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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Finding A Way

Family –

As we begin the 2013 season and all eyes are focused squarely on the Fighting Irish and what they aren’t, I want us to take pause and look at what we’ve lost in the last year.
Since the 2012 season the Irish have lost some tremendous fire power on both sides of the ball. Here is the list of the athletes who have either departed the university in route to the NFL or are no longer with the team. ALL of them were a tremendous part of the team’s success last season.

a.      Tyler Eifert (arguably one of the best tight ends in Notre Dame history)
b.      Manti Te’o (college football’s most decorated athlete…PERIOD)
c.       Kapron Lewis-Moore (one of the team’s most inspirational leaders)
d.      Zeke Motta (a physical, big-play safety drafted by the Falcons)
e.      Jamoris Slaughter (a physically gifted safety drafted by the Browns)
f.        Braxston Cave (the focal point of the Irish offensive line)
g.      Mike Golic, Jr. (a tremendous blocker at the point of attack)
h.      Cierre Wood (Part I of the Irish two part explosive running attack)
i.        Theo Riddick (Part II of the Irish backfield whose best years may be ahead)
j.        Everett Golson (a tremendous athlete and field general on offense)

These ten athletes are some of the best athletes in the country. So much so that they have all landed roster spots with NFL teams (with the exception of Golson who is an underclassman).  As a coach it’s difficult to rejuvenate your team each year… let’s not even mention having to replace the aforementioned in preparation for a schedule as strong and competitive as the Irish.

Let’s be serious for a minute… replacing these men in the critical positions they played on last year’s team is about as difficult as replacing the following men after our storied 1993 season:

The Fighting Irish have a tremedous challenge ahead.
a.      Aaron Taylor
b.      Bryant Young
c.       Jim Flanigan
d.      Jeff Burris
e.      Tim Ruddy
f.        Lake Dawson
g.      Clint Johnson
h.      Kevin McDougal
i.        Todd Norman
j.        Pete Bercich

See where I’m goin with this? Are ya’ll listenin? Good!

Here’s the bottom line…

Notre Dame will find a way… it may not be pretty… we may all wonder what the hell is going on at some point this year. There may even be times when we question the coaching staff, its decision-making, play-calling and the overall performance of the program… but Notre Dame will find a way.

So if you happen to be watching at home on Saturday or happen to be at a storied Notre Dame Game Watch and something just doesn’t go right keep in mind what’s happened in the last few months. From top to bottom the Irish have overhauled their offense and defense and still have an incredible team. They may not have the experience of those who departed, but they’re still Notre Dame Football players and above all else Notre Dame Men.

As Coach Holtz used to say: “Men, make no mistake… we will find a way to win. Don’t doubt that one iota.”

At the end of the day that’s just what Notre Dame does… we find a way!

Go Irish… Forever!

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Game of Football

Family –

In light of the recent allegations and controversies swirling around our favorite collegiate and professional football teams, I thought I would take a moment to point out some of the great things the game presents.

Now that said, it would have been much easier for me to jump on the bandwagon and add my minimal kerosene to the proverbial fire; but I thought to myself, “Why?” Seems that’s a recurring question regarding the sport so many of us know and love today…. “why?”

Let’s dig a little deeper shall we?

Whether it’s the “Thug Life” mentality of former New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez, the seemingly juvenile behavior of “Johnny Football,” NCAA violations running rampant in the SEC (duh), or the most recent scandal which could ultimately destroy a thriving Oklahoma State program we all tune in to see when the next hammer will fall and who’s head it might crush on impact. Forgetting about the real reason any of this stuff is happening…

Hello people! It’s all because some young man has a talent to play one of the greatest games ever invented… football.

Wait…wait… before your guys go all ACLU on me I’m not taking anything away from basketball, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, track & field, tennis, swimming, rugby, golf, cricket, boxing, equestrian, MMA or ahh-hem… cheerleading… all I’m saying is that football makes sense to me.

Lemme ‘splain.
Football is truly "America's Game"

The struggle of the game makes sense. All of the hard work for months for only a few minutes of glory to be realized or dreams to be smashed. Honestly, did you ever do the math about how much time players spend in the off-season preparing for a total of only 480 minutes (8 hours) in high school and usually only 720 minutes (12 hours) in college? Can you say 8-9 months of struggle, work, pain and preparation for one live day? 

Think about it… when’s the last time you worked on a job for nine months and didn’t get paid?

Uh huh…. That’s what I thought.

All of the disciplines, feelings, emotions and experiences that football teaches (in my mind) out-weigh all of the perversions that come with the success it brings. Hard work, tenacity, family, team work, selflessness, timeliness, focus, relentlessness, confidence, sacrifice, intelligence, fearlessness, bravery, joy, happiness, sadness, hope, fear, anger, brotherhood, camaraderie, intensity, vulnerability, swagger, power, anxiety, discipline, stress, ferocity, passion, and love are just a few of the things that come to mind when I think of football.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what NCAA rules or laws are being broken by the athletes who play – we love the game and what it represents. The players of today will one day be replaced by others who are just as good if not better than they… and when that time comes we will continue to, much like we do today, celebrate the game of football!

Sport is Life -