Archive for the ‘Sergio Brown’ Category

Player Interviews: #31,#58, #7, #41

August 18, 2009

Wu Am I? Tha Dreadlocked Destroya & Phantom Overlord

August 3, 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 27 & 28…

Sergio Brown #31
Safety
6′ 2″ 205 lbs.
Senior
Maywood, Illinois
Wu Name: Tha Dreadlocked Destroya

Sergio came to Notre Dame in the fall/summer of 2006 as part of a large 28 man class. Sergio chose the Irish over schools like Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois. Brown was considered to be the biggest “sleeper” prospect in this class. He was praised for his athleticism and his prototypical size for the safety position. Sergio’s first two year at Notre Dame were mirror images of themselves from an individual point of view. He saw very limited game experience at Safety, but was a big contributor on special teams. Last year, Brown battled Kyle McCarthy for the vacant safety spot once occupied by Tommy Zbikowski. The competition was considered neck and neck as spring ended, but something happened that helped decide the outcome of this position battle. Darrin Walls left Notre Dame for personal reasons. This opened up a huge hole at corner, which was filled by Raeshon McNeil- but in return opened up another huge hole at nickel back. Brown filled that hole- and did a damn good job at it too.

If you are at least a short time follower of Subway Domer, than you may already know my feelings on Sergio Brown and Kyle McCarthy. You just don’t bench the returning tam leader in tackles- or give him a diminished role. I like McCarthy, and consider him a very tough football player, but he is not in the same league with Brown when it comes to overall skills. Sergio is one of those guys that in hindsight should have been redshirted. But nevermind that. In a year where the nickelback will be as important as any other position on the defense, Sergio should shine. Notre Dame plays enough teams that run out of a spread formation, that Brown’s minutes will be up and he will most assuredly be making some big plays for the irish. I’m telling ya- watch out. He may of came in, as a sleeper- but don’t be sleeping on him, ’cause you might get took.

Mike Ragone #83
Tight End
6′ 5″ 251 lbs.
Junior
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Wu Name: Phantom Overlord

When Mike Ragone committed to Notre Dame in 2007, Irish fans felt like they were getting the type of tight end that Notre Dame both needed, and deserved. Mike had incredible speed to go along with a very big body. Mike played some in his freshman year, but mostly made an impact on special teams as he tutored under John Carlson. Irish fans (and haters) probably remember the ass-beating Ragone and Travis Thomas unleashed on a Penn State player. Mike was poised for a big year in 2008, but a knee injury forced him to redshirt last season. Mike’s regression, saw the emergence of another young tight end in Kyle Rudolph.

Make NO mistake about it- Notre Dame needs Ragone to stay healthy and become productive. When the Charlie Weis offense is rolling, it is usually out of a two tight end formation. Mike may have lost out on the #1 TE spot to Rudolph (who is considered one of the best in the NCAA right now), but because of that style that Weis like to play- Ragone will be of equal importance. One thing that Mike brings to the table better than Rudolph is attitude. Ragone can be a mean motherfucker. I remember an “insider report” about Ragone calling out every member of the 2007 offensive line by calling them a ” bunch of fucking pussies.” Whether that is all true or not, Mike is an intense player that the team can feed off of as they grind out games. Ragone is an important piece of the 2009 puzzle, and he could help tip the scale for an offense that is virtually intact from last year.

Settin This Stage On Fire

July 13, 2009

I saw this on Sergio Brown’s Facebook page. I’m fucking JACKED!!!

Polish

April 1, 2009

Every year at this time Irish fans are in a frenzy. Spring football can do that to you. Spring football can do that to you, especially after 16 years since Notre Dame last truly competed for a National Title, and 21 years since they actually won one.

So it’s time to break out the polish and buff out those mistakes that plagued the Irish both physically and mentally last year. My friend Domer.mq at the always great Her Loyal Sons blog, posted that we will learn absolutely nothing from Spring football. At first I thought mq was dead wrong. Then I started to really agree with him. Then boys and girls, I realized that like all things (OK almost all things) in life, this is more of a gray area than black and white, and you can still learn from gray. (Except that piece of shit Grays Anatomy. I will never travel to Seattle… ever).

When you polish something, it can work out the flaws or make them stand out even more. That is what Spring ball really is. No position battles will be won or lost as I so foolishly once thought. However, it does help the transition from year to year in that it gives the players and coaches different looks than the previous year provided. Am I losing you? It’s 3 AM and I might be losing myself too. So without further bullshit, let me provide some of my commentary on a few questions that Notre Dame has, headed into Spring and for the 2009 season for that matter. Let’s plug in the buffer…

Jimmy Clausen and his leadership are in question. Maybe this is the most poignant topic for the team in general. Many Irish fans and haters have called Clausen out for his lack of leadership on a team that desperately needs a leader on offense. This subject has been addressed over and over again from the start of the 2008 season till even now. Do not get sucked into the propaganda that Clausen is developing into a leader. If I were you, I would forget everything that you hear and see from Clausen as far as this subject is concerned.

In high school, the football coaches tried to shove a couple of players down our throat our senior year and called them captains. Only two, instead of the traditional four that our school always had. It took two minutes into the first day of camp for myself and another player to walk up to the front and basically declare ourselves the the “Players Captains” as opposed to the “Coaches Captains.” I often wonder if Clausen is that “Coaches Captain” that leads, but is never followed.

This is what will begin to define his legacy as a Notre Dame quarterback. Will these guys follow Jimmy into battle and look to him for that leadership on and off of the field? This is something that will not be answered this Spring and won’t be until the Nevada game- or perhaps Michigan.

The defensive scenarios are giving me a headache. There are too many blitz packages and defensive alignments to really have a true grasp at what the depth chart will look like, especially in the spring. Different players names are being thrown around like they own their position. Most die hard fans already know what I am about to write, but it needs to be said. There is no position on defense that is locked down 100%. There might be a player or two (you’ll find out in a minute) that are pretty much guaranteed a spot on the field, but that spot may differ from last year. Don’t get me wrong. I speculate and have a good time in trying to figure out the depth chart, but Spring football will only inch us closer to a two deep instead of leaping into one.

It amazes me that Irish fans are so confident about our defense. I too am guilty, and we all have some valid reasons as to why we think this way, but here is a bit of truth to take into consideration: There are only two players on the front seven that we can say with absolute certainty that will be playmakers; Brian Smith and Ethan Johnson. Everyone else is still a mystery. The potential is there, but potential is always a tricky subject.

Maybe this is why I am so feverishly promoting Sergio Brown as an everydown safety. The Irish have proven playmakers in the secondary, but have very few in the front seven. I just feel that the defense needs as many playmakers as it can put out there, and it’s no secret that I think Brown has more potential than McCarthy.

I could seriously go on like this for another 13 or 14 points. Maybe I should. This team has far too many questions across the board to have many decisions made in April. The offense is a little easier to figure out, at least when it comes to personnel and even then, the Irish still need a left tackle, a 3rd and 4th WR, a second TE, fullback questions- blah, blah, blah. See. How much we learn about this team will be enigmatic if we don’t look at the stuff below the surface.

So no. We won’t learn who the 22 starters will be coming out of spring. We will however, have a better idea about who they might be after a little polish. And with a schedule like Notre Dame’s this year- a little polish could go a long way into make this season shine.

Editors Note: This is what 4 AM feedings will do to a person.

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.