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#Big Picture -- feel free to add here.

by Kevin @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 12:52

ND's five biggest advantages and limitations.;pid=8712;d=all

big picture


Biggest limitation

by Eric M, Western New York, Friday, December 05, 2014, 19:03 @ Kevin
edited by Eric M, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 10:56


Maybe that's too broad, and combines several limitations under one umbrella, but I'm sure ND football players lead the nation by a wide margin with all the distractions they face.

Obviously, the academics are a major part of that distraction. Not only in the work being difficult (and more difficult than generations past) but also in the sense of a smarter student body co-mingling and interacting with football players thus adding further distractions from football.

When you recruit for the 40-year plan you're basically admitting to the distractions involved with juggling football and classwork, right?

We're fighting an uphill battle here when 95% of the country is not. Perhaps a program like Stanford is dealing with it as well, but then we haven't added in ND's other distractions that create another layer that Cardinal players don't deal with nearly as much.

Throw in the weight of tradition, the pomp and circumstance of football weekends, the hyper media blitz, games all over the country in different locales and weather, and players from all over the country.

How many television interviews/segments/promo shots did Golson tape this year? More than Mariota? More than any other QB in the country? EG could have been going through a normal routine preparing for Purdue but instead he's getting a travel itinerary for the trip to Indianapolis and by the way can you come tape some stuff for the jumbotron for about 30 minutes that we'll show during halftime?

We absolutely lead the country in the relationship between distractions and winning being out of whack. It's one thing to be an Alabama and have to deal with all the noise that surrounds the program because of dominating. But there are even more distractions for a 7-5 Irish team.

We can talk about institutional commitment and lengthening the leash on admissions or hiring the unquestioned best coach in the country. These would help a lot. But the former brings its own problems once kids are on campus and even the greatest coach will only be around for a decade or so. Then what?

And what if we hired Saban right now? Does anyone think these distractions wouldn't drive him up a wall? There's been plenty of push back in the past in changing some game weekend activities (moving Mass to Friday, for example) so does anyone think Saban wouldn't take a machine gun to a lot of the way things are run today? Are we cool with that because he's a proven elite coach? Is that hypocritical of us? Are we making it harder on ourselves now than we should be?

It's just tough, man. I can't sit here and tell anyone Corey Robinson isn't an amazing human being. I'm assuming he was with the players that were doing charity work today for Kelly Cares and now he's probably simultaneously working through a ukulele masterpiece while reviewing KeiVarae's poetry over Skype. I also can't tell anyone that he's as viciously hungry to succeed on the football field as the backup defensive end at LSU. Corey's just got a lot more going on in his life, including his tall ass super famous dad with family in tow hanging around at every game.

This stuff runs deep and honestly there aren't any easy answers and solutions. The explosion of personal technology is a distraction for players all across the country but even that is probably magnified more at ND where the players can interact more with students, meet more students, find new interests outside football, etc.

Some might say that other schools offer major distractions in the form of nightlife. True, but it's not like ND doesn't have some of those avenues too. And in a weird way, I think wildin' out with your boys at the bar or club is a good form of team bonding that offers minimal distractions most of the time.

IMO, the biggest problem for ND is getting the team to focus at a high level every single week during the season. And to try and to string together multiple seasons of that high level of focus? I can't even imagine how much of a challenge this is for the coaching staff.

In reality we have to be more focused than the Alabama's of the world in order to make up for the academic side of things and to me that's an enormous and constant struggle. Some may say a Saban or Meyer would have the team ultimately focused, and I might agree, but there's also a chance all the distractions drive them mad and makes them burn out rather quickly. And then who do we blame? We know the administration won't budge on some issues and most of us want it that way. But there also seems to be a "let them do what they want, to a certain point" card ready for Meyer, Saban, and Stoops only. Maybe that's fair, I don't know. I just wonder if Meyer coached here and burned out Leahy-style after 4 years how we'd react to the fate of the program.

-Ya boy Jackmerius Tacktheritrix

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by HumanRobot @, Cybertron, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 10:37 @ Eric M

I remember Manti mentioning that the whole Heisman circuit made it really challenging to maintain his conditioning and affected his game prep. Wonder if that might not happen in minature.



by Pat (Moco), Slave Den, Brian Cook's Basement, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 10:01 @ Eric M

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Thought-provoking. Thanks Eric!

by Greg, sittin on the dock of the bay, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 09:33 @ Eric M

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if you think about it, it's amazing we've won as much

by Jay ⌂, San Diego, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 09:18 @ Eric M

as we have. You might say the most amazing achievement in the last twenty years in college football was not USC's run or the ongoing Alabama dynasty, it's the fact that the #1 team in terms of academic merit actually managed to go undefeated and play for the national championship.

As others have mentioned below, start with the fact that a good percentage of the top say, 200 high school players in the country can't even walk through our doors.

Then, once you've got a class together, having looked in every nook and cranny of the country to assemble it, you put them into this rigorous curriculum and class schedule. Then you pile on all those other demands (media, service, traditions) special to ND that you are talking about. Oh, and then you make it so you MUST graduate in four years to even think about a fifth.

And finally, on top of all that you're expected to play high caliber, championship football, and beat all the other football teams who are unshackled of the same restrictions that you place upon yourself.


For all of Brian Kelly's fault...

by FunkDoctorSpock, Your Nightmares, B* tches, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 10:05 @ Jay

Does anyone think he would have trouble winning big at Ohio State, Florida, Texas, etc?


Now: Maybe; 5 years ago: Yes

by Rob (Rakes of Mallow), Chicago, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 14:16 @ FunkDoctorSpock

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by Ken Fowler, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 10:54 @ FunkDoctorSpock

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Fair enough.

by FunkDoctorSpock, Your Nightmares, B* tches, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 11:30 @ Ken Fowler

Dude has two 12-0 undefeated regular seasons, one Top 5, two Top 10, five top 25 seasons, 3 BCS bids, a winning percentage of .748 and an average 9.6 wins a year over the last eight years. To each his own, I guess.


Well what do you mean by "win big"? .748 isn't winning big

by Ken Fowler, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 11:35 @ FunkDoctorSpock

At least not what I thought you meant, which is regularly in the top-10, and almost always in the top-15.

And one BCS/NY6 appearance in 5 years isn't winning big at ND. The two other appearances were as the winner of a down Big East.

His offense has never shown itself to be consistently proficient against Power 5 defenses. The one year he excelled at Notre Dame was when he deviated the most from his offensive philosophy. He's got an immense amount of skill on offense here, in year 5, and the offense still isn't particularly impressive.

I just could not imagine him regularly competing for SEC titles. Maybe in the Big Ten.



by FunkDoctorSpock, Your Nightmares, B* tches, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 11:46 @ Ken Fowler
edited by FunkDoctorSpock, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 11:49

Let's put it this way:

He has the best season in Cincinnati history, the best two year, and th the best three year stretch.

He is responsible for one of three undefeated regular seasons at Notre Dame since 1973.

He is one of three active college head coaches (along with Saban and Meyer) to have undefeated regular seasons at multiple programs.

In the last three years his program has been among the Top 5 in terms of players chosen in the NFL draft.

So, taking all of that into consideration, yes, I think it's reasonable to extrapolate winning at the level you suggest at a place like Texas, Florida State, Miami, Florida, Ohio State, etc.


You seem angry about this

by Ken Fowler, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 11:52 @ FunkDoctorSpock

He's 44-20 at Notre Dame. One season in five with fewer than 4 loses. 2012 was great. But he hasn't proven he can sustain it.

Kelly never had a Power 5 job before coming to Notre Dame. And while at ND, he's finished NR, NR, No. 4, No. 24, NR.

I think it's at least within reason to doubt whether he could go into the SEC and consistently field a top-10/top-15 team.


Not angry at all.

by FunkDoctorSpock, Your Nightmares, B* tches, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 11:58 @ Ken Fowler
edited by FunkDoctorSpock, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 12:02

I apologize if it reads that way. I'm of the mind that it is easier to win consistently at those other programs. I think it is reasonable to wonder if Meyer or Saban would be able to win as your describe at ND or whether they would even be willing or able to stay for five years given the restrictions and limitations mentioned in Eric's post. That's all.


I also replied based on reading the pre-edit

by Ken Fowler, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 12:01 @ FunkDoctorSpock

So that could be my fault. No need to apologize.

I think Kelly has proven to be a very, very good program coach. There's a lot of talent coming in and coming out of Notre Dame right now. But, on the whole, I don't think the results haven't matched that yet. And my concern/bias/belief is that there is probably something about the offense that makes it good-not-great when going up against high-talent defenses.

I could be right, and I could be wrong. I just think it's fair for someone to doubt Kelly at Florida/Texas/OSU, just as it's fair for others not to.


Well then, in that regard, we agree.

by FunkDoctorSpock, Your Nightmares, B* tches, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 12:04 @ Ken Fowler

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I think it's possible but we just don't know

by HumanRobot @, Cybertron, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 11:48 @ FunkDoctorSpock

Personally, I feel like Kelly's ceiling is more akin to what Pinkel is doing at Missouri or RR at Arizona. He's a very, very, very good David. Not Goliath.


Of course.

by FunkDoctorSpock, Your Nightmares, B* tches, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 11:50 @ HumanRobot
edited by FunkDoctorSpock, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 11:57

There's obviously no way of being certain. But as of today, given his resume, his hiring at any one of those schools would objectively be seen as a home run hire.

And, personally, I think a comparison to Pinkel is a compliment. Since 2007 his teams are 75-30 and have won at least ten games five times. Do I think that is enough to think Pinkel could do even better at, say, Oklahoma or Texas or SC if he ever made that switch? Yes


I bet he'd be successful at other schools

by HumanRobot @, Cybertron, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 10:43 @ FunkDoctorSpock

I wonder *how* successful he'd be at OSU or Texas, but I have no doubt he'd have no worse than a Richt like run at those places.


Great post. And I'd add

by Bill, Southern California, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 08:44 @ Eric M

how many scholarship players does ND have on its roster every year who have simply used their football playing ability to secure themselves a scholarship to a great school and don't necessarily have a 'football is everything' outlook on life?

I think you touch on that in some regards with your Corey Robinson comments, but Corey seems to still put his whole self into his football endeavors. How many players are like Corey, but only put half of themselves into their football endeavors and what impact does that have on team performance?

Contrast that with other schools where players go to play football. In a large number of cases, that's the only thing they've got going for them so they put their whole selves into football every minute of every day.


Do ND players have different soscio-economic backgrounds

by Flann, Central New Jersey, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 12:03 @ Bill

in the aggregate as compared to other major football schools?

Would it matter if they did?

We're all aware of individual Notre Dame players who grew up in difficult circumstances and players who grew up wealthy, but I'm not sure how it compares to other teams.


I can buy that. Good post.

by Rob (Rakes of Mallow), Chicago, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 07:24 @ Eric M

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Wonderful post!

by Geoff, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 07:20 @ Eric M

I had never thought about it in these terms, but I agree.

ND wants to develop complete people -- not just complete football players. That mission, something I support, can limit the talent pool. Jimmy Johnson once told his players that they came to Miami to play football. If they wanted an education, they should go to Harvard. How often have opposing coaches used ND's quality education to scare away potential recruits? What about punishing bad behavior? The Marooned Five wallowed in exile for cheating. The F$U administration and head coach enable sociopathic behavior if it will help them win games.

One other point I want to mention is the polarizing effect of ND. I'm sure Anti-Catholic bias plays a role, but I don't know how that can be quantified. The moment a player commits to ND or a coach is hired, he is immediately hated by a large number of people. Yes, Sabama fans hate Auburn and Oregon fans hate Oregon State, but these hatreds are usually regional and compartmentalized. People all across the country hate ND simply because ND is ND. Then add the ingredient of vitriol certain ND fans have about their own school and football program.

Who the hell would want to sign up for all this misery?



by KGB, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 07:01 @ Eric M

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by Kevin @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 22:20 @ Eric M

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Very good.

by Jim (fisherj08) @, A Samoan kid's laptop, Friday, December 05, 2014, 19:06 @ Eric M

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final question before I go drinking

by HumanRobot @, Cybertron, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:46 @ Kevin

Is there a savior in the ND-verse somewhere?

Is there a Wexner who will more or less hand deliver an Urban Meyer?

Is there a Mal Moore type who can go through a dragged out search, talking to Saban, Rodriguez, Fisher, and finally Saban again?

Is there a Harbaugh/Miles who are actual coaches at the top of the field with an ardent love for the school? Hell, even a Sarkisian?

I don't think so. I don't think we have a 'man of chest' or whatever the hell that was that somebody wrote once that's going to get super mad, say 'fuck this shit' and get ND back on the straight and narrow.


Your last sentence is what Brian Kelly really wants to be

by CK08, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:50 @ HumanRobot

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Something I've wondered about

by Jim (fisherj08) @, A Samoan kid's laptop, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:21 @ Kevin

Is being an independent a negative?

When we lose a game, that's pretty much it for us, as our independence pretty much sets us up for "National Championship or bust" status. So at the end of the season, we don't have any concrete goals other than "hey lets win this game because it's good to win!" Conference championships, conference awards, etc, are great motivators...but we don't have that.


This may sound like blasphemy

by CK08, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:51 @ Jim (fisherj08)

but I kind of envy schools that have those secondary goals.

Would our season have fallen apart so badly if we were still in the hunt for the ACC Coastal Division after our loss to Arizona State?

It's probably not worth giving up independence, but I can see the appeal.


I think it's both

by Greg, sittin on the dock of the bay, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:36 @ Jim (fisherj08)

We know the positives -- truly national program; attention; money; etc.

The negative is what you said: people can say that ND "hasn't won anything in "X" years" and because there is only one thing that ND can win -- the whole frigging thing -- they are right. We can go 11-1 or 10-2, and in many conferences that would be a Conference Championship but for us it's "didn't win." We can go 8-4 and in some conferences that would be a Division Championship and a spot in the title game with a shot at a Conference Championship but for us it's "didn't win and maybe we should fire the coach."

So I think there is some negative to it; with no hierarchy of on-field goals that provide tangible results, it's easy to say "we've not won since 1988." And that's a bad mindset to be in.


here's a question

by HumanRobot @, Cybertron, Friday, December 05, 2014, 14:56 @ Kevin

Let's say the same Randy Moss were 18 today. Would he want to come to ND with the undying passion he apparently had in 1994?


I think so.

by Kevin @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:04 @ HumanRobot

Moss might like ND more now. He's an old soul, who sometimes did very childish things.

I've heard Snoop's kid is genuinely interested in ND. Maybe if Moss's kid (Thaddeus) gets an offer, we'll get to see what the new generation of Mosses thinks of us.


I think our fanbase is a disadvantage.

by Pat (Moco), Slave Den, Brian Cook's Basement, Friday, December 05, 2014, 14:47 @ Kevin

We expect perfection and if it is not provided promptly, we call for immediate replacements. We assume that every coach is available for hire, from the high school coach in Ohio to the corpse of Knute Rockne. We live in the past and expect that because past coaches were successful in X amount of time, then our current coach should be. We think that because running the ball won us national championships, we should be doing so all of the time now. We ignore adaptations and changes in offenses and defenses over time. We have past heroes, like Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian, Holtz, and are constantly looking for He Who Can Be Them. We will never be happy. Any man who takes the job will be the most hated man in America because of us.


If ndn didn't fire TyWill, ndn didn't bother anybody.

by Ken Fowler, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:33 @ Pat (Moco)

But ndn fired TyWill, so the point is mute.


I like mute points

by Jack @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:35 @ Ken Fowler

But I have a hard time hearing them.


Better than a moo point

by CK08, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:49 @ Jack

That's just a cow's opinion.



by NDTerp, I am not Jay. I never have been Jay., Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:18 @ Pat (Moco)

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Oh, I don't think our fanbase is all that different

by Bill, Southern California, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:11 @ Pat (Moco)

from most other 'elite' programs. Do you think that we're all that different than Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, USC, Texas, Oklahoma, etc.? I don't. They're equally cuckoo.



by Rob (Rakes of Mallow), Chicago, Friday, December 05, 2014, 19:00 @ Bill

I think it's also a small (yet vocal) segment of each fanbase that are the real crazies.

Most ND fans (young and all) I know are obviously frustrated, but they aren't the picture Pat paints.


Agree 100%. I don't think we're different at all

by Jack @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:31 @ Bill

And it's easily proven by reading their message boards.



by BillyGoat, At Thanksgiving with Joe Bethersontin, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:04 @ Pat (Moco)

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We're roughly Texas Tech in win % over the last 20 years.

by Kevin @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:01 @ Pat (Moco)

I'm sure Texas Tech still supports what, ten regularly trafficked fan sites and has sold out every single game during that time. Texas Tech is probably lining up its own TV contract now, and I bet this'll be another year where Texas Tech lucks into some bowl game they don't deserve to be in because someone's following the money.

There are many, many rungs between where we're at and where this dastardly fanbase wants us to be.


Do I read this correctly?

by Kevin @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:08 @ Kevin

$300 for a season ticket in the upper level, 50 yard-line, at Texas Tech?

Good luck getting our asshole fans to go for something like that.


Answer: it's Lubbock, Texas

by Jack @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:34 @ Kevin
edited by Jack, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:38

They are the only game in town for a 300 mile radius.

What's this "our asshole fans" thing? Do you know what season ticket holders have to pay at ND? And not for seats on the 50?



by Kevin @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 17:09 @ Jack


by Jack @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 17:41 @ Kevin

Occasionally I want to make sure I'm on the right board.



by Jay ⌂, San Diego, Friday, December 05, 2014, 18:21 @ Jack

You know I'm just giving you a hard time, right? We all have our foibles.

I have to admit, however, that I chuckled when I did a board search for "crying out loud" and about forty of your posts came up.


I want to let you know we're laying down some Jack rules

by Jay ⌂, San Diego, Friday, December 05, 2014, 17:49 @ Jack

for the new year. So you've got a couple weeks to prepare.

* shall not post "for crying out loud"

* shall not post a sentence in the negative followed by the two word utterance, "At all."

* must fact check proclamations before posting. If found in violation we'll have some kind of appropriate punishment.

* must not scold

* must review post for shrillness in tone and reduce shrill if necessary before hitting Submit


For #3, because of Kevin

by Pat (Moco), Slave Den, Brian Cook's Basement, Friday, December 05, 2014, 18:04 @ Jay

Are stabbings the preferred method of punishment now?


I sure hope so.

by Joe ⌂ @, North Endzone Goal Line, Friday, December 05, 2014, 18:32 @ Pat (Moco)

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I got stabbed in Calcutta once. Kevin saved my life

by Jay ⌂, San Diego, Friday, December 05, 2014, 18:29 @ Pat (Moco)

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I wish I ruled half as much as Pagoda.

by Kevin @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 22:19 @ Jay

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by Supe ⌂, VA, Friday, December 05, 2014, 14:59 @ Pat (Moco)

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Is being a Catholic institution a disadvantage?

by Grantland @, y'allywood, Friday, December 05, 2014, 14:12 @ Kevin

And did it used to be an advantage?


Jesus was a football player

by Jay ⌂, San Diego, Friday, December 05, 2014, 16:42 @ Grantland

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I thought He was a futbol player.

by Grantland @, y'allywood, Saturday, December 06, 2014, 07:41 @ Jay

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I know coaches will explicitly lie about it.

by Jim (fisherj08) @, A Samoan kid's laptop, Friday, December 05, 2014, 14:25 @ Grantland

"You have to be catholic to go there, they make you go to church," that kind of thing. It may spook the occasional kid from a predominantly African American Protestant church.


It can be both.

by Kevin @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 14:14 @ Grantland

I think it was much more of a strength before USC beat Alabama in 1970.


What does 'lack of institutional commitment" mean?

by Bill, Southern California, Friday, December 05, 2014, 13:35 @ Kevin

I always see this mentioned, but I seldom see any details about what the University should do to show their commitment.


I think you could put "institutional control" at one of the

by BillyGoat, At Thanksgiving with Joe Bethersontin, Friday, December 05, 2014, 14:06 @ Bill

spectrum and "institutional commitment" at the other. I would argue that every institution has to find the spot on the spectrum that maximizes their football success.


Million dollar question

by Eric M, Western New York, Friday, December 05, 2014, 14:01 @ Bill

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-Ya boy Jackmerius Tacktheritrix


It means....

by River, Hell of the Upside Down Sinners, Friday, December 05, 2014, 14:10 @ Eric M

Doing everything I advocate how I advocate you do it. Now!

Pretty simple.


You are correct, sir

by Jack @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 14:44 @ River

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Those types of phrases are what I'm trying to get at.

by Kevin @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 13:39 @ Bill

I hear "ND just doesn't have a good enough coach" and "ND lacks institutional commitment." If the second statement means something different than the first, then what is it? What aren't they doing that they should, other than hiring better coaches? That can't mean "more jock rock," because no one seems to want that. Does it mean scrap academics? What do we have to sell, what can we get better at, what should we change?


I agree. It's really not that complex

by Jack @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 14:49 @ Kevin
edited by Jack, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:00

We have the disadvantages of northern schools in the year 2014 from the standpoint of available players in a close geographical area and that the weather in the winter sucks. Our academic requirements for these players are really not that onerous. As many have said about many schools like ND, the hardest part of these places is getting admitted in the first place. No one is expecting the players to major in chemical engineering, though it's nice to point to the occasional Tim Ruddy or Jabari Holloway.

We have the advantages of our football traditions and that there really are kids (and more importantly, parents) out there - no lie - who care a lot about the quality of their college education, and many of them play football at a high level, enough to stock more than a few teams. They also often don't want the wide open party school environment at State U. Hell, you can't tell me that Baylor, a Baptist school, is Party Central. They were absolutely terrible for a very long time. But they found great coaches who finally turned it around for them, which leads to the last point:

The rest of it, which is most of it, is comes down to far and away the most important thing: coaching.

It's not easy to hire great coaches. Bruno in his post pointed out the three truly great ones we have. Well, it's not like other schools had a lot more than that. I'd argue Alabama has had only 3 or 4 as well. Same with USC. Same with Oklahoma. Same with Michigan. Same with Ohio State. Same with Texas (though I'm hard pressed to think of the other 2). Penn State has had one. And every last one of them has had their dogs, too, often multiples in a row, or the ones who have been very good, but never got to great.


Specifics on that

by Buffalo @, The Dirty South, Friday, December 05, 2014, 14:02 @ Kevin

A few things that I have seen mentioned as "lack of institutional commitment":

--unwillingness to give the coach more control over disciplinary issues.

--unwillingness to relax academic standards, particularly in the required courses (most significantly, calculus and foreign language requirements)

(notably, these are the two big things that are listed when describing the perceived impediments to hiring a top tier coach)

--deficiencies in strength & conditioning/nutrition (seem to have been addressed in terms of facilities); perhaps lack of football-dedicated personnel in these areas could be seen as lack of institutional support

BUT, when people (especially those on Rock's House, where I frequently lurk and infrequently post) refer to "lack of insitutional commitment," I believe what they are really saying is that they believe the University administration is accepting of football coaches who can only coax 7-10 wins out of the football team. (In other words, the admin is happy with sub-championship coaches, just so long as tickets and merchandise are being sold.)


some other disadvantages

by HumanRobot @, Cybertron, Friday, December 05, 2014, 13:34 @ Kevin

1) I've heard our facilities aren't all that. I have no idea how they compare across college football, but the Gug is a far cry from Oregon's Football Palace.

2) Natural Demographics don't align with Football -- ND's region has been slowly dying away in terms of football talent. You can probably field a great Lacrosse or Women's basketball team recruiting from affluent Midwestern and Northeastern suburbs full of kids that have been attending camps for most of their lives. You probably cannot do the same for football.

3) We boot and suspend kids for stuff that nobody aside from maybe service academies (even Stanford) would suspend players for.

4) I think there's a general perception that ND is behind the times and maybe that the times have passed ND by. There was a strange groundswell of surprise that ND was going to start a black QB with Golson in 2012. It's like folks don't remember Holliday or the Holtz era.


I never once heard that with respect to point #4.

by Buffalo @, The Dirty South, Friday, December 05, 2014, 14:04 @ HumanRobot

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Ditto. For crying out loud we had Tony Rice 25 years ago

by Jack @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:42 @ Buffalo
edited by Jack, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:45

And he wasn't the first black quarterback to start at ND anyway.


I haven't either and it's incredibly bizarre

by CK08, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:10 @ Buffalo

Since Holtz, we've had a black starting QB in 1998, 1999, part of 2000, 2001, 2002, part of 2003, one game in 2007, 2012, and 2014. And we will have one for the next several years.

I would bet we're near the top of the list in terms of most games started by a black QB over the past 20 years.


here you go

by HumanRobot @, Cybertron, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:41 @ CK08

Again, I was only speaking to perception obviously:


I like how, in that thread from over two years ago

by CK08, Friday, December 05, 2014, 16:20 @ HumanRobot

I had a post almost exactly like the one I posted above.


And who exactly are those Nobel laureates?

by Jack @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:43 @ HumanRobot

I bet they use clever turns of phrase like "Noter Lame".


Top. Men.

by BillyGoat, At Thanksgiving with Joe Bethersontin, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:49 @ Jack

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Assuming Monty VG's scholarship goes to someone else

by Jeremy (WeIsND), Offices of Babip Pecota Vorp & Eckstein, Friday, December 05, 2014, 15:24 @ CK08

Next season, all of our scholarship QBs will be AA. Is that a first?


thoughts on yours

by HumanRobot @, Cybertron, Friday, December 05, 2014, 13:22 @ Kevin


1. Academic demands. ND's admissions standards limit the recruiting pool, but I do not believe they're a meaningful impediment. We could clear admissions with a top-three recruiting class every year and have done so. We do seem to get pinched at some positions, particularly defensive line. The bigger issue is ND guys have to go to real classes, with a Freshman core that presents some unavoidable challenges. We all know the soft spots in the curriculum, but you cannot build one full semester's course load on chaff. You have to take classes that may or may not meet at convenient times, and produce honest work. I had a handful of courses that were player-heavy, and many others with just a stray player or two. To go back to the admissions point, guys with 20 ACTs are going to have to put in the time in Calculus, Economics, Theology, and beyond. They will have big group projects, papers, and exams, right along with the increasingly elite student body. There's not enough time in the day to treat this like a mini-NFL experience, with hours of film study, treatment, conditioning, practice, and meetings..

I think you're broadly correct. I don't think we have any real data, but my impression is that our biggest impediment for admission is with the foreign language requirement. I've heard enough stories of illiterates getting into big state schools for football that I have to think ND is somehow weeding those types out.

I agree with you that the heavier freshman course load probably keeps a lot of guys off the field early that might make impacts elsewhere in CFB.

ND has some soft courses although I don't think there are any really soft majors. ND stipulates degree progress, so an athlete can't just string together a bunch of random soft courses to stay eligible.

2. Reputation, Weather, Social Scene. If we have an institutional recruiting barrier, this is it. For some, a Northern Indiana Catholic school, which is among the most selective in the nation, and one of the best undergraduate institutions, is a dream opportunity. For others, it's a frigid, boring, pressure cooker. The Walsh SYR was a great time. Does it stack up against the bar scene in Austin or Athens, parties in Tallahassee, or the celebrity treatment in LA?

This is definitely a factor, although something of a self selector. If a kid's deciding on UCLA over ND because of LA either the kid isn't making a football decision or ND isn't establishing itself as a competitive alternative.

Diversity might factor in here as well.

3. Low Self-Esteem in Hiring. "Notre Dame makes great coaches; it doesn't hire them" is false bravado. We see the success of coaches at Alabama, Florida, Auburn, and worry it won't translate. Why would anyone want to leave an easier job for a harder job? That's insulting. Do you think John Affleck-Graves couldn't find less-challenging, more-lucrative employment? He's a pretty brilliant man, and he apparently finds his role at Notre Dame to be a worthy vocation. I think there's some degree of assumption that we need to shop for up-and-comers, because no one else would want to deal with us. ND's worth it and needs to believe that.

At some periods in time yes, at others no. I think the bigger factor is that we're never going to see somebody like Jay Jordan pick up the reigns like Paul Hackett or how that mega-booster guy basically delivered Meyer to OSU. We don't have a Stephen Ross type who can help plug into the NFL. On top of that, I don't want our BOT driving a hire.

5. Identity Crises. ND has been struggling with what it wants to be and how it wants to get there. This risks projecting weakness and proceeding with half-measures. Do we want an unspoiled game experience, or an "amped up" atmosphere? Do we want to lead with academic excellence or top-flight facilities? Are we a cold-weather team whose average recruiting strengths suggest building around a dominant line and strong-armed passer, or do we need an "equalizer" scheme to hedge against recruiting vulnerabilities? Are we content to be very good, or can we really compete with the SEC? These are questions for a reason -- following this school and program 365 days a year for two decades, I'm not sure I know many answers.


1. National Prominence. We can't fence off any one area, but we can, generally, find some open doors in every part of the country. Our players are celebrities, for better or worse, and the NBC contract remains a huge asset. Nebraska, Penn State, Washington -- all teams that have won a title since ND last did, and all teams with far less cachet than we have, throughout the country. We are still the biggest name in the sport, still the biggest challenge, still the biggest stage.

3. Independence. We have maintained a national brand because we are beholden to no one allegiance. Every year, we can play in California, the southeast, Texas, New York, the Midwest. No one thinks of ND as that Indiana team. Our exposure, recruiting reach, and reputation are unconstrained. We belong to no one and everyone.

yup to all

2. Smart Players. This is a benefit more than a limitation. We can and do attract a better, smarter class of player. ND ought to be able to field the most disciplined, intelligent team in the game. I don't think our personnel has held us back in this regard.

This is a benefit, but also a disadvantage. I don't think we get the same sort of chip-on-the-shoulder football is the full essence of their being like other schools get. That's probably good, but perhaps not for football.

5. Winning Here Is Better. Does "ND" have the will to win? I don't know. I think Fr. Jenkins does. I know we do. We will immortalize our champions, and that's no empty pledge. Quick, 16 year-old high school kid: what school comes to mind when I mention four white guys sitting on horses? Who's the Rocket? We have a national mystique at our disposal, some odd power to command the front page of Sports Illustrated every time we manage to crap and wipe in the same trip. Sure, it's annoying to everyone else. We have got to stop caring about that and embrace it. Lou got the job done because he was a smart, mean SOB, but also because he could say "We're Notre Dame, and you're not," mean it, and not give a shit if it bothered you. That message, somehow, isn't dead yet. We have to grab it, run with it, and not look back.

I think this is true, although I don't think it's something that's super compelling. I think coaches generally don't see it as a compelling reason to come to ND all other things being equal. Most kids either want to get to the NFL or get the education. College football operates at a different rung and I don't think being a college football legend is all that attractive in terms of something that would drive action.


I think that "academic demands"

by Jeremy (WeIsND), Offices of Babip Pecota Vorp & Eckstein, Friday, December 05, 2014, 13:38 @ HumanRobot

Particularly as outlined by Kevin, could probably take up numbers 1-5 all by themselves. I don't think its a stretch to say that football players at the majority of the schools currently in the Playoff Top 10 do little-to-no coursework during their college experience, and can spend most non-practice time in the weight room, film room, or in participating in "non-mandatory" type workouts that toe the line on being allowed by the NCAA (as discussed somewhat in the Michigan NCAA case).

Even for guys doing Sociology and FTT type majors at ND, there's plenty of significant coursework, particularly in the first 2 years, that has to eat up just about any free time for these guys. And sure they're getting top notch help from Sargent and Co but there's only so much that can be done. I'm convinced this is the biggest issue separating ND from the current powers of college football.

But I don't think I'd want to change that - the fun thing (for me at least) about following ND is to see how special these kids are, how they cope with the demands of being an actual student-athlete, and how they even find time to do some community service, or attend a fencing meet, etc. to support their classmates.

And I wouldn't want to change the type of kid that ND recruits either. HR makes a great point that we probably don't have enough of the "If I don't make it in football, I won't know what to do with my life" type kids that probably make the difference between a good team and a great team. There are certainly guys like Golden Tate or Zack Martin, who will be great either in the NFL or in a board room, but those guys are so few and far in-between that its not reasonable to expect the staff to identify 25 of these kids every year when they're 16 years old.


can you post the text to streamline replies?

by HumanRobot @, Cybertron, Friday, December 05, 2014, 13:03 @ Kevin

[ No text ]


The topic was just: what are ND's five biggest limitations

by Kevin @, Friday, December 05, 2014, 13:18 @ HumanRobot

and advantages, relative to football, but from a little bigger-picture standpoint. So, not "Koyack isn't enough of a receiving threat."

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