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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Terrible Curse of the Notre Dame Tight End

1973 Sugar Bowl - Tom Clements

Is the Curse contagious? What is it? Who placed the Curse on the Irish to begin with? Is it centered on individual stupidity? How do you get rid of it?  Is Brian Kelly also to be plagued by the Curse? So many questions, so few answers until now!

The terrible Tight End Curse has infected both Charlie Weis and now Brian Kelly. Will it ever go away?

You set an offense based upon multiple and varied formations utilizing a tall, talented tight end to both block and receive. The tight end is not just for show or deception, but also to block the corner blitzer and to get open over the middle from where the linebackers have strayed. The offense expects to exploit this option and formation to have it available on every play. Something the defense has to take into account on every single down as well.

What are needed are good hands, great body strength to fight off defensive ends and linebacker blitzing but also good size and speed. Team depth at this position is key. Three capable sets of hands and shoulders are ideal. A sophomore, a junior, a senior, the perfect combination of experience, teaching and continuity.

The history of the Tight End Curse:

The latest victim of the Curse is Brian Kelly and for cryin out loud, he has not even run out of the tunnel or coached a single down.

His story is now well known, Tight End Mike Ragone has been arrested on suspicion of possessing marijuana. Pulled over heading East on the Indiana Toll Road by a state trooper for doing 83 where the speed limit is a mere 70 MPH.

Gee, I have traveled that stretch of interstate dozens of times and know two things.  Indiana State Police are thick as thieves and they know how to use radar guns. Slamming down the Toll Road doin, a joint with your chick and having a heavy foot is a made for movie experience set for sheer disaster.

I would guess being 22 years-old and a senior having to face ResLife Court pretty much washes out his career at Notre Dame. Mike desperately needs to find a lower tier school where he can play this fall. Hopefully and mercifully, the Indiana judicial courts will be lenient.  Good luck Mike!

Charlie’s Curse:

Will Yeatman a gifted lacrosse player and tight end succumbed to separate charges of underage drinking and left Notre Dame for Maryland.  He showed nothing in a recent Notre Dame lacrosse upset of Maryland and has announced he will play for the Terripins this fall.

Joseph Fauria transferred to UCLA from Notre Dame, after being suspended by the school's Office of Residence Life for a non-athletic issue.  Some rumors say he was caught streaking on campus.  I don't know, I was not there.

Konrad Reuland transferred to Stanford from Notre Dame, after dropping down the depth chart and seeing little chance of seeing meaningful playing time behind, get this, Yeatman and Ragone. The final straw was even more ironic, Kyle Rudolph had also just verbally committed to Notre Dame. Reuland would have had a clear shot at tight end if he would have stuck around.

So how did the terrible Tight End Curse get it’s start?

Turns out it was a 30-year delayed Curse from the grave. The Curse was set upon Charlie Weis, as he was the first Notre Dame Head Coach since 1973 to coach tight ends. He did it back in 1993-94 for the New England Patriots.

Why 1973? Yes, of course. Don’t you get it? The Sugar Bowl. Number 1 Alabama playing Number 4 Notre Dame. Notre Dame won 24-23 on a 19-yard field goal set up by a miracle pass from quarterback Tom Clements to tight end Dave Casper. The pass was on the final drive, 3rd down, a remarkable catch to keep the drive alive, even with two defenders all over Casper. The win gave Notre Dame the AP National Title. It broke Bear Bryant’s heart and the heart of every Alabama fan. The Bear never forgot nor forgave and he took the bitter lose to his grave, only to place it on Notre Dame.

No one knows how the Curse can be defeated and lifted from the Notre Dame Football Team. Some say in a future Alabama vs. Notre Dame football game, an Alabama tight end must catch a “Hail Mary Pass” to defeat Notre Dame. Others insist Notre Dame needs to recruit tight ends with sufficient gray matter between their ears.  You decide.

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