Recruiting Highlights Assistants’ Immediate Plans

Notre Dame officially announced the hiring of three new assistant coaches to Brian Kelly’s first staff on Tuesday – Chuck Martin, Mike Elston, and Mike Denbrock. Each had quotes about their immediate plans in the official press releases from the University. Here’s a look at what each of the three new coaches will be doing as they hit the ground running on closing out the 2010 recruiting class.

Mike Denbrock – Tight Ends Coach

“I’m already out on the road recruiting. I’m looking to make sure that some of the commitments Notre Dame has received remain committed while also working to get as many of the young men as we have targeted. I’m looking forward to sitting down with them and their families and present the mission of the University of Notre Dame. I want to make sure those young men know there is a quality education and a tremendous football program waiting for them to be a part of.”

Irish Sports Daily reported earlier on Tuesday that Denbrock was going to meet with the parents of five star offensive tackle recruit Seantrel Henderson which makes sense considering he said he was already on the road recruiting.  Brian Kelly said that Denbrock will be the lead recruiter for the Irish staff on the West Coast so it’s possible that he could be headed out west at some point in the near future to visit with the two west coast commits – Justin Utupo (outside linebacker/defensive end) and Cameron Roberson (running back) – but that is just speculation at this point.  Notre Dame is still pursuing other west coast targets as well such as Anthony Barr (athlete), Deitrich Riley (safety), Sean Parker (safety), Josh Shirley (linebacker), and Hayes Pullard (linebacker).  How much ground Denbrock can make up with some of these recruits remains to be seen, but if he is going to lead West Coast recruiting, he’ll likely be focusing on some of these recruits.

Mike Elston – Defensive Line

“Right now the plan is to hit the road and tie up some loose ends on a few of the committed players. I might potentially follow some leads on kids we had evaluated at Cincinnati but were either out of our reach or have recently reopened their recruiting based on other coaching changes or different circumstances. So I imagine I’ll be flying around the country here a little bit towards the end of the week and potentially ending up in San Antonio on Saturday.”

It’s not clear who exactly Elston could be referring to here, but over the last few days a lot of new names have popped up on Notre Dame’s radar so Elston could be pretty busy. One possibility could be Cincinnati commitment Jibreel Black.  Mike Dyer of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweeted that Kelly requested the transcripts for the defensive lineman from Wyoming High School.  It’s not clear whether or not Black would consider the Irish, but based off of Dyers tweet it sounds like Notre Dame will at least make an attempt to lure Black to South Bend.

Kelly said that Elston would be working in Florida with Tony Aflord moving forward so it’s possible that Giovanni Bernard (running back) could be one of the committed players he is slotted to visited.  The other Florida commitments seem more than solid considering Louis Nix (defensive tackle) committed without a head coach and with Spencer Boyd (defensive back) and Lo Wood (defensive back) set to start their Notre Dame careers next week.

There are several Florida prospects left on the board for Notre Dame that Elston could be assisting with as well.  Tom Lemming was quoted in the South Bend Tribune stating Notre Dame could target Kadron Boone (wide receiver), a Florida native and Texas Tech commitment.  Christian Jones (linebacker) and Dionte Ponder (defensive back) are two other Florida area recruits Notre Dame is still in on.

Chuck Martin – Defensive Backs

“I’m going to head right to Chicago to visit a couple kids we have committed and a couple other kids we are working on trying to get committed. I think we are going to take inventory in the middle of the week. Obviously it is a mad scramble with all of the other staff members coming on board and I think we’ll stay in constant communication with Coach Kelly on where we’re going next. I’m prepared to go anywhere next. I know Chicago is my main area but I’m willing to go recruit anywhere in the country to find players for Notre Dame.”

The only Chicago area kids committed to Notre Dame right now are Christian Lombard (offensive tackle) and Tommy Rees (quarterback) with Corey Cooper (wide receiver/safety) and Bruce Gaston (defensive tackle) the only remaining prospects in the Chicago area for the Irish.  Cooper is a very important recruit for Notre Dame with most of its top safety prospects either committed elsewhere or no longer considering the Irish.  Gatson is another key recruit because of his ability to play in the middle of a 3-4 defense and his considerable upside.

The entire coaching staff is going to be burning the midnight oil over the next month as they attempt to salvage this class and close out strong with the prospects still considering the Irish.

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  1. On another recruiting front note, I just read an article saying the Seantril Henderson is NOT academically eligible for college yet. His best ACT score is 17 and he needs a 19 to be eligible.

    I can’t see him suiting up for the Irish with that kind of academic issue. Sounds like he is more geared for Miami, USC, FSU then Notre Dame.

  2. Kiffin talked a great game when he signed on with the Raiders. Then proceeded to do a completely suckass job and get canned. Then he went to Tennessee where he is currently trying to grab all their recruits as he leaves them high and dry. What a guy!
    There seems to be a pattern of distruction left in his wake everywhere he goes.
    He probably just put the Tennessee program back 4 years.
    I just hope that old saying holds true: “What goes around, comes around”
    Kiffin was at USC during the Reggie Bush years. He’s a liar and a cheat.
    Perhaps some of the more intellegent recruites will see that and steer clear of him. He can’t change his past, nor will he be able to change his spots. As a head coach there has to be some measure of trust, and it appears that he has burned all those bridges. Trust Lane Kiffin??? That’s like asking Jessie James to hold your wallet!

  3. As an ND fan I’m quite happy USuckC had to take kiffin. As an ND fan living deep in SEC country I’m equally ecstatic. Lil comeuppance for the guys that think SEC ball is the be all end all. And as a ND fan living in SEC country who happens to be a human being I’m quite pleased that that sorry piece of excrement kiffin is stupid enough to take a job where the NCAA is about to drop the hammer.

    What a great day.

  4. Incident happened in Minnesota, so I wouldn’t be too worried about it. He was cited, not arrested, and there’s not one guy on this posting board that didn’t have at least one good bender before they reached drinking age (which is less than a year away for Michael).

    What do you think about Kiffin bolting Tennessee for USC? That should make some nice future headlines with the LAPD . . . . . .

    1. Oh how you guys so quickly forget about what happened to Rashon Powers-Neal when he was driving under the influence in MINNESOTA!!!

      1. We’ll see how it gets spun. Arrested for a DUI during the season versus admitting to taking a few shots and getting cited are different to me, but in any case it is still underage drinking. It will be interesting to see what Kelly does about it as well. (I threw away my copy of Du Lac back in 1978 when I moved off campus, so I am not sure what it said or what the current versions says.)

      2. irisheyes,

        No, I haven’t forgotten! Thus my concerns. But I’m sure we both agree and hope Doc is right and this situation works out for a great kid and for the good of the ND football program. Let me reiterate: WE NEED FLOYD ON THE FIELD A TON NEXT SEASON!

  5. Scav,

    If ND were UF or USC, Floyd would sit out the first quarter of their first meaningless game against the Tuskegee St. & AM & AI JV team. Needless to say, ND isn’t one of these schools, nor do we schedule such teams. So, my guess is that Floyd will face a stiff suspension that may well cost him more than one important game (such as Michigan)to start the season. I just hope the kid doesn’t get run out of town like has happened to Will Yeatman and others in the past few years. We need Michael Floyd on the field this year! If we land Kyle Prater, then Floyd can depart for the NFL next year knowing we have his heir apparent ready to go!

  6. A lot of people said ND is no longer the coaching job it once was because of the coaches who supposedly turned them down. Well it looks like USC is in the same boat. Mike Reily signed a contract extention and Del Rio has turned them down as well.

    Also, how long is Floyd going to get suspended due to his poor judgement. ND likes to crack the whip on athletes that get in trouble with the law.

  7. Shazamrock,

    AMEN BROTHER!! I hope Notre Dame NEVER attracts anyone like Pete Carroll. I’d rather lose every game, than win the USC did under Carroll.
    But ND can win without doing what Carroll and USC did. Someday there won’t be a lot of money for sports and casino gambling. Winning with honor will mean more then.

    1. I see where they left Kyle Prater hanging. He went back home to Illinois insted of enrolling early. Maybe we can snatch him up.
      Remember when Carroll made it cool to call his top recruites from the sidelines of his BCS bowl game during the fourth quarter blow-out?
      Seems that when Carroll announced that he was leaving USC, that Pratter tried to call him but couldn’t get through.
      That’s because Carroll and all his staff turned off their phones.
      Not so cool.

  8. Say what you will about Charlie Weis and his record at ND. I find the whole Pete Carroll episode rather amusing in comparision. First he(Carroll) has his book “Winning Forever” I think he should change the name to “Winning Forever or Until NCAA Sanctions Come Down”. Charlie Weis spent 3 of his 5 years on the “Hot Seat” Carroll, all of about 5 minutes. Charlie’s priorities were the health and well being of his players. Their commitment to academics. Making sure players stayed out of trouble and represented ND with pride and dignaty,and respecting a players personal choices.(Whether it be a transfer, leaving football, or leaving early for the NFL Draft)
    Carroll priorities was always his own self image.
    Charlie Recruited, Coached, and played within the rules. Carroll bent the rules at every oppertunity. Interesting how Carroll waited until the second week of January to make his annoucement. He had a number of players who were scheduled to enroll early and start classes last Monday. Talk about cornnering a young incoming freshmen. Ether the kid goes to class not knowing who his head coach will be, or he waits and reconsiders. If he waits, his plans to get a jump on starting his college career just went down the toilet.
    At least when Charlie Weis went into a kids home, shook his hand and gave him his word, you knew could bank on it.
    Charlie Weis might not have won as many games as we all would have liked, but he did leave the program better off than how he found it.
    Yeah, Carroll will wiggle off the hook once agian. He will slither out of town in search of greener pastures, leaving USC football, and this years’ recruites to fend for themselves. Someone else will have to come in and clean up his mess.
    They don’t call him “Slippery Pete” for nothing.

  9. Attached is a link to the 2009 Rivals Freshman All-American Team.

    Interesting to note that there are more 2-star recruits on the 1st team (4) than 5-star (2). There was only one 5-star recruit on the 2nd team (Manti Teo).

    Regarding the Army All-American game, I found it quite comforting that none of the silly “drop the hats on the floor” recruits chose to come to Notre Dame. I don’t believe those were RKG types. They will be redshiting and sitting on the bench counting their stars next year. What was also comforting was that Lombard looked solid at tackle and Lueders led the game in tackles. Those are “right kind of guys”. Everybody missed the boat (except Dartmouth) on 2-star quarterback recruit Cole Marcoux out of the Bronx. A 3.95 GPA and a rocket for an arm. That’s another RKG. Tommy Rees has a rocket arm like that as well, which is probably why Hendrix is taking an official visit to Florida.

  10. California recruits traditionally don’t do well outside of the California area. Most of the great players that Carroll got were not from Cally but other areas, Joe Mcknight, Dwayne Jarret, Everson Griffin and Brian Cushing. We need to get players that reflect what ND is looking for in character and in spirit. As fars as the stars are concerned, I have seen many a 3 star player turn out to be drafted over 4 and 5 star players. Remeber in the NFL you make your team in the late rounds not the first round and I think college is the same way.

  11. UCLA, OREGON, Washington, Stanford, and Oregon State will all generate enough excitement. But let’s put a few things in perspective. On the field, the Mountain West won the bowl challenge cup. 4-1. Pac-10? 2-5. Oh and for those wanting to know if Cincy was for real even though they lost to Florida? Big East 4-2. what does this tell you? That hype and marketability has driven college football. For all the griping and hate coming ND’s way, let consider that the Mountain West can’t become a BCS conference, even with winning the Bowl challenge cup a record 3 times, and with winning records in multiple years against the PAC-10.

    It reinforces a few things for me. Who cares whether we get USC recruits?

    Kelly won in a conference that was stronger than the PAC-10. And he did it with less. So let him start winning and the recruits will come. He’s a hard worker just like Weis and I don’t foresee the kind of weaknesses we lived through with Davie and Willingham. Kelly works hard, shows leadership and believes in Notre Dame. Plus he’s pretty smart.

    Until proven otherwise, aka, losing games we shouldn’t, I’ll put my trust in Kelly knowing what he’s doing.

    Those recruits haven’t been so dominant since the NCAA started crawling around. Less hidden practice time means less extra prep that game USC the advantage over other schools. Imagine Teo, working out every day, running drills with his buddies every day, going to a compressed class schedule of doodling, more doodling, and still more doodling. After the hour of class time is up, it’s back to football prep. 5 undergraduate classes in one hour, leaves more time for football. Now imagine, one of USC’s players, only having the alloted time to practice. I don’t think the reality would continue to match the hype.

    ND will do fine with whoever we get. Kelly needs a percentage of stars and character athletes who are competent enough. That and his leadership will deliver a top ten team, the Notre Dame way.

  12. As I understand it, one time ND assistant under Charlie Weis, and West Coast recruiter Brian Polian was snapped up by Stanford recently. With Pete Carroll now gone from USC I’m wondering if this was a mistake on Brian Kelly’s part. If he had kept Polian we would have had the inside track on many of the USC recruites who’s commitment to USC is now in doubt. Polian is a recruiting shark and I’m sure he smells blood in the water that surrounds this year’s USC recruiting class. I’m not sure who Kelly has recruiting in Califorina but lets hope they return the favor that’s been done to us over the past few years when we lost some of our top Califorina recuites due to coaching changes.

  13. Whoever the hell runs the compliance department at USC needs to be fired. That is some piss poor job.

    Anywho, happy to see Pete go, but I have a feeling he will be back in college football at some point, the NFL is a completely different animal compared to college athletics. The athletes in the NFL aren’t dependent on the coach as they are in college.

  14. Army All-American Game said Prater was to go to USC after game to enroll, but he has decided to go back home instead. His recruitment is opened back up with the news of Pete Carroll.

    Brian Kelly should be waiting at the airport for him.

  15. Actually I wanted Notre Dame at least one year against Pete. Kind of like having a chance to vanquish. the villain and prove ourselves righteous. Losing this year’s game hurt the most, because we are on par with USC in terms of talent. But not to be.

    My only other frustration is that the new USC coach may want to clean things up. Pete is running off into the night with no penalty. Almost like Bill Clinton playing with Monica Lewinsky instead of paying attention to Al Qaeda in the 1990s. And the next guy deals with the lack of over sight. So USC while deserving of sanctions will pay the price for Pete’s fun loving lack of ethics, sportsmanship and morality. Not fair that he pays nothing for it but makes more money. Well I just stopped being a Seahawks fan. I hope they trade Julius Jones and John Carlson.

    And I hear that Weis’ comments may be truer than anyone talked about.

    For our future, let’s see if USC cleans it up. And let’s see if athletes who practice within the limits of the rules can keep up with ND.

    I have no comment on the USC recruits. I have to wonder if they are ND character or not.

    Bama, Ohio St., MSU, Oregon, and yes, Florida……can ND get up there? I hope so.

    And for now, I AM happy for both the men’s and women’s backetball teams.

    1. All good points C-Dog,

      It certainly would have been nice to kick USC’s @ss as Pete was going out the door.

      Well, atleast the con-artist is out the door and a new playing field is on the horizon. Only time will tell if USC will come clean.

      1. JC,
        Thanks. I will be interested to see if Pete has “fun” and stays more than 3 years. It will really reek if he returns to an SEC or Big-12 school in a few years. But if my hunches are correct, he’s going to have problems from here on in.
        He’ll have no advantage now in time spent on the practice field. And he won’t be able to motivate the guys once they realize it’s all for his ego. Simply put, he’d b hard pressed to find an advantage even by cheating.
        By the time he comes back to the NCAA, economics and a widening scandal of athletes not really attending college classes will prevent him from working the system again. He’d be under a lot more scrutiny the second time around. Maybe UCLA would sell out and have the LA sports marketing machine buy off the NCAA again. Maybe.
        But just like with Bill Clinton, Pete’s gonna say he did nothing wrong until he’s caught red handed. Like other criminals, like AIG, Enron, or MCI Worldcom execs. An unfortunate reflection of our narcissistic, value starved society.
        Let’s hope Kelly brings the Notre Dame banner to shine in the face of all this. Go IRISH!!!

      2. Perhaps this time the shoe is on the other foot.
        Carroll heads off to Seattle with many of his assistant coaches.
        The search for a new USC head coach drags out for weeks.
        No one wants to coach a program with pending penitles that would limit scholarships and restrict bowl appearences.
        Recruites that were to start classes today in hopes of participating in spring practice stay home and play a wait and see game as who will be the next head coach.
        With top defensive coach and Recruited Ken Norton following Carroll to Seatlle, USC’s top defensive recruites jump ship for more stabil programs.
        Then the transfer’s start pilling up.
        Signing day fast approaches. USC panics and hires some 3rd rate coach. More defections.
        Spring practice arrives.
        USC players must learn a new offence and defense. With stricter academic and behavioral rules in place players must toe the line. This means sacrificing the extra gym time so common during the Pete Carroll era.
        The 2010 season rolls around.
        USC find the early going tough. ND comes to town. Has USC down 28-0 at the half.
        Midway through the third quarter, USC picks up it’s first 1st down of the game. The ND marching band who made the trip give the trojans a standing ovation.
        ND goes on to dominate the series for the next 7 years.


    After nearly a decade of improper benefits and abusing the system, Pete has run off to the NFL because the curtain has come down on the Trojan empire. After hiring Coach Kelly, this is the second best day for Irish fans (post-Weis era). It will only be a matter of time until he is exposed again in the NFL because you can’t pay off players to come and perform in the pros. Mr. Cool won’t cut it in Seattle.

    It’s a new decade and new era for the ND/USC rivalry!! Get your popcorn ready!

  17. Rumor is Carroll is getting offered 7 Million/year. That’s a lot of money to pass up.

    Does this push Henderson towards ND, will Pratner come as well?

    It will be very interesting to see if Pete leaves.

  18. Well..Well…….C-Dog,

    The mighty USC is losing Pete Carroll to the Seahawks. I wonder why? Looks like things are going to get real interesting over the off season now. 1st, USC self imposed sanctions for basketball and I’m sure some old well known football issues now pushing the right buttons for Carroll’s 32 million dollar exit back to the pro’s. Good bye Pete, we won’t miss you and don’t come back to college football! Ever!

  19. Reading all these posts Coach Kelly don’t have to look for coaches or people with all the strategy it takes to go 12-0, they are right here in this column. What he needs is your support. He has a proven head coaching record no matter where it was. He has the skill to take those 3 star recruits and mold them as players who will be able to execute his system. No matter who designs the plays if they are done correctly the will get results.
    What this team needs is coaches who will instill discipline and ability to be able to think for themselves in any kind of situation. Don’t treat these kids like they are pros teach them. They need to learn the proper technkique in blocking and tackling. They have to understand leverage o the offensive and defensive lines. Let’s face it these were the trouble spots for the last 15 years, blocking, tackling and disctipline. Too many penalties especially at crucial times. It’s back to the basics. If you do te simple things and do them correctly you 5don’t ned to get too complicaed the simple things and do them right no need fil the players heads with junk. The more confusing the less execution. GO IRISH.

  20. Reading all these posts Coach Kelly don’t have to look for coaches or people with all the strategy it takes to go 12-0, they are right here in this column. What he needs is your support. He has a proven head coaching record no matter where it was. He has the skill to take those 3 star recruits and mold them as players who will be able to execute his system. No matter who designs the plays if they are done correctly the will get results.
    What this team needs is coaches who will instill discipline and ability to be able to think for themselves in any kind of situation. Don’t treat these kids like they are pros teach them. They need to learn the proper technkique in blocking and tackling. They have to understand leverage o the offensive and defensive lines. Let’s face it these were the trouble spots for the last 15 years, blocking, tackling and disctipline. Too many penalties especially at crucial times. It’s back to the basics. If you do te simple things and do them correctly you 5don’t ned to get too complica the simple things and do them right no need fil the players heads with junk. The more confusing the less execution. GO IRISH.

  21. I am not too concerned about Diaco. Let’s not forget that he ran a defense this year with 10 new starters and still managed an undefeated season. I think this staff understands, like Lou Holtz, how to put the best players in the best situations.

    Let’s not forget a certain QB who turned linebacker under their tutelage.

  22. Is anyone else a little worried about the d-coordinator hire? the o-coordinator was a no-brainer as cincy had so much success on offense, but the other side of the ball was a different story.

    I like the hire in one respect, that is the fact that he is a kelly guy and therefore should be on the same page. I think weis had a hard time with consistency on D because he brought in coaches from a variety of different systems and philosophies, and the result was a team that was thinking too much.

    With that being said, Diaco has only 1 yr experience as a d-coordinator (2 if you count the ‘co-coordinator’), and that year was less than impressive. I know cincy lost a lot of people last year, but they were awful on d allowing about 24 points per game, only a slight improvement to nd’s 26. I hope kelly knows what he is doing…

    1. The following is a re-post. I posted these stats on this site back when some of us were thinking Brian Kelly is another Charlie Weis. I KNOW he’s not going be another CW. Ted, your concerns were with defense, which is why I posted these stats in the first place, but I think this will help calm your fears that Brian Kelly doesn’t know what he’s doing on defense. After seeing this, you’ll probably be as excited as I am about having BK as our head coach for both offensive and defensive reasons.

      Number of games allowing 20 pts or less in last 2 seasons (’08 & ‘09):
      Cincinnati= 16
      Notre Dame= 6

      Number of games scoring 28 pts or more in last 2 seasons (’08 & ‘09)
      Cincinnati= 18
      Notre Dame= 13

      So..YEAH, while Brian Kelly’s Offense puts up points (more than Notre Dame in the past 2 years), Brian Kelly also understands Defense and it WILL NOT be another Charlie Weis leading the Fighting Irish.

      GO IRISH!

      1. don’t get me wrong, i am excited to have kelly as a coach and do not think it will be another weis era. on the contrary, i think we could be headed to national prominence in a short 1-3 years.

        however, my excitement doesn’t blind me to some concerns that i have and those stats don’t quench my apprehension. cincy gave up an average of 39 ppg the last 5 games this year…eerily similar to the irish november meltdown of 32 ppg.

        the kelly hire was based on experience, which we clearly got in kelly and molnar. diaco just doesn’t have much of a track record to be optimistic about…

      2. I can see your concern with Diaco and his lack of experience. I think I’m too much of a numbers guy. The last 5 games don’t lie, but the previous 20 games don’t lie either. But I think with Kelly, Molnar, and Martin’s experience Diaco will have a good amount of help and our defense will be lightyear’s better than last year. I’d love to see the defense’s of late 80’s, early 90’s come back, but I will even settle for a top-50 defense at this point. I may be too optimistic, but I’m excited about what I know so far.

    2. How many years of experience did Tenuta have when he came to ND and ruined the defense?

      They need to play the right players, in the right positions, at the right time of the game!!!!

      Hopefully they bring some excitement to the sidelines. When I watch the top tier teams, the players and coaches are crazy/excited on the sidelines. Charlie was worried about making sure his kid had a headset…..Do you think they’ll let little charlie walk the sidelines in Kansas City>???????

  23. Rather than use GPA and GSR in the ranking system, use those statistics to limit impact scholarship numbers. Unless they become big drivers of rankings, they will only add fuel for the Tennessees, Michigans, FSUs of the world to schedule cupcakes and to beat the hell out of them to improve their appearance.

    But, limit the scholarships they can offer and watch what happens. It certainly evens the playing field of FSU has 20 scholarships to offer and Duke has 85.

  24. THe only thing Kelly has to do is get Seantrel. If we get him, the other borderline recruits will follow. One of ND best classes was when Clausen committed early and got other great players. we get Seantrel, all the problems will be solved

    1. problem with that is he won’t be announcing until february 3.
      from what i have been reading, lombard is dominating at the aa practices and appears to in matt james ear(who said osu is the leader). they say they are practically inseperable.
      those 2 with seantrel would be mind blowing.
      also christian jones father has told him that he and manti would be a solid lb duo. thats coming from a fsu grad! sounds like all the recruits are taking a liking to brian kelly.

  25. USC started the season ranked 4th. This was based on how they finished in 2008. They lost half their coaching staff. Their entire starting defense, and their QB. But they get to start the 2009 season ranked 4th? They finished out of the top 25. ND could have gone undefeated this year and been left out of the championship game because teams like Texas, Alabama, & Florida started the season ranked ahead of them and never lost. We could never jump or over take them because we started the season ranked 25th and they never lost and we didn’t play them during the regular season.
    As a ND fan, it looks like we will have to pile up multipul 10 win seasons in order to position ourselves for a title shot. Bill is right when he says that the system failed. And it continues to fail. Perhaps these BCS computers should factor in a team’s classroom curiculum, team GPA, and Graduation rates when it comes to rankings and choosing who gets to play for all the marbels.

    1. I agree with some of things you are saying, such as, we will need multiple 10 win seasons to get a shot, unless we have one of the best records. Either way, it’s going to take 10 or 11 wins to be in that conversation. It’s very possible for Notre Dame.

      But to disagree with you…I really hope you’re kidding when you suggested that the “BCS computers should factor in a team’s classroom curriculum, team GPA, and Graduation rates when it comes to rankings and choosing who gets to play for all the marbles.” I really do hope this is a joke because when you say that you just look a Notre Dame homer (which I am as much as you are) who just wants to cut corners so that Notre Dame is back at the top. Sorry, but curriculum, GPA, and Graduation do not win football games. While it’s great to have and separates Notre Dame from other universities, it should not be taken into consideration as to who plays for the National Championship, get real. Again, if you were kidding, I like the sarcasm, but if you were serious…that is a ridiculous idea that should never be considered.

      I want Notre Dame to be back at the top as much as anyone, but I don’t think the idea of adjusting things in our favor is the way to go about it. Winning on Saturdays is how we need to make Notre Dame a top team again.

      1. It’s supposed to be college football. Not some minor league, NFL, football factory.
        They call the players “Student Athletes” That means that they first go to class. (Every day). Take real courses.(opposed to Cake Baking 101 & Ballroom Dancing) And maintain a respectiable GPA. Is that really too much to ask of these young men?
        There are thousands of quality students who get turned down from their University of choice, because they gave a Football scholarship to some boarderline Student/player, who happends to be a great athlete.
        I’m not saying that just because ND has a more difficult curriculum and higher standards that they should automacticlly be granted special treatment and BCS consideration. I’m just saying that acedemics should be part of the equation. These are suppose to be places of higher learning after all. Success in the classroom as well as the field should go hand in hand.
        That’s what the forefathers of these University’s had in mind when they approved atletics as part of a well rounded college education. Not this win at all costs mentality.
        We all know that there are players at various colleges that take a bunch of Micky Mouse courses so they are assured of passing and free up extra time that they use spending in the gym. Wouldn’t you consider that an “Unfair Advantage”? Shouldn’t giving these kids a real and quality education be a priority over using them to make millions for the university, where one out of a hundred actually make it to the NFL?
        Why should a kid, or the team he plays for, be put at a disadvantage because he may miss some practice time so he can improve his academics? Just remember that
        these young men who graduate with these phony degree’s are going to be tommorow’s leaders and administrators of this country.
        You are correct when you say that there are corners being cut. But you may be a bit off base on who you view as the ones doing the cutting.
        Taking a look around the sporting world and you will see way too much lying, cheating, and thugery. Then ask yourself, where did we fail with these young men and woman?

      2. I agree that these kids are at Notre Dame, Texas, USC, etc. for an education as well as an opportunity to play college football. But if you want to make academics a part of the equation, let’s just have a few of the top Graduation Success Rate (GSR) rated teams play for the championship and maybe Notre Dame will have an unfair advantage then. We would only have to beat teams such as Duke, Navy, Boston College, and Stanford. The only problem is since 2003, our record against these teams is only 12-7, so there’s no guarantee that we will win the GSR Bowl. Although, I do believe with Kelly as our coach now, we will be beating BC, Navy and Stanford on a regular basis again and our record against these teams will look different a few years from now.

        I realize these kids are going to SCHOOL, but I’m sorry, there aren’t enough people who will buy into the idea that the GSR should be taken into account. It’s just the way it is and the way it will always be because it’s the results on the field that determine the National Champion, not the results in the classroom. Although, I think the results in the classroom should influence some of these kids to attend universities like Notre Dame.

      3. palk21,
        Fact is, theses are colleges, schools, & Instatutions of learning. Without them there would be no college football, baseball, basketball, ect, in the first place.
        We would just have farm teams as they do in Baseball.
        If there is to be any true integrity associated to college football then adademics MUST be acknowledged.
        I agree that there aren’t enough people to buy into the idea. That’s because of the dollars at stake. It’s always about the dollars.
        And someone, somewhere, will always have an unfair advantage. That’s the nature of the beast.
        But the question is, should that advantage be based on academic acheavement, where the Student Athlete is at least bestowed the chance for a quality education, or do we ignore such standards where student Athletes leave college unprepared for the real world, but the University’s, broadcast and cable companies, coaches, and advertisers, get rich at their academic expence?
        That the lessons taught are to win at all cost. Lie if you must, Cheat, cut corners, bend rules, and lower standards in the name of victory?
        These are the same infuences we see at work every day, not only in the sporting world, but in business, and the social world as well.
        Bobby Bowden just had a bunch of victories taken away for class room cheating among some of his players. Pro NBA player suspened for bringing a gun into the locker room.
        Plaxico Burris in jail for gun violations, Vick and his dog fighting, Steriods in baseball, cycling, wrestling, and so on. Tiger woods… Nuf said right there. We could go on all day. It just gets more depressing as we go.
        I know that there are a few here on this blog that feel the same on these misplaced values. I no doubt am sure that we are in the minority on these beliefs. But that doesn’t necessairly mean that we are wrong.

      4. You certainly make a great point and I can’t say you’re wrong, but I can not completely buy into making academics part of deciding who wins the National Champion. You are right in saying you are in the minority and I agree more emphasis should somehow be put on academics, but it should not part of the system in deciding the NC. Maybe there could be a way to require/force players to take on more serious classes and harsher punishments/suspensions for underachievement in the classroom. But I don’t think the BCS should have a formula that includes academics. So…I do agree with your idea, I just think it should to implemented differently.

      5. I agree that GSR and GPA should impact rankings. And while we’re at it, for every violation of team rules, that’s a one point drop in the rankings. For every criminal charge, that’s a two point drop in the rankings. For every criminal conviction, that’s a three point drop in the rankings. For every player who can’t spell his own name, that’s a four point drop in the rankings. For every player who has a child out of wedlock, that’s a one point drop in the rankings. For every booster who gets caught handing out cars and cash to players and their family members, that’s a two point drop in the rankings. Notre Dame would be #1 every year!!

      6. Joe has provided an interesting approach to our dilemma. That is a very black & white, clear cut answer to our disagreement. Joe’s way is not a formula at is what it is. I kind of like the idea of losing a spot in the rankings, but again, I’m not sure this would fly with the NCAA. I think they just need to be harsher each time a player/team violates the rules/law.

        For example, NO WAY IN HELL should LaGarrett Blount have ever been allowed to strap it up again. After what he did the first game of the season, it’s a disgrace that he was allowed to play again for Oregon. There’s a team that maybe should’ve had some sort of disciplinary action taken against them, but I don’t think dropping them in the rankings is the right approach. Maybe not allowing them to practice or requiring anger management classes in lieu of practice once a week. That way they’re being taught something and missing on what helps teams win…practice. Either way, Blount is a d-bag who shouldn’t have played again.

  26. Tonight the Texas OL gives Colt time to throw the ball short and long.
    Also Colt will get 30 or more yds. rushing!
    Texas comes out on top 25- 17
    Look for Alabama to turn the ball over 2 maybe 3 times…

  27. i hate saban and alabama as well and i’m rooting for texas, but to against your argument. Who has alabama played? now who has boise st. played? dont blame anyone but yourselves. play more top teams if you want respect. not just one decent team a year. Plus i think alabama is going to destroy texas. their defense is just too good. look what they did to florida and i think florida would beat texas.

    1. Your conference is what it is.
      Boise St conference doesn’t compare with the SEC or Big 12. But compare their non confrence schedules and Boise is a little stronger.
      Boise non conf.=Oregon, Miami OH, Bowling Green, Louisiana Tech.
      Bama non conf.= FIU, North Texas, Virgina Tech, & Chattanooga
      Texas non conf.=Louisiana Monroe,UTEP, Wyoming,& UCF.
      I would guess Boise St. has trouble scheduling top non confrence games agianst top teams unless they choose to play each one on the road. These top teams want cupcakes on their non conference schedule. And Boise is no cupcake.

    2. I personally wish both teams could lose. I hate Saban and everything he’s about, but I live in Texas and can’t stand UT fans. Having said that, I’m leaning towards Alabama, and not just because I think they’re going to win, but because the UT fans I know are just that annoying and stupid. I can only speak for myself, but even as a Notre Dame fan, I am a realist and try to be as objective as possible. But when I’m surrounded by people that think Colt McCoy got completely screwed out of the Heisman I can’t help but think they are stupid. How can you be so naive to not even recognize that McCoy had an ok year, but it was certainly not a Heisman year. Of course their argument is that he had a great career. Too bad the Heisman is for single season performances and not for career achievements. That’s why I’m pulling for Alabama, so these d-bags will sit down and shut up.

      Also, brandon, you made a comment regarding Boise St…”play more top teams if you want respect. not just one decent team a year.” Here’s the problem with that- no one wants to play Boise for fear of losing to a WAC team. Boise has tried to play tougher opponents, but the big schools don’t want a piece of it for 2 reasons. 1) Boise wants a home and home deal and no team wants to go to Boise to get beat and 2) the big schools have nothing to gain and everything to lose, while Boise has everything to gain and nothing to lose. It’s unfortunate for Boise St. because they absolutely deserve a shot at a National Championship, but it’s certainly not their fault, it’s teams like Texas, USC, Florida, Oklahoma, etc.

      In fact, there was a big name school that agreed to play Boise. But then they said only if it was 1 game and it was at their stadium. I can not remember who it was, but because Boise wanted the home and home, the whole match-up was cancelled.

      I think the NCAA needs to find a way to include teams like Boise St. in this BCS crap (more than they currently do) or go to a playoff system where they will have a legit shot at (as Bill said) “earning respect.”

    3. @Brandon

      I disagree. ‘BCS’ teams refuse to schedule Boise for a home & home series. Boise wants desperately to put some quality teams on the schedule, but teams like UT and FU would rather put a cupcake on the schedule. It’s funny because OU and Bama and the like will schedule high caliber opponents early, but only on a neutral/home field and only from power conferences or teams with ‘tradition’.

      This is a question that we as ND fans are facing the music of. What good is tradition? I mean in the context of actually being the best team this year. It’s worthless. Tradition does not determine how good your team is. And when the ‘Traditional Powers’ refuse to play teams on the move like BSU, it makes it impossible for them to break that glass ceiling.

      Better question:
      Can you say beyond a reasonable doubt that you know 100% for certain that the winner of the Bama/UT game is in fact the best team in the land (and would with 100% certainty beat Boise on a neutral field)?

      You can’t. Because you’ve never seen a team good enough to beat Boise. Same reason you couldn’t argue for anyone but Utah being the NC last year. Who beat them? Nobody. Same reason you couldn’t argue against Auburn a few years ago. Nobody beat them. It’s a totally different story when you’re picking an NC amongst 1 loss teams. But when you have undefeated teamS at the end of the year, it means the system failed you you don’t have just one champion.

      1. And, to that point, ND refuses to schedule anyone home and home anymore because of this ridiculous 7-4-1 schedule. It’s absurd and needs to go.

        We should be dying to play teams like Boise, who clearly have inferior athletes but win against superior teams.

        Generally, I agree with you that Boise belonged in that game but Cinci almost was in it. We saw how good they were against Florida (no knock on Coach Kell).

        The reality is that the SEC and the Big 12 have a lot of athletes right now. And, there is a big difference between playing Mississippi and Florida and LSU every week and playing Miami (OH), Cal-Davis and the like.

        With Urban on the ropes at Florida, this should open up Florida’s recruiting market.

  28. So tonight a new National Champion will be crowned. I don’t know about the rest of the ND nation but I, personally, am really tired of the same teams from the same conferences, every year. Watching Florida, LSU, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, year after year is getting really boring. Heaven forbid you have a Boise St, TCU, or a Utah in the final game. I’ll probably watch a movie insted. Maybe check the score from time to time. Even with ND staying home this year, there were still some great bowl games. But Texas vs Alabama just doesn’t do it for me this year. Mack Brown won his long awaited title a few years back, and I really don’t care for Nick Saban and his pack of Junior College transfers. It’s time for some new blood. Maybe next year that new blood will be ND. Maybe next year we will have teams that draw nation wide intrest, and not just those from the SEC and Big 12.

    1. Dear lord I hope Texas wins. It will be a sad state of affairs for D-I football if alabama wins. Saban and that program represent everything that’s wrong with D-I football.

      As much as I think Boise deserves a shot at the title, I’ll settle for a UT title. (also, that’s probably the only way they’ll even consider Boise Splitting this year).

      What I hate is this argument that somehow if they keep winning year in and year out teams like Boise will ‘earn respect’.

      Where was bama 3 years ago? 6-7
      Where was BSU 3 years ago? 13-0

      What has bama done since? Hire saban, 7-6, 12-2, 13-0
      what has BSU done since? Same coach, 10-3, 12-1, 14-0

      That’s aside from the fact that Boise State has more wins this decade than just about anyone and never even sniffed a chance at a title game.

      So basically, you’re telling me that the seniors, who were freshmen when I started this comparison, haven’t earned enough respect to get a shot at the title. Even though they’ve lost 4 games throughout their career, had 2 undefeated seasons, and another undefeated regular season. Tell me, if they can’t earn that respect in the span of their careers, then really, what’s that respect worth?

      Yes I know, subpar competition. But then again, we all saw what sub-par competition meant when the all glorious Bama went up against lowly utah last year and got housed in the Sugar Bowl. Mind you, that was basically a home game for Bama. We all saw what happened to the all glorious LSU when they faced PSU who had played sub-par competition all year. We all saw what happened when Georgia tech played Iowa who had played sub-par competition all year. Turns out that a team’s greatness isn’t dependent on who they’ve played but rather on how good they actually are. That’s a crazy idea. Maybe this conference strength/weakness thing actually doesn’t determine how good a team can be.

      That’s crazy. That’s like saying a running back with 26 rushing TD’s and 1700+ Yds might actually be a more outstanding player than the SEC RB with 1542 YDS and 15 rushing TD’s (3 Receiving). That’s like saying that kid from stanford might be outstanding BECAUSE he plays on a team that relies almost solely on his greatness. That’s just mindblowing.

      (wow, I’ve been holding that rant in for WAY too long)

  29. We have been getting 4 and 5 star players in the Weis era. Let me give you a couple four and five star players that didn’t amount to crap. Jones, Frazier, Prince, Aldridge and Rueland. All of these players were suppose to be the greatest players to return ND to it’s glory, but they all either transferred or never realized their potential. I watched Iowa last night and they won with 3 star talent all over the field. I look at U$C and I see a ton of talent but no discipline and it caught up to them this year. They always loose to some team they shouldn’t with 3 star talent. Regardless of the stars the coach must look at the character, physical attributes and overall work ethic. What was Marty Guillard’s rating out of high school, probably not a 5 star recruit. ND needs players that show up, a coach that is able to get a team to play on both sides of the ball and the right players in the right spot. One thing that Coach Holtz did was get his best 21 players on the field on both offense and defense. He switched a lot of players around in the right spots. He had an eye for talent on both sides of the ball and players who were 3 star players who stepped up and played roles. We need that now. When Holtz got his great recruiting classes ND lost out on NC because of one slip up game. Just look at the years between 89-93 and you can find one bone head game a year. Get disciplined players that now their roles and jobs. Sprinkle in some leaders and a head coach that can motivate. GO IRISH!

    1. Jack – I want to agree but cannot completely. Holtz absolutely brought in game changing players in addition to role players. On any given Sat, a good coaching staff with avg talent can upstage a more talented team. But to consistently win 12 games a year we need to recruit those players. Kelly has yet to demonstrate that. I hope he is as exciting to prospective athletes as all the talking heads say he is. I will still be waiting to see.

  30. is henderson really a long shot? i would think with the usc scandals and the urban leave of absence we would be in serious consideration.

    barr looks like a great talent and, with all of his family history, i might go on a limb and blame the new staff in advance if he doesn’t end up at nd. i would love to see barr and teo at linebacker with fleming and filer et al closing out the remaining 4. i guess he could be a DE/TE if he put on weight, but i would rather see him keep his speed and athleticism and play around 240 pounds like teo.

    did weis recruit collinsworth, or was he strictly a cincy recruit turned irish by the kelly move? it looked like he was pretty successful in highschool, but is slow. look to the james situation, and even montana for unrealistic expectations meeting reality…

    all in all, i agree with coz that there are plenty of recruits out there that could bring this class from a top 20 to a top 5-10. i hope the fire and passion i saw in kelly translates to the recruiting trail.

    also, i like that kelly is taking his time to find a d-coordinator. stating the obvious, that selection could/will make or break his success as a coach.

    GO IRISH!!!

  31. I would like to see ND grab some of the kids that Boston College is getting. Guys like the linebacker McLaughlin (Irish Catholic kid who seems perfect fit)would be the type to return ND to Bob Crable type team. Is it me or we too obsessed with states like Texas and Florida and missing out on the blue collar depth in Catholic rich high schools in MA, OH, PA and NJ.

    1. ND needs to get the kind of kids that Florida and USC are getting – not Boston College. BC isn’t winning a title anytime soon and neither will we if we recruit like them instead of the Floridas, Bamas, USCs, etc.

      1. my point was that ND should be grabbing the top 2-3 kids each year from Catholic schools in States like MA, PA, OH, and NJ. I see Brian Cushing from NJ choosing USC and McLaughlin choosing BC and it looks like ND lost out on 2 linebackers that could have been huge the last few years. Both went to Catholic schools in NJ and MA. I think these States make better sense then to keep losing out to Florida and USC for kids that might not choose ND most of the time.

    2. I have to agree with Frank on this one. Boston College is not going to be a perennial pre-season Top-10 team anytime soon…while Florida, USC, Alabama, Texas will more than likely occupy a spot in the Top-10. Notre Dame should be in their company and to get there they need to go after the same players. I have high hopes for Brian Kelly and Notre Dame’s future, but unfortunately, I don’t think it starts with competing with BC for recruits.

      1. That is because FL, Alabama and USC dominate their own State. I am not saying only recruit all 20 kids each year from the Boston area. What I am saying is we need to excel in 5-6 states where we know the Catholic School talent is strong and our recruiters have a chance to uncover gems. I am fearful that covering 50 states leaves us reliant on top 100 lists. Reality is the top Georgia kids want to go to Univ.of Geargia and top FL kids want to go to Florida. If we can steal a few kids here and there great. But our wheelhouse needs to be States like MA and NJ where kids would choose ND over BC, and Rutgers. West and South HS kids are likely to choose their state school or neighboring powers. Lets be honest, we usually lose out on the Clausen types. Tae had Univ. of Hawaii. Hawaii is not USC and Florida. That state makes sense. I just hope we are not overextending ourselves on States that are a reach.

      2. I see what you are getting at and there is some truth to the point you are making. But, for example…let’s just say there’s a RB from MA, NJ, CT, etc. He will (more often than not) only be equal to the 4th or 5th best RB from FL, TX, CA. That’s the fact of the matter. I believe in focusing on certain states/areas, but you HAVE include the BIG 3 when recruiting. You’re more likely to find a star in those states because after the top tier players are committed to a university (even ND) there is still promise with remaining recruits. In MA, NJ, CT, once #1 is gone, where do you go from there? Then you’re really searching for the diamond in the rough.

        Having said that…I think ND does a great job of recruiting their area (IN, OH, PA, NJ, etc.) I really don’t think Kelly should adjust their focus to put more on the smaller, (no offense) less talented states. And I say they are less talented based on numbers. The odds of finding a 5-star recruit in NJ after the 5-star you were after commits to, say Ohio St., goes down dramatically. While if you were in FL, there’s still a good number of 5-star recruits still open for the taking.

        That’s my point of view. I understand the idea of focusing more on the not-so-obvious states seems appealing but the fact of the matter is that there’s enough talent to make it worth while putting most of your effort into those states.

  32. There are a potential 12 ****star or better prospects that ND has a chance of landing…With A current 76 players on the scholly roster including three potential 5th year seniors (Wenger, walls, stewart) that leaves 9 scholarships available. No offense to the new staff but if you’re a die hard ND nation member you follow recruiting 24/7 365 1/4 days a year and probably have a better feel than they do so…. Obvious needs for this class include: safeties (Barr is a taylor mays type player), Dietrich riley and Josh shirley have expressed upside interest-focus on these two..5 left (Haynes Pollard OLB), Lauders seems to be expressing interest elsewhere so DE Bruce Gaston and Ego Ferguson a must for the 3-4 d..gotta have a number of solid dlineman and we are lacking on the depth chart here as seen with the dismal DL play this season…2 left..Probably the game changer in this class is nonother than marquis Flowers…need to somehow land this guy…Hez just like Golden only on the defensive side of the ball. 1 left..Probably Matt james OL…that’s eight however, if Launders, Shembo, or KMoore leave…Then go after longshot SHenderson, CLemonier, Christian Jones. This has to be the focus of this new coaching staff at this point with 27 days left until the feb 3rd signing day.On a side note: Denbrock you better get your head out of your ass because the Tyrone classes suck and your were largely part to blame for that. We won’t let you forget it either…

      1. Better recruiter? Just what exact recruited player are you talking about???…don’t forget Tyrone’s first class (Quinn, Zibby, Laws,Samardzija) all were Davies recruits when that fiasco hiring situation finally came to an end. Nearly the same scenerio recruiting situation we have right now! So Brock’s.. Ashap Swapp, Justin Brown, and Yes..Kyle McCarthy weren’t exactly recruits at the alla ‘usc,ala,fla’ level as you so eliquently stated. Let’s get our facts together..He was a marginal recruiter at best….Clue in..We are at the brink of either pushing this thing to national prominence or back to the tyrone-faust eras again. Make no mistake this is the class that will depthaphize (sp) our team with upcoming years of greatness. Players working tirelessly in the weightroom while coaches working their ass’ in the trenches the next 26 days will give ND at least 55-60 4-star recruits or better. That’s the bottomline! Get on board, Man! This is our time! This is still a potential top 5 class!

      2. The Quinn, Zibby, Laws class were not Davie’s recuits – they came the year after Davie left. The class that Davie started and Ty finished was MckNight, Landri, Fasano. Also, Denbrock was 1 coach on an entire staff so the poor classes don’t fall on him individually – they fall squarely on Willingham’s shoulders.

      3. Quinn, Zibby, laws, jsmarg, were davis’ class they were verbally committed before his his firing. So O’leary had them one day then ty came in and held statis quo just like Kelly is doing now (although losing CMartin was unacceptable). Like it or not with the exception of collinworth’s kid this class is Cweis’. Now that we got that settled…Ty rode in with the 03′ class and rode out with the 05′ class which was actually Weis’ post superbowl class so I stand by my factual content. Stop marginalizing! You paid to much for that edu. Let’s move on…Denbrock needs to park his camp in San Antonio. No need to go anywhere at this point. I’ll give you a pass until Feb 3rd but after that your sales job better be better than ‘The University Notre dame will provide your son with a future you can be proud of’??? Instead change the pitch to ‘Your son is the kinda kid who loves to compete at the highest level. Notre Dame would love to help him get there by all means necessary!…God love you.. we love you, sign right here…..’

      4. Sorry Coz, we don’t have that settled. Ty was hired in December 2001 and the class of 2002 was his first/Davie’s last. You are off by a year. Davie’s last class that he started and Ty finished was the McKnight, Stovall, Fasano, Landri class.

        Here is a link with Ty’s comments on the class of 2002 –

        Outside of making the initial contact, Davie had very little to do with the Class of 2003 that included Quinn.

      5. Frank V…I’m humbled by your due diligence. Did I just utter a weisism??You’re right, man…I’m so blinded by my contempt for the last three previous coaching staff’s that I lose focus on what is really important. And what’s important is that we frickn’ get back to nail bite n’ in November,right? I mean SC 4th quarter for a right to play in the BCS championship game nail bite n’. When was the last time that happen?..So Love your ND Nation takes keep it up. I look forward to the next face off!!Just remember we bleed the same ND DNA. go irish..Kelly fuel up the plane and sent the troops ahead…let’s go!

    1. whats up with the Taylor kid a LB out of Georgia, who was in the MVP in the UA game and committed to Tenn? but said was interested in listening to us.

    2. Dismal day in San Antonio!!Not only did pete carroll decision not affect ND’s position with this class it actually has hurt us today. With Marquis flowers, kyle prather, corey lemonier, Dion Bailey, Robert Woods, james stone, All off the board after today.

      Here are the only top prospects left considering ND…Seantrel Henderson, Matt James,DT JR Ferguson, Sean Parker S, LB Christian Jones, Dietrich Riley S, Anthony Barr S, LB Haynes Pollard, Corey Cooper s, DT Bruce Gaston, and long shot LB Josh Shirley…So…We gotta keep up with FLA, Tenn?, Bama, …These schools are now maxed out so…Maybe we can get the majority of the above players just through attrition. Still a top 8 potential class. IF you keep all current 18 Verbal commits. AND there are 9 scholly’s available!

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