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!