So it's officially here. The boys are back out on the field, knocking heads and trying to prepare for the 2009 campaign.
But this year just feels different. No gimmicks. No blustery words like "Whoosh," "Pound it," or "Schematic Advantage."
The head coach has, I think, finally gotten it right.
I've been on a bit of a musical kick this summer. I went to see Cheap Trick, Poison and Def Leppard a few weeks ago, I just got back from Lollapalooza, and I'm going to Aerosmith and ZZ Top in a couple of weeks. So, here's my Media Week Extravaganza, Musical Edition.
Let The Music Do The Talking
No promises, no specific talk about expectations or changes. No blustery talk about how good this player or that is gonna be. It's time to put it out on the field.
"This isn't about me. This is about us. This is about one group of guys, coaches and players, that have very similar expectations. But it doesn't do much good for me to say them any more. Until we start showing we can back 'em up, it's just hot air."
Never Let Me Down Again
"I'm taking a ride with my best friend. I hope he never lets me down again. He knows where he's taking me. Taking me where I want to be."
It's no secret that we'll only go as far as Jimmy will take us. I've never really been a big fan of Jimmy personally, but the job is his, and he's now got the street cred from his experience to take this to the next level.
He needs to get past playing the game and learn how to put a team on his shoulders and lead them to victory. Without that crucial talent to lead, he will never get us to where we need to be.
"I think as he's gone through the first year, the aches that went through the first year, developing more the second year, I think now he kind of has the mentality that a lot of those junior/seniors now have, where like they paid their dues and they've learned from their experiences."
Under the Milky Way
originally by The Church
covered by Coheed and Cambria
"Wish I knew what you were looking for.
Might have known what you would find."
Here we are, in year 5 of the Weis era, and we're still looking for a running game. More than any other area, this is where I want to stop hearing about us running the ball and start actually seeing some production on the ground.
"You're going to play against every team that's going to try to stop the pass game? Well, if they try to stop the pass game, then you have to have an answer. And the answer would be to run the football, okay? If you can't run the football effectively, okay, and they shut down the pass game, you put yourself behind the eight ball. That's what we've been spending the whole off-season to get to this point, to try to put us in a position where we're not pigeonholed into what we're doing."
The Killers (not from Lollapalooza, I didn't like the quality of available videos)
"I'm coming out of my cage and I've been doing just fine. Gotta gotta be down because I want it all. ... But it's just the price I pay. Destiny is calling me. Open up my eager eyes."
Who isn't uber-excited about the Notre Dame receiving corps this year?
This position is absolutely loaded with talent and star power. A junior receiver with proven breakaway speed. A sophomore receiver who broke every freshman receiving record - and didn't play half the season. A sophomore tight end who was a Freshman ll-American. Add to that a stable of talent ready to step in at any time, and you have a lot of options to throw to.
"This summer Jimmy flew out Golden, Floyd and Rudolph, and they spent one week out on field throwing for about eight hours a day. So they did that on their own. I have nothing to do with that. Duval was already in early summer school, so he couldn't make it out there. But I think that will pay dividends. That type of effort that they did on their own, that will pay dividends pretty quickly."
"I know the pieces fit cuz I watched them tumble down
No fault, none to blame it doesnt mean I dont desire to
Point the finger, blame the other, watch the temple topple over.
To bring the pieces back together, rediscover communication."
New coach, same kids. I've seen this line's potential, but until they learn to open up some running lanes on a consistent basis, this offense will sputter against quality defenses.
"This is going to be the first time we're going to start training camp and we have three units who legitimately play left and right tackle, left and right guard and center. It's encouraging to know we have numbers to start off with."
When You Were Young
"Can we climb this mountain? I don't know. Higher now than ever before. I know we can make it if we take it slow. Let's take it easy. Easy now. Watch it go."
My biggest question mark on the team is the defensive line. We lack depth and elite talent, but there are some huge upsides to this unit as well. And with the new coaches - Randy Hart and Bryant Young - there is so much potential for drastic improvement. I just hope these kids can get the hang of the learning curve.
"We're excited about our youth, our athleticism. I think with youth and athleticism comes some uncertainty as you go in."
Give It All"
"Today I offer all myself to this. I'm living for my dying wish. I give it all, now there's a reason, a reason, to give it all."
In Tenuta's blitz-happy scheme, we need these guys to really come blasting out of the gate. We've developed some depth, and I'm very excited to see what Manti Te'o can do. Brian Smith is a beast.
"Manti is 245 pounds. If you put him and Brian Smith next to each other, you don't really see much of a physical difference[.]"
Never Miss A Beat
Kaiser Chiefs (one of the best shows of Lollapalooza - incredible frontman, great music)
"No, they never miss a beat. No, they never miss a beat, never miss a beat, never miss a beat. Never."
With all of the hype around the receiving corps, this is actually the best unit on the team. Our second string would probably start at any other school.
They are so good, in fact, that there weren't any questions at media day about this unit. Everyone knows that we're loaded, and it doesn't matter who we trot out there, they'll be amazing.