December 3, 2012 // Notre Dame Football

Duranko’s Digest: Awards Edition

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Nov. 24, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Carlo Calabrese (44) celebrates with fans after Notre Dame defeated the USC Trojans 22-13 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

What did we see in the Coliseum?

Deliverance, redemption, sanctuary!

Establishing functional control from the game’s opening drive, the Irish drove 66 yards in 9 plays for a 3-0 lead. The Irish never trailed against the Cardinal & Gold.  The Irish offense repeated its November pattern, 24 first downs, 222 yards rushing, 217 yards passing on 15 completions in 27 attempts, 1 “sack” for 2 yards lost and no turnovers and, yep, difficulty scoring touchdowns inside the opponent’s 25 yard line.  Fret not, lads! That is the final challenge for this, or any, maturing offense.  There are 6 weeks and a New Year before our Irish play again.

The Irish October offense was better than the September offense.  The November offense was the best of the three.  In four games, the Irish offense averaged 23 first downs, 219 yards rushing, 223 yards passing per game.  They yielded 2 “sacks” for a total of five yards lost, with 6 turnovers, three in the Pitt game.

The Fighting Irish defense was magnificent, holding SC to a season low of 13 points, and yielding just one more yard than the 280 that Stanford allowed the Trojans. That 13 points is the fewest SC has scored since November of 2010.  Only three times this year, against Purdue, BYU and Pitt did the juggernaut defense allow as many as two touchdowns.  Nobody scored a third.

The Irish finished 12th in Pass Efficiency Defense, 5th in Rushing Defense,6th in Total Defense, and 2nd in scoring Defense!

Rite of Passage: Bennett Jackson and KeiVarae Russell who occasionally covered Woods and Lee in single coverage.  They survived.  Now, they’ll never be intimidated by any receiver again.

12-0!

THE DURANKO’S DIGEST POST-SEASON AWARDS

King Kamehameha Award-named after the great King, unifier and creator of the Kingdom of Hawaii-Manti Te’o, regal, elegant, charismatic leader.  A legend  during his reign, an icon thereafter.  Mahalo, Manti!

Princess Ka’iulani Award-Hawaii’s Diana was known for her intelligence,  beauty and determination. Two awards this year, and it will never be awarded again.  Notre Dame seldom makes football awards to civilians but we give one to Lennay Kekua and one to Manti’s departed grandmother.

Ziggy Czarobski award- three criteria here:  (1) a great, All-America level ballplayer.  (2) an ebullient, larger than life, full of joie-de-vive personality, spilling over from the football field into the student body and the Notre Dame community (3) the ability to drive the coach, a little batty:  Louis Nix, and the award will be a statue of both Ziggy and Louis cast in fine chocolate by Skelligs Chocolate in Kerry, Ireland.

Irish chocolate for Irish chocolate. Carl Spackler “Hey I ain’t no caddy award”- Robby Toma, who, the evidence suggests was recruitable on his own merits, not just because he was collocated with Manti Te’o at Punahou.

Freshman performer of the year- KeiVarae Russell.  He started for a 12-0 football team.  Most starting minutes of any true frosh.

Freshman potential performer of the year-Sheldon Day-remarkably disciplined and knowledgeabe, an advanced player.  Big enough, hyper-quick, good pass rusher. He gets this award because we estimate that he will, eventually, be the “best” player from the 2012 freshman class.

Tweedledum, Tweedledee award-Zach Martin, Christ Watt, joined at the hip on and off the field. Never surprise each other, Hiestand or Kelly.

Leon Hart/Gmitter/Creaney/Masztak/McAfee/Casper/Derek Brown/Bavaro/Fasano/Irv Smith /Rudolph/Carlson/ “We own this position!!” award-Tyler Eifert.

Gary Patterson knows talent award-Danny Spond (data obscura-Patterson recruited Spond very aggressively, and at a little noted booster event, Gary, the TCU coach identified Spond as “the one who got away.”

Swiss Army Knife-versatility award-lots of blades and each one cuts deep-Theo Riddick, comfortable at tailback or slot receiver and hyper-effective at each.  Blocks, too.

Unbeaten award-Elijah Shumate. Never lost in high school.  Thinks he lost back in grade school. Might be contagious.

Run, Forrest, Run award-Stephon Tuitt, for his 77 yard run to glory against Navy in Dublin, Notre Dame’s longest play of the year.  Previous winners: George Gipp, Joe “Small Wonder” Howard, Tim Brown, Raghib “Rocket” Ismail.  Nice company, Stephon!

Semper Paratus (Coast Guard motto) award-Tommy Rees.  How can he just sit there watching the game for an hour and then jump in and complete a pass?

Shakespeare “sweet are the uses of adversity” award-Kyle Brindza-missed his first field goal against Purdue, made the next two, including the game winner.  Against Pitt, Kyle made his first two, missed his third, then made his fourth and final to start out the OT.  Unlike the Panther kicker, he had no misses in OT.

Duranko award-for playing with brute force, for being deceptively quick, for good, clean violence on the field and for being a gentleman off it-Stephon Tuitt.

Frank Leahy fan award-Fred Leahy, the fan and poster who exemplifies the passion, loyalty and indefatigability of Frank Leahy.  Fred’s passion never wavered during the lean years.

Battlefield promotion award-Zeke Motta, who thought he was going to share play call and adjustment responsibilities with his doppelganger Jamoris Slaughter.  Zeke stepped up and kept the young ‘uns-Jackson Farley, Russell, aligned and enlightened.
Elmer’s Glue this guy sticks to his man award-Dan Fox-previously maligned, but even at 6’3 240 he is now outstanding in pass coverage.

Sledgehammer award-Prince Shembo.  In 2014 this will be renamed the  Prince Shembo Sledgehammer award.

Braxston Banks Award-Braxston Cave. Braxston’s mom and dad were in the  stands at a game and intrigued by Banks’ first name “Braxston.” They named their son that way.  Not a lot of “Braxston’s” in Mishawaka-or Granger.

Andre Jones award-T. J. Jones.

Meucci award-(inside baseball on Godfather III-Joey Zasa gave Michael the Meucci award when he got the papal honor)-Carlo Calabrese-in honor of threatening  South Bend’s finest with “my people” Joey Zasa would have loved it. And sent some people.

Ernie Hughes, Dave Casper, my hair is red and I play like I’m on fire – Tony Springman.

Johnny One Play O’Brien Award (Johnny is an ND hero famous for one play-a 78 yard td catch that beat Army in 1928)-John Goodman-for that late, great, catch against Purdue when we needed it most.

Chrysallis award-no longer a caterpillar, not yet a butterfly, but enroute-Davaris Daniels

Charlie Ward/Ronald Curry/Tom Clements-”You’ll never understand how I play quarterback unless you acknowledge my point guard skills” If you ever played buckets with or against Clements, you’d know he belongs there.-Everett Golson.

Most Improved Player-Danny Spond (toughest one to award, as so many players improved so much)

BRIAN KELLY’S LETTER TO THE TEAM (IMAGINEERED)

Notre Dame now sends its official offer letters to recruits on special gold, embossed paper.  Alford and others recommend that recruits frame it, along with their officially signed letter of intent and other key documents. This letter is printed on that same gold paper:

MEN OF THE 2012 FIGHTING IRISH FOOTBALL TEAM:

On behalf of the coaching staff, and on behalf of Notre Dame fans, congratulations on your remarkable season.  As we will discuss, deeds matter more than mere words. Words are derivative, descriptive; deeds are the results, colorful, vivid and fleshy of men in full.  Deeds are unequivocal, organic, they pulsate and vibrate. But yet we write to honor your deeds.

YESTERDAY

This journey, this magical mystery tour began, for most, at about 9pm Eastern on December 29, 2011, in Orlando right after the FSU loss.  Many of you resolved then that 2012 would be different.  Enough of words, actions speak louder than!  And your eloquent actions since that date have led us to this special place.  You worked, you stayed focused, you trusted coaches, staff and each other, you excelled individually, yet submerged your great individual talents for a higher good. You focused on reality, and not perception and created a shining legacy that few have shared and few can fully appreciate.

WORK

College football is amazing.  Darwinian in the purest sense.  Each of you in high school was a prized athlete, legendary in your home town.  Yet you accepted the harsh reality that that was not enough, and you worked, in the classroom, in the weightroom, on the track, in your individual skill work, in the film room, on the field. “Effort only fully releases its rewards after a person refuses to quit.”
Napoleon Hill.

FOCUS

“Those who seek the path to enlightenment dictate terms to their mind.  Then they proceed with Determination” Gautama Buddha. Paul Longo is a master craftsman at developing muscle and sinew; but only you control that most elusive and undisciplined “muscle,” your WILL.  Your laser-like focus as you executed your work was both admirable and necessary for the level of achievement we now celebrate.  Nothing, no distractions, could sway you.  Like Sorin making his way to this little piece of heaven in Northern Indiana, nothing could get you off track.

IGNORING NOISE

We live in a land that guarantees freedom of speech.  But it does not guarantee or legislate the accuracy of that speech.  We live in a millenium that is wired, connected and anyone who can get to a computer or smart phone can post all sorts of material, true, untrue, random irrelevant, computer gaga we live and walk and work and study amid this noise.  And the only way to succeed, find purpose and peace is to tune it all out.  All of it. Every bit.  Oh, it’s seductive.  But unwarranted praise IS AS INSIDIOUS AND MISLEADING as unwarranted and hyperventilated criticism.

You are what you truly are, not people’s opinions of you. If you control and ennoble your own reality, then perceptions are not relevant.  Answer to God, your spouse, and the guy you see when you look in the mirror to shave in the morning.  That is portion enough.   You guys have been GREAT at ignoring noise.  That’s why you are who you are and you have done what you’ve done.

You’re all well on your way to  a Notre Dame degree, or two,  so we’ll note a few things we’ve talked about this year.

Many of you have read “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand.  Now as good Christians and Catholics we know that Rand is an avowed atheist.  And she loves Mammon and despises God, which Christians cannot do.  So we read her “cum grano salis.” But the speech of John Galt, 90 pages long in “Atlas Shrugged,” is an American icon, albeit simultaneously an atheist, mammonist icon.  Galt says :”whatever you choose to consider, be it an object, an attribute or an action, the law of identity remains the same. A leaf cannot be a stone at the same time, it cannot be all red and all green at the same time, it cannot freeze and burn at the same time.  A is A…….all the pain you have ever endured came from your own attempt to evade the fact that A is A.”

Well guys, in a world or “public relations” and “image consultants” it’s challenging to remember that A is A.

Opinions are not facts
Good is not evil
Indolence is not effort
selfishness is not teamwork
polls are not football
perceptions are not reality
defeat is not victory
A is not B
A is A
You have honored that principle of reality, and throughout
this journey resisted the temptation to deny that A is A.
The result?
12-0
You must ignore the noise. You have ignored the noise
Back in my day, we listened to Bob Dylan.  And even before the web, he described
a species of people who exist today (in large numbers)
“Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he’s in.” From “it’s all right, Ma
(I’m only bleeding.”")
Excellence confuses  and threatens people.  They
are angry, confused and disoriented.  They want
to “get you down in the hole they’re in.”
You must ignore their noise.  You have ignored their noise.
As you students of history know, we once had a very powerful
first lady named Eleanor Roosevelt.  She famously said
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”
Again, you can only find peace and success by ignoring noise
of the people that Mrs. Roosevelt discussed.
You have ignored such noise.
And here at Notre Dame we not only study atheistic classics (Rand), pop culture
(Dylan) history and philosophy (Eleanor Roosevelt) but also Christ.
Non-Christians often miss the full texture of Notre Dame. Here, after
all, his Momma sits atop the Golden Dome, so we have a special interest
in and relationship with Christ.
Christ said, in Matthew 5 11-12:  “Blessed are you when men shall revile you,
and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely
for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad for so persecuted they the prophets
which were before you.”
What I love about that is that our Messiah does
not say “IF men shall revile you,” but rather “WHEN men shall revile you.”
If it’s good enough for the son of the Lady on the Dome, it should be good
enough for you and me.
Again, you have ignored such noise.

TODAY

So from last January you DID the right things, AVOIDED the wrong things, IGNORED the noise.

And so it began, a victory over Navy in Dublin, a tight win over gritty Purdue at home, a dominant win over a tough Michigan State under the lights in East Lansing, and stopping Denard and Michigan in South Bend.  4-0.  You worked HARD in the off week.

You went to Soldier Field and dominated Miami. In the rain in South Bend, you outlasted a tough Stanford team that has beaten USC, Oregon State and Oregon, you took BYU’s best shot and then we got on the plane to Norman, where you were victorious over OU.  8-0.
Pitt came in and you toughed it out for a win.  We went to BC, controlled the Eagles and left town with our 10th win.  We concentrated on football during the emotional cusp of Senior Day and pitched our first shutout.  SC’s quarterback “guaranteed” a victory but only you Notre Dame players PRODUCED one.  12-0 guys.  Perfect, brilliant, wonderful!
You earned it!

Sure we have a game to play and we’ll work hard to prepare for it.  I trust you guys to do what you’ve done all year. But let’s celebrate this unbeaten season for its brilliance.  Enjoy!

TOMORROW

Let me tell you a story.  I had just arrived at Notre Dame, and it was early June, 2010, after we had spend our first spring practice together.  I looked out my office window and gazed toward the statue of the incomparable Frank Leahy on the East side of the stadium.  There was an elderly gentleman there, with a cane.  With him was a couple, probably husband and wife, with three teenage children. He was talking in an animated fashion, gesturing toward Leahy’s statue and, alternately, pointing toward the stadium.

I got back to work, and about an hour later strolled out onto the concourse.  Well, there was the same gentleman, still with his entourage of five.  He said “Coach Kelly—” and I went over to introduce myself and to meet him.  He introduced me to his daughter and his son-in-law and their three well-scrubbed grandchildren, outfitted in full Notre Dame regalia.  He was one of Leahy’s Lads!! I asked him what it was like playing for Leahy in that era.  He lit up and began talking about the Army game in Yankee Stadium in ’46, Lujack, Leahy, Martin, Connor, Hart and Czarobski. There were four sets of wide eyes and four agape jaws, the three grandkids and me.  It was magic; Notre Dame magic.  You see, guys, football games are played in prose, but retold and remembered in poetry, especially here.

Well, someday, long after Paqui and I have left this mortal orb, that will be YOU regaling your grandchildren with a poetic rendering of that special trip to Dublin, a rain-soaked defense of our goalline against Stanford, a dominating, virtuoso performance in Norman and conquest in the Coliseum. You see, guys, in 2012 you made history.  YOUR history.  And it will be your stories.
Nobody will do it better.
Congratulations!
Thank you.
I love you guys.
God bless you
Brian Kelly, your coach’”

Comments to this Article

  • westcoastirishfan commented on December 3rd, 2012 at 2:15 am

    I really look forward to your posts. Thanks for a season’s long worth of quality, sometimes esoteric, essays.

    [Reply]

  • D-Train 65 commented on December 3rd, 2012 at 9:28 am

    “Many are called, but FEW are chosen”. So it is for writer’s. Not people who JUST put words on paper but like the truly great ones eg. Red Smith, Grantland Rice, Frank Deford, Jimmy Breslin, Jim Murray, Jimmy Cannon et al.
    they have the ability to bring each of us to an event and put us in a front row seat when we were not even there. Through their words those “historic” events became legendary and stand the test of time for all of us sport junkies to relive a time when perhaps we were not even born. So it is with Grantland Rice and his epic of The Four Horseman while few living today were there vs Army we can through his words almost see the legendary 4 ND backs churning up and down the gridiron vs the cadets on a gray winter’s day at the Polo Grounds in 1924. So to your writing stands out Pete amongst the plethora of “wannabes” who masquerade as sporting scribes. Congrats mate on another memorable article which caps off a great season of offerings on your part for those Irish followers like myself who iive and breathe Notre Dame sport in general and football in particular. Looking fwd to your lead up to the NC game and the article following the game. Merry Xmas and Happy New Year mate Cheers Dale

    [Reply]

  • irishcub commented on December 3rd, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    BRAVO

    [Reply]

  • JDH commented on December 3rd, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    I am a person who loves to write. I try to write well, but Duranko is a pro. Outstanding.

    [Reply]

  • duranko commented on December 3rd, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    thanks for your kind words, dear readers. But always remember this-the subject matter is our mutual beloved: Notre Dame football. I merely
    hold up the looking glass……

    [Reply]

  • EJS commented on December 3rd, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    You lost me completely when you started quoting “Atlas Shrugged” Why bring in the divisive, juvenile, unrealistic, right-wing views of that dwarfish, arrogant, mean, hypocritical Russian emigre merely to state the tautology that A is A? Rand would probably disapprove of football since it is a collective effort requiring sacrifice to benefit the team. She definitely did not play well with others. I liked it a lot better when you were making Fat Eddie references.

    [Reply]

    JDH replied on December 4th, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Um, Duranko was using allegory. He wasn’t positing “right wing views” or theory. In this sense, your/my opinion of Rand does not really matter. Although, since you brought it up, Rand appeals to a much wider spectrum than “right wing”. In short, you may want to lighten up a bit.

    [Reply]

  • D Money commented on December 4th, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Yeah the Rand part made me sad. Rest of it was great.

    [Reply]

  • duranko commented on December 4th, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    EJS, you completely missed the point which was spelled out in the digest.
    At a place like Notre Dame, it is vital to dip into various areas of
    academic and intellectual endeavor in order to be able to function, \not merely in a Catholic ghetto, but in a broader secular society.

    Ought the business school reject the financial brilliance, accounting \brilliance and all encompassing brilliance of Warren Buffet because he
    is agnostic and not a respecter of marriage.

    Ought the Hammes bookstore disshelve the works of the late Steven Covey
    because he was LDS?
    \
    If you do that you wind up with Ave Maria University or Liberty University.

    Further, ejs, you miss one of the fundamental tenets of any successful \teaching and learning organization. Virtuous people say incorrect things and inaccurate things. Atheistics, agnostics and heretics say correct things.

    What is more revealing about your comment is the vitriol you bought to bear.dwarfish Russian emigre? Really, is that the best you can muster.

    Was Rockne a balding Norwegian emigre?

    Rest assured, that you have two choices, either is yours, certainly and not mine. I am indifferent as to which you choose:

    (1) Do not read my future columns

    (2) Read them and prepare to spew further vitriol over my narrative.
    How I write is how I write.

    [Reply]

    EJS replied on December 4th, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    OK, OK, I’ll admit that my comment was a little over the top. My dislike for Rand has nothing to do with her atheism, however, and everything to do with her nihilistic philosophy which extolls the virtue of selfishness and denigrates the virtues of altruism and any notion that we are all members of a community. If her philosophy were ever somehow adopted we’d be living in a pitiless Hobbesian world of all against all. It’s probably also a hangover from the Presidential election during which certain Republicans extolled Rand as some kind of a secular saint. I really enjoy Duranko’s columns and he has the absolute right to quote whomever he wants, just as I have the right to disagree with him. I take back the “dwarfish” comment and included it only because I’ve read that so many of her accolytes claimed to find Rand “sexy.” At least I generated some controversy, huh?

    [Reply]

    SteelFanRob replied on December 5th, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    EJS,

    You certainly did!

    Welcome!

    We’ve all made at times over the top comments on this site, so join the club.

    Moreover, you are indeed entitled to your opinions on ND football or any other subject that may randomly appear on here. (Although this is first and foremost a site to discuss/debate ND football based on my experiences here and the comments of others over the years.)

    I think Ayn Rand’s thoughts have to be understood historically, EJS. Her biography and experience with a totalitarian brand of communalism or Communism sent her off in the opposite direction. The problem with that, of course, is that if you go far enough to the right, you end up at the left! (E.g., right-wing libertarians who end up perilously close to left-wing anarchists.)

    You seem to know a great deal more about Ayn Rand than I do, EJS. I will always applaud learning even if I don’t always agree with the end result of that learning. Keep educating yourself and training your mind, EJS.

    And, of course, in the meantime, also “Cheer, cheer, for old Notre Dame”!

    Peace.

    [Reply]

    EJS replied on December 5th, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Go Irish! We can always agree on that.

  • SteelFanRob commented on December 4th, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    “duranko”,

    Like many here, I, too, much enjoy reading your observations. They strike a fine balance between the humorous and philosophical.

    I also agree with you and others that “EJS” (a newbie, perhaps)frankly misread/misunderstood your post. Moreover, your points by way of clarification are very well-taken. I especially liked you pointing out the difference between UND and Ave Maria, whose founder, if I’m not mistaken, refused the local bishop his right to install a priest to minister at the campus’ church (correct me if I’m wrong about that or if that situation has since been cleared up).

    Perhaps, “duranko,” the best way to deal with vitriol is just to turn the other cheek, rather than to be dragged into an endless round of personal insults. No doubt easier said than done, but I’ve been trying to practice what I preach of late.

    Of course, that’s just my take and you are well within your rights to respond to your responders as you deem appropriate.

    Keep up the good work!

    Peace

    GO IRISH!

    [Reply]

  • duranko commented on December 4th, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Well, now, rob, here I am listening to the Litany of the Saints, and you
    are quoting Jesus to me. It does not get better than this! Rub it all over
    my body (and my soul!)

    Now I offer in mitigation, steeler fan rob, that Matthew 5: 11-12 is
    in the original article.

    Now, disagreement of opinion is what makes the world go ’round.

    What I found really intriguing was the “dwarfish Russian emigre.”

    What if my spouse were a 3’6″ Russian mail bride, reeking of beety borscht
    longing for the steppes, and constantly harping about the beauty
    of St. Petersburg?

    People, people can’t we all just get along!!!

    [Reply]

    SteelFanRob replied on December 4th, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    “duranko,”

    Of course, disagreements are inevitable. It’s just a part of life. We know that here better than any place else, don’t we?!

    Disagreements are one thing, “duranko”. Endless pissing contests full of name-calling passing for debate is another thing entirely, however. That’s what I was counseling against. It sounds like “EJS” may have some agenda and the “dwarfish Russian emigre” comment is just the beginning of an endless round of ad hominem disputation.

    Of course, listening to the saints is better than listening to me or anyone else on here for that matter, so I apologize if I disturbed you in that spiritual exercise.

    Keep the lucid observations on ND football coming. If your style offends some, so be it. So long as one isn’t trying to be offensive on purpose, one can’t help how others feel.

    Peace.

    [Reply]

  • Shazamrock commented on December 4th, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Big –D

    “TODAY”
    “TOMORROW”

    Let us not forget our roots!

    Notre Dame & Alabama,

    2 of college football’s most storied and tradition rich programs of all time.

    A lot of people think that is nothing more than mere coincidence… but they
    would be wrong.

    ND has been playing football since 1887, 125 years’ worth. Their first game was against Michigan.
    Alabama has been playing since 1892. 114 seasons.( but there were a few seasons, in those early years, that Alabama did not field a team)
    Their first game took place in Birmingham Al against a group of local high school players.

    Like many schools of the era, It took Alabama time to build up their football program . But by the late 1920’s, and with the help of an
    advertising / recruiting campaign in New York, Alabama began to improve the quality and numbers of skilled athletes coming to Tuscaloosa.

    At the end of the 1930 season, Alabama was looking for its next head coach. Wanting to mirror its self after the football
    Powerhouses of the day (Michigan, ND, Army, ect..) they wanted a head coach who would instill toughness, integrity, pride,
    success, and consistency. They wanted a coach who could take this new crop of talent and solidify their place in college football and
    bring tradition and long term success to the program.

    They hired Frank Thomas, Head coach of the University of Chattanooga. (4 years /26-9-2)

    Frank Thomas was a Notre Dame Graduate. He was a QB on the Irish teams of 1920 through 1922. He played under legendary ND
    Coach Knute Rockne, who called him the smartest player he ever coached.

    Thomas compiled a record of 115-24-7 in his 15 seasons as head coach of the Crimson Tide from 1931-1946. He won 4 SEC titles and 2 National
    Championships during that time.(2nd winningest coach at Alabama)

    In a strange twist of fate, one of the players that Thomas coached and mentored was an END named Paul Bryant.
    Years later, as coach and Athletic Director for the Tide, Thomas hired Bryant as an assistant coach from 1936-1940.

    This set into action a series of events that would lead to the eventual hiring of Paul “bear” Bryant as the
    Alabama head coach in 1961. And as they say, the rest is history.

    Frank Thomas was inducted into the college football Hall of Fame in 1951.

    Outside of Bryant-Denny Stadium where Alabama plays all of its home games, there are a number of bronze statues of great Alabama coaches.

    One of them is Frank Thomas.

    We are, The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame!

    [Reply]

  • duranko commented on December 4th, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Shazamrock, one other thing about Paul Bryant. He was the coach at kentucky back in the 50′s. They loved him but he left to go to Texas A&M for two reasons:

    (1) After both had winning seasons, Bryant was given a nice watch, Rupp a Cadillac.

    (2) Here’s the second. There was a player in Kentucky that Bryant wanted. He thought he could be an offensive star. But that school from “up North” invited that player to come along for a visit along
    with his high school teammate Sherrill Sipes. When the coach, the one and only Frank Leahy, got the players in his office he looked at the blond
    haired one (not Sipes) and said “Son if you come here you can win the Heisman trophy” Blondie liked it, and Sherrill did too. and that is how Paul Hornung, of Flaget High School in Louisville, wound up foresaking Bryant and the home state school to play for the Irish, and of course, Hornung won the ’56 Heisman. Bryant left the Commonwealth and headed
    for College Station. His first pre-Fall, he picked a grassy area ought by Kerrville named “JUnction” and so were the Junction Boys born…….

    [Reply]

    Young Love replied on December 4th, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I thought they gave the Bear a cigarette lighter…same difference :)

    [Reply]

  • Mike Sullivan commented on December 4th, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    The writings of St. Paul. Wow, didn’t know you had this great talent. Shortsighted. You bring so many historical moments to bear. Thank you for the work (of love) you produced here.

    Caio, good buddy.

    [Reply]

    Mike Sullivan replied on December 6th, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Will share with my 14 grandkids your great essay.

    [Reply]

  • Shazamrock commented on December 5th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Better than Kyle Rudolph?
    Better than John Carlson?
    Better than Anthony Fassano?

    I remember Tyler Eifert as a freshmen. Long hair, bit of a crazy look in his eyes. Could run like a deer and catch like a wideout.

    You just knew he was going to be a good one, but damn!
    The best ever!
    That’s saying something in these parts!

    You the MAN Tyler!

    [Reply]

  • duranko commented on December 5th, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Message to two, steelfanrob, and Mike Sullivan

    For rob, I was actually enchanted, delighted, cackled with joy when you commended the course of action of turning the other cheek. ROB: NO ONE CAN SPE ND TOO MUCH TIME READING, HEARING OR STUDYING CHRIST’S WORDS, AND THEN TRYING TO LIVE THEM.

    So, rob, if I didn’t communicate it directly, THANK YOU for reminding me
    about that.

    For Mike, I had you, and a friend named Ben Baldwin, in mind when the
    award for Swiss Army knife for Riddick was made. You and Ben and I on the
    road, ah…….

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on December 5th, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Bro. “duranko,”

    No misunderstanding at all! I caught exactly what you wanted to say. But I greatly appreciate the follow up anyway.

    In light of this opportunity, I want to also personally apologize to you, “duranko,” if I came across too strongly when we exchanged words over Manti T’eo’s faith. I hope you realize that I totally agree with your theological assessments of Mormonism. I just wanted to applaud Manti for witnessing as a “Christian” even if his own faith tradition isn’t strictly speaking orthodox. That was all I was trying to do. In no way was I attempting to either contradict your obviously well-studied opinions or defend the Mormon religion as Christian. Glad to unburden myself of that, brother.

    It’s hard at times here, “duranko,” to turn the other cheek. Some seem to prefer name-calling and intimidation to reasoned debate. I’m OK if you disagree with me on this or that. After all, as you say, we can’t always agree on everything. But some here seem to think the best way to make a point is by name calling and threatening. Sadly, I’ve let myself be dragged into these pissing contests in the past here and elsewhere way too often. I even lost fellowship with a dear Christian brother for a while because neither of us wanted to budge and we both wanted the last word in our email exchanges. That’s why I’m trying to work on myself about and, yes, “durano,” Jesus’ words are very helpful in that regard.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    [Reply]

    duranko replied on December 5th, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Wesolych swiat bozego Narodzenie i sczesliwego nowego rok, rob! That’s Merry Christmas in the mother tongue.

    Even among Christian Catholics, I believe there is plenty of room for believing with different points of emphasis at different points in time.

    My cover here is two fold.., The Apostles were always trying to DISQUALIFY people and keep them from Christ and he was always being INCLUSIVE.

    My second part of cover is
    “My Father’s House has many mansions” From Christ’s, well, farewell address recorded in John. To me
    that suggests that differences among God’s children are tolerable.

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on December 5th, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Amen, brother, amen! Deep, deep, thoughts, here for sure!

    Even some of the early Church fathers talked about the possibility of “hidden” Christians. That indeed suggests that differences among God’s children are tolerable (perhaps even healthy?!).

    But let’s not get overly theological with this and offend some of our ND brethren.

    Go Irish!

    Happy Holidays to all!

    [Reply]

  • ND Southy commented on December 5th, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz, how many more days until we kick this thing off?

    [Reply]

  • Sad Warrior commented on December 6th, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    SFR, Shazz, JDH-finally back from long, long LRPs. We really missed reading your comments. Looking forward to many reads.

    What great news about Manti, Eifert, Tuitt, and the coachees being honored for this awesome season!

    Tonight (which is now here) we will watch the USC game, though we did know of the outcome. Excitement already abuzz. Imagine lots of shouting, yelling, and cheering! Even here that game could not be kept a secret.

    Hot shower, chow, SC-ND game! What more could we ask for?!

    Go Irish! Hooah!

    [Reply]

    Shazamrock replied on December 6th, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Was starting to worry about you bro!

    Hadn’t heard from you in a while.

    Nice to know everything is good.

    Many great moments in that game for sure.

    With my slightly twisted sense of humor, I found great enjoyment in watching Kiffin prance down the sidlines to call the most infamous timeout I have seen in a long time!

    Don’t want to ruin it for ya, but if you listen real carefully you can still hear me laughing all the way back here in the states!

    Onward to victory!

    [Reply]

    JDH replied on December 6th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Good to have you back SW. Stay safe brother.

    [Reply]

    SteelFanRob replied on December 6th, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Sad Warrior,

    Good to have you back safe and sound, brother. You were missed by the other diehards!

    Enjoy the replay of the USC game. It’s epic!

    GO IRISH!

    [Reply]

  • Sad Warrior commented on December 7th, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Thanks guys-we all were wondering what commotions and doings you were all up to! I see you did not miss a beat. It seemed like an eternity getting back to base camp.

    What a terrific game with the Trojans! Another epic stand. The shouting, yelling, and fist pumping was very loud while we watched it. No need for pt for a week since the pacing and running was frantic at times. We might do an encore for the game tonight for the nostalgia factor and for a few who were too bushed to stay up.

    Shazz-the funniest part about your comment about laughing at the Kitten was that we did actually hear laughter! It was really crazy! Someone on the other side of the CP was telling a story during that infamous timeout by the Kitten and they started laughing! We are sitting there like “What the ????” Unit is sitting, just staring at each other and I’m like “No way, no, even the Shazz couldn’t laugh that loud and hard.” It was too funny and coincidental to have been anything other than Divine Intervention from Him! That really hit the spopt since we were all saying what was that Coach thinking when he called the Chinese fire drill timeout. Some really good adjectives and other choice words were flying too. Thanks!

    We took a vote about the Heisman and you wouldn’t guess who won out handily? Manti! The more I see of him the more impressive he is. That’s what All America is about.

    Take care guys. Stay safe as well and thanks for the comments. You help make our days better, especially at this time of the year.

    Go Irish! Hooah!

    End Message. Out.

    [Reply]

  • bj commented on December 7th, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    the key to victory is the special teams, atkinson must run the ball back for a couple of rocket like touchdowns!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on December 7th, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Sad Warrior,

    What would we do without the timely levity of dear Shaz?! Count on him to keep our spirits high.

    BTW: Mattingly just made his ND decommitment official. That’s OK. We’re in play for much higher ranked talent. That opens up one more recruiting slot. Go get Redfield, Muhammed, Willis, Alexander, etc.!

    [Reply]

    Sad Warrior replied on December 7th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    SFR-After chow we are going to rewatch the game and a few others we missed. That Shazz thing is too funny! If it happens again then I will know he might just have divine powers of the levity type! A couple of the guys were like “How did that Shazz know about the laughter?” I might just use that to get a few of them going!

    Where is Mattingly commiting to now? Redfield would be a tremendous catch from what we know of him.

    BTW-the LSU, Georgia,and Texas alums here are not members of the SEC Nation. They really want to the Irish get Bama, and get them good! Forget about the Auburners-they want the annihilation of Bama! One of them knows the creator of that shirt with the ND image that says about War Irish! Possible R&R during the NC week!

    Take care guys. Go Irish!

    [Reply]

    SteelFanRob replied on December 8th, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Speaking of recruiting, ND just landed 2014 stud OL Jimmy Byrne, beating out Ohio St.!

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on December 7th, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Sad Warrior,

    Watch the USC game over, and over, and over. You can’t get enough of that goal line stance, brother!

    Shaz isn’t merely a comedian…. He’s a prophet!

    As for Mattingly, good riddance! I’m sorry, I know I should be more generous about that, but I can’t help but wonder why any kid would turn down a ND football scholarship, esp. now when the Irish are on the brink of greatness. So be it. No news on his new destination. Redfield I believe is a lock. So is Muhammed. Add in another weapon on O and I think this class is set.

    I’ve never understood this “SEC Nation” garbage. I root for only ND and for whatever benefits ND. So if I ever root for another team it’s because it will somehow accrue to ND’s benefit in some way, shape, or form. Simple as that.

    [Reply]

  • Sad Warrior commented on December 7th, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    SFR-We’ll find out if Shaz is the Prophet in about an hour. Everybody was talking at chow about the stand, those who did not see it last night are hyped. A needed distraction and some fun! I even heard that cookie (our Master Chef and surrogate mother!) was going to bring us real honest to goodness genuine popcorn! I guess you can see it doesn’t take much to placate us! Hey,if you listen carefully, maybe you will hesar us shouting and laughing! (Got to hand it to Kitten…)

    Mattingly became less of a need with Anzelone, Smith, and Deeb? You seem to have an inside speed track on recruiting; now who is the prophet? or does the Shaz secretly tip you on the story?

    Agree about the SEC Nation-some in the Unit also agree with you, especially now that the Irish have many fans in the ‘Nation’ now and believe me they want Bama to pay and pay big.

    Off to showers and then game. Tghanks for the inte. It’s good to get it.

    Stay safe. Go Irish! Hooah.

    End Message. Out.

    [Reply]

  • Sad Warrior commented on December 7th, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    SFR-We’ll find out if Shaz is the Prophet in about an hour. Everybody was talking at chow about the stand, those who did not see it last night are hyped. A needed distraction and some fun! I even heard that cookie (our Master Chef and surrogate mother!) was going to bring us real honest to goodness genuine popcorn! I guess you can see it doesn’t take much to placate us! Hey,if you listen carefully, maybe you will hesar us shouting and laughing! (Got to hand it to Kitten…)

    Mattingly became less of a need with Anzelone, Smith, and Deeb? You seem to have an inside speed track on recruiting; now who is the prophet? or does the Shaz secretly tip you on the story?

    Agree about the SEC Nation-some in the Unit also agree with you, especially now that the Irish have many fans in the ‘Nation’ now and believe me they want Bama to pay and pay big.

    Off to showers and then game. Thanks for the intel. It’s good to get it.

    Stay safe. Go Irish! Hooah.

    End Message. Out.

    [Reply]

  • SteelFanRob commented on December 7th, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Sad Warrior:

    Shaz will not fail us!

    Sounds like you’re in for a fun few hours. Enjoy the popcorn!

    Shaz and I had an unfortunate misunderstanding a while back. Perhaps you caught up on our sad exchanges in that case. I felt very badly about that incident. Shaz has always been one of my personal favorites. I’m glad to report that we reconciled, which people of good will and true ND fans always do, and have since exchanged many positive comments. And, yes, we have talked about recruiting.

    I totally agree with you. Our LB recruits are studs. I think if we add Redfield, Muhammed, one other stud CB (Willis or Alexander), and another play-maker on O (ATH, WR, or RB) we’ll have a top 2-3 class. So long young Mr. Mattingly!

    I’m sick of the SEC idol worship in the media. If yuo’re going to idolize any program, ND should be it. After all, it actually produces true student-athletes.

    You stay safe, brother! Enjoy the replay of the replay!

    [Reply]

  • Jack commented on December 7th, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    I just read the Cincy coach went to Tennessee. I bet money Diaco will land at Cincy next year. They just need to wait until after the NC game to talk to him. ND needs no more distractions at this time.

    [Reply]

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