Thursday, February 21, 2008

Grab-bag Commentary

No big news to report right now, that I haven't already covered, but I (finally) had some free time on my hands, so I thought I'd comment on a couple of my observations and completely unsubstantiated rumors I've heard around campus. (Yes, I still get to campus now and again to keep my finger on the pulse of Notre Dame football - and no, I won't reveal my sources...)

First thing that I wanted to talk about is a recent article in the Tribune, with a rundown of the 11 players who need a strong offseason. First on the list was Jimmy Clausen, which I agree with. But I don't agree with the reasoning. Jimmy had a tough season as a true freshman, getting sacked four times as much as Brady his freshman year but still putting up comparable numbers. And I agree that adding a couple of punds to his frame would be good insurance for the long season, considering the pounding he took last year. But I think the biggest adjustment Jimmy needs to make is an attitude adjustment, according to some of the grumblings I've heard. Again, these grumblings are completely unsubstantiated, and I'm hesitant even to mention them. But, I don't think that a stronger work ethic would hurt, as would more involvement with his teammates. Granted, he was a true freshman last year, and was thrust into a leadership role. This offseason is the time when he has to step up to the plate and not just accept that role, but to grab that role and run with it.

Jimmy came into Notre Dame on the heels of the most hyped recruitment in history, complete with over the top announcement at the College Football Hall of Fame. But hype doesn't translate into leadership easily. He needs to take a page out of Brady's playbook and go into the off-season with the mentality that he will outwork everyone in the weight room - and also do that work WITH his teammates. I've heard rumors of Jimmy having a separate training program from the rest of the team, and I hope that's just plain wrong. Team building happens more in the weight room and at the training table than anywhere else, and Jimmy needs to establish himself as a leader by participating in those sacred rituals.

If Jimmy doesn't do that, he should look out, because from all reports Dayne Crist is that type of player. The kind of kid that will go into the weight room and training tables and MAKE himself the leader of the team.

Enough picking on Jimmy, though.

I also just read the Tenuta presser, and I'm excited about his place on this team. I was concerned last year with the rapidity of Brown's ascent to this coordinator position. He is an impressive guy, and a spectacular motivator. But I was worried about the added responsibilities. Now, Brown has an assistant who is one of the most respected defensive coordinators in the game. Tenuta's ideas will surely help translate into a high-pressure blitz-happy offense that strikes fear into the opposing QBs. More importantly, however, now Brown has someone to turn to when he comes across a situation he hasn't faced before, as Tenuta has seen it all in his long career. It brings a level of stability into this exciting young defensive staff, without detracting from the new mentality.

I'm out of time for tonight, and if you don't care about my personal life, please stop reading now. For the rest of you, however, I wanted to let you know that I've decided to open my own legal practice here in South Bend. I'm going to take the Michigan bar in July so that I can represent people on both sides of the state line, and I'm hoping that between now and then I'll be able to put away some money to rent some office space.

If there is anyone out there with some advice for a new attorney who is trying to hang out a shingle, I'm all ears. E-mail me at: