with a close-up of Aaron at the 2:40 mark:

Aug 10, 2010

Celts, ND assess Gody similarly

Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers commented on new signee Luke Harangody today. Rivers mirrored what Brey has said about his former star since Gody’s sophomore season.
Compare their reviews, starting with Rivers today:

I don't know [his role], hell he's a rookie, but he can play, I can tell you that. He can shoot the ball and stretch the floor…He's going to be a player in this league. He's quirky offensively, and he had to figure out a way of scoring by not being dominant athletically. I love players like that, because that means they play with their heads. That's the type of player that makes it in this league, so that will be good for us.

It sounds similar to Brey’s comments over the years and especially this summer. Brey cited Luke’s Boston-esque toughness on June 25 and continued with a broader evaluation in the July 23 Post-Tribune:

If he gets minutes, he will find the basket. That was one of my themes with the general managers…He can come off the bench… I think Boston is going to love him.

NBA players obviously don’t get signed based on a recommendation, and it didn’t really matter how Brey marketed Gody to the NBA. Even accounting for similarities stemming from their common coach jargon, Brey’s sales pitch probably seems so alike to the Rivers evaluation because they accentuated the same positive in Luke’s game: craftiness to subtly manufacture points.

In highlighting ‘the type of player that makes it in this league,’ Rivers rather indiscreetly predicted Luke to leverage his offensive productivity into a longer career than just two seasons, a notion that Brey shares. That’s where Rivers’ assessment is closer to Brey’s than to fellow coaches, GMs, and pundits, many of whom felt Gody wouldn’t make an NBA roster.

According to Chris Forsberg, Gody will bring in $1.3 million over a two-year guaranteed term, which means the average starting salary for 2010 Notre Dame graduates just soared. Irish Creed would like to wish Luke good luck, and we will be watching as he makes the Class of 2010 proud.

Aug 8, 2010

Manti Te’o and the 10,000-Hour Rule

Bob Diaco is a thinking man’s defensive coordinator. When describing Manti Te’o on Friday, he told ISD’s Lorenzo Reyes that “some would say there’s a mathematic equation to how much work and hours go into reaching particular slots of achievement.”

I don’t know if Diaco reads Malcolm Gladwell, whose book Outliers: The Story of Success terms this idea the “10,000-Hour Rule.” Like Gladwell, Diaco later used the Beatles as an example.

Diaco, who majored in sociology, loves to reference all sorts of stuff during interviews. Who could forget the St. Thomas Aquinas homage this spring? The Beatles example, though, makes it seem reasonable that Diaco is up on his Outliers, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s a great book, and what ND fan wouldn’t want our coaches to know about The Story of Success?

According to this theory, Bill Gates and others reached super success by putting in 10,000 hours in an area of interest. It doesn’t necessarily apply smoothly to a sport so dependent on innate physical ability when most major college peers are putting in similar hours.

Nonetheless, Manti and teammates log 20 hours each week in the fall and 8 in the spring, not to mention voluntary time throughout the year. But he’s been playing football a long time, based on an early photo that ISD ran in a May 2009 Christian McCollum story that’s no longer available. 10,000 hours is roughly 20 hours per week for a decade, meaning that it would be very tough for a college sophomore to reach that total without unusually rigorous pre-high school football training. But that’s not the point.

Even without 10,000 or a specific hour count, experience will help Te’o fill many ‘slots of achievement’ this season. As Diaco knows, practice quality and quantity this August is key to make the defense a success story worth writing about in the future.

Aug 6, 2010

Coordinating the Irish

During Friday’s media session, ND offensive and defensive coordinators dug into personnel specifics and were generally more critical than Kelly’s even-keeled opener that didn’t give away many secrets, promises, or even sound bites for that matter.

Sure, our Kelly green-clad leader highlighted a couple freshman WRs, but about the boldest declaration he made was that ND is “going to be dynamic” returning kicks. It probably made for the second-best sound bite, right next to his sarcastic nod to the media asking if they knew the goal is always to win ‘em all. Kelly, who seemed pumped up, didn’t make any promises he can’t keep or hype any player up too much, and that’s a good thing. He even admitted that “the jury’s still out” on if he was the right hire. Kelly played his cards right today.

Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco largely kept to this script but went deeper with his trademark emphasis on a player’s size profile. After laughing when reporters asked what 6-3, 350 freshman Louis Nix has been eating, Diaco lost the smile on his face when he said a college nose tackle should be in the 290-300 range with possibly more weight as the exception. “Nix is getting his body in position to compete,” according to Diaco, adding that “it’s going to be awhile.”

Offensive coordinator Charley Molnar was jovial and charismatic throughout the portion of the interview that UND.com aired live. Reading his body language, Molnar seemed ecstatic to have so many offensive weapons at his disposal. He actually reminded me a lot of Kelly’s spring mantra: super excited to be at ND and to work with our great players, but still staring down a ton of work.

Molnar offered more sound bites about our skill position guys: He confidently asked, “If you double team Kyle Rudolph, what kind of coverage are you playing on Michael Floyd?” Negatively, he said Floyd “was not there at the end of spring ball” in terms of work rate and that “he can get better in so many ways,” including adding moves and “a shake.” Molnar said Floyd’s biggest weakness is blocking consistency, similar to Duval Kamara, whom Molnar said “needs to be a great blocker every single play.”

BK said ten linemen are in the serious mix, but Molnar singled out center as “a position of great competition.” Similarly, Molnar talked about the tackle battles but wasn’t afraid to show his concern that none of the four options for two spots have any career starts.

Kelly admitted strengths, “vulnerabilities,” (I guess he truly doesn’t like weakness) and question marks but didn’t put any too high or too low. The more detailed and critical assessments by Molnar and Diaco complimented Kelly’s part as the calculated, confident leader. Overall, the three segments showed that the staff has a solid grip on what to do this August and how to manage the players physically and mentally.

Aug 5, 2010

The Roots of the Grotto

114 years ago today our beloved replica of the Grotto at Lourdes was dedicated by the beautiful St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s lakes. 114 years of prayers of hope and thanksgiving, for miracles and victories are remembered in that cave of candles. The response to the fire and the voices of concern highlight how important the Grotto is to so many people, and as students it is a fresh reminder not to take it for granted; not even for a day.

The oldest known picture of the Grotto, believed to be taken at its dedication.

Late night walks to the Grotto are one of the most peaceful, spiritual experiences that one can go through, and I know I have relieved my mind of everything there many times. The Rosary prayer sessions I took part in with my classmates as part of the Spiritual Committee for Student Council were memorable, but nothing can be as warming as being alone at the Grotto in the winter, candles aglow, with just Mary looking down on you.

The Grotto may be the most important part of Notre Dame and whether one believes it or not the part that stays with you the most. Whether an alumnus or a fan, or even a spectator, the Grotto is something that everyone can love about Notre Dame. Football games in the House that Rock built are incredible, the Golden Dome and the Basilica are amazing monuments to our faith, but nothing can bring you closer to God than kneeling under Mary’s caring watch. And although you may not realize it until a moment you need her most, she will always be there; not even a fire can take her away.

Aug 4, 2010

Purdue's Perspective One Month Out

During Big Ten media interviews yesterday, Purdue starting QB Robert Marve said all the right things about his school's season opener at Notre Dame Stadium: "It's all I think about, I dream about. I can't wait to play. I can't wait to represent Purdue and get after Notre Dame."

Purdue head coach Danny Hope said playing Notre Dame first is a "blessing in disguise," hinting at Purdue's respect for ND and emphasizing the game's motivational kick this summer.

WLFI-TV, a West Lafayette CBS affiliate, captured both interviews in this short clip:

Marve especially sounded confident, signaling that Purdue feels ready for us. Irish coaches and players haven't met the media yet, but Kelly and his offensive, defensive, and special teams coordinators will probably get some questions about Purdue at Friday's press conference in the Club Naimoli level of the JACC. Select players will be available to the media on Saturday, the first day of camp.

To my knowledge, ND players haven't talked directly about Purdue during rare summer interviews or through their social media venues. Despite ND focusing on itself for now, if Kyle Rudolph's recent tweet is any indication, the players are just as ready for the Boilers as they are for us: "Got my last workout in this morning. Eyes are on the prize. We've put in the work, now time to reap the rewards."

A month from today, we'll see who brings in the first harvest.

Aug 3, 2010

Guest Post: Introducing IrishCC

Although quite some time has passed since the historic event, Irish Creed could not let the induction of Tim Brown into the College Football Hall of Fame pass by without some recognition (especially since he made all of our Top Ten Favorite Football Players of All Time lists). We therefore reached out to someone who could give us an insider's look into the eventful weekend. Introducing guest author, Notre Dame cheerleader, and emergency Fighting Irish Leprechaun, IrishCC:

On Saturday, July 17, Notre Dame’s most recent Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Brown, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, IN. I had the honor of serving as the Fighting Irish Leprechaun for the Hall of Fame parade and induction ceremonies. I consider it a great honor that Irish Creed has asked me to write a guest-piece about my experience at the event, and I would like to share 5 lessons that I took away from it.

1. South Bend is the rightful home of the College Football Hall of Fame:

A better weekend could not have been found in South Bend. Notre Dame alum Mike Golic emceed the event during a gorgeous summer Saturday. On stage, Tim Brown spoke of how he was glad to be back in South Bend. It is wonderful that he was given the chance to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the city where he played his college ball. It certainly added an extra sentimental factor to the weekend.
Together, the ceremony and parade made up an amazing experience. The cheerleaders and I marched through the streets of South Bend leading onlookers in various ND cheers. It was exciting to see thousands of people lining the streets and cheering as the inductees went by. Fans were literally running up to the floats to high-five or shake hands with their football heroes. The energy was simply electrifying. South Bend will always be home to not only the most legendary football program in the nation, but a population of passionate and spirited college football fans. It is only fitting that the Hall of Fame should stay in such a football town.

2. Tim Brown is certainly one of the most amazing players to have ever played the game:

When he first came to Notre Dame, Brown set the freshman school record for receptions. Furthermore, he still holds the school record for all-purpose yards, which he set with 1,937 during his junior year. During his time at Notre Dame, he was affectionately referred to as ‘Touchdown Timmy.” Twice a member of the College Football All-America Team, he was also the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy. Averaging paydirt for every 11.4 catches, he bagged 12 receiving TDs while racking up 2,493 receiving yards. Upon becoming the 6th overall pick in the 1988 NFL Draft, Brown began his prolific NFL career with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders. During his 17-year career, he earned the title of "Mr. Raider" due to his 9 Pro-Bowl appearances and his prolific accomplishments both on and off the field. He now ranks second all-time in the NFL record book for receiving yards and third in both receptions and catches. (Not bad for a guy who forgot his helmet as he took the field for the first time at Notre Dame, only to find it in time for the opening kickoff which he fumbled away).

3. Notre Dame students have always been, are, and will forever continue to be amazing people:

The reason I had the privilege of serving as the Fighting Irish Leprechaun during this event is due to the fact that our current Leprechaun is in Africa on a mission trip. His story is just one example of the moral integrity and well-roundedness of the Notre Dame student body. Not only is this student serving as the face of the University, but he is also spending his summer using his talents to better the lives of individuals in third-world countries. This just goes to show the type of students found at the University of Notre Dame, students with dignity and character that actually believe they can and will change the world.

4. Ohio State travels well, but their mascot is overrated:

Chris Spielman, former outstanding linebacker from Ohio State, was also inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. I must admit that I was blown away when I realized there were more fans for Spielman than there were for almost every other inductee combined. As a back-to-back first team All-American and winner of the Lombardi Award in 1987, Spielman was truly a phenomenal force on Ohio State’s defense. Stats and numbers aside, what impressed me most about Spielman was his incredible commitment to breast cancer research. Spielman’s wife defeated four bouts of breast cancer before ultimately losing her battle in the fifth round. During and after her struggle, Chris has shown tremendous dedication to finding a cure and supporting others in her position. For more information regarding Spielman’s story, or to learn more about breast cancer research, please visit www.chrisspielman.com.

The weekend couldn’t end without a little Midwest rivalry, however. After suffering an embarrassing defeat in a race against last year's extremely athletic, talented, and good-looking Leprechaun at the 2009 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Ohio State’s mascot had it out for me at this year’s event. Feeling overconfident due to the huge crowds of Ohio State fans, Brutus the Buckeye challenged me to a rematch. Although he appeared to be an unbeatable and threatening opponent, standing well over 6 feet tall with every muscle rippling in his foam suit, I quickly found out that he was lacking in speed. Besides, I had the luck of the Irish on my side. Two steps into the race, and I had him beat. Finishing the race running backwards, urging him to catch me, I crossed the finish line victorious. Admittedly, it must be difficult to run while wearing a goofy foam suit. Seeing Brutus and the other mascots at the event made me wonder why so few schools represent themselves with actual students without foam heads. As a mascot, it is an honor and a privilege to actually speak and interact with fans. For that reason, I agree with former leprechaun and Irish Creed writer when he claims the Fighting Irish Leprechaun to be “King of all Mascots."

5. Coach Kelly has the ability to change the face of Notre Dame football forever:

While on stage, Brown struck the infamous Heisman pose after a crowd of Fighting Irish fans urged him to do so. Seeing this caused my spirit to be elated because I am certain that Coach Kelly will soon have one of his players striking the pose upon winning the historic trophy. I make this bold claim because of the remarkable similarities between Coach Kelly and Coach Holtz. Both men possess a fiery passion for the game, both know how to truly teach the game, and both have proven that they can mold high school boys into men, men who are not only great football players, but also gentlemen and scholars. I believe that Coach Kelly has the ability to revive Notre Dame’s football program into one that is a legitimate national contender every year. By doing so, it is only a matter of time before he molds one of his players into a Heisman Trophy winner.

Finally, I would like to end by bringing everything back to Tim Brown. There is no doubt that he ranks as one of the most elite athletes to have ever played college or professional football. It is also clear that his time at Notre Dame undoubtedly transformed him into the confident NFL player he became. Not only does his legacy serve as a reminder of what makes Notre Dame great, but it may provide a glimpse into the future at the type of RKGs that will be playing for the Fighting Irish under the leadership of Coach Kelly.

Preparing to race Brutus in 2009
At the starting line
Burning Brutus

(Photos courtesy of Lighthouse Imaging)

2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule

2012 Notre Dame Football Schedule
DateOpponent / EventLocationTime / Result
09/01/12vs. Navy Dublin, IrelandW, 50-10
09/08/12vs. PurdontNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-17
09/15/12at SpartyEast Lansing, Mich.W, 20-3
09/22/12vs. SkunkbearsNotre Dame, Ind.W, 13-6
Shamrock Series
10/06/12vs. Da UChicago, Ill.W, 41-3
10/13/12vs. TreesNotre Dame, Ind.W, 20-13 (OT)
10/20/12vs. BYU Notre Dame, Ind.W, 17-14
10/27/12at Oklahoma Norman, Okla.W, 30-13
11/03/12vs. Pittsburgh Notre Dame, Ind.W, 29-26 (3OT)
11/10/12at Backup College Chestnut Hill, Mass.W, 21-6
11/17/12vs. Fake Worest Notre Dame, Ind.W, 38-0
11/24/12at U$C Los Angeles, Calif.W, 22-13
1/7/13vs. AlabamaBCS CHAMPIONSHIP
(Miami, Florida)
L, :(