Tuesday, August 26, 2008


So, due to unforeseen circumstances (as in, I have not closed on my new house, even though I was supposed to yesterday), along with foreseen circumstances (starting new job tomorrow), the blog is probably going to be out of the loop all of this week, until I can get my life back in something resembling order.

On the plus side, as of this weekend, there will be lots of football to talk about!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Daily ND Five - August 22, 2008

Heads up, I will probably not have a Daily ND Five early next week, thanks to the big move to Indiana and a lack of internet until an unknown point in the future.

One: "Around Twenty Questions" with Pat Kuntz, including more than a few hilarious tidbits:
II: What's the weirdest haircut you've gotten? Was it last week?

PK: "I had a rat tail when I was younger, too. I don't know what my parents were thinking, but I liked it."
Oh, it gets better. Much better. Burping, mispronounced last name - it's the kind of interview that I love. (Irish Insights)

Two: Part four of the "Why the Hell Not?" predictions from Subway Domer - this time, Navy, Syracuse and USC:
The Trojans are coming off of a bye week and boy did they need it. The team has had 14 different outbreaks of jock itch this season. The players spent the off week sitting in tubs of ice.
Will jokes about the jock itch outbreak ever get old? I hope not. (Subway Domer)

Three: Notes on some opponents, including notes on a canceled practice out at Washington:
"Rest is always important. We felt like it's the right time to put a little rest in there," Willingham said. "We had some time built into the schedule because we anticipated that we might need it."
Is anyone else's first thought to check the weather to see whether it was conducive to golfing yesterday? (Irish Band of Brothers)

Four: Some lessons in leadership for the incoming leadership committee:
Leader: Admiral Ackbar.
Leadership Attributes: Let his entire team know “It’s a trap!”
Translated to the football field: Always yell out “trap!” if you see a trap.
Yes, that's right. I chose the one related to Star Wars. I am a dork. (Her Loyal Sons)

Five: Notes from Thursday's media session with Coach Weis:
Weis talked about starting the season with the bye week and said it didn’t bother him. Weis did say that he offered one school a chance to move a game to the last weekend in August, but they didn’t bite.
Now I want to know who the team was. (uhnd.com)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Daily ND Five - August 21, 2008

A late Daily ND Five, as I have been trying to get all of my insurance straightened out for next week. And really, having a plan in case the house burns to the ground is probably a good idea.

One: It has been said before, but it bears repeating - the schedule last year did the team no favors:
Last year’s schedule was brutal not just for the quality of the opponents the Irish faced, but the order in which they faced them. The young and inexperienced 2007 Notre Dame squad played road games at two of the biggest and loudest stadiums in all of college football just within their first three games. In fact, four of the first six games of the year were on the road last year for the Irish.
This year, things are much rosier on the schedule front. (uhnd.com)

Two: This just defies explanation. (Irish Band of Brothers)

Three: Lots of updates on the team, including a pretty sunny injury report:
However, Weis said at this point, his team has not had any major injuries. That includes freshman linebacker Anthony McDonald, who hasn't been at practice for the better part of a week.
Never a bad thing when the team is mostly intact. Also, while you're there, check out the piece on Abdel Banda - another great example of the value of a Notre Dame education. (Irish Insights)

Four: More updates on the team:
Polian said the Irish's new punter, Eric Maust, has made strides just this past week in achieving consistency at the position. Maust said it's merely a case of finally getting enough reps -- he backed up Geoff Price last season -- to be comfortable.
Ah, punting. Remind me, how long until the season starts? (Around the Bend - Chicago Sports)

Five: Thoughts on left tackle being key to the Irish season:
To say the least, sophomore signal caller Jimmy Clausen does not want to go through another beat down at the hands of the opposition, both figuratively and literally.
I guess we will know a lot more in a few weeks. (cfb360.com)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Daily ND Five - August 20, 2008

The very late in the morning edition of the Daily ND Five, as sleeping in and getting my apartment ready for a showing got in the way of getting this taken care of.

One: Skywriting over at The Blue-Gray Sky, including this bit on the short-lived, but big, rumor of Darrin Walls transferring to Pitt:
The whole need to clarify the situation arose when the sight of Darrin's father at a Pitt practice -- he's friends with the coaching staff -- turned into an internet wildfire rumor of Darrin being at practice and considering a transfer. The good news is that he's not planning on any transfer and the even better news is that the family expects Darrin to return for the spring 2009 semester.

Ah, the internet, where the barest hint of anything will be a big deal within moments. (The Blue-Gray Sky)

Two: Thoughts on practice from yesterday:
Still impressed, too, with Armando Allen's footwork. Going through the high steps after the gauntlet, he hardly ever seems to hit a rope, which usually means he has good skill at placing his feet.

No word on whether there was any hugging and love yesterday, as there was on Monday. (Irish Insights)

Three: More thoughts on practice yesterday:
And here's something I've never seen during my years covering this team: The trainer calling out one of the players. Freshman defensive end Sean Cwynar wasn't participating fully in the swivel drill, but head athletic trainer Jim Russ shouted across the field: "You can do that! Quit feeling sorry for yourself! Quit being a baby!" That'll get your attention.

I'm not sure if the trainer calling out a player is a good thing or a bad thing. (eTruth)

Four: They aren't our first opponent, but they come up quickly. A bit on the bad luck up at Michigan:

And perhaps seeing the writing on the wall in regards to the season, running back Kevin Grady had a bit too much to drunk earlier in the summer, and has plead guilty to drunk driving. MGo linked to a report about the arrest, and Grady was apparently not just casually drinking and out for a spin, but drunk to the tune of "Thompson said he asked for a number between 12 and 14, and Grady answered '15.'" Of course, you could just potentially say that a sober Wolverine couldn't correctly answer that question. (Again, zing! On fire!)
Some people would feel bad about these bad things happening at Michigan. I am not one of those people. Also, some info on a couple other opponents there. (Rakes of Mallow)

Five: Looking at some of the other opponents, including USC:
With less than two weeks before the Aug. 30 opener against Virginia, the quarterback derby is moving into a pivotal stretch. Aaron Corp and Mitch Mustain are competing to possibly replace injured starter Mark Sanchez, while Sanchez is working to return in time to play against the Cavaliers.

Let me just come out and say it: it's great not to have quarterback issues this year. (Irish Band of Brothers)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Daily ND Five - August 19, 2008

For someone who is moving later this week, my apartment is in surprisingly good order. In other words, I really need to get more packed and watch less television. On the plus side, I managed to wake up at a regular hour (probably because I fell asleep on the couch watching television).

One: Observations on yesterday's practice:
When the team met at midfield for stretching, James Aldridge and Kyle McCarthy met at midfield and hugged. Don't know what that was about.
It's about the love. Or something like that. (Irish Insights)

Two: Less than three weeks to go until the game! A preview of San Diego State that will make you feel good for the first game of the year:
The defense has a slew of starters remaining, but it's debatable whether that is a good thing considering the Swiss cheese-like performance they turned in last season. If trends continue from last season, it'll be a blessing for the much beleaguered Irish offensive line, since the Aztecs ranked 107th in the country last year in sacks, registering only 1.25 per game.
It's getting me excited - I think I need to start thinking about getting a parking permit for tailgating. (Rakes of Mallow)

Three: Some love for Golden Tate:
The problem for the converted running back was he really only knew one route – the go route. He could use his tremendous speed to run down the field and get behind a defense but that was about it.
Perhaps Tate and Devin Hester can exchange notes on this topic. (UHND.com)

Soon after Tenuta arrived on the Notre Dame campus, he installed the blitzing scheme he used at Georgia Tech. The defense puts pressure on every snap to force chaos and errors.
This whole Daily ND Five is firing me up majorly. (ESPN.com)

Five: Weekend news from Notre Dame's opponents. This on USC's Joe McKnight:
McKnight suffered a hyperextended elbow in the Trojans' scrimmage at the Coliseum the night before Coach Pete Carroll said. McKnight's latest mishap came only a few days after he injured two fingers, including a slight fracture at the tip of one, when a teammate accidentally closed a dormitory door on McKnight's right hand.
Don't forget the "jock itch" that McKnight suffered from prior to both of these other injuries (Irish Band of Brothers)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Daily ND Five - August 18, 2008

A little late this morning, as it is my week off before I start working again. And when I can sleep in, I will sleep in. In other words? Don't expect to see the Daily ND Five early this week.

One: Playing a lot of underclassmen may not be the worst thing that has ever happened to Notre Dame:
And Notre Dame is actually getting younger, because the sophomores now have to look over their shoulders. Gary Gray has a great shot of playing, but here comes Blanton, a cocky and talented frosh. Ragone's in the driver's seat at tight tend, but Rudy is impressing the hell out of everyone.
More there, plus a lot of comment thread worth reading. (The Rock Report)

Two: Some highlights from Coach Weis's media session. My favorite is this:
Speaking of quarterbacks, Weis said Nate Montana "could come in and finish a game for us if he needed to, which he just might do."
I assume that was meant for a laugh, but I do love the thought of a Montana coming in to finish a game. (eTruth)

Three: Another preview of the Notre Dame season. Here's the take on Boston College:
There was a huge controversy this week that dominated talk radio. The argument was whether it was poor sportsmanship for Coach Weis to keep his first string in the entire game, and to go for two in the final play of the game, thus ensuring the Irish would have sole possession of the most lopsided game ever in college football history.
Prediction: 223-0 Notre Dame
Color me highly amused. (Domer Law Blog)

Four: Satire works when it has a ring of truth:

Former American women's gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi will be joining Tom Hammond and Pat Haden in the booth, providing the unrelenting enthusiasm and unfiltered partisanship that Notre Dame fans appreciate, all bundled in a loveable old man with a great mustache and accent.

Oh, and Michael Phelps will be in the booth, too. (Rakes of Mallow)

Five: Leprechaun hunting in the South Bend area:
Whitton described spotting the bizarre, tiny magical humanoid creature in the very early hours of Saturday morning staggering out of a local drinking establishment, and the brief but harrowing firefight that ensued. In the end, magic or no magic, the pixie was no match for Whitton and Dyer's arsenal of modified assault rifles and body armor.
And here I thought leprechauns were more prevalent around Mobile. P.S. - I never get tired of that video. (The House Rock Built)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Daily ND Five - August 15, 2008

Today is my last day at my current job - if this seems at all distracted, that's the reason.

One: Just a reminder, Notre Dame has daily video of practice up on the official website. At this point, practice videos and the upcoming move are the only two things keeping me sane prior to real, actual college football games. (und.com)

Two: Another set of "Around Twenty Questions," this time with Golden Tate. Besides learning that Tate likes to fish, there is this:

II: What's the most crab legs you've eaten in a sitting?

GT: "Six or seven plates. Liked stacked up."

That's a lot of crab legs. I couldn't even make it through one plate of crab legs earlier this week. Then again, I am not a football player. (Irish Insights)

Three: Another loss from the junior class. This time, it's wide receiver Richard Jackson:
Jackson a native of Clermont, FL (East Ridge High School) was a highly sought after prospect in the 2006 recruiting class, when he ranked as the 87th best player on the USA today top 100 list. Jackson was also a first-team all-state selection in the talent-laden Florida class 6A division.
Jackson missed all of last season after breaking his wrist in the Blue-Gold game. (BlueandGold.com)

Four: A quick look at yesterday's practice:
One final absence to report: No. 60 was not at practice. That's right, Duval Kamara has his old No. 18 back, though not without some controversy, apparently.
Controversy involving a significant overnight weight loss. (eTruth)

Five: As this has to do with a Notre Dame opponent, I figure that it is worth posting:
That's right, folks, you read that correctly. Fully 25% of the Trojan football team has contracted a particularly ornery strain of jock itch, whose virulent epidemiology has left even Pete Carroll speechless, and I'm sure he's seen damned near every groin-related malady in his long tenure as a football coach.
The jokes right themselves. Which is probably why I can't come up with one. (NCAA Football Fanhouse)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Daily ND Five - August 14, 2008

For someone moving in a few days, I have packed surprisingly little. But I will definitely take care of the Daily ND Five. Much better idea than packing!

One: Bringing back some emotion to Notre Dame - both by the players and by the fans:
It has been a beautiful thing to watch as this team has pulled itself up from the dark abyss of 2007 and actually worked on being more physical and emotional out on the field.
The post is like a highlight reel of the off-season, in a good sense. (Subway Domer)

Two: Looking at some of our opponents during their respective fall camps. A tiny bit of these extensive previews, this is about the Michigan quarterback situation:
The team's quarterbacks continue to improve daily. An emphasis has been put on fundamentals due to each quarterback's limited collegiate experience, but the coaching staff is pleased with the breadth of the playbook that they have been able to handle.
Lots and lots more at Irish Band of Brothers to get you excited about the upcoming season (or scared about the upcoming season). (Irish Band of Brothers)

Three: Looking at the 2008 Notre Dame quarterbacks:
Last season was a long one for the young Clausen, who had been used to winning all of his athletic career, winning 4 state championships in high school. In his frosh campaign, Jimmy was sacked a whopping 27 times, more than twice as much as Brady Quinn was sacked in his freshman year.
Good stuff on all three quarterbacks. (Domer Law Blog)

Four: Notre Dame will be inviting back coaches and/or their families who won National Championships this season:
Holtz and Parseghian will be present, while approximately 20 Devine family members, 15 members of the Leahy family and six Rockne family members are expected to return for the weekend.
September 13th (also known as the date of the Michigan game) is the game celebrating the 20th anniversary of 1988 National Championship. (und.com)

Five: Around Twenty questions with Darrell "Flash" Gordon:
I still go on Notre Dame's campus and people still call me by Flash. When I hear people call me that name, I know it's a Notre Dame contact. I still get it today. But as time progressed, more folks called me by Darrell because they didn't understand my background. But when I'm around Notre Dame, I hear Flash.
My only problem here? Eight questions doesn't really qualify as "around twenty questions." I would have liked more - that's a good problem to have. (Irish Insights)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Daily ND Five - August 13, 2008

Already way behind this morning (so what else is new?). I'm hoping no one at work notices that I am gone, but, as my last day is Friday, there really isn't much they can do at this point. Now, on to the Five.

One: Wow, people were quite optimistic about last year's team. OC Domer takes a look at some rosy predictions from prior to the 2007 season from across the blog world:
Ah, memories! Times were simpler then. There certain things you could count on in this world. Like blocking, tackling, and beating Navy. But life is more complicated today.
Gosh, the good old days seem so far away. (OC Domer)

Two: A quick look back at the weekend of open practices:
Naturally, you have to avoid trying to go too far between the lines when consuming practice reports and massive amounts of coach-speak and spoon-fed cliches that come from the players in these settings. Everybody looks fine in practice, everybody's "just a little bit of confidence" away from having a big year. Even with that fully justified caveat, the "Dive Right In" philosophy is exactly where the Irish should be heading right now. No looking back, just charging straight forward. If nothing else, it beats the "throw it on the wall and see what sticks" style from a year ago.
I will definitely take the "Dive Right In" philosophy! (Section 29, Row48, Seat 10)

Three: Some thoughts on yesterday's open practice:
Ryan Burkhart has a strong, strong leg. He booted the ball into the end zone consistently both Sunday in the fan practice and again Tuesday during the media open practice. He'll be the kickoffs guy, no doubt.
I like the sounds of that. (Irish Insights)

Four: Then again, how much can we learn from a practice?
The Irish have 20 returning lettermen on offense and 16 on defense, but even that stat is deceiving. How valuable is experienced gained during lopsided losses in a 3-9 season? That answer, and others, will not be known until the Sept. 6 season opener against San Diego State -- and perhaps not even then.
Lots more questions marks follow and precede that one. (Post-Tribune)

Five: Lastly, not leastly, the final part in Classic Ground's look at the 1988 National Championship season:
Irish running back Mark Green remembers, “We had a ton of talent. It was a matter of putting yourself second. It was more important to me to help win a national championship with these guys at Notre Dame.” Frank Stams recalled, “That season was the most fun I ever had playing football.”
Part One is here, Part Two here. A highly recommended read. (Classic Ground)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Daily ND Five - August 12, 2008

The "Back To Drinking The Kool-Aid" Edition.

One: Some thoughts on why Notre Dame will be better this year:
Weis admitted that players were often scared to make mistakes which made the team uptight and drained all the emotion from their play. The payoff of Weis's decision to step back and encourage his team to show emotion was evident in the Blue Gold Game, where it actually looked like the kids were having fun and playing harder because of it. Notre Dame now looks like a team that wants to kick your ass and is going to talk it up and have fun doing it.
Gosh, Kool-Aid tastes great. (The Rock Report)

Two: Yet another preview that isn't so scary:
The first thing I noticed is that Notre Dame isn't facing a single receiver who cracked the thousand yard receiving mark last season. Even more striking, of the 27 starters listed here, only 9 had more receiving yards than John Carlson did on last year's NCAA-worst Irish offense.
More specifics on the wide receivers that Notre Dame will be facing this season here. (The Blue-Gray Sky)

Three: A look at yesterday's practice, which was open to the Notre Dame professors:
Briefly looking at the quarterbacks, it appears Dayne Crist has a higher release point than the rest of the quarterbacks, although it could be more deception since he's 6-4 while Jimmy Clausen is 6-3 and Evan Sharpley is 6-2. Neither Clausen nor Sharpley appear that tall, though.
Ah, the ol' height exaggeration. Nice. (Irish Insights)

Four: Part Three of Subway Domer's pre-season predictions, including some pre-game antics, including this bit about the Washington game:
The start of the game was delayed by over an hour as a chaotic set of events was set off when the newly unemployed Ty Willingham was found driving on the field with a pimped out Rolls Royce golf cart. As security chased him down Ty hit his NOS switch and gunned it towards Irish head coach Charlie Weis.
It just gets better from there. (Subway Domer)

Five: Some ND history - Part II of a look at the 1988 season contains this tidbit about life after the memorable Miami game:
For Pat Terrell, people still stop him on the street to congratulate him on the swatted-down 2-point conversion attempt: “There were fifty-nine thousand at that game that day…and I think every single one of them has told me over the…years…what they did or how they felt when I got that deflection. It gets kind of funny, but it still does mean a lot to me.”
More great thoughts here. (Classic Ground)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Daily ND Five - August 11, 2008

The "Making an Offer on a House Prevented Me From Posting Promised Updates" Edition. With an updated format to make up for the lack of promised posting, though!

One: Having drunk the post-press conference Kool-Aid, some sobering thoughts over at ND Nation:
The left side, particularly at tackle, is downright scary. Neither Paul Duncan nor backup Mike Turkovich is ideally suited for the position, but there is no one else available. Duncan does not have the requisite agility and footwork to neutralize opposing pass rushers, so he had better be able to yell, “Look out, Jimmy” at the appropriate times.

More things to help convince you that a loss against San Diego State is imminent here. (ND Nation - News and Views from the Board Ops)

Two: Some Sunday practice observations, including this tidbit on the grass:
Seeing the Notre Dame field up close, the new sod project seems to have taken well. The grass, unlike in previous years, is actually green now.

No word on the actual length (probably has something to do with USC being an away game this year). (Irish Insights)

Three: Some more thoughts on the open practice:

Weis got all over Golden Tate for not immediately running faster out of his stance on a deep ball thrown down the sideline. George West, David Grimes and Robbie Parris caught whatever was thrown to them. West had a chance to make a spectacular grab and Weis kidded him that catching it or not was the difference between him being on the front page of the sports page.

Lots more thoughts over there, some good, some not so good. (uhnd.com)

Four: An in-depth look at the scary special teams performance last year:

Notre Dame opponents averaged 10.25 touchbacks though the season last year. Notre Dame didn’t record a single touchback. That’s 10 times during the season that ND’s opponents didn’t have to worry about their opposition getting great field position. 10 times that ND opponents didn’t give their defenses craptastic circumstances. And 10 times ND didn’t do their own defense any favors.

Don't worry, it gets worse. (Her Loyal Sons)

Five: Lastly, not leastly, here is the link to all of the pre-season practice goodness, courtesy of Notre Dame. Only 26 days to go... (und.com)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Daily ND Five - August 8, 2008

The "Thanks To This Morning's Presser, I Am Drunk On The Kool-Aid (and P.S. - When Do the Weekly Press Conferences Start?)" Edition.

One: Even Coach Weis couldn't lay off of the Brett Favre issue at today's press conference. And who asked the question that involved Lee Corso? I could have done without that. (und.com)

Two: De-Fense Re-Cruit! De-Fense Re-Cruit! (The Rock Report)

Three: Predictions, part II, courtesy Subway Domer. (Subway Domer)

Four: More predictions, over at Her Loyal Sons. (Her Loyal Sons)

Five: Not predictions, but things to watch, from Domer Law Blog. (Domer Law Blog)

I have about half of an article done, that might see the light of day later today. If not today, over the weekend.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Daily ND Five - August 7, 2008

The "Please Tell Me I Don't Have to Hear Anything Else About Brett Favre EVER AGAIN" Edition.

One: A little Skywriting for you. (The Blue-Gray Sky)

Two: And also a little Classic 'Round the World. (Classic Ground)

Three: I try not to drink the Kool-Aid, but it's so darn tasty! (The Rock Report)

Four: Looking at Georgia's ranking in light of recent college football history - including some recent ND history. (College Football 360)

Five: Intriguing non-conference games - not surprisingly, Notre Dame makes a few appearances. (The Bleacher Report)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Daily ND Five - August 6, 2008

The "I'm Back From House Hunting In Another State" Edition.

One: Previewing the running backs. (The Blue-Gray Sky)

Two: If, like me, you didn't have the cash money to apply for football tickets, here's your chance to pick up some to various games. (und.com)

Three: Am I considering driving five hours to watch practice at Fan Appreciation Day? The answer to that is a definite yes. (und.com)

Four: The speculation about the Irish season does not end. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Five: The NCAA football schedule, helmet-ized for your pleasure. (Irish Round Table)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Daily ND Five - August 1, 2008

The "My Internet Is Working Again (Sort Of)" Edition.

One: Previewing this season's opposing quarterbacks. (The Blue-Gray Sky)

Two: Previewing the Notre Dame quarterbacks. (Rakes of Mallow)

Three: How about a preview of opposing running backs. (Irish Eyes)

Four: Continuing the timeless plays - Numbers six to three. (BlueandGold.com)

Five: Some of ND's annual rankings in The Princeton Review. (Irish Insights)