Archive for the ‘Harrison Smith’ Category

Fall Camp 8/19… With TAH-NOO-TAH!!!

August 19, 2009
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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.

Bagpipe Monday Is On Delay… I Give You More Interviews

March 30, 2009

Bagpipe Monday will be out later today. Until then…
Corwin Brown

Defense brings the energy @ Rivals Video

Raeshon McNeil

McNeil playing on the edge @ Rivals Video

Robert Blanton

Learning process continues Blanton @ Rivals Video

Harrison Smith

The Curious Case of Sergio Brown

March 6, 2009

It’s that time of year. Spring football is right around the corner and the message boards are a buzz with roster movement and depth chart speculation. People can’t help themselves. It’s fun, it’s interesting, and its all we got right now.

I generally try to stay away from printing out any type of depth chart or starter projection-type material. In this era of football, more players are playing due to both sides of the ball using many different formations and packages. So instead of pinpointing 22 guys as “starters”, I have instead pointed to 35-36 players of impact. These are players that will contribute heavily to the team. Sergio Brown is certainly one of those players, but could he be more?

If you ask around the Notre Dame locker room, “Who is the best athlete on the team?” More times than not, Sergio Brown would be the answer, and it has been for the last couple of years.

Last spring, Brown competed against Kyle McCarthy for the strong safety spot that opened up after the departure of 4 year starter Tom Zbikowski. McCarthy won that position battle and it bore fruit after Kyle led the team in tackles in 2008 with 110 and also had 2 interceptions. It was a very solid performance- that also had me yawning. Where were the big plays? Granted, Kyle did make some very big tackles that helped the team. However, it was done so quietly and 10-20 yards past the line of scrimmage, that it looked effortless.

After spring ball, the designated starters at defensive back were pretty much decided. These are the players that fell into the slots:

  • CB- Darrin Walls
  • CB- Terrail Lambert
  • FS- David Bruton
  • SS- Kyle McCarthy
  • Nickel- Raeshon McNeil
  • Dime- Gary Gray

Oh, how things change- and quickly at that. After Walls, the most talented defensive back on the roster, left school for personal reasons it opened up a huge hole. That hole got filled by Raeshon McNeil, but like a submarine taking on water, another hole opened up. The lineup soon looked like this:

  • CB- Raeshon McNeil
  • CB- Terrail Lambert
  • FS- David Bruton
  • SS- Kyle McCarthy
  • Nickel- Sergio Brown
  • Dime- Gary Gray

It didn’t take long for this lineup to get tampered with either. Robert Blanton started kicking down the door from the day he stepped on campus and he soon got a lot of playing time. At first it was Gary Gray rotating in with Lambert and occasionally McNeil. Then, Blanton took over the role that Gray was occupying as the season wore on.

As we roll into spring football for 2009, we see the same type of battles that must take place to decide the participants. With Walls back, and the emergence of Robert Blanton the lineup will definitely be shook up- but is it the right shake up. Enter Sergio Brown.

After playing on special teams in his first two seasons and racking up a colossal 11 tackles, Brown stepped onto the stage in a huge way for the Irish at the Nickel position from game one last year. He was an effective blitzer and terrific in coverage. He showed great athleticism and playmaking ability and in my opinion- he proved himself to be able to contend for the SS spot once again. He deserves it, and keep in mind that this is his last year of eligibility. (That last part sucks balls).

I just feel that Brown brings more to the table than McCarthy. I like Kyle, but I also like safeties that make big plays. I’m not sure if Kyle can do it or can’t do it, but I am sure that Sergio has more of the tools needed to make those big plays.

In today’s game, we see more and more defenses having to move towards using the nickel package as somewhat of a base defense against spread teams. Spread teams are multiplying. So, the nickel is just as important as the SS for the most part. My ideal setup for the defensive backs in a nickel formation looks like this:

  • CB- Darrin Walls
  • CB- Raeshon McNeil
  • FS- Harrison Smith
  • SS- Sergio Brown
  • Nickel- Robert Blanton

We can argue about the Blanton/McNeil battle at a later time. By now, the McCarthy brothers and fan club are ready to tear my ass apart, but we have to be honest with ourselves. You could at least pencil Kyle in as the Dime- but I keep hearing that the staff is very high on Jamoris Slaughter too. Uh, oh…

By now, if you’re still reading this, you are probably wondering if I am moving towards some type of point or closing argument. Perhaps. But I think I have made it clear already. Sergio Brown is an exciting and athletic player and in my opinion- he should be starting at the SS spot. This puts our defensive backfield in better situations to make the big play. McCarthy led the team in tackles last year with 110, so I can understand that some people may be hesitant to accept this fact, but we should. A safety shouldn’t be making that many tackles anyways.

This is the “Curious Case of Sergio Brown,” but in essence it is also the ” Curious Case of the Secondary.” What do we do with what is the most talented defensive backfield the Irish have had in a very long time? In my opinion, we go with the playmakers and let them make plays, and somehow that all revolves around Mr. Brown.

More Player Interviews… #22, #28, #5

December 15, 2008

Harrison Smith may need a haircut.

Kyle McCarthy knows how important this bowl game is for the team.

Armando Allen- “We got to give it all we got.”

Video Bombs

April 15, 2008

Practice…

TAH-NOO-TAH

The “Legend” Corwin Brown

Harrison Smith… Linebacker?