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Monday, April 26, 2010

The Dead Zone Cometh Once Again

Contemplating the label on my second or is it my third bottle of Stella Artois, I have decided I’m not looking forward to the challenge. It comes every year, always very predictable, always a terrible brain numbing experience, just like clockwork. Sort of like those nasty Dementors flying around in the Harry Potter Series.

Now American college football has its share of special terms and a number of them have to do with Zones.

End Zone. Red Zone. Zone Defense. Yet the one that spells dread is the nasty Dead Zone.

The Dead Zone that just kind of sucks the college football life right out of ya.

That terrible time of year between the end of the NFL college draft and the first day of Fall Camp.  

** When the last of the Notred Dame senior hopefuls have either been drafted or picked up in free agency, you know the Dead Zone is upon you.

** The recruiting trail and news has dried up. Some coaches try to catch a short vacation with the family. Others are hard at work in the bowels of the film room. One former Notre Dame Head Coach was even famous for working on his golf handicap.

** Reporters are hard at work covering NBA Basketball and NHL Hockey playoffs and of course Major League Baseball. The media articles are far and few between concerning college football.  Trolls don't even bother to try and stir things up on blogs.

** Campuses are basically empty except for those toiling to graduate early or trying to catch up and graduate at all. Football players are there too, but mostly taking difficult classes they do not want to attempt in the fall and of course are working out.

For Notre Dame the little news traditionally comings trickling out of the Dead Zone is usually bad news.

*** So-and-so finds himself four-deep on the depth chart and with three years of eligibility remaining, bolts for some program allegedly needing his skills. With a coaching staff more appreciative of his talents where he will get a fresh start and maybe some playing time.

*** Or worse, some transgression surfaces involving alcohol and a proven Irish starter finds himself in hot water. The Law, ResLife, and the Head Coach are standing in line to get a piece of his kester. He is hoping and praying for community service and a zillion push-ups. No suspension. No dismissal from the Team.

*** It leaks out that another potential starter and great hope for the future has temporarily left the Team or Notre Dame for the dreaded “Personal Reasons.” This normally happens right around the start of the Dead Zone period and corresponds to semester grades being sent home. Everyone is mum and the hope is that he will be back in a year.

The one ray of hope trying to break through the Dead Zone shield is the plethora of magazines coming out in late summer to usher in the soon to be ending of the Dead Zone.

Which teams are predicted to win their conferences.

Who’s the preseason favorites for the Heisman?

Tons of touchy-feely articles about who during the off-season taught dwarfs in Hungary how to read or which players overcame debilitating injury to come back for a final year.

Will this Dead Zone be any different? Can it rest in peace for once and not haunt the IRISH?

Come on August 5th and the start of the Fall Camp.

Go IRISH Beat the Dead Zone!

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