We have established this Blog to share any and all thoughts and discuss issues relating to Notre Dame Football.
We are Subway Alumni Notre Dame Fans who love IRISH Football and The University of Notre Dame Du Lac. This is the place to interact, learn, discuss, perk interest, argue, keep you informed, have some fun and maybe help perpetuate the traditions and history of Notre Dame Football.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Call Goes Out For Rudy

Cameron Roberson
So is this the second leg of the Trifecta? View the first leg here.

Soon-to-be sophomore running back Cameron Roberson (6’- 218) went down Saturday in the third Spring Practice session of the season with a left knee injury requiring him being carted off the Loftus practice turf and headed for an MRI. Roberson could not put weight on the knee, a bad sign.

Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly did two things.

Immediately jumped into a golf cart and sped over to the Grotto and lit a candle hoping/praying the injury is only a hyperextension or bruise.

Put out the call to the dorms for running back walk-on try-outs at 6:00 a.m. Monday morning.

Rudy Ruettiger

Well modern day Rudy wantabees here is your chance. This is similar to the famous 12th Man coming out of the stands to help a depleted Texas A & M Team.

The 12th Man

The Irish are thin at running back and will be until reinforcements arrive in the fall. Cam Daniels is the lone pure running back recruit along with WR and RB George Atkinson. Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray are the only scholarship running backs on the Team. With the way Coach Kelly runs such fast paced practices and scrimmages, Wood and Gray have the potential for getting tanked and even hurt.

So how easy would it be to walk-on?

Apparently this is a Spring Practice only requirement. No long term commitment. It is also safe to say that the job description reads for a tackling dummy. It can be assumed that attempting to block the likes of a blitzing cornerback Robert Blanton is also in the cards. The same guy who blocks punts and runs them back for touchdowns.  The same guy who has walked into Spring Practice with an attitude.  Ouch.


*  Have a class schedule that is open Monday –Wednesday – Friday mornings until around lunchtime.

*  Undergo and pass a physical examination.

*  Be in pretty gosh darn good physical shape.

*  Have previous experience at running back.

*  Have some brain matter between the ears to quickly learn the plays. [This is questionable because if you had any gray matter, you probably wouldn’t be there trying-out in the first place.]

*  Get your Mom to say yes.  {This may be the tall pole in the tent.]

It would appear that the class schedule requirement would dictate a senior since they coast their last semester anyway and never have classes before noon when they finally arise from a night of closing local watering holes.

The reporters standing around Kelly when he made the announcement were also asked it they were interested. Kelly had no takers. Too bad. These reporters are always complaining about being shut out of football practice. This is their chance.

EDITORS NOTE: A previous SAS post was made on March 26th and is located below this one.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mentoring Ohio State Style

We here at Subway Alumni Station (SAS) are not known for being the sharpest knives in the kitchen drawer but……………… When we read that Ohio State Football Coach Jim Tressel ‘volunteered’ to suspend himself for an additional three games in solidarity with the punishment received by his five memorabilia-selling football players (five game suspension), we could smell something very rotten in Denmark/Columbus.

If you have not read the latest revealed escapades of Jim Tressel, you can peruse it here.

SAS has commented on the corrupt Ohio State Football Program not once but twice before. Why? To level the playing field. In some small way publicize coruption and lying in college football. 

Notre Dame has taken a number of unfair shots concerning the deaths of Elizabeth Seeberg and Declan Sullivan. It is only fair that the hypocrisy of Ohio State Football be commented upon.

So Terrelle Pryor has a mentor? Ted Sarniak from his home town of Jeannette PA who helped with his recruitment to Ohio State.  Pryor works for Sarniak during the summer and drives a Corvette around town.  Must be earning nice money.  Interesting that Tressel e-mailed Sarniak and no one else.  Hmmmm.

Who is Ted Sarniak? Wow. Check him out here and here.

What exactly is a mentor? Someone who acts as a surrogate parent? An advisor? A counselor? A tutor?  A friend?  A role model?  Someone filling the role as in the Big Brother Program or Boys Club?
All of the above?  None of the above?

Why does a 20 year old college senior need a mentor?

Here are a few questions for the NCAA Rule Compliance Investigators:

Was Athletic Director Gene Smith aware of Pryor’s mentor Ted Sarniak?

Does Ohio State have a formal mentoring program involving the likes of Ted Sarniak?

Is the program open to other football players?

How about the Basketball Team?

Does mentoring include ensuring that Terrelle has sufficient ‘walk-around-money’?

How about clothes for Terrelle?

Air fare to get home for the holidays and spring break?

Does mentoring include looking out for Terrelle’s family to assist with food, housing, and transportation?

Did Troy Smith (former OSU quarterback and Heisman winner) have a mentor?

Was Smith’s mentor the guy who gave Smith $500? (Smith was suspended for the Alamo Bowl and the first game of the 2006 season for taking money). Only Smith and his Ohio State booster/mentor know the actual total amount.

Did Maurice Clarett have a mentor? If he did, the mentor did a pretty crappy job.

Gene Smith and Jim Tressel need to resign or be fired now.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Trifecta and Michael Floyd

The entire Subway Alumni Station (SAS) staff has thrown their car keys into the middle of the conference room table and are slowing getting drunk. OK, OK, some are drinking white wine, however most of us are doing shots followed by Bud Lite. Spouses, Significant Others, and Designated Drivers have been alerted to pick us up and drag our sorry butt’s home.  Are you listening Michael Floyd?

That wise old sage and former Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz has repeatedly stated that bad things happen in threes (3s). So when will the other two shoes drop? Who is going to get hurt? Who next is going to screw up? This thing with Notre Dame Team Captain and 2010 MVP Michael Floyd sucks big time. How stupid? How Dumb? When will these Star, God Gifted Athletics ever frickin going to learn?

We all presume Michael is innocent. We all presume he is a lot smarter than his actions. So let’s move on Notre Dame Administration and Residence Life. Don’t stick the knife in our hearts please. We all bleed Blue and Gold. Help us Mother Mary.

Sure this is his second run-in with alcohol. Yet he is the pride and joy of the Fighting Irish. Coach Brian Kelly’s great hope for a stellar 2011 season and BCS bid. The SAS staff feels Floyd is going to get hammered like suspended from the Team permanently. Part of the blame is the crap at Ohio State and the Get Out Of Jail Free Card those morons and coach received. ND does not want to look lenient.

The semi-drunk consensus is that Michael Floyd is going to receive the Death Sentence.

We humbly offer the following alternative:

Suspension from all of Spring Football Practice.

200 hours Community Service with Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.

$800 fine.

Suspension of driving privileges on Campus and Greater South Bend.

Forced to stand naked for three hours in the Notre Dame Peace Monument Pool holding a sign “DRUNK” while getting soaked with cold water.

While the final outcome is far beyond the control of SAS, we are glad that the decision on punishment/chastisement/castigation/retribution is not ours.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Notre Name Basketball

2011 Congratulations and the best of IRISH Luck to the Women’s and Men’s Basketball Teams in the upcoming NCAA Championship Tournament.


Recruiting 101- Casting the Net

College football recruitment is an art, not a science.

It has been widely reported on the Notre Dame Blog/Web sphere that Head Coach Brian Kelly of The Fighting Irish has made over 100 offers to soon-to-be high school seniors to come to Notre Dame and play football. What exactly does this mean? The NCAA allows 85 scholarship players per team which translates into that you can normally recruit 20-25 incoming freshman per year. What the heck is going on?

Sure the SEC Teams get Letters of Intent from 40-50 guys but that is a whole other story and just another example of abusing the college football recruitment system. You hve to feel sorry for those guys that end up with no scholarship, no college, no prospects.

In 2010, Stanford Coach Jim Harbaugh made 170 offers to high school seniors. How the dickens did he get away with that?

Let’s look at some Notre Dame numbers to assess where ND was and where apparently Coach Kelly is taking us on the recruiting trail.

Notre Dame offers over the last 11 years:

2002 75 Davie/Willingham

2003 58 Willingham

2004 69 Willingham

2005 65 Willingham/Weis

2006 59 Weis

2007 64 Weis

2008 57 Weis

2009 77 Weis

2010 103 Weis/Kelly

2011 125 Kelly

2012 100+ Kelly (and counting)

So do you have to make that many offers to sign the 20-25 prospects that you require at desired/critical need positions?

With the “elite only” recruitment type system, it was obvious that both Charlie Weis and Tyrone Willingham ended up having position holes that showed up eventually on the field and on the scoreboard. Of course part of Willingham’s problem was that he made the offers to play at wonderful Notre Dame and star with the likes of Knute Rockne while spending most of his time playing golf and working on his handicap.

The Kelly philosophy now appears to be the “wider net” recruitment system that gives the coaching staff some breathing room. So long as you know what you're ultimately looking for, there doesn't seem to be much downside to casting a wide net.

With the Weis approach, apparently he missed out too many times and it was simply because he didn’t make enough offers. No back- up for when a long sought recruit spurned his offer and went elsewhere.

You often read when recruits pick a school they talk about who was recruiting them early. If you restrict your offers on the basis of "exclusively" and a recruit focuses on another school, you end up coming late to the table after having lost the recruit you wanted the most.

Well how does this “wider net” approach work? If you recruit ten linemen needing four and your tenth choice yells out first “hell yes, sign me up Coach,” what do you do?

First it is assumed that each player offered meets Notre Dame admittance standards and Kelly’s Right Kind of Guy (RKG) criteria. This means a whole heck of a lot of research, homework, frequent flyer miles, film watching and analysis.

So how do the ten linemen know and understand where they stand with the limited number of spots available at their position? They know who is being recruited, the number of positions and their chances. This is big business and effects playing time and NFL chances down the road.

Is the “wider net” approach a crap shoot? The more offers you put out, the better chance you get to fill your needs. Here are three things Kelly is probably doing.

First, get the recruits Notre Dame desires engaged early. They don't take anyone seriously until they have an offer and offering late means you have to play catch-up because your few recruit that were made offers went somewhere else. It creates pressure for them to sign with ND. They can see that ND is offering 10 recruits 4 spots at their position and ND are going to take the top first 4 that say yes.

Second, Kelly doesn’t just offer anyone; those 100+ offers are for recruits ND would take a commitment from and honor.  The RKG mold.  Over the years as Notre Dame wins more and more, we all are going to understand and appreciate the RKG.

Third, if he offers say 10 offensive linemen, (C, G, T), they are secretly ranked OL -1 to OL-10. ND only needs 4, Kelly probably tells the bottom 6 (OL-5 to OL-10) since you have an offer, "we gave out 10 offers for four spots, the first top 4 that verbally commit and end up recruited will be honored by us, just hang in their".

Apparently too an "offer" isn't really anything but an offer of interest. If OL-7 jumps on an offer before the OL-1 to OL-4 choice recruits get much of a chance to consider the offer, then Kelly may tell the OL-7 recruit to wait a while. This makes a little bit of sense in that, a commit, when he goes public, usually says something like "I called coach and told him I'd like to commit." There are probably those that called Kelly, and he told them not to say anything publicly until other recruits have more time. If a recruit publicly commits early, it seems to mean he is a recruit the Notre Dame coaching staff really wants or are fairly certain that a better recruit isn't coming.

Also thrown into the equation is the ‘silent verbal’ and ‘soft verbal’. These drove Weis nuts and caused him to lose a number of top recruits at the last minute, leaving him no time to fill the position. A ‘silent verbal’ is when a recruit says ‘yeah coach I’m in the bag but I don’t want anyone to known’. A ‘soft verbal’ is one when the recruit says ‘yeah coach , I’m coming but still looking and going on campus visits.’ It appears that Kelly does not accept either of these recruit options, although he had to fight to the wire to get Aaron Lynch from Florida State back this past recruiting year.

Kelly and his staff do a tremendous job in sending out offers, pushing the right recruits to commit when they need them, while also holding onto recruits and asking them to stay patient to see if "more elite" or higher prospects jump on board.  Leave your ego at the locker room door.

Most of these are "verbal" offers, and a lot of times the staff must have to be very honest with the recruit and tells them what spots are looking like, if they need to hold off and wait it out. Also you are not going to get every recruit.

You definitely can lose recruits with this system because Kelly may have to go slow and easy playing a couple of slots, but at the end of the day more prospects will respect the honesty than those who will be upset and leave for another school (unless the offers is really strong as well).

Remember all the offers are verbal and written offers cannot be issue until the early Fall per NCAA rules.

These days the recruits have a backup position too.  Not only can they change their minds and de-committ.  If they get offers from Notre Dame as a OL-9 recruit and an offer from Compass U as a OL-1 type recruit, they can always commit to Compass U to make sure they have a place to go but if ND comes back at the last minute after losing OL-1 type, he can de-commit from Compass U and commit to ND. This appears to be happening more and more.

Normally recruits narrow down the field to three or four colleges and the coaching staffs have a pretty good idea if the recruit is going to fall into their laps or not.

Again, take Stanford with a slightly different approach. Coach Harbaugh must have a fallback position for his 170 offers. It seems as though that you weren't really 'committed' to Stanford until after the 1st semester of their senior year, once the admissions office gives the go ahead. It gives Stanford some leeway, but maybe a little less than honest. Maybe this is part of the decommittment process and strange numbers you read about.

Probably a good bunch of the 100+ offers or so are such long shot offers but it still makes the more serious (to ND) recruit take a good hard look early knowing they can't come back to ND later because slots have already been filled. It also steps up the pressure and forces other coaches to continue working and expending time to keep the recruit in their fold.

Go Blue, Beat Gold.
Go Gold, Beat Blue.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Anatomy of a Sleazy College Football Program

While this humble Notre Dame Football Blog in no way shape or form is self-righteous, it is impossible not to comment on the recent happenings in Columbus Ohio.

If Notre Dame would:

Fire George O’Leary, a newly hired Head Football Coach for padding his resume.

Suspend FB Rashon Powers-Neal for the season because of a DUI that he committed while at home on school break.

Push Head Coach Lou Holtz out the door for recruiting an academically and morally questionable Randy Moss.

How would the Administration have handled the Ohio State Buckeye incident?

A proud Ohio State Football Program that:

Fired Coach Woody Hayes for striking an opponent player in the face.

That recruited and put up with a common street thug Maurice Clarett because he helped them win a National Championship.

Produced a two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin.

The entire incident stinks worse than a week old bucket of dead fish.

Five prominent members of the Ohio State Football Team including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor were caught up in a larger Federal investigation. They were selling football mementos, uniforms, awards and Big Ten championship rings for tattoos and cash. They were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season, but not the pending Sugar bowl Game with Arkansas (Won 31-26). Conventional wisdom would suggest the Buckeyes would have lost the game.

Why the first five games?

In-state powerhouse - AKRON

In-state powerhouse - TOLEDO

Rebuilding - MIAMI (FLA)

Rebuilding - COLORADO


Why not first six games?


Then the bombshell.

Turns out Head Coach Jim Tressel knew about the whole incident that prior spring!


Obstruction of Justice?


Public apology.

$250,000 fine.

Attend an NCAA compliance seminar.

Two-game suspension against mighty Akron and Toledo.

I remember well the stern warning Father Hesburgh made to New Head Coach Lou Holtz: Paraphrase “If you or your staff are involved with any scandal you will be gone off this campus by midnight.”

How would the Notre Dame Administration have handled the Tattoo Boys and the Liar?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

“Should Notre Dame install a Jumbotron?”

Obviously Notre Dame Football news is awfully slow right now. The recruits are trickling in, two to be exact.  Compared to 15 or 16 for Texas A&M. 

Way back on February 2nd, Phil one of Subway Alumni Stations crack writers posted a piece on Traditionalism. One of the key points concerned erecting a Jumbotron or other type huge scoreboard and advertising signage in Notre Dame Stadium.

What do you think?

We decided to find out and post another one of our stupid and irreverent question polls.

Hey, reread the first sentence, we got to keep the interest up until Spring Practice somehow!

Anyway, somewhere on the right side of the Blog is the Jumbotron Poll.

“Should Notre Dame install a Jumbotron?”

Add your comments here to get a discussion going.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Kelly Lands a Cornerback for 2012

Wow, just as Notre Dame Football news was getting as rare as hen’s teeth, Coach Brian Kelly comes along and gets a 2012 verbal commitment. A defensive cornerback no less. The first!  Way to go! Nice tall guy at 6’1” too. T’Ajani (Tee) Shepard, welcome aboard lad.

Shepard’s high school coach mentioned that he intends to use Tee not only at CB but some safety as well this fall. Shepard will also get time on the offense. Sounds like one of Kelly’s RKGs to me. California dude no less.  Sorry U$C.  :+(

Betty our recruitment monitor has started a column on the right side of Subway Alumni Station Blog to keep you informed on the recruitment class of 2012. Check out Tee over there. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Coach Kelly’s Big Questions Going Into Spring Practice

Spring Practice From Yesteryears

Well this is March so that means Spring Practice for the Fightin Irish will actually take place this month. No more flippin the calendar to see where March 23rd is located and having to count the days backwards.

So what are Coach Brian Kelly’s big concerns? What does he want to get out of 15, wet, cold, possibly miserable practice sessions between March 23rd and April 16th?

For the 62+ returnees, has Paul Longo’s strength and conditioning for January, February and most of March built upon what was started last year? How about the five early enrollees, have they bought into the system and taken advantage of the extra conditioning time? It would appear from Notre Dame’s finish last fall and the total physical domination of Miami that this guy Longo knows what he’s doing.

Can early-on some of the enrollees contribute immediately to strengthen the defense? Especially the two that drew all the late, last minute recruiting heroics? OLB Ishaq Williams and DE Aaron Lynch. You would expect them to make Special Teams, but can they at least make the two-deep depth chart? We are all looking for the defense to step it up another notch from late last fall and the Sun Bowl. Defense surely does win championships.

Speaking of defense. How will the much talked about decision of moving Bennett Jackson to cornerback and Austin Collinsworth to safety pan out? On paper it appears to make tremendous sense. Strengthen the defense. Get two guys on the field that show talent and ability and clear the logjam at wide receiver. Success will make Kelly look like a genius. Correctly utilizing talented players at the positions most needed is an art, not a science.

Can kicker Kyle Brindza push fith year newly annoted senior David Ruffer at PAT’s and Field Goals? Can he outperform Ben Turk and snatch the punting duties? Can Brindza finally give Notre Dame a kicker who can consistently create touchbacks and kick the ball through the end zone?

Will sophomore running back Cameron Roberson make enough of an impact competing for playing time with junoir Cierre Wood and senior Jonas Gray to keep Theo Riddick catching the football instead of carrying it? When healthy last year, Riddick drew enough attention to take some of the heat and pressure off Michael Floyd. You sure got to like that formula.

Will Dayne Crist’s legs be healthy enough to offer true competition at quarterback with Tommy Rees? Is Andrew Hendrix as good as the coaches say he is with his arm and his legs? Is early enrollee Everett Golson the quarterback Coach Kelly feels can best run his spread offense? We here at Subway Alumni Station cannot remember a Notre Dame spring where four intriguing quarterbacks with different unique attributes and god-given abilities will take the field at the same time in March. It is assumed that no depth chart decisions will be made until after the first week of fall camp. Kelly has too much to lose to show his hand.  Although the Team and insiders will have a much greater feel on how it all will play out come fall.

The Blue-Gold Game will be interesting to see certain talent perform but not an offense that will resemble what will take the field against South Florida come September 3rd. Coach Kelly is in a unique position to send a number of different quarterbacks onto the gridiron with multiple talents and specific play packages to wreck havoc with the opposing team’s defense.

It will be interesting who, what, and how he settles that question and the others he needs answered.