What I’m Thankful For – Notre Dame Edition

A Notre Dame flag waves in the first quarter of the game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame won 38-0. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

With the holiday season almost upon us, it is a time to reflect and make note of the things we are thankful for. It’s easy during the year to focus on the negative and overlook the truly fun and wonderful things that happen to us all on almost a daily basis. The college football world is no different as it is a very cynical and jaded group with each individual fan-base jumping at the chance to pick apart their favorite team and coaching staff and play Armchair Quarterback.  Fans are guilty of this as well as media, as we all love to second guess play-calling, defensive schemes, substitutions’ etc..etc. So in the spirit of the season we wanted to take time out and mention some of the things we are most thankful for and lucky to have been a part of as we approach the final chapter of Fighting Irish Football – 2012 edition.

Being undefeated after 11 games

This one is pretty obvious or at least it should be to Irish fans. Before the season started this ND schedule was being painted as one of the toughest schedules any team had ever faced and rightfully so. It included games against Michigan, at MSU, Miami, at Oklahoma, Stanford and ends up at the dreaded Los Angeles Coliseum.  While most Irish fans would admit that it didn’t approach the inevitable massacre that some had labeled it as, it was still a very tough schedule and one that any team would have to feel lucky to successfully navigate its way through unscathed. The Irish have done just that, and for that they have been rewarded with the #1 ranking in the nation. They still have a tough task in trying to defeat a very talented USC team on the road, but by doing so will earn a much deserved trip to the BCS National Championship game in Miami on January 7th, 2013.

A coaching staff that gets it

Brian Kelly and staff have done a wonderful job this year on both sides of the ball. Kelly has taken a hands-on approach with his young quarterback and it has shown both on and off the field. While being blasted in the media last year for being overly emotional with his kids, Brian has exhibited great reservation on the sidelines this year, while still finding ways to get his point across. By better understanding Everett Golson’s ability in what he can and can’t do, he has made conscience decisions to put the redshirt freshman is a position to be successful and utilize his strengths. All fans can ask for is to see improvement on a weekly basis, and that is exactly what Kelly and Co. have delivered.

On the other side of the ball, Bob Diaco has helped mold one of the best defensive squads in the nation. From the tremendous talent up front to the maturation of a young defensive secondary, they have never offered up excuses – only results. It’s easy to explain the success of the defense by simply saying they have extremely good talent, but if you talk to the players, they will tell a different story. They will describe a coach who not only believes in the talent and scheme that they put on the field, but also the player himself. He treats everyone the same, and helps each individual understand how they can be better as a player and person.

An exceptional group of young men

It’s not often that group of young men can galvanize a fan-base in such a way that this group has done. Through their effort, hard work, and ability to overcome this team has helped bring faith and respect back to a group of fans who have dealt with ridicule and sarcasm from media and other fan-bases for the last 15 years. They have brought an excitement onto campus and back into the stadium that has not been felt since the Holtz era. This team has overcome some incredible adversity both as a group and as individuals, and the ones who have stayed true to themselves and team are now enjoying the results. When others have doubted them, they remained confident in their ability and that will never be so evident as when they take the field this week against USC.

A destiny the Irish control

It was just last week that Irish fans were losing hope in trying to come up with scenarios in which the Irish could land in the BCS National Championship game. A week later, and that is no longer a problem thanks to the efforts of a Baylor and Stanford squad that took down the remaining  2 obstacles in Notre Dames way. All any team can ask for is that at the end of the year, they control their own destiny and the Irish now have that task checked off the list. As they hit the field Saturday night in Southern California there is only one group that can stop their eventual trek to Miami in January, and that is themselves. As the only remaining undefeated team in the FBS, it is now Notre Dames turn to have the bull’s-eye on their back, and as long as they stay true to themselves, their teammates and coaches, the Irish should walk off the field with a very tough and gritty win – how fitting.

Final Thoughts

The Irish are a few days away from having the well deserved opportunity to play for the BCS National Championship. We ask that you reflect back on the struggles over the last 15 years and find a way to enjoy not only the game itself, but the journey up to kick-off. So gather your Irish friends, throw your parties, and prepare for one of the most important games in Irish football history – and above all else, simply be thankful.

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  1. bj 5 years ago

    give us a 51-0 coley obrien special, 1966, nd 51-0 over usc

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  2. Jack 5 years ago

    If this doesn’t wake the defense up nothing will. I am worried about how the ND defensive back field will cover Woods, Lee and Angolar. They are going to be in three wide sets all day long and the defensive backs will have to tackle. They will also have to play Shumate on these guys. I am also worried about Lee in Special teams which is a weakness for this team. It should be interesting and by no means a blow out as some people are saying.

    I am very please with this season and hope the Irish keep it rolling. In my wildest dreams I could not have imagined this, but I now want my cake nad eat it too. Lets go Irish beat SC

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  3. Patrick 5 years ago

    I personally want to thank Wittek for throwing more fuel on the ND fire. Bravo sir.

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  4. chi-town copper 5 years ago
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  5. Laf Irish 5 years ago

    BK should be selected as the next Pope. Or at least, COY.

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  6. Toulmin H. Brown 5 years ago

    I’m thankful that long suffering fans of “Our Lady” have finally quenched their thirst!

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  7. SteelFanRob 5 years ago


    With all due respects, just let it go. It’s long done and gone. Nothing we can do about it now. Let’s be thankful the Bush was stripped of his Heisman.

    I, too, was upset at the time. But what’s done is done.

    Let’s enjoy today! ND’s #1!

    Just beat USC on Sat. and we can let go of the ugly recent past, bj.

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  8. 2Rock2 5 years ago

    I’m sure everyone is aware of the third year coach winning titles etc… I have a few others that are weird enough like the same score 20-3 against Michigan St. In 88′ and 2012. I saw the Irish play Navy in 88′ and BC this year and both were wins by 15 pts. I have been looking for the score of the SC game in 88′ and it was 27-10 Irish…Kelly’s record up to now is 27 & 10……
    Go IRISH!!!

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  9. bj 5 years ago

    do not let usc cheat us again

    When he was stopped by a large group of Irish players, Bush pushed Leinart into the end zone for the winning score. the game ended with the Trojans winning 34–31.[10]

    The Bush Push was criticized by fans claiming that Section 3, Article 2b of the NCAA rule book states that, “[t]he runner shall not grasp a teammate; and no other player of his team shall grasp, push, lift or charge into him to assist him in forward progress.” If the penalty had been called, the push would have resulted in a five-yard penalty and another play.

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    1. JC 5 years ago

      Kudos bj,


      WOW, Mr. “Let’s” only used the word “LET” 4 times? The Lord and Master has spoken!

      Absolutely amazing and definately an ultrasophisticated lecture!

      Why don’t we “LET,” Mr.”Let’s” GOOD COP/BAD COP BS, which is getting profusely old by the way! Bully his own special mirror with his special hot air!

      But how dare us! Mr.”Let’s!!! Enjoy-the-relevant-USC-truth!
      Without your approval!

      I suppose ND being accused of quitting in the second half last year…We need to “just let it go” also! Hahahaha!

      Not to mention, what bowl are they playing in? Or why are they having roster problems?…Duh, gee get over yourself! Right? Hahaha!

      Sure, Mr. B.F. Skinner 101.
      (“Reinforced Learning” for the uninitiated like yourself!)

      I’m with you bj, your entitled to opinion contrary to Mr.”Let’s.”

      Man, I had a Father-in-Law, God rest his soul, definately had the same problem with: “I’ll let you do this” and “let’s just do that!” Hahahaha! Straw bosses are dime a dozen!

      How’s that grab ya Mr.”Let’s” for merely expressing my opinion? Hahahaha!

      Amazing how you elevate yourself at the expense of others! “Mr.Lets!”

      Well done Post bj!!!! Memories are allowed here! Especially Facts!

      Here come the Irish!

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  10. spiceyirish 5 years ago

    For all intensive purposes, I feel Theo Riddick has been the best and most important player on this team the last few weeks. In the middle of the season we all marveled at how hard he ran when he got carries. Since Oklahoma, Theo Riddick has made the biggest receptions for this football team. The receptions usually come on third downs when ND’s offense is in desperate need of a big play. He is always wide open because it is a slow, less athletic linebacker who is forced to cover him. Theo Riddick is Mr. Versatility for this team.

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  11. bj 5 years ago

    revenge for the fraudulent 2005 usc win

    go irish!

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    1. Toulmin H. Brown 5 years ago


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  12. JDH 5 years ago

    I agree with you Patrick and I didn’t mean to imply Clausen made no contributions. He was a very talented QB and we all know that sometimes he and Tate carried the team. I was simply commenting on the “mindset” and “image” that did not fit with our traditions. Willingham most certainly deserves alot of criticism as well! If he wanted to be a pro golfer, than he should have pursued that.

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  13. ND the SEC 5 years ago

    Don’t forget S&C Coach Paul Longo…. Done a fantastic job developing these kids physically, on and off the field…. They couldn’t play at this level without that!!! Way to go! Tony Alford, fantastic Coach/Recruiter to bring these kids in as well.

    If you are a recruit reading this right now, Notre Dame is where you want to be in the coming years…

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  14. Patrick 5 years ago


    I agree Weis was not the perfect fit. Clausen was cocky. But I wouldn’t bash former Notre Dame alumns (Weis and Clausen) or the contributions they made. Yes, they never had seasons this one. But, in the grand scheme, they were improved from the Willingham era.

    IMO, if we want to bash an era, let’s bash Willingham. His tenure put Notre Dame’s rebuilding process back 5 years. Weis got the offense going enough to create some rumblings in the country. However, he did not have the ability to put it all together.

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  15. JDH 5 years ago

    I remember when Jimmy Clausen “announced” his arrival to South Bend by getting out of a Hummer limo and flashing 4 state championship rings, wearing his douchebag spiked hair. I remember Charlie Weis waddling out of the tunnel every week with his cutoff sleeves and being scared every time he opened his mouth. And hearing for years how the faculty/staff couldn’t stand him because of his hubris and arrogance, as if he was a gift to this University. I prayed for it to end, to be purged and killed with fire.

    And now I am beyond THANKFUL TO GOD for men like Manti Teo, teaching all of us how to live. And for Coach Kelly who, while flawed, has learned from his errors and instilled in his kids what it means to play at Notre Dame.

    Finally, WE ARE ND, again.

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  16. Shazamrock 5 years ago

    I remember when ND could recruit, but not develop.
    I remember when the head coach didn’t get along with the media.
    I remember when we had star power, but not necessarily team power.
    I remember when we struggled in the kicking game.
    I remember when we lacked quality depth. It forced us to go easy in
    practice just so we could keep our starters healthy.
    I remember because when we didn’t go hard in practice, we got pushed around a lot.
    Our guys had to play way too many minutes, in way too many close games,
    and we would run out of gas late in games, and late in the season.
    I remember when an injury to a player, any injury to any player, was devastating.
    I remember our coaches having to rely on tricks, gadget plays, and gimmicks.
    I remember our guys having to play under the pressure of unfulfilled expectations.
    I remember a first time QB, and the dues he had to pay, and the beatings he had to take.
    I remember what it was like to have our coach on the hot seat.
    I remember going into the last regular season game and be staring down the barrel of 7-5.

    Why do I remember those things now? When we are on a roll at 11-0?

    Perhaps it’s because this week’s opponent reminds me of them.

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  17. Toulmin H. Brown 5 years ago

    N.D.’S – U.N.D.E.F.E.A.T.E.D.

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  18. Jack W 5 years ago

    I wish I had the emails I sent my friends when BK was hired. I watched him make Cincinnati a great program and I knew he could do that at ND. I predicted in year three that we would play for the national championship. We need to pound USC and keep pounding them until the clock shows zeros and the scoreboard reads ND 30 USC 13!

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  19. power run the ball 5 years ago

    it is nice to see Notre Dame come back to there true Identity and to compete nationally by being tougher and more physical than there opponents….. I am happy that Coach Kelly changed his ways and is doing what works… I didn’t think he was capable of this change in philosophy and he has proven me wrong…. Coach, nice job so far this yr keep it up and remember to cont. to power run the ball. GO ND!

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  20. Joeyknuklehead 5 years ago

    I’m thankful for a ND – USC game featuring a #1 team and an unranked opponent but with the good guys favored. Who would have thought.

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  21. Chuckie 5 years ago

    Next up: USC vs. ND, on November 24, 2012, 8:00 pm ET.

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  22. BruceB 5 years ago

    When I made my pre-season 10-2 prediction, I was going on last season (minus turnovers and penalties), comments the coaching staff and team were making about the 2012 squad, and a new, mobile QB. My Okie neighbor is a big OU fan so I really wanted to win that game but, I confess, I had it in the loss column (mea culpa). That Saturday was one of the best in many years of cheering for the Irish. Then came last weekend, when a convincing win over an outmanned WF team was followed immediately by the collapse of the two pretenders, leaving ND at the top of the pile. My joy is only tempered by the memory of 1964, but I’m confident the other loss I predicted now becomes a win, with or without Barkley. Regardless of how this season plays out, it appears Irish fans will be entertained for at least the foreseeable future.
    This may be a good time to give some love to Tommy Rees, too. He didn’t play much but he came through when he was needed and helped preserve an unbeaten (so far) season – he certainly deserves some credit.

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  23. JC 5 years ago

    Never in my wildest dreams did I expect 11-0 at this juncture. 10-3 was my expectation to see our program turn the corner, and to my surprise it has with flying colors! 8-5, 8-5 and 11-0 to date, progress is definately now cast in granite and cannot be rebuked!

    Regardless of what happens from here, all should rally around BK and our team. 11-0 is without question, beyond exhilarating and thought-provoking. Fantastic year right now by not being finished!

    Finally, I did not see the significance of Rees being the closer early in the season. I thought he would return as the starter by playing more. I was dead wrong. I am VERY THANKFUL BK was rock solid in developing EG! WOW, how many 1st year QB’s are 11-0?

    Congrats Especially to BK, TR for being the CLOSER, Our beloved TEAM and ND!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    Here come the Irish! 13-0

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    1. ND Southy 5 years ago

      Cheers to you for your last several posts. I for one was not in agreement with some of your harsh criticisms earlier in the year of the team and more specifically BK. I really feel you have manned up and allowed yourself to change. Not that you care what I or anybody else thinks, but it is refreshing to see.

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      1. JC 5 years ago

        Thank you ND Southy,

        Further, I look forward to USC, I hope Barkley starts so we can show the media we mean business!

        Here come the Irish! 13-0

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      2. D-Train 65 5 years ago

        Barkley out with a sprained right AC joint (his throwing shoulder) Pat Haden would not allow Lame Kiffin to make up a “ruse” in light of all the other rubbish he has lied about this year so expect Wittek to get his first college start vs Irish defense. Might make the game planning a bit harder for Kelly as not much info available on him Has completed 8/9 passes for the entire year. Bottom line if we can’t beat them with Barkley out then we don’t belong in ANY BCS BOWL much less the NC. Go Irish

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    2. Ron 5 years ago

      JC, couldn’t have said it any better!

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      1. JC 5 years ago

        Thank you Ron,

        I do believe we are going to have an exciting finsh!

        Here come the Irish! 13-0

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  24. chi-town copper 5 years ago

    Reading todays edition of the Chicago SCUM Times in the sports section they said that “Irish eyes might not be smiling” come Jan 7 after the results of the SEC championship, meaning ND gets jumped and is out of the championship picture even if they win out. Is this even possible?

    I seriously cannot remember another team that is more scrutinized by the media in terms of a “loss” by some commentators to Stanford and other “ugly wins.” Over the past 20 some odd years all i know is ND was losing and whoever was winning, by my memory, wasnt getting all these “eye ball test” analysis questions. ND has been down for decades so why all the hate as if we have been getting bogus preferential treatment. Maybe its because Notre Dame is a Cathoic school with a religious message, i dont know. Im not trying to be Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton but c’mon.

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    1. JDH 5 years ago

      There are always going to be naysayers and haters, NO MATTER WHAT. If ND beats USC, they will go the NC. There is absolutely no doubt. Two 1-loss SEC teams will not jump an undefeated ND team. It just will not happen.

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      1. Damian 5 years ago

        Have no fear. If ND beats USC, they will go to the NC. I don’t know what they are smoking in Chicago, but ESPN, SI, Fox Sports, frankly any media outlet in the nation not on crack has noted emphatically all ND has to do is beat USC (no matter how stylish or ugly) and they are in. Maybe you misunderstood. I have read articles that stated if ND loses, we could end up with another all SEC championship, but only if they lose.

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  25. Patrick 5 years ago

    Great article. My enthusiasm is somewhat tempered in that I will not truly allow myself to get caught up in it until ND beats SC. If they do, that is when I will fully appreciate an undefeated regular season. It’s been a long time coming, considering the failures toward the end of Holtz’s career, mediocrity under Davie and Willingham and the absolute joke under Weis.

    We sat through two years of Brian Kelly, attempting to change the culture but finding a frayed team, impatient fans and media pressure. At times, I was guilty of it during two 8-5 seasons.

    But sitting here at 11-0, it’s refreshing and filled with hope. It can continue with a win against SC, or crumble with a loss. Win or lose, this teams needs to play for the NC. In that game, be it against Alabama, Georgia or Florida, if they can get it to the 4th quarter in a close game, I have faith.

    And I’m not going to lie. There’s some vindication for all associated with ND football. We’ve listened since 1994 that ND couldn’t and wouldn’t compete nationally. It was marginal, to strict academically, isolated, couldn’t recruit, couldn’t coach, too slow, etc.

    Now, that is no longer the case. The future is bright.

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    1. Damian 5 years ago

      Agreed. I am enjoying the number 1 ranking this week. It’s great to see, but it is meaningless if they lose to USC. ND has proven you can insist on academics (the reason they are in college, after all) and still win football.

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  26. JJ 5 years ago

    Well said, I am thankful for an incredible family, wife and kids!! My wife gets my obsession so much that she got me custom made Notre Dame cornhole boards for my birthday and gave me the go ahead to get tickets to maimi when i get back from Afghanistan if we make the NCG….GO IRISH and lets continue to enjoy this AMAZING RIDE!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. JDH 5 years ago

      You deserve to go to the title game more than any of us. Thank you for your service and sacrifice- STAY SAFE and get home. And GO IRISH!

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      1. JJ 5 years ago

        Thanks JDH,

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      2. JDH 5 years ago

        JJ, to note:

        I was blessed to attend the Wake Forest game with a few friends. But one of those is one of my best friends, an Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. He deployed with his ODA in 2009 to Astan and God be praised, came back safe. It is not lost on my that his oldest son and my oldest son got to enjoy the game together.

        I am glad you are coming HOME.

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  27. Damian 5 years ago

    It’s critical that the players keep their eyes on USC first and foremost. I’m sure the coaches will, but the players must also. Don’t let USC catch ND flatfooted. USC is having a down year, but they are still dangerous. I know the coaches know this, but it’s hard to keep kids focused when they see NC on the horizon. Their is no going back. If they lose to USC, it’s over. They won’t get another crack. We could end up with another all SEC NC game. Don’t let that happen.

    I know this team can beat USC. I actually believe they can crush them, even embarass them. The players need to make sure they don’t beat themselves by looking ahead. That is really my biggest fear. Just take care of business, and the NC awaits. But TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS.

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    1. Scottym228 5 years ago

      Kappy was just on a talkshow and said they are focused on nothing but the game on Saturday against USC

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    2. Numero Uno 5 years ago

      I hope the Irish staff remind the players of how we ‘quit’ last year. That should be on every bulletin board this week. one game v a usc coached by someone we should cover w a trojan! HERE COME THE IRISH!!

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