Archive for December, 2007

The All-Davieham Team… Part 1 Offense

December 29, 2007

Things need a little lightening up around NDNation. I realize that even the slight utterance of Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham has the opposite effect. However, many of the players on these 2 buffoon’s teams are quite loved and respected. To honor these players and to change the topic around the blogosphere (recruiting, depth charts, etc.) I bring you The Subway Domer All-Davieham Team. To be a member of this team, a player would have had to been at least a 2 year starter during the years of 1997-2004. Enjoy…

Quarterback: Jarious Jackson. Surprise! I know some of you are already yelling at the computer screen for Brady Quinn, but Jarious started more games in his 2 years and set passing records that Quinn didn’t break until his Junior year (with the help of Weis). Jarious had a very up and down 2 years at the helm, but managed to beat USC both years and had an amazing comeback victory versus Oklahoma. Need more to satisfy? Well, The House That Rock Built put this paragraph together that is quite poetic:

By far one of the gutsiest quarterbacks ever to don the blue
and gold,
particularly since he was unfettered week to week with anything
resembling an
offensive gameplan or playbook. Nay, Jarious was instructed to
run around in the
backfield, dodging potential career-ending tackler after
career-ending tackler,
then fling the ball haphazardly downfield and pray
for a miracle. Surprisingly,
he set an impressive array of school records
doing this. You can read more about
this proven offensive strategy if you
buy ESPN Insider. Bob Davie’s columns
alone on the “Run & Fling” offense
will make it all worthwhile.

Tailback: Autry Denson & Julius Jones. There was no way I was going to chose between the two great ones. Denson left ND as its all-time leading rusher (4318 yds.) and second in rushing TD’s (43) behind Allen Pinket (49). Denson was a very smart runner and ran the draws and screens better than anyone that ever put on a Gold Helmet. (Yes, better than D. Walker). Jones was one of the most electrifying players in Irish history. Whenever Jones carried the ball or was returning a kick, you held your breath in anticipation of something magical. Jones holds the single game rushing record of 262 yards and is currently 5th all-time in yardage. Jones was a Ty victim. If he was fed the ball, we won. Instead, he played second fiddle to a then fumbling and less explosive Ryan Grant. Jones won the hearts of many Irish fans with his perseverance in a time of adversity. Jones left school for academic reasons in 2002 and worked hard at a Junior College in Arizona to comeback to play for the Irish and graduate.

Wide Receiver: Bobby Brown & Rhema McKnight. Of all the wide receivers to play during this era (and a lot were underused by Kevin Rogers) these 2 were the only ones to lead the team in receptions and yards in 2 different years. Bobby Brown might be more remembered for his personal foul penalty against Michigan in 1999 after a touchdown that helped the Skunkbears to victory. (It was a bullshit call…Q-Dogs!What!) Brown was THE go to WR in a system that didn’t know how to use one. McKnight came to ND as a 5-Star recruit and put together a very good career at ND. During the Ty era McKnight was used as the bubble screen runner extraordinaire. It was as if ND didn’t have any other route for him. Rhema did have some spectacular catches at ND but was ridiculed by fans and media his senior year for some dropped balls. McKnight will always be remembered for his season ending injury in 2005 (against the Skunkbears) that helped jumpstart the Legend of Samardzija.

Fullback: Tom Lopienski. After the great fullbacks of the Holtz Era (Bettis, Zellers, and Edwards), the Irish have been pretty bare at this position which continues even today. Tom, however was a 3 year starter and a very gritty special teams player. Had only 1 TD in his tenure at ND and it was a pass reception. Tom was a very good blocker and continued on to the NFL to do more of the same dirty work as he did at Notre Dame.

Tight End: Jabari Holloway. The Irish have had a long history of great tight ends. Holloway will never really fit into this category, but was very good during his time at ND. He was a three year starter and a clutch option for Jackson. Holloway was a ferocious blocker and in the system provided, that was priority #1.

Offensive Tackles: LT Luke Pettigout & RT Kurt Vollers. Back when the Irish had actual depth on the O-Line, There were generally only 2 year starters in a career. Pettigout was one of these guys. Luke was a stout run blocker and protected the quarterback fiercely. Kurt Vollers was an enormous specimen at tackle. He had a decent career at ND, but was called for holding quite a few times. Never the less, he held his own against some of the nations top defenses during his tenure at ND.

Center: Jeff Faine. Quite possibly the greatest center in Irish history. He certainly was the most pissed off. Faine wasn’t just intense, he was downright NASTY. Watching him block was a clinic on blocking from snap to whistle. His ability to give 120% on every play and still wanting more, created a spot for himself in legions of Irish fans hearts. Jeff liked to mix it up with the opposing defense and was called for more than his fair share of personal fouls. But, that’s what you get from a offensive lineman with a defensive lineman’s mentality. Think: Zorich at center. Jeff was a 3 year starter and then moved on to the NFL as one of the 1st round draft picks in this dreadful era.

Guards: Mike Gandy & Sean Mahan. I really have no stats or reasoning for these selections, but I would like to think that I would. Both Mike and Sean were standouts at their positions as they benefited from depth to compete against. (Thanks again Ty!)
I will provide Part 2 (defense) and Part 3 (special teams) along with a short editorial on this era of players soon. On another note, as I was writing this post I started to wonder if this had been done before. Meaning: it’s a good idea and probably a few years too late. Lo and behold, after I wrote this piece and before I published it, I stumbled onto a Blue-Gray Sky post that covered these topics already. Man those guys are good. Looks like I won’t even waste my time with the All Holtz-team. But as I said, I will continue with parts 2 & 3.

And In This Corner…

December 28, 2007

The hot topic for Irish fans over the past two weeks has been Omar Hunter’s last minute decision to continue testing the college waters, or in this case the Florida swampland, and Mike Martin has surfaced as a legitimate back-up plan in the event that Hunter does choose Florida. The debate about who is the better player has begun to rage on most Notre Dame message communities like a wet box of matches, but is there any validity to the discussion? Could Martin be a solution to the last minute snub by Omar? Well here’s my opinion on the subject, which along with $1.25 will get you a cup of coffee at the local donut shop.

Omar Hunter is the #4 ranked prospect on the Rivals list at the interior defensive lineman position, Mike Martin is the #12 ranked player. Both bring something different and unique to the table, but Omar Hunter seems to be a man among boys.

Admittedly, I have nothing to go on for either of these players beyond the highlight film that can be found on the various premium pay sites around the web, which is about all anyone has to go on unless you live in Michigan or Georgia. I don’t live anywhere near those places so like most everyone else I am basing my opinion on the available film.

I took another look at that film yesterday and tried to scrutinize it closely in the hopes of finding something, anything, that would convince me that Mike Martin is a better option than Hunter. It’s not that I have anything against Omar; it’s just that as a Notre Dame loyalist, I have a problem rooting for kids that don’t want to play for this program.

I know, I know, “the kid has every right to choose the school he wants to play for…” I’ve heard it all before, so let me save you the trouble. In fact, anybody who spends any amount of time on Irish message boards has heard it. There is the contingent of fans that bleed blue and gold and think that everything that doesn’t bleed blue and gold sucks, and then there are those crazy libs that believe we should have a certain level of compassion and understanding for everybody, whether they are Irish at heart or not.

Let me just explain something, I am a Notre Dame fan. So while I agree that Omar has the right to choose whatever school he wants, I reserve the right to support only players that attend (or in this case players who will be attending in the future) Notre Dame. You wouldn’t cheer for Hunter during the season if he was donning a Florida Gators uniform would you? Take note, this is not me saying that I hope Omar gets hit by a bus or suffers a career ending injury, I don’t wish harm on the kid… but he is either Irish or he’s not, and if he isn’t then he just fell off my radar as somebody I give a flying turd about. It’s as simple as that.

So there I was, looking for reasons to welcome Mike Martin with open arms as the better of the two, and tell Omar where he can take a flying leap. Unfortunately though, nothing on the film confirmed what I was so desperately seeking. I scrutinized everything that Rivals and Scout (which turns out to be the same basic footage) had to offer for the better part of an hour trying to find some indication that Mike Martin can be as dominant as Omar Hunter and when the dust settled on my keyboard, I had nothing.

Now this isn’t to say that Martin is not a specimen. He is probably the stronger of the two from a pure brute strength perspective. Martin benches 420 lbs. and Hunter benches about the same, but Martin can squat 550 lbs. to Hunter’s 475, and that lower body strength seems to make a difference. Martin also has a swim move that is more technically sound than anything Hunter has to offer. Unfortunately, that is where the comparisons seem to stop.

Hunter is a bull-rush specialist like nothing I have ever seen from a kid his age. His singular determination to destroy the person (or in most cases “persons”) in front of him and get into the backfield is something to behold. To say that Omar is an extremely explosive and virtually unstoppable player would be a vast understatement.

There is also a difference in the type of player that Notre Dame would be getting in these two kids. With Martin, the Irish would probably be getting a player cut from the same mold as Trevor Laws. Like Laws, Martin has a background in wrestling and is a master of leverage. His balance and lower body strength allow him to do some things that Hunter simply could not. However, he’s not a road-grader like Hunter and would probably not be able to fill the 0-technique NT spot like Hunter could. Not that there would be anything wrong with another Trevor Laws type of player, but with the new 3-4 scheme that Corwin Brown implemented last season, there is no doubt that Omar Hunter would be a better fit.

In my estimation, the best indicator of whether something is true or not is if it remains true even after you have something emotionally invested in it not being true. I studied the film of both players wanting desperately for Mike Martin to be the better of the two. And in the end, he just wasn’t. I think Martin would be a terrific fall-back plan in the event that Hunter does go elsewhere, and let’s face it, it looks like that is what’s going to happen at this point. But he’s not a better player than Hunter and at this point in time, he doesn’t appear to be as good a fit for this defensive scheme either.

Fixing College Football

December 27, 2007

Yesterday I was in the car on the way home from work and was listening to ESPN radio. It was the Colin Cowherd show with some host (his name escapes me at the moment) filling in for Colin. The topic was How to fix college football. The premise was designed to get listeners to call in or e-mail their thoughts and ideas about how to better the game. There was one exception… no talk of a playoff at the end of the season.

At first I was dumbfounded. “What the hell is wrong with the greatest thing on this earth other than a retarded way to decide a TRUE champion?” It was about that time that I turned into the driveway and went inside. I never did hear the conversation, but not long after I went inside I found myself scribbling down a few things. There are many things that are great with College Football, but here are the things (and they are just a few) that I would change…

Early Signing Period. It has been said many times by coaches, analysts, and fans from around the country… recruiting is the life blood of any program. But, recruiting has also become a huge business and time consuming affair for all parties. And quite honestly, it has become a circus. I think the best way to help the college game would be to insert an early signing period. Let’s just say, August 1st. If a recruit wishes to pledge himself to a program, let that person put it on paper and fully commit himself. If a recruit signs, and changes their mind in say, December, that person will be ineligible to play in their freshman season with the following exceptions…

  1. A coaching change.
  2. Status of their academics.
  3. Granted permission to change by the NCAA due to an appeal.

If a recruit does not sign by August 1st, they can still give their signature and commit by February 1st. This might cut down on the poaching of athletes, the lies, and the games that are played by coaches and recruits alike. It will allow coaches to have a firmer grasp on what their roster will look like in the coming year, and could take some of the pressure off of the H.S. kids to allow them to concentrate more on their senior year.

Pull the stick out of your ass. It gets worse every year. College officials are throwing out the yellow rags more and more for celebrations. For what college football fans say they love about the sport, the emotion of athletes playing for their school and not money (which is a farce anyhow) some out there want to see robots playing. This is a different age in the world, let alone College Football. Let them get excited and have a little fun. I am not saying, that this should be more like the NFL because it shouldn’t. If you watch a lot of college games you understand what I am getting at. It is hard to set guidelines for this but, I’ll give it a shot…

  • No spiking.
  • No taunting. (The player would have to be specific with his gestures to an opposing player or the opposing bench)
  • No group stuff.
  • No props (Sharpies, signs, etc.)

Other than that, let them play. “Act like you been there before?” What if they haven’t? What if they just picked the ball off in the redzone to seal a victory? Chris Spielman. Shut the hell up. Let them have fun and in turn play the game with emotion and fire. Next time you bitch about a player having a little too much fun out there, look to see if you either grew a new patch of grey hair, or still have that stick firmly planted up your…

Practice makes perfect. This has never made sense to me. A school can only have practices after the regular season if they are heading to a bowl game. That’s cool. Letting the rich get richer while those who need all the help they can get, are shut out. It’s an American tradition. Quite simply: as long as there are teams playing and practicing, every team should be able to practice as well.

Stop rewarding mediocrity. It is time to cut the bowls in half. While this will never happen because of money, it would be a major fix to the college game. 32 bowls? Not needed. I will stick to the parameters of no playoffs and give you the fix…

  1. 16 Bowl Games. Same BCS format for the BCS games with the top 4 teams placed in bowls with seeding. (It’s not a playoff if you call it a bowl game) All games are to be played on December 29th, December 30th, New Years Eve and New Years Day.
  2. A plus1 National Title Game. Played 1 week after bowls are decided.
  3. Only conference champions and teams with 8 wins over 1-A opponents are eligible. This would also mean that a team would not be eligible for the National Title if they have ANY games versus a 1-AA school.

Schools should not be rewarded for a 6 win season that could turn into a losing campaign after the bowl game. And scheduling 1-AA schools is just wrong. This would provide the fans with a more exciting time and really put forth a true champion. Without a full blown playoff.

In Conclusion. I love college football. I think it is the greatest sport in the world. I also think that it does need tweaking. Do not speak of “Tradition” If tradition would have prevailed, football would have been banned. This is an ever evolving sport that needs tweaked from time to time. Even Rockne would agree with that. He changed a lot of the aspects of the game as well as many other coaches. And if Rockne isn’t college football, who is?

Feedback. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. You may e-mail me, use the shoutbox, comment on the post itself, or discuss in the forum. Any way you choose, I would like to hear it.

Merry Christmas

December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to all of you and your families. Thank-you for taking the time to read Subway Domer. Celebrate with fervor and be kind to those who have less. Merry Christmas and Go Irish!

Bowling Starts

December 21, 2007

First Bowl game of the season is tonight! I didn’t have time to put a preview together, but I do have a prediction…

UTAH VS. NAVY
I am rooting for the Midshipmen, but my gut is saying Utah all the way.
Word of the day: Gut Pile!

O’ Mar Gawd

December 20, 2007

.

.

A lot of Internet chatter has been going on about Notre Dame’s verbal commit Omar Hunter. If you follow recruiting as closely as I than you know that Omar is perhaps… looking elsewhere. Here is The Subway Domer thoughts on Omar and some half witted insight about the rumors around the web…

Omar is taking a visit to Florida in January. Yes, it seems as if that weasel Urban Meyer is back at it again with his sidekick Igor… I mean Greg Mattison. (Whose son would rather play for Ferentz and the Hawkeyes). He will visit Gainesville with a teammate on January 11th. If you didn’t know that, you either are perfectly sane or dead. Check your pulse, because things are going to get a little crazy. Here’s what I think…

  • Omar is a GREAT prospect. And this seems like a little Deja Vu is going on considering ND’s past history with recruiting top defensive tackles. But Omar just isn’t any DT. He is the prototypical NT in a 3-4 system.
  • Half-Full if a decommitment is near: We have 3 other DT’s commit for the 2008 class.
  • Half-Empty response to a know it all drunk: 3 on paper. Cwynar might be a DE, Newman is a definite NT, and Hafis Williams… no one knows anything about him. (Which means I have seen no video on Scout or Rivals).
  • The proving it on the field respone: IAN WILLIAMS. He will be a Sophomore next year with already a ton of P.T. and was very productive this year as a freshman.
  • If we keep him great, if not… start looking for one in 2009.
  • That’s it people. This is by no means over, and Weis is just handing Omar over to the Satanic Cult that is Gator Country, but you should of learned your lesson after last year. Kids change their mind all of the time. Bummer.

Nevin’s 2007 "Highlight" Video

December 16, 2007

After a 3-9 season, there is a lot to be concerned about. However, with the amount of young guys in this video making big plays, look out for ND because the Fighting Irish will be back.

Thanks to Nevin O’Donnell for his hard work in putting this together.

Trevor Robinson Turns His Back On Nebraska…

December 15, 2007

It is done. Yesterday Trevor Robinson, 6’6″ 306 lbs. offensive lineman from Elkhorn Nebraska, committed to Charlie Weis and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Trevor is the 22nd verbal commitment for Notre Dame and is a very welcome addition to a young offensive line in need of depth. He will also be an Early Entry to Notre Dame, joining Sean Cwynar in South Bend in January.

This ends what was one of the most interesting recruiting battles of the year.
Robinson gave a verbal commitment to Nebraska earlier in the year and then decided to keep his options open and decommitted before the season started . He then continued his search for a home. The Skunkbears of Michigan, Nebraska, and Notre Dame were his top 3 choices as he pressed on towards a decision.
Trevor visited the Irish 6 times before he came to the annual awards banquet for Notre Dame as the only visitor that had not already pledged themselves to the Irish.

During this process, an interesting thing happened that you don’t see everyday. After the disaster that was the Nebraska season, The University hired Nebraska coaching legend Tom Osbourne as interim Athletic Director. The writing was on the wall and Bill Callahan was promptly fired as the season ended. Osbourne then made himself the Head Coach of the Football program so that he could go out and recruit Trevor himself. This is what makes Trevor’s decision so amazing.

Imagine this scenario… You are an 18 year old highly ranked prospect from Fort Wayne Indiana. You are not a hardcore crazy, but have been a lifelong fan of Notre Dame. After a miserable 2007 season for the Irish, ND fires Kevin White as Athletic Director and hires Lou Holtz as an interim AD. Holtz then fires Weis and places himself as the Head Coach so that he can come visit and recruit you to ND. Then you commit to Tennessee. Wow.
This has been a gut wrenching time for Trevor and his family. And he should be commended for following what he felt was the best decision for himself.
His father, Wade, spoke to the South Bend Times:

“He’s very relieved and excited to make a decision, and
excited for the decision he made.”

His mother, Vicki, spoke with the Lincoln Journal Star:

“I think (Trevor) just felt comfortable there,”

Now Trevor can concentrate on a new school and playing for the Irish as he leaves his home state of Nebraska and plays for the Fighting Irish this winter.
Welcome To Notre Dame Trevor!!!

Quick Recruiting Tidbit

December 6, 2007






Weis has recently stated that ND could take as many as 27 commits for the 2008 incoming class. This is quite a lofty number considering the Irish have 21 commits right now with 2 months until National Signing Day. That means that there are 6 recruits that Weis is strongly recruiting. Most we have known about and others are names that have been lost due to other commitments. The possible 6 might be from this list…

  1. Trevor Robinson (OL 4*)
  2. Gerrell Robinson (WR 4*)
  3. Deion Walker (WR 5*)
  4. Milton Knox RB (RB 4* No offer yet and Committed to UCLA)
  5. Kapron Lewis-Moore (DE 4* Committed to Texas A&M)
  6. Datone Jones (DE 4* Committed to UCLA)
  7. Cyrus Gray (RB 4*)

I feel very confident in the 2 Robinsons and Deion Walker. T-Rob is coming to the awards banquet at ND and Irish fans should look for him to commit then. If he doesn’t, he probably won’t. G-Rob will wait until the Army A.A. Game to announce, but I feel 97% sure that he is Irish. Walker has cancelled his visits to USC and has not scheduled another for the Condoms. This is a Penn State and Notre Dame battle, but Deion will not announce until ESPN’s A.A. game in January.

Knox has not seen an offer yet, but I believe that is due to a combination of 1) Test scores and 2) Cyrus Gray. ND would like another RB and if Knox gets his scores up, he should be offered. He is looking around after UCLA fired Karl Dorrell. Gray looks like he will be heading elsewhere, but nothing is set in stone.

Lewis-Moore is committed to A&M, but has openly stated that he is looking elsewhere and has not yet spoken to new Aggie head coach Mike Sherman. ND is very high on Kapron and would be a welcome addition.

The Irish are also getting a strong look from current UCLA commit, Datone Jones. Like Knox. the Dorrell firing may be the catalyst for Jones to be Irish when it is all said and done.

These are just possiblities. As everything in recruiting, this is all very fluid. What is interesting, is the high number Weis is willing to take. It would also mean that ND would have 2 Early Enrollees for the spring. And if Weis did reach that number, only 1 spot would be available for a fifth-year possibility for next year. Mo Crum is the likely candidate.

I will keep you all informed as much as I can in the coming weeks and months of all that is happening. What has been evident, is that this is already the best overall class for ND in many years and it may still get better. Add 3 or 4 of these recruits and it may be the best… ever.

Subway Domer Bowl Bonanza

December 5, 2007

It’s that time of year everyone. Bowl season. Sign-up today at ESPN.com on their Bowl Mania link. I am in a Private group.

Name: Subway Domer Bonanza

Pass: weis

Go ahead and give it a shot. You could win a free Subway Domer T-Shirt or at least a shirt that makes fun of Pete Carroll or something.