Archive for June, 2009

Wu Am I? Greasy Choirboy & Tha Foolish Magician

June 30, 2009

Welcome to another edition of Wu Am I? for the 2009 season. Once again- I am trying to identify the 36 players of impact for the 2009 squad. So without any further bullshit, I open chambers 15 & 16…

Duval Kamara #18
Wide Receiver
6’5″ 220 lbs.
Junior
Hoboken, New Jersey
Wu Name: Greasy Choirboy

When it comes to Kamara, things are usually very quiet. He was a highly rated 4 star prospect in high school, yet his commitment to Notre Dame in early June of 2006 went largely uncelebrated. Kamara set freshman receiving records in 2007, but the team had one of the worst seasons in its entire existence and no one outside of the ND fanbase really took notice. As good as Duval was in his freshman year, he did regress quite a bit in 2008. When Kamara arrived to ND in the summer, he weighed more than what the staff wanted and was punished until he dropped the pounds. (He had to wear a lineman’s jersey). Duval never regained his freshman form and watched his minutes dwindle as fellow sophomore WR, Golden Tate, became a star and freshman phenom, Michael Floyd, skyrocketed to stardom himself as he crushed the records set by Kamara a year earlier.

Here comes 2009. With Tate and Floyd virtually locked in as the #1 & #2 WR’s, Kamara finds himself in a battle with two redshirt freshman ( John Goodman & Deion Walker), a senior (Robby Parris), and yet another bigtime freshman (Shaq Evans) for the “3rd” WR position. Notre Dame has arguably the best and deepest receiving corps in the country, so whoever emerges as the “3rd” WR will definitely have earned the job. My money is on Kamara. He has the experience and the skill set to set himself apart from the rest of the pack. It will ultimately come down to Duval and his ability to go up and get balls in traffic that has me believing in him. He will be pushed- but that push may be to the top of the mountain and not, to the bottom of it.

Kerry Neal #56
Defensive End
6’3″ 246 lbs.
Junior
Bunn, North Carolina
Wu Name: Tha Foolish Magician

Speaking of quiet. Kerry Neal was the first commitment for the incoming class of 2007. What sometimes happens in recruiting is that even though you may be rated very high (as Neal was) you don’t receive a lot of hype or attention. (Bad for business for the recruiting services.) What Neal lacked in flash during the recruiting period, he made up for once he got to South Bend. He played in all 12 games during his freshman year and started 5 of those games at outside linebacker. He was developing into a very nice pass rusher and showed good coverage skills on the outside. In 2008 Neal played almost the entire year with his hand on the ground at defensive end and was pushed around by offensive tackles, much bigger than him. The run support on the outside suffered.

I’m looking for a huge step forward for Neal in 2009. I think he had some injury issues with his shoulder in 2008 and he should be a little more healthy- plus if the Fighting Irish use more of a rotation system in 2009- he should stay fresh. Neal didn’t have huge stats his freshman year, so saying his sophomore year was a downturn when he switched positions doesn’t make all that much sense to me. I think Kerry has a swagger and a determination that is all his own, and we should expect more from him in 2009, as I believe he will deliver. Tenuta has been known to get the most out of his defensive ends in his scheme, and with new coach Randy Hart along to help- this could be a very big year for Neal.

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Badger Is Irish… Recognizes Harbaugh Is A Tool

June 29, 2009


The Fighting Irish are on a roll with commitments as off late. They got their 4th commit in 5 days when 3 star safety, Chris Badger committed to Notre Dame. Badger is a big hitter and will definatly play more of a strong safety role that rolls up on run support.

Badger was a verbal commitment to Stanford and Jim Harbaugh up until now. Harbaugh may be crazy as bat shit, but he is becoming a thorn in the side of Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts. The Irish may still get another “flip” from Stanford before this is all over with.

Chris is the first safety to commit for the class of 2010. Notre Dame would like to take no less than 2 safeties, but will probably take 3 or even 4.

Here is an evaluation from ESPN:

This guy is one tough nut. He has good size and for the secondary and really stands out at the safety position. Very instinctive and is a quick reactor to both the run and the pass. Attacks downhill on run support and takes great angles to the football; rarely is out of position. A sure reliable tackler attacking from the inside out and in the openfield. Especially impressive defending the sweep and option before the ball can break the perimeter. A physical hitter that makes a ton of face up tackles; absolutely doesn’t shy away from contact. Tackles from low to high and explodes through the ball carrier. Intelligent safety that understands and reads route progression; knows when to jump the route. Transitions well and gets a great break on the ball. Excellent ball skills and times the interception to perfection; knows exactly when to go up for the ball. Soft and confident hands that gets north and south instantly after the interception. Goes up in a crowd and high points the ball. Fluid in the hips and can change direction without losing speed or balance. Very solid zone coverage safety from both the two and three deep. Quicker than fast but runs well and has a burst out of his break. Shows some limitations in one-on-one coverage when in man. Badger is an outstanding run support safety and possesses all the skills to be a very good free safety at the next level as well as a special teams standout.

Here’s a nice video of Badger laying dudes out:

Welcome to Notre Dame Chris!!!

View The State of Recruiting 2009 in a larger map

In The Blink Of An Eye

June 29, 2009

Still Vacationing…

June 26, 2009


I realize that there has been a lot of Fighting Irish news in the past week. You should realize- I’M ON VACATION MOTHERFUCKERS!!! Hellyeah!

Anyways, I’ll be back and running full speed by either Monday or even Sunday. I really mean it this time.

So R.I.P Michael Jackson, Ed McMahon, and sweet Farrah.

And not only did Hendrix commit today, but Blake Leuders did as well per Rivals. (Stories to follow post vacation… what a week).

The Nitty Gritty

June 18, 2009


I’ll make this short and sweet. Bagpipe Monday is suspended until August. I have a lot of posts that I want to do for the summer, and I have even less time to do it- it’s summertime. And to make maters even more complicated, I am tinkering with a few things on the site and I may make some very big changes before the season begins.

We’ll see.

Look for a new survey on the right hand column to appear very soon. I also ditched the Shoutbox. It was becoming a collection of links to dating sites and other bullshit. Other than BM, posts should (should) stay relatively on the same pace, as they have been.

So anyways…

Wu Am I? Chi-Town Colossal Ass-Kicker & Hayseed Tha Dragon-Slayer

June 12, 2009

Welcome to another edition of Wu Am I? for the 2009 season. Once again- I am trying to identify the 36 players of impact for the 2009 squad. So without any further bullshit, I open chambers 13 & 14…

Robert Hughes #33
Running Back
5’11” 237 lbs.
Junior
Chicago, Illinois
Wu Name: Chi-Town Colossal Ass-Kicker

Notre Dame has had more than its fair share of spectacular “Big Backs” in its history. None were better than Jerome Bettis. (Do not argue with me- for I know best). He is the bar that is set, for any back walking onto campus with a robust frame. Hughes was touted as the possible challenger to that title when he committed to Notre Dame after a long and grueling recruiting process that had Hughes heading to the Fighting Irish over Illinois and Michigan. In some ways he looked the part in 2007 as he looked like the best offensive player on a very bad team. His stock was soaring and most thought that 2008 would be a very big year for Hughes. It turned out to be a sophomore slump. Hughes doubled his carries, but dropped over 2 yards per attempt from 5.5 to 3.4 while ending 2008 with the same amount of TD’s (4) as in 2007. Robert did suffer a nagging injury against San Diego St. that those close to the program had said bothered him all year.

2009 could be that special year. Hughes was asked by his coaches to figure out what type of back he wants to be. I think we will see a much more determined runner in 2009 than we saw in 2008. All indications are that the offensive line will be much better this year and the Notre Dame will have a “Cliche” pair of backs with Allen and Hughes. Robert has a tremendous skill set, and for a big back- he has great feet. The real question for Hughes is: Can he put it all together? If the answer is yes, and it should be, than the Fighting Irish offense will continue to improve and start scaring the shit out of its opponents. Hughes can be that difference maker. The one that keeps drives alive on a 3rd and 1 and the one that pushes the pile and score when its 4th and goal from the one, and the one that suddenly burst through the middle for a long run. He has the tools, now let’s see if he learns how to use them. I vote-yes.

Harrison Smith #22
Safety
6’2″ 206 lbs.
Junior
Knoxville, Tennessee
Wu Name: Hayseed Dragon-Slayer

Athletic. That’s the best way to describe the long-haired Junior from Tennessee. He was a prize recruit from a state that produces few top prospects. He followed fellow Tennessee product, Golden Tate, to Notre Dame as an early Christmas present for Charlie Weis. If Tate didn’t earn some state honor, Smith did. Because of a good two-deep at safety when Smith arrived, he was able to redshirt and preserve a year of eligibility. Out of necessity of depth and a need for speed and overall talent at the linebacker position- Smith was thrown over to Jon Tenuta to become his primary blitzer from the outside. Although the sacks didn’t quite pile up, Smith made his presence known as he consistently applied pressure and was effective in batting down passes. He will probably be best known for his acrobatic rush style as he was in the air for a lot of those blitzes.

Flash forward. With a depleting depth chart at safety and an increase in talent at linebacker, Smith has been moved back to his natural safety position in 2009. Perhaps the short stint at linebacker, helped toughen Smith up and help make him a dangerous enforcer in the secondary. The potential for Smith is really, limitless. He has a big frame and could still add a few pounds while maintaining his good speed. I think Smith really has a banner year for the Irish as he will provide the opposing offenses a lot of headaches. he will be able to blitz effectively and provide solid run support- while at the same time be able to drop back in coverage against the pass. The Fighting Irish need a playmaker at safety, and Harrison Smith should be able to answer that call.

More On The Montana Fallout

June 12, 2009

Here’s a video clip from Rivals.com explaining in quick form what the Nick Montana commitment to Washington means to Notre Dame and a few other schools.

AMP: The Montana fallout @ Rivals Video

Bennett Jackson Is A Good Fit

June 9, 2009

Notre Dame recently received its 5th commitment for the incoming class of 2010. Bennett Jackson, a speedy slot receiver, gave his verbal pledge to the Fighting Irish over the weekend.

Good. Very good. I was kind of shocked at the amount of Irish fans that displayed some dismay to Jackson’s commitment. He is not as highly rated as some of the other WR prospects that ND has offered such as Kyle Prater, Justin McKay, and Corey Cooper and that has a few fans worried.

Hogwash. Notre Dame could, and probably will, take up to 4 WR’s for the 2010 class. We continue to need speed and Jackson has it. Plus, he just seems like an ND kid to me. So…

WELCOME TO ND BENNETT JACKSON!!!

Farrell: Jackson good fit for ND @ Rivals Video

Bagpipe Monday… Dammit- It’s Tuesday Again!

June 9, 2009

Welcome back to another edition of Bagpipe Monday- brought to you on Tuesday from the fine makers of Monday Housework. Anyways, last week I asked you a few questions about the TV announcing for Notre Dame football games. You people scare me:

  • 51% of you say they don’t give a crap what the announcers say during the game.
  • 53% of you said that you have screamed at the TV announcers for over a minute on an occasion.
  • 50% of you would like to see Christopher Walken and Gary Busey call the games for Notre Dame.

So, most of you are screaming at the TV announcers while not really giving a shit what is going on, AND your dream announcing crew would sound something like this:

Scenario—4th and goal. Notre Dame down 33-38 to U$C. 3 seconds remain on the clock. Do or die…

Walken: James Clausen steps behind the center and places- his hands- directly under the ass of Wenger.

Busey: That’s called ‘ Inner manhood.’

Walken: Jimbo takes the snap and fakes to Aldridge. What a LIAR! Now he zips one in the endzone… caught by Tate. That’s a TD folks and Pete Carrol is officially-anal raped.

Busey: That’s why they call Jimmy, The Eagle. He grabs his spirit jock and forces the frog to become part of his inner child. That is sexual, in its rawest form.

You people scare the shit out of me. Don’t forget to vote in this weeks survey in the right hand column, and enjoy the pipes!

Pencil Them In

June 5, 2009


In a recent Subway Domer survey, I asked 20 questions about the program to help me brainstorm and post a few thoughts/ideas/manifestos… whatever you want to call it- about the program. (Alright- 19. 1 was to see if anybody was still paying attention to the site). So here is the first post to kind of really deal with those results.

The Schedule…

Generally, The Subway Domer does not comment on the schedule very much. There are a few things in life that you can’t control, and when it comes to college football there are many, many things that we can’t control, so I choose to not bitch about the slate that much. But it is still a very important part of the college football landscape… so a post about it every couple years or so won’t hurt.

Notre Dame’s schedule takes a lot of heat every year for their schedule and the opponents on that schedule. Whether it’s fans of the Fighting Irish, or its detractors- the schedule stirs up a lot of heated debate on both sides of the aisle, and even a few fistfights in the same aisle. I’m not here to to vilify the schedule or defend it- rather, explain what it is, what it isn’t and what it could be in this new era of the 7-4-1 system.

I’ll do this by examining the 2009 & 2010 season’s schedule and incorporating your thoughts from the recent survey. In that survey, Miami Fla. and Alabama were overwhelming winners when I asked what two teams should be on the schedule if the Michigan State and Purdue games were on an every other year rotation and if we got rid of a PAC 10 team. So let’s get started…

2009 ( Current)

  • Nevada
  • @ Michigan
  • Michigan State
  • @ Purdue
  • Washington
  • U$C
  • Boston College
  • Washington State (@ San Antonio)
  • Navy
  • @ PITT
  • UConn
  • @ Stanford

2009 is the first year that the 7-4-1 scheduling model takes effect. For a team and a fanbase that is in desperate need of reaching a BCS bowl, the schedule looks like the cure. It has 7 bowl teams from 2008, but only two of those teams won their respective bowl games (U$C & UConn).

It breaks down like this:

  • 4) Pac 10 teams
  • 3) Big 10 teams
  • 2) Big East teams
  • 1) ACC team
  • 1) Independent team
  • 1) WAC team

The schedule is very indicative of what Notre Dame really is in 2009. A national school that recruits nationally- but well groomed for a serious BCS run. What this schedule doesn’t have is what may be of the most importance: 1) No SEC schools 2) No Big 12 schools 3) No 1-AA schools.
As much as Notre Dame likes to recruit the south (particularly Florida and Georgia), it doesn’t get to showcase itself to southerns very often anymore.

The same goes for the state of Texas. The game in San Antonio is a nice way to help recruiting in a state that Notre Dame would love to start taking more recruits from, but the game lacks a BIG 12- or even opponent from Texas with the the awful, awful Cougars of Washington State slated as the opponent.

The schedule does have an often overlooked (media) bright side that keeps the Fighting Irish respectable… no 1-AA schools. In an age of getting “the sure money win” Notre Dame has not resorted to filling its slots with those schools that have NOTHING to do with 1-A football. Yes, some of those 1-AA schools are significantly better than some schools in the lower third of 1-A- but they are still in a completely different division with a different title. Should MLB start scheduling AAA teams, or the NFL start scheduling teams in the CFL? That’s what this is- except the games actually count towards the BCS formula.

Now on to what you want to see in the schedule based on the parameters of the survey question:

2009 (Adjusted)

  • Nevada
  • @ Michigan
  • Michigan State
  • @ Alabama
  • Washington (@ San Antonio)
  • U$C
  • Boston College
  • Miami Fla.
  • Navy
  • @ PITT
  • UConn
  • @ Stanford

The schedule breaks down like this:

  • 3) Pac 10 teams
  • 2) Big East teams
  • 2) ACC teams
  • 2) Big 10 teams
  • 1) SEC team
  • 1) WAC team
  • 1) Independent team

That schedule is significantly harder with 9 bowl teams from 2008, although the collective bowl record is a very poor 2-7. Two of those teams were in BCS games with U$C winning another Rose Bowl and Alabama losing to Utah in the Sugar Bowl.

What’s still missing from the schedule is a BIG 12 opponent. Texas came in 3rd in the voting and if I was feeling saucy, I guess I could slide them into the neutral site game, but would 3 teams that made it to BCS bowls be suicide? Yes. It would.

I originally had planned to make the Miami game the neutral site game and have it played in Tampa, but even in this fantasy world, Miami would never play a neutral site game one year and then play at ND the next and vice versa.

The schedule is even more wide spread across the country and fiscally and historically makes sense. I personally have a problem with the idea of rotating the Purdue and Michigan State games, but it was an idea that was brought up by the A.D., so it serves merit in this fantasy situation.

I should note that I really like the Nevada game. Nevada will contend for the WAC title versus Boise St. this year, and it will have one of the best quarterbacks on the schedule (real or fantasy). One more thing about Nevada… I already consider The Mountain West a better conference than the Big East, but if we could add Nevada and Boise State to MWC- top to bottom it would pull ahead of the Pac 10. No, I am not crazy, but I do digress.

2010 (Current)

  • Purdue
  • Michigan
  • @ Michigan State
  • Stanford
  • @ Boston College
  • PITT
  • Army (Chicago / Soldier Field)
  • @ Navy (Baltimore)
  • Utah
  • @ U$C
  • TBD
  • TBD

A monkey wrench is already being thrown into the new 7-4-1 format. There are only 5 home games scheduled so far and and there will only be 3 true road games with the Army and Navy games being played on neutral fields.

The schedule breaks down like this:

  • 3) Big 10 teams
  • 2) Pac 10 teams
  • 2) Independent teams
  • 1) ACC team
  • 1) Big East team
  • 1) Mountain West team

At least there is a significant drop in Pac 10 teams with the Washington series ending and no Washington St. There is still no SEC teams or Big 12 teams on the schedule. The addition of Army as the “neutral site” game won’t help with those who criticize Notre Dame’s schedule as Navy is still on there (and will be forever).

Let’s take a look at the adjustments:

2010 (Adjusted)

  • Alabama
  • Purdue
  • Michigan
  • @ Miami Fla.
  • Stanford
  • @ Boston College
  • PITT
  • Army (Chicago / Soldier Field)
  • @ Navy (Baltimore)
  • Utah
  • Cincinnati
  • @ U$C

The schedule breaks down like this:

  • 2) Big 10 teams
  • 2) Pac 10 teams
  • 2) ACC teams
  • 2) Big East teams
  • 2) Independent teams
  • 1) Mountain West team
  • 1) SEC team

I know what you’re thinking. Why Cincinnati? It received the least amount of votes in the survey. But, to keep with the theme of evening out of the conferences and the need for a home game, it made the most sense out of the rest of the list. I have heard rumors of playing Houston in 2010 and even Oklahoma- but this is just a fantasy look, so we’ll just go with it.

Once again there are no BIG 12 teams and I have also heard a desire to play Baylor, but I guess we will just have to wait and see what Swarbrick has in mind.

Conclusion:

We may never again get what we want from the schedule. It was an amazing time from the Era of Ara to the end of the Holtz years. The schedule that the Fighting Irish faced in that time period was normally on par with being one of the tougher schedules in the country. The schedule in the present times is telling of the administrations burning desire for another National Title- they are obsessed, as we all are, about winning another title.

Like I said before, I normally don’t comment too much about the schedule as it is too frustrating and fruitless to do so in my opinion. However, once the Irish start winning the big games (U$C- cough, cough) and BCS bowls or even the effing Gator Bowl- the schedule will continue to be the target of criticism on both sides of the aisle.

This post was just a fantasy take on what the schedule could be with the parameters that I set forth in a survey question. It is not perfect and is open for debate. My only hope, is that Notre Dame will start scheduling another big game every year without drowning itself. Until then, we should just cliche’ the thing and take it one game at a time and cheer 110% and let the chips fall as they may and…