Friday, January 22, 2010

Things that don’t completely piss me off: aka Notre Dame Football’s off-season

It’s not that I’m particularly fond of the off-season or anything. It’s just that the football team can’t do anything to break my heart over the off-season. (Well. Unless they decide to start going around knocking over liquor stores, getting into fights with our basketball players, stealing rosaries from little old ladies on the side of the road, etc. But since Brian Kelly is all about making sure his players are “tough gentlemen,” we’re going to go ahead and assume that he is not going to put up with that sort of hanky-panky during the off-season. Just as soon as he makes sure Michael Floyd gets whapped thoroughly around the wrists and ankles [but not the shoulder—anything but the shoulder.] for a bonehead underage drinking violation that occurred over winter break, I’m sure the team will be all in tip-top shape.)

The exciting news of the moment is that we finally have an entire football staff assembled, we’re going full-speed ahead on recruiting, we have five early enrollees on campus for spring ball, and now—it’s just a game of waiting.

Which is why I’ve got to babble about all this, because I hate waiting.

Interesting Tidbits

--So I hear the football players have all been put on diet plans. FINALLY. One would think that this is pretty much a no-brainer. I mean, come on, you’re unleashing college-age males into an all-you-can-eat dining hall three times a day and you expect them to just magically make all the right food choices on their own? Ppbbbt.

--In the midst of the coaching flux, we’ve managed to lose only two recruits. Whose names I can’t remember, but they’re lousy little de-committers, so who cares anyway?

--Our QB situation is distressing, but not as dire as it could have been. Dayne Crist will still be recovering from his torn ACL during pretty much all of spring ball, but the good news is that we’ll still have two fully healthy quarterbacks on campus for spring ball: one of the early enrollees on campus this semester is freshman QB Tommy Rees, and he’ll be competing alongside Nate Montana, who is back from his less-than-lackluster stint at Pasadena City College (35% in pass completions…youch). But hey, two-and-a-half quarterbacks competing for a starting job is better than nothing, and keep in mind that Kelly has experiencing winning games with inexperienced quarterbacks. In 2008, the Cincinnati Bearcats rotated five different quarterbacks through the lineup and still managed to win the Big East.

Also, in the fall, Crist, Rees, and Montana will be joined by freshman QB Andrew Hendrix. Hendrix was almost a lousy de-committer, backing away for a bit after Weis was let go, and he almost got himself sucked into Urban Meyer’s Evil Recruiting Vortex of Death, Lies, and Doom. (Whoops, sorry Urban, forgot you’re still busy being indefinite about your leave of absence. I’ll have to rephrase that. “The Indefinitely Absent Urban Meyer’s Former Recruiting Vortex of Statements That May or May Not Have Involved Death, Lies, Doom, and Visions from God”) But then Hendrix backed away from Florida, reconsidered, and decided he’d rather attend, to use Hendrix’s own words, “the best University on the face of this planet.” Good boy, Andrew. Way to suck it up to the alumni. You’re going to fit right in here. (You can see this quote on his blog, where he briefly describes the decision-making process involved in committing to the Irish over the Gators. It seems to involve a lot of gut feelings, but no direct visions from God.)

--Jack Swarbrick has been discussing the Irish’s future football schedules with the media. If you are like me and you despise the 7-4-1 model Kevin White came up with, you will be pleased to see this quote from Swarbrick:

We have the goal of the 7-4-1 model, but there may be some years where an opportunity presents itself that we may go to 6-5-1 or 7-5. We’re open to those sorts of modifications.

Yessssssssss. This makes it possible for us to schedule more games with schools that have great football traditions, and who aren’t willing to get skewered by the Irish’s refusal to screw people out of home-and-home series (which is the only thing that makes 7-4-1 possible). However, Swarbrick followed up this comment by saying,

I'd like to try and figure out how to keep the Stanford relationship, because in so many ways, that's an institution we like to do business with and have multiple relationships with across the university. ...I'd like to do more with Duke and Wake and some of those schools. It's really more institutionally focused - what's a good fit for Notre Dame? What sort of looks and feels like us?

Which sort of makes me want to bang my head against the wall.

That is SO not the point of football scheduling, Jack. SO not the point. I mean, okay, I have nothing against building relationships with those schools academically, but not at the cost of sacrificing games with schools that actually have decent football programs. I mean, Stanford is one thing, but Duke? Wake Forest? (Tulsa? WESTERN MICHIGAN?) You’re killin’ me, Petey, you’re killin’ me.

Upcoming: Observations on ND's new coaching staff

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