Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Plead the 5th!

Three defensive seniors will be back for a fifth season, according to the Notre Dame Sports Information Office late Friday afternoon. Linebacker Maurice Crum, lineman Justin Brown, and conerback Terrail Lambert.

Crum, was fourth on the team in tackles with 84. He single handidly won the UCLA game for the Irish with his performance against the Bruins. Brown, who started five games for the Irish, had 30 tackles on the season, including a sack and three and a half tackles for losses. Lambert, who's one shining moment was scoring the game winning TD against Michigan State in 2006, had 34 tackles and one interception on the year for the Irish.

What does this mean for the big picture? Well first off, all three of these guys will bring some necessary depth to key positions before sending the new freshmen into the fire. We all know how important depth can be to a team. Secondly, there is some wiggle room for another recruit or two this season. Previously thought that ND would only have one, maybe two fifth year seniors gave ND some options at how many more recruits they can get. So far the Irish stand at 22 verbal commits after Trevor Robinson gave his pledge to ND on Friday. Also there are some rumblings that Munir Prince might bolt for Missouri, while Luke Schmidt is not happy with playing time. With a possibility of Prince leaving the Irish, Lambert's presence in the defensive backfield will help tremendously.

Look for some more news this week about another possible recruit signing with the Irish, as well as, the final word about Prince and Schmidt's rumors.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Which "X" Will Be a Factor?

As game day draws near against George Mason, much has been said about potential X-factors deciding the outcome of tomorrow night's contest. Like the Irish, George Mason doesn't have a real deep bench to draw points from. Despite the lack of depth, both squads have personnel that will cause matchup problems.

The Patriots believe that 6-4 Guard/Forward Folarin Campbell is their guy; and who could blame them? Campbell is George Mason's leading scorer at 15.9 points a game, while dishing out three assists a game. His large frame (205 lbs.) and quickness will have an effect on the Irish guards. But can the Patriots combat with what Notre Dame will throw at them?

Since being inserted into the starting lineup, junior wingman Zach Hillesland has provided the spark that ignited the Irish to a second place finish in the Big East and a second consecutive bye in the conference tournament. What Hillesland lacks in statistical categories, he makes up with his all around athleticism, 6.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists season average. He's also the go to guy when the Irish are being pressed and can handle the ball up court and find the open man. Whatever the role may be, Hillesland provides the fuel for the Irish engine.

Another surprise X-Factor for the Irish will be the two headed monster of Luke Zeller and Jonathan Peoples. Both can hit the outside shot with ease and can provide valuable minutes for the Irish. Watch for Zeller to make some key shots tomorrow night, while Peoples will add much needed depth in the backcourt.

Monday, April 4, 2011

You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?

Delusional, punk ass, wannabe quarterbacks, that won't let it go! Yes, I'm taking about Demetrius Jones. The same one that walked out on his teammates before the Michigan game, only to be seen hours later in the stands at DeKalb, Illinois, for a Northern Illinois Huskie football game. Jones is definitely a TEAM PLAYER!

In his latest installment, Jones says that he had nothing but the utmost respect for Notre Dame and Coach Weis, “We’re still cool,” Jones said Tuesday on the first day of spring practice at the University of Cincinnati. “It’s just a business. I don’t take it personal. I never bash him. He’s still a great coach and he’s still a great person. It’s just like having a real good girl friend. You have one and now you’re with another. That’s the way you have to look at it.”

Well Demetrius must have split personalities or something because his rosy outlook turns a 180 and he shows his true colors.
“I’m not stupid,” Jones said. “I’ve never seen a quarterback lose a position in a quarter. It don’t take me much to read between the lines to see that that was (Clausen’s) position even before he came there and I was just in an unfortunate situation. As a man, I’m able to look clear cut at that. That was basically the plan, for that to be his position.”

I hate to break it to you Demetrius, but a MAN would have let this go a long time ago and move one with his life! Also, real men don't make excuses. So after his first go around with the Bearcats during spring ball, Jones gave his excuse of why he wasn't successful at Notre Dame. He had a shoulder problem that turned out to be a torn labrum.
Jones knew it, too. In fact, he had struggled with pain his right shoulder during his entire two years at Notre Dame.

“I didn’t play in the 2006 (U.S. Army All-American Bowl) because this injury happened during my senior season,” he said. “The whole time I was there it was diagnosed as tendonitis, so I knew I had the problem.”

Here's some concerning questions ND fans have to ask themselves: 1) why didn't Demetrius say something from the get-go when this happened in HS? I could be mistaken (which I'm not on this), but wasn't Jones in South Bend for an entire year watching Brady Quinn's senior season on the sidelines? You mean he couldn't tell the team physicians about his "severe" shoulder pain? Obviously it wasn't bad enough because I'll bring up my second point;

2) ND's team physicians, most of them working for South Bend Orthopedics (SBO), are some of the best doctors around. No friggin' way are they going to misdiagnose this as tendonitis. In my time of following Notre Dame Football, I have never once heard of the Irish's team physicians ever misdiagnosing an injury. Something doesn't add up, and here's the 411 on this issue.

You're probably asking yourself how I know. It's called intramural basketball! A little birdy (a certain Director of Intramurals and Club Sports at Notre Dame)told me that one night last summer, that Mr. Jones was playing a pick-up game where he was undercut and fell hard to the floor on his shoulder. Emergency folks were called in to take a look at Demetrius, and that is that!

So now, everything is fine and dandy in Jones' make believe world.
“Everything worked out for the good,” Jones said, “because if I never would have transferred I probably would have kept thinking it was tendonitis, taking pills and getting treatments for it. I never would have been able to find out.”

Jones says he has no regrets about leaving Notre Dame the way he did.

“People call it immature or walking out on your team,” Jones said. “But if I didn’t leave we wouldn’t be having this conversation and I wouldn’t have my shoulder fixed. It was just a situation I had to get out for the benefit of my future.

“In college football, only one guy can play. If it’s not in the coach’s plan to have you as the starter, if he just wants to use you to build somebody else, that’s just not a good situation.”

You know what I call it? Sour grapes! The kid had an ego the size of Texas. He was all about himself and never thought about his TEAM or SCHOOL! Good luck Brian Kelly and the rest of the University of Cincinnati community, you don't have a clue of what type of person you have in Demetrius Jones.

Character is everything, and you, Demetrius Jones, have none whatsoever!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Catching Up On the Recruiting Trail

It’s the dog days of summer and that could only mean one thing to die hard football fans: The latest on high school recruits. Notre Dame is preparing their Who’s Who list of possible candidates for their summer camps. So far the Irish have once again laid some solid ground work for what looks to be another top notch recruiting class.

Below is a breakdown by position of possible signees and current verbals:

Quarterback - ND might not grab anyone. I believe they have 2 offers out, and if they say no I don’t think the Irish will take anyone.

Running Back - ND is done. Cierre Wood (# 3 overall recruit according to Rivals) and Theo Riddick of Sommerville, New Jersey, verballed early on for the Irish.

Cierre Wood: 6’0 192 lbs. Ran for more than 2,600 yards and scored 42 TDs in 2007.

Theo Riddick: 5’10 185 lbs. Rushed for 1,192 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. Had 23 TDs his sophomore year.

Fullback - They want to find someone. No names have really surfaced yet, but if all else fails, Manti Te’o (see Linebacker) could be a possible 2-way player.

Wide Receiver - ND would like 2-3. The Big names right now are Uzoma Nwachukwu (Allen, TX), Shaquelle Evans of Inglewood, California (#24 overall recruit), and Reuben Randle from Bastrop, Louisiana (# 6 overall recruit).

Uzoma Nwachukwu: 6’1 186 lbs. Six of his 22 catches went for scores.

Shaquelle Evans: 6’0 203 lbs. Caught 30 passes for 608 yards and three TDs, also returned a kickoff for a score.

Reuben Randle: 6’3 195 lbs. Star receiver on state championship team will be playing under center senior season. Has over a 30 yard a catch average for his career.

Tight End- They will try and go after 1 more after Jake Golic (West Hartford, Connecticut) pledged his intentions in March. Top prospect, Orson Charles of Tampa, is a possibility until his test scores and grades improve. If he clears that hurdle, Weis and Co. will be visiting the sunshine state regularly.

Jake Golic: 6’5 210 lbs. First verbal of the 2009 class runs a solid 4.65.

Orson Charles: 6-2 216 lbs. Broke Florida's BCS championship trophy on a recruiting visit. Hopefully he’ll break more than that if he commits to the Irish!

Offensive Line - Look for the Irish to try hard and get Xavier Nixon of Fayetteville, North Carolina (# 27 overall recruit) and Xavier Su’a-Filo from Provo, Utah. I think ND has a good shot to get both, if not we will definitely get 1. Others that are in the mix that we look good at is Chris Watt of Glen Ellyn, Illinois (# 52 overall recruit), and Brentwood, Tennessee, guard Alex Bullard.

Xavier Nixon: 6’6 275 lbs. Emerged as one of the top linemen at the U.S. Army All-American Combine.

Xavier Su’a-Filo: 6’4 285 lbs. Led team to an undefeated championship last season.

Chris Watt: 6’3 280 lbs. The # 1 guard prospect in the nation and the top rated player in the state looks to stay close to home.

Alex Bullard: 6’3 275 lbs. Currently visiting South Bend this weekend, and will be back this summer for camp. Bullard is a very productive offensive lineman that could be a big asset for the Irish.

Defenive Line - Another New Jersey product, Tyler Stockton of Princeton got the ball rolling for the Irish on the defensive front. Look for ND to grab 1 more DT, if not, they will take 2-3 DE's. Right now the Best option is Anthony LaLota, a teammate of Stockton at Princeton Hun.

Tyler Stockton: 6’1 290 lbs. An impressive player that had 68 tackles, including 24 for a loss and nine sacks, his junior year.

Anthony LaLota: 6’6 260 lbs. The rangy DE had 40 tackles and 10 sacks last season. Could be a possible preferred walk-on for Mike Brey’s squad too!

Linebacker - Look for ND to land 3 more here after Verona, New Jersey, product Carlo Calabrese bolstered the Irish 2009 to five this month. As of right now Dan Fox of Cleveland, Ohio, looks like he’ll be the next LB to pick the Irish. Also looking ok is Manti Te'o of Honolulu, Hawaii (# 7 overall recruit according to Rivals), and Jelani Jenkins of Wheaton, Maryland (# 10 overall recruit).

Carlo Calabrese: 6’2 225 lbs. Made a 104 tackles and four sacks last season.

Dan Fox: 6’4, 219 lbs. Hails from the same high school as current Irish players Robby Parris and John Ryan.

Manti Te’o: 6’2 230 lbs. Recorded 90 tackles, five sacks and rushed for 400 yards and 10 TDs as a junior.

Jelani Jenkins: 6’0 203 lbs. Jenkins is the biggest mover so far, from his previous ranking (79).

Defensive Back - Two kids that look good right now is Lauderhill, Florida, native Brandon McGee and E.J. Banks of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania.

Brandon McGee: 5’11 186 lbs. One of the most electrifying athletes in the country could be a possible early enrollee candidate for Charlie Weis and the Irish.

E.J. Banks: 6’0 180 lbs. Has the Irish very high on his list. Could possibly pull the trigger after his ND camp visit.

Overall ND looks good again. I think ND will land in at #5- #8 this year in Recruiting.

Here's a look at a few clips of the current verbals.

Cierre Wood

Carlo Calabrese (courtesy of Irish Illustrated)

The X Factor: Zach Hillesland is the Key to the Irish Success

Coming into this season many were worried who could step in Rob Kurz's spot of doing the dirty work for the Fighting Irish. So far it has been off and on, but Notre Dame needs Zach Hillesland to be the aggressor.

It couldn't have been more evident last Saturday when the Irish squeaked out a close one at home to Boston University. Hillesland was a lot more active than he was in previous contests as he scored 11 points, pulled down four rebounds, dished out three assists, and had three steals in 28 minutes of action. He was a lot more aggressive on both ends of the court and will hopefully continue that as conference play looms.

Hillesland has to be that way if this Irish team wants to get where they want to go. Luke Harangody has to bring the double-doubles. Tory Jackson has to the facilitator and heartbeat, but you really need Hillesland to be active and aggressive. And when he is like that, he's a matchup nightmare in the Big East.

There's really no one in the conference, maybe one or two players, that can get it off the defensive backboard at 6-9, push the pace up the floor with the dribble, and try and find the open man. When Hillesland is doing that, and screening for guys like Kyle McAlarney, that's when he is the most effective for the Irish.

Against Ohio State he got into early foul trouble that put Notre Dame at a disadvantage early on and got them out of any rhythm. You really had to look back at the final box score and think how long was he in the game, because he really didn't do anything that would make you believe he was on the court.

So if he stays out of foul trouble and doesn't take it upon himself to score many points, because Notre Dame has plenty of guys that will be able to score; he can be active the way Coach Brey and the Irish need him to be. If that happens then this Irish team will be more difficult to matchup against this season in the Big East.

Another X-Factor that might loom large in conference play could be the human highlight reel in Carleton Scott. Nobody on this squad is better playing above the rim than Scott. He's an absolute freak when it comes to being an athlete. I know I'm throwing a Tom Lemming recruiting term around, but just the way he plays reminds me of a young Ryan Humphrey.

When Humphrey was donning the Blue and Gold, you'd think where ever he was on the court he'd slam it down. Whether if he drove down the lane and threw it down or on the other end and swatted it away up into the gold seats of the JACC, Carleton Scott has all those features which could make him a important commodity.

Scott sat out all of last year to preserve that year of eligibility. He's still coming along slowly and it would be very nice for Brey to get him going in the rotation. But with the way Brey works his rotation, only eight guys are playing double-digit minutes. Scott is on the verge of playing six, seven, maybe eight minutes a game, but he needs to step it up a little more if he wants to see the floor.

Again if this team is going to do something special, they'll need a contribution from Carleton Scott somewhere along the line. Whether it's Seton Hall, Pittsburgh, UConn, or any other Big East foe, he'll have to come through with a pretty good showing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Typical Trojan Jock Sniffer

USC nut, tomytrojan, takes jock sniffing to a whole new level! Feel free to put your comments down below.

As for you tomy, FO. And I don't mean Fight On!