Saturday, December 12, 2009

Brian Kelly Recruting: Better With Time

Brian Kelly has guided Cincinnati to as many BCS games in three years as Charlie Weis did in five seasons at Notre Dame. He won't coach the Bearcats in the Sugar Bowl this season against Florida because of taking the Notre Dame job, he will spend the time working on this years recruiting class, trying to keep it in the top 15 nationally.

Many Notre Dame fans have been upset with the hiring of Kelly based on the fact he hasn't proven to be a great recruiter at this point in his career. Since taking over for Mark D'antonio for the 2006 International Bowl his current class which ranks 44th according to is the highest rated class he has had.

This is seen as bad in plenty of people's "Irish Eyes" but compare it to where his other classes have ranked and its reason for much optimism in South Bend.

A year ago Kelly parlayed a Big East Championship and Orange Bowl appearance into a class that ranked 60th. Prior to that he pulled in classes of 67th (2008) and 89th (2007) with the Bearcats. Good news here on two parts:

1. He has gotten better at recruiting over the years at a university where it is hard to attract talent. Sorry Cincy fans, you will forever be a basketball school.

2. He has won two consecutive Big East championships at Cincinnati with almost no talent in his upper classes. This years senior class (who was brought in by Dantonio) ranked 102nd in the nation. I don't care if the Big East is the weakest BCS conference, its still an excellent feat.

The more I read/research, the more hope I find in Fighting Irish football under Brian Kelly. He has a much greater recruiting base with the Notre Dame name alone and he develops talent much better than his predecessor at Notre Dame.

He's not Bob Stoops and he's not the current Urban Meyer, but he is pretty similar to the guy Urban Meyer was just before the University of Florida.

Monday, November 30, 2009

About That Stoops Thing...

As much as Notre Dame fans want Bob Stoops, it doesn't sound promising the Oklahoma football coach will leave Norman for the Fighting Irish. In his teleconference today he stated the following:

"I intend to be at Oklahoma. Yes, that's what I intend to do," the Sooner coach said when specifically asked about the Notre Dame rumors. "I will never confirm or deny whether I talk or not talk to anybody, and I won't be interviewing for any jobs."

"What I'm saying is I'm going to be Oklahoma next year, so I can't be at two places at once."

Well, that about sums up that. The dream candidate (perhaps second dream candidate has essentially removed himself from consideration) has already turned down the Irish. How many more will do the exact same before the night is through?

Odds on favorite has to be Kelly in a runaway at this point.

Story from

Weis Out/Stoops Claims to Be Staying at OU

Charlie Weis was let go as Notre Dame's head football coach on Monday, ending a disasterous collapse over the last month in South Bend. Weis' finishes his career at Notre Dame after dropping his final four games and losing his previous ten games against ranked opponents.

The firing is no real surprise to the college football world, many expected anything less than a BCS berth would be reason enough for firing Weis this season. After putting up a 6-6 record in the regular season for the second year in a row the final decision for Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick seemed like a very easy one.

The rumors will now begin to fly as to who the next Notre Dame head football coach will be. Urban Meyer is the dream coach for the position, but why would he leave Florida? He said as recently as a week ago that he would be Florida's football coach for as long as they would have him. I wish for him but he has no real reason to come to South Bend.

Bob Stoops' name has been flying around as a candidate as well, Stoops has already told reporters in Oklahoma that he will be the head football coach at OU in 2010. A little more of a chance than Urban Meyer I suppose but the likelihood still far from great. (Rumor has it, no confirmation as of yet but Bob Stoops reportedly won't interview for the opening.)

Cincinnati's Brian Kelly is another name being thrown around, he seems the most likely of the bunch to take the job. He has won everywhere he has coached this far (Grand Valley State, Central Michigan, and Cincinnati), we will see what he decides if offered.

The next few days will be interesting and very important for the future of Notre Dame football. There have been three bad hires for head coach now in a row, there is a desperate need for a quality college head coach. Many will want to bring in a Jon Gruden type but I would prefer a college coach above anything else. For whatever reason, coaching at the collegiate level is different than in the pro's.

As of 4pm est there were no plans for Charlie Weis to address the media. A press conference with Jack Swarbrick and Rob Ianello is scheduled for 6pm est today. Reaction to that everything else to come in the coming days.

The official release from the university:

Weis will not be retained as Notre Dame football coach

University of Notre Dame head football coach Charlie Weis will not be retained, University director of athletics Jack Swarbrick announced today (Nov. 30).

“We have great expectations for our football program, and we have not been able to meet those expectations,” Swarbrick said. “As an alumnus, Charlie understands those goals and expectations better than most, and he’s as disappointed as anyone that we have not achieved the desired results.”

Swarbrick recommended the dismissal Sunday night to Notre Dame’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

“We have established an evaluation process for all of our athletic programs that, in the end, results in a recommendation from Jack to me,” Father Jenkins said. “I accepted Jack’s decision and look forward to working with him on selecting a new head football coach who is the very best choice possible for the University and especially for our student-athletes.

“I am most appreciative to Coach Weis for his service to Notre Dame and our community. He and his family have my prayers and best wishes.”

Weis spent five seasons as Irish head coach from 2005-09, with his teams achieving consecutive records of 9-3 (Fiesta Bowl appearance) in ’05, 10-3 (Sugar Bowl appearance), 3-9, 7-6 (Hawai’i Bowl victory) and 6-6 in ’09 – for an overall 35-27 mark.

Swarbrick announced that Rob Ianello, the Irish assistant head coach/offense, wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator, will assume responsibility for football operations until a new coach is hired. Ianello has spent the past five seasons on the Notre Dame staff and previously was part of football staffs at Wisconsin (1990-93, 2003-04), Arizona (1994-2002) and Alabama (1987-89).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The End

45-38 in Stanford. Thanks for coming out, Charlie.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

And Now To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming...

I'm disappointed that I don't have this game on tape. Why you ask? Not because of the come from behind victory for the third week in a row (as nice as it would be to watch in the off-season), instead because of the the brain freeze by those at NBC Chicago.

I'm not the only one who saw this, both my sister and my old man sent me text messages from a-far, crying for an answer as to what was going on (in which I had no idea).

For those who don't know or are unaware, NBC Chicago cut out of the Irish victory on Saturday at a very unoportune time. As overtime began NBC got the ball rolling fine but right when Jimmy Clausen was set to take the first snap of the extra period, a message came across that NBC was joining their previously scheduled show already in progress.

Enter roughly two minutes of "Access Hollywood".

I don't care about John, Kate, or the eight children at any moment of the day, let alone when Notre Dame is in overtime. Instead of Irish football I had news of John and Kate coming across my TV, needless to say I was furious.

After the roughly two minutes (in which's gametracker wouldn't update and my AM radio decided to take the moment off), Golden Tate had put the Irish in prime position for a touchdown.

What is the first thing I see when the game comes back on? Golden Tate doing a sumersault, my only thought was he had to have fumbled from the angle he was falling in the air...thanks to NBC Chicago I barely even had an idea he made a reception.

The first play they actually show, Robert Hughes scores on a short touchdown run. Notre Dame eventually gets a stop on defense and wins the game, all that is right in the world shows up through my television with pictures of the events in South Bend.

How something like this happens today is unreal, with the money NBC invests in Notre Dame football you can bet that whichever coordinator at NBC in Chicago that called for or made the switch to Access Hollywood is having trouble sleeping tonight. Sadly, that person is likely not going to be collecting a check from the colored peacock again anytime soon.
For those who didn't see it, I can only hope a video of it shows up on YouTube before long.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Irish Welcome Washington

Fresh off of an escape in Purdue last weekend, the Irish get set to welcome the revamped Washington Huskies to South Bend in week five of the college football season. Yes, this is a team that went 0-12 a season ago, a team the Irish defeated 33-7 on the road a season ago. However, its also a team that has already done something in 2009 that Notre Dame hasn't successfully done since 2001: Beat USC.

The Huskies are coming to South Bend fresh off a 34-14 loss at Stanford a week ago. In the loss the Huskies gave up 321 of the 424 yards allowed on the ground to the Cardinal, they have also allowed 250 rush yards against USC and 149 rush yards versus LSU during the year. Although in USC's case it didn't result in points, expect the Irish to follow the lead of these teams and come out trying to establish the run.

Unlike a week ago the Irish will be with Armando Allen this week. If he at all struggles or is limited in carries, Jonas Gray had an impact out of the backfield a week ago while Robert Hughes reintroduced himself to Fighting Irish fans. Through four weeks the Irish have rushed for 632 yards on 151 carries, good for 4.2 yards per carry, a yard better average per rush than from a year ago.

The Irish bread and butter of throwing the football will be tested on Saturday, Washington brings a strong pass defense and secondary to South Bend. Golden Tate is a playmaker as we have all learned, expect Charlie Weis to get the ball in his hands in creative ways once again this week. I do expect the Irish to come out with several more multiple tight end sets this week then we have seen early on. I fully expect Kyle Rudolph to lead the Irish in receptions on Saturday.

Duval Kamara did himself no favors a week ago with multiple illegal formation penalties. Shaq Evans also showed his green by costing the Irish a timeout when not knowing where to line up last week. No replacement for Michael Floyd has been found yet, I don't suspect the Irish find their go-to this weekend either.

Washington will be led by junior quarterback Jake Locker, a former five star recruit. Locker has had two years experience already and its starting to show as he's already thrown for over 1000 yards on the season. He has also added 74 rush yards with two touchdowns coming on the ground. He's an all around athlete, more along the mold of a Tim Tebow than a Tate Forcier, both of which are very successful spread quarterbacks.

Washington will attempt to establish the run like all teams against Notre Dame in order to pull the upset will have to throw the football with success. The running game of the Huskies is led by Chris Polk who has rushed for 316 yards this but is only averaging 3.8 ypc. Jake Locker is the second leading rusher on the team, as a whole they pick up 3.3 yards a carry but only 108 yards or so a week on the ground.

Steve Sarkisian brings a more successful passing game to Washington from USC as the new coach is having success throwing the ball already far beyond what Tyrone Willingham was able to do in Washington. James Johnson is the go-to receiver for the Huskies, he has 19 receptions, 220 receiving yards, and a touchdown. Locker will also look to Jermaine Kearse and Kavario Middleton who both have double-digit receptions.

The Irish enter Saturday's game as a 13 point favorite over the visiting Huskies. Sure Washington did beat USC but this is still a very flawed team coming to South Bend. The Huskies can't stop the run to save their lives, as long as Notre Dame doesn't get themselves into many third and longs they should be just fine putting points on the board.

While beating USC, the Huskies kept the Trojans from converting a third or fourth down the entire game. Sure USC was playing with a backup quarterback but their game plan was getting them into several third and longs, they also coughed the ball up one too many times.

The Irish appear to be getting healthier headed into their final game before a bye week. I expect a big day from Armando Allen as Charlie Weis comes in with a run heavy offensive game plan with the use of multiple tight end sets.

Prediction Time:

Nick (3-1): Notre Dame 28 Washington 17 (I had to change mine, Mark picked the exact same score as me originally and he got it to me first)

Mark (3-1): Notre Dame 31 Washington 20

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Three to Visit South Bend this Weekend

Louis Nix is one of three high school seniors making a visit to South Bend this weekend.

As the 2009 campaign continues into week three, three recruits will be on campus taking a look at Notre Dame. Of the three one is currently an Irish commit while the other two are made up of a Miami (FL) commitment and a defensive back who has Notre Dame listed as his only official visit currently scheduled for the fall.

David Amerson is a safety from Greensboro, NC. Many rumors have him close to commiting to North Carolina State but he is yet to have an official visit scheduled there this fall as Notre Dame is currently the only visit on his agenda. Plenty of fall left for him so I would expect that to change unless he commits this weekend, Notre Dame is one of the few schools listed as his "interests" that does not sit on the east coast. Amerson is listed as a 3 star prospect on while gives him a 4 star rating.

Bennett Jackson has already given his word to the Notre Dame coaching staff and plans on attending the University next fall. Jackson is a 3 star wide receiver who chose Notre Dame over the likes of Iowa, Maryland, and Michigan State. Jackson commited to Notre Dame on June 7th this summer.

Louis Nix is a 4-star defensive tackle from Jacksonville, Florida and currently has committed to Miami (FL). He is listed as a "soft verbal" because he is still taking visits to other schools. I do not have a tip or anything of that nature but its obvious that he isn't entirely sold on Miami if he is willing to take trips to other schools for the time being. That's the way I feel whenever Notre Dame "verbals" take visits elsewhere and its how I feel when players like this check out South Bend. Notre Dame currently sits with only one defensive tackle in this years class so a shocking commitment from Nix down the road would go a long way with this class.

I don't know if any of the two players will commit over the weekend, it would be nice but considering the Irish aren't rumored to be frontrunners for either besides Jackson it doesn't seem likely. A strong showing from the team on Saturday would only help out with getting another verbal commitment, perhaps from Amerson or Nix.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lucky Number 13 - Spencer Boyd!

Spencer Boyd
5'10'' - 178 Lbs.
Cape Coral, FL
3 Star - Defensive Back
Notre Dame's 13th Verbal Commit

Notre Dame received their 13th commitment in the recruiting class of 2010 on Friday as Spencer Boyd gave word that he will be attending college in South Bend. Boyd made his commitment after there was much speculation that Notre Dame would end up his college choice.

The recruiting class now grows to thirteen as Boyd becomes the third defensive back to commit so far this season. He comes in as another three-star recruit, the same ranking given to fellow defensive backs Chris Badger and Lo Wood who have already given their word to Notre Dame for next year. He is also the second commitment to come from the state of Florida so far this year with Lo Wood being the other.

Boyd brings the fastest listed 40-time of any of the three defensive backs so far in this class as he was clocked at 4.56 seconds. He also checks in nearly twenty pounds heavier than Lo Wood as he tips the scale at 178 pounds.

What I have liked while watching Boyd in his highlight videos is that he can really pack a punch at the cornerback position. He isn't perfect size for a college cornerback but he does have the tools that will likely carry him a long way at Notre Dame.

In successfully recruiting Boyd to Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish coaching staff has addressed a severe need by bringing in now three defensive backs in this years class. After bringing in only one DB a year ago it was of utter importance to stockpile on them this year and it can safely be said that they are off to a good start but I would be shocked if at least one more defensive back isn't brought in this year.

Boyd shows that he is bound to make mistakes in his highlight video but has the speed to be able to make up for those at the high school level. Sure he is a three star recruit just like the other two defensive backs in this years class but from what I have seen I feel that Boyd has the greatest chance to make a major impact in the defensive backfield of the three.

Welcome to Notre Dame, Spencer Boyd!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Daddy Says!

The Irish continue to bring in numbers in this years recruiting class as it seems that Spencer Boyd is headed to South Bend. Boyd's announcement was supposed to come at some point on Friday and still probably will, but according to The News Press in Southwest Florida, Boyd's father claims he will choose Notre Dame:

“We’re all stoked,” Scott Boyd said. “We kind of wanted him to choose Notre Dame all along.”

You can read the entire story here if you like: Cape Coral High's Boyd to verbally commit to Notre Dame

This will be Notre Dame's 13th commitment if the story is indeed true and Boyd will become the 3rd defensive back in this years class as he is set to join fellow Sunshine-Stater Lo Wood and Utah product, Chris Badger.

Once again, Spencer Boyd himself has not yet said anything regarding the situation and at times that can be important. Everything does seem to be pointing the way of the Fighting Irish however since this story broke.

I won't break down Spencer just yet for you, I'll wait until he gives his offical commitment but once again, it seems like he's South Bend bound.

Irish to Gain Cornerback?

Spencer Boyd, a three star prospect from the Sunshine State has announced that he will make his verbal commitment on Friday. The good news for Notre Dame is that the Fighting Irish find themselves to be a finalist for his commitment along with rival Michigan as well as the University of Georgia.

The glass is half empty:
Boyd was quoted as saying he is very close to Wolverines head coach Rich Rodriguez and that he likes the size of the University of Michigan. If a bigger school is something he craves, Notre Dame is not going to be his place. He also noted that he would be able to play early at Michigan.

The glass is half full:
Boyd is yet to make a visit to Georgia and its pretty rare that a player commits to a college without ever actually stepping foot there. He was also quoted as saying he "had that feeling" when he was on Notre Dame's campus. He also noted that he would be able to play early at Notre Dame as well.

I don't know which way I lean in predicting where Boyd will end up. If the Irish get him, great...if not, its not the end of the world. Obviously it is nice to see players choose Notre Dame over the likes of Michigan and Georgia when it comes down to it but don't confuse yourself, this isn't a Jimmy Clausen or Manti we're waiting on here.

Boyd has not yet mentioned a time or setting for his announcement this Friday, I'll let you know if I hear before then.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Irish Get Lo Lo Lo Lo...

Lo Wood
5'10'' - 160 Lbs.
Apopka, FL
3 Star - Defensive Back
Notre Dame's 8th Verbal Commit

After the way this week started it seemed that Notre Dame's recruiting class of 2010 was headed for the gutter. Chris Martin was gone and so was any shot at a top-25 class according to many of you message-boarders out there (you know who you are). However, the last two days have gone Notre Dame's way in the sense that they picked up a quarterback as well as now two more defensive players, one being Blake Lueders and the newest being Lo Wood, a defensive back from Florida.

It is tough to tell what head coach Charlie Weis and company are going to expect Lo to bring to the table when he arrives in South Bend. Nobody was expecting a commitment from Wood this weekend but a suprise visit to Notre Dame's campus on Friday prooved otherwise.

I would be lying if I were to tell you that Wood is an elite recruit that was stolen right out of SEC country because he really isn't. He is going to take time to turn into a starting corner for the Irish, one look at his overall size will tell you everything you need to know. His height and arm length are there but he needs to get stronger.

Only weighing 160 pounds right now, Wood can be strong for his size but could afford to put on more than a couple of pounds. His speed is alright but nothing that is going to demand attention when placed around other superb athletes. He clocked in at 4.58 in the forty yard dash while also putting together a 4.3 shuttle time. He changes direction quickly but will need to cut that forty time down a hair still.

The Irish failed to pick up and defensive backs in the 2009 class so it seems that Lo will likely be called upon to have a pretty solid chance at a starting roll down the road for Notre Dame. He's not going to be a lock-down corner like we expect to see from guys like Darrin Walls or Gary Gray but he is still going to possess the speed and size to compete, lets just hope he will be able to put on some muscle before he arrives on campus in a year.

Blake Lueders is Irish

Blake Lueders
6'5'' - 250 Lbs.
Zionsville, IN
4 Star - Defensive End
Notre Dame's 7th Verbal Commit

I wonder what Blake Lueders biggest concern when deciding which school he would attend was. Campus lifestyle? Weather? Winning tradition? Chance to be a legend? How about academics? All you have to do is look at the finalists that Lueders chose Notre Dame over on Thursday to find out that this young man realizes that at least in his house, academics come before football.

The other finalists you ask? Northwestern, Boston College, Wake Forest, and Stanford. All four schools are obviously amongst the elite when it comes to academics so it was nice to see a young man have such a desire to prepare himself for the post football life and not worry about the glamour of college athletics for a change.
So, he's obviously a smart guy but what can Blake Lueders do on a football field that will make me happy that he chose to attend Notre Dame? Here's a quick rundown:
-6'5'', 250 Lbs.
-Plays middle linebacker in high school, expected to be a defensive end in college
-Product of Zionsville High School in Zionsville, Indiana

Here's what I see from Blake Lueders in his future at Notre Dame:
He's not the all-star defensive line recruit in this class, that belongs to Chris Martin who made it public that he is sticking with his commitment to Notre Dame towards the end of this week. Lueders will not likely be the dominant pass rusher that so many expect Martin to be, I don't really see Lueders fitting into the Irish's defensive plans in his first two years on campus. It will take time for him to make the adjustment from playing middle linebacker to high school to learning a new position at Notre Dame.

With that said he sounds like and appears to be an outstanding athlete. His size is going to work to his advantage as he is listed at 6'5'' and 250 pounds. Couple that with a 4.79 40-yd dash time and you can expect big things from him down the road.
The fact of the matter is that learning a new position is very difficult to do at any level, especially the division one level. With that said, I expect to see Blake competing for a starting job and turning into a very formidable defensive end by his junior year at Notre Dame.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Irish Land their VooDoo Child

He's here, here at last. That's right, the Voodoo Child himself, Andrew Hendrix picked Notre Dame as his college choice this morning after talking things over with his parents. Hendrix becomes Notre Dame's sixth commitment in the class of 2010.
A little background on the prospect himself:

Andrew Hendrix - QB, Moeller HS, Cincinnati, OH (yes, same school as Gerry Faust)
6'3'', 220 Lbs. - 4 star recruit accoring to Rivals, 3 stars per Scout

A few people have tried to compare him to Brady Quinn in articles and on some of these "oh-so-genious" Notre Dame message boards. Quess what? Just because he is a white quarterback from Ohio does not mean he is Brady by any means so get over that idea now. The only similarity is the spread styles of offense they both ran in high school.

He comes from a pistol offense which requires a lot of moving outside of the pocket and running the ball himself or throwing on the run and seems to do it particularly well, see for yourself...

So there he is, commit #6 of the class of 2010, quarterback Andrew Hendrix.

-Also for anyone who cares, has tickets to both the Nevada and Washington State games available for purchase today, just a kind heads up.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Harangody Back at ND

Cool Hand Luke Returns

For those of you who thought Luke Harangody was bound for NBA greatness and never going to play a game for the Fighting Irish again, you were wrong. After testing out the NBA routine, working out for a few different teams, Harangody has decided that staying in college is not such a bad idea after all.

I'm not going to say that this is a great move either way for #44. What I do know is that his lack of defensive ability would have severely hurt his potential minutes on an NBA court next winter. He has proved that he can score in the Big East and grab absurd amounts of rebounds. However, he needs to be more of a defensive threat if he hopes to play in "the league" for any extended amount of time.

I'm not bashing Luke Harangody, the kid is one helluva college basketball player who has been as good as any in the Big East over the past two seasons. His body size puts him at an extreme disadvantage for a big man in the NBA in terms of being able to back down opponents and score the same way he does so often in Big East play.

The good news for Fighting Irish fans is that in the Big East even you are able to get away more with some of the flaws that NBA souts see in Harangody's game and that next year should be another outstanding offensive campaign for the Fighting Irish forward.