Archive for the ‘Paskorz’ Category

Player Interviews: #25, #5, #23, #78, #30

August 18, 2009

Asaph Schwapp Is History & Other Roster Hits

January 26, 2009


It’s over for Schwapp. Asaph has declined an offer to play for a fifth year at Notre Dame, and will look to try and become a blocking fullback in the NFL according to the NFL Draft Bible.

Draft Daddy had this to say about Asaph:

Of the new names, not counting the 4 big names we reported Monday should’ve been on the list, Asaph Schwapp should be the most notable to college football fans. He was the top high school player from the state of Connecticut in the class of 2004 and was hotly recruited, but did not have a great career at Notre Dame. Schwapp accumulated only 98 rushing yards and 62 receiving yards, with no touchdowns, in his four years in South Bend. That said, he may earn a free agent deal and tried as a blocking back.

This is obviously not a surprise to most, but it does leave a gaping hole at the depth the Irish have at fullback for the 2009 season. Steve Paskorz will enter the spring as the #1 fullback… the only fullback. But does it really matter?

Notre Dame has not really used the FB as an effective offensive weapon since the departure of Powers-Neil. When RPN was playing in the Weis system, he was effective as a running fullback, a receiving fullback, and as the featured back near the goaline and short yardage. He worked.

Notre Dame can actually make this position viable again by incorporating those same type of principles with the 2009 offense. But, that depends on the player available.

As mentioned earlier, Steve Paskorz is now the #1 FB on the roster. A converted Tailback from High School, Steve started as a linebacker for the Irish until an onslaught of injuries at the TE and FB positions, along with an influx of talent at the linebacker position forced a move.

Steve certainly has the athleticism to help improve the play at the fullback position. He had his senior season in high school cut in half because of a bad hamsting, but before that happened, Steve rushed for over 4000 yards in his career at Hampton High School in Allison Park, Pennsylvania. He had over 2000 yards duiring his sophomore season.

There may be other options for the Irish as well. Notre Dame was actively recruiting two prospects this year as a fullback- Tyler Gaffney and Toben Opurum. Opurum verballed to Kansas and the opportunity to be more of a featured back. Gaffney is making his verbal declaration on Monday, and it is looking like a Stanford and Irish battle. Gaffney was the player of the year in his division in California and he is exactly what we are needing in a fullback. The problem is, is that he may want to be more of a featured back and Stanford has shown what it can do with a powerful, fullback like runner with Gearhart (I really don’t care if I spelled this right… he plays for Harbaugh).

Now, listen to Yoda… “There is an…oth…er, Sky…walk…er.” There is, but his name ain’t Luke- it’s Robert. Robert Hughes to be exact. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that there is no way that is going to happen, and maybe you are right for the most part. While recruiting Hughes, Weis assured Robert that he would be used as a feature back and not as a fullback. Weis is many things, but he is no liar. That’s not to say that Weis won’t have a talk with Hughes about playing a little more fullback, but I’m sure the conversation will be more of a tester than a demand.

The thing is, Hughes should jump at this chance. I see the Irish offense spreading itself out more in 2009 and using its best weapons in the passing game. There will be more and more formations used that offer only a one back set, but you know Charlie will pull out the regular two back formations a lot as well. How would a switch help Hughes then? Well, it wouldn’t be a full switch. The times that ND would need or want Hughes in the same backfield as Allen, Aldridge, and Gray they would be able to put him there with the confidence that he can accomplish the goal of the play.

Really, all I’m saying is that an athletic fullback can drastically improve the offense that has a hard time getting the short yards that it needs to sustain drives. Look at U$C and their fullback Havili. That guy may be their MVP. He’s fucking ridiculous the way he catches the ball out of the backfield, blocks, and runs. That’s what wee need, and at the moment- we probably lack. That could change soon however.

Yoda thinks Hughes is the shit.

Some other quick roster news… Nyshier Oliver is probably going to decommit from the Irish and head back to his original commitment of Tennessee. This is not fact yet, but I ‘ve read enough to just face it and admit that he is probably gone. Nyshier visited Tennessee this weekend, and all signs point to him spurning the Irish. Oliver was a very nice grab for this class, but the combination of a very talented depth chart at WR at Notre Dame, and a smooth-talking Lane Kiffin, will probably end this relationship. Good luck to Oliver.

Updating the Eligibility Chart for 2009. As I was taking Schwapp off of the chart, I decided to do the same with Oliver. Again, this may be jumping the gun, but someone has to be the asshole… it might as well be me. I also put Gary Gray back on the chart as it was reported that he will be back at ND this summer. (BTW- I will have an eligibility chart for 2010 out soon as we already have one commitment for that class and we may get another this week).

The Irish have 5 spots open for 2009, and as of right now, they are in the mix for Starling, Moore, Te’o, and Gaffney. The Irish are in good shape with 3 of the 4 with Gaffney probably heading to the Farm. Te’o is down to three, and Moore decommited from USC and most likely will sign with the Irish… knock on wood.

Special Thanks to Frankie V at UHND.com Blog for posting a lot of good recruiting info that I and other bloggers have neglected this last few weeks. Good show.

Freshman Are Special People

August 3, 2007

With the first practice of the season coming in just a few days, the mention of the new season is causing an overabundance of excitement all across ND Nation. One of the primary topics every year is “What freshmen will play right away?”. This year is already no different in that aspect. Every message board on the net has more than enough threads debating this very subject matter. The one difference this year however, is that there are very few returning starters on both sides of the ball. This makes for an interesting preseason camp. The starting lineups we saw in the spring may differ before it is all said and done.

We can debate and speculate all we want about the depth chart for the offense and defense. There is certainly a wealth of talent coming in this year for us to do so. Will Clausen start? What about Kamara? But generally speaking over the years, the biggest overall impact a freshman class can make is on special teams. This is where I believe the frosh are going to see significant playing time, and hopefully contribute to some great plays and victories. Who? Where?

  • Brandon Walker K– With the lack of success the kicking game had last year, Walker has an excellent chance to take over the duty if he performs well during practice. This probably isn’t too much of a surprise to anyone that saw last years debacle. His main competition will be Ryan Burkhart, who could never usurp Carl Gioia in 2006. The shortcomings of last years field goal unit, were instrumental in the decisions that Weis made regarding play calling (especially on 4th down) once The Irish got within the opponents 30 yard line. Weis may be a risk taker, but he was a risk taker on steroids last year with no confidence in the kickers. Look for Walker to take the job and pull double duty next year after Price is gone Ala Fitzpatrick.
  • Armando Allen KR– The Irish lacked explosion last year on this unit. Allen can bring a million tons of TNT to this position. With David Grimes starting at WR, this could probably open up the spot for the speedy Allen. Look for Allen to become a staple on this unit as the Irish have a very inexperienced offense that will need quality field position to loosen up.
  • Golden Tate KR– Speaking of returning kicks… Look for Tate to see some time back there as well. George West is a probable starter at WR and that may also affect his PT retuning kicks. Tate is very quick and athletic and the possible duo of him and Allen sounds very enticing.
  • Steve Paskorz, Harrison Smith, and Aaron Nagel KICKOFF– Steve Paskorz might get arrested this year for assault. He looks like an animal after hitting the weight room harder than Latimer on “The Program”. He is also pretty fleet footed and could prove to be a very good hitter/gunner for this unit. Fumbles are what we are looking for from Steve. Fumbles and body bags. Aaron Nagel can be seen in the same light. Though not as big a specimen as Paskorz, he is quicker and is a very good tackler who impressed all the coaches at the Army All-American game. I love me some safeties. Safeties are excellent players for the kickoff team as they are fast and tackle very well with some authority. Harrison Smith fits this mold. He may have a lot of competition though with guys like Jashaad Gaines, Sergio Brown, and Leonard Gordon looking for playing time as well. But, I think he could do very well , given the chance.

That’s it? Well it is only the first week of August. Time will tell what freshman will do what soon enough. I will already concur that I feel Clausen will start at some point this season (or at least some very significant PT), Kamara should see a lot of action at WR, Hughes and Allen could wind up in the rotation at RB, and Kerry Neal may see the field soon at OLB and on special teams. This is a list of what I believe are the probables going into preseason camp.

Please keep in mind that these are only freshman, and may have some very wide eyes. This is the case for a lot future stars around the country. One of our greatest players ever at ND, Tim Brown, even fell into this sea of wonder his freshman year during the 1984 season opener versus Purdue in Indianapolis as told by him in Eric Hansen’s Stadium Stories: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

“But when [ coach] Gerry Faust is giving his big
speech in the locker room, he ends it with, ‘Tim Brown, I want you to return the
opening kickoff.’ I was just shaking in my pants, man.”

So shaken was Brown that he forgot his helmet in
the locker room and had to run back to get it. That was the last vivid memory of
the opening moments of his collegiate football career.

“I can honestly say I don’t I don’t remember what
happened,” he said with a chuckle. “All I know is they squib kicked the ball to
me. I remember getting over to it and getting my hands on it. And I saw a hole
and started running. It was weird, because I’m like, ‘Why isn’t anybody trying
to tackle me?’ At some point. I must have dropped the ball. I must have freaked
out, went into shock or something, because I have no recollection of fumbling
the ball. I know I didn’t get hit. I finally turned around, and it was like,
‘What happened?’ What a way to start your career.”

Hopefully, someone relays this story to Armando. Tell him, “If you fumble, make sure you win the Heisman your senior year.”