Monday, March 21, 2005

Morning Latte | by Jay

Guy with neck-support: I'll have a decaf coffee.
Trudi: I'll have a decaf espresso.
Movie critic: I'll have a double decaf cappuccino.
Policeman: Give me decaffeinated coffee ice cream.
Harris: I'll have a half double decaffeinated half-caf, with a twist of lemon.
Trudi: I'll have a twist of lemon.
Guy with neck-support: I'll have a twist of lemon.
Movie critic: I'll have a twist of lemon.
Cynthia: I'll have a twist of lemon.

How about a little bit of everything?

Tom Noie on the Irish hoops collapse:

Late Tuesday, in a quiet locker room interrupted by the sobs of seniors Jordan Cornette and Chris Thomas, the Irish were asked how the season had turned so sour after that afternoon in Providence. Nobody had an answer.

"If we knew, we would have changed it," said sophomore shooting guard Colin Falls. "Some things just didn't work out. I thought we were playing really well."

"The coaches can only do so much," said senior Dennis Latimore. "We had to get it done. It's on us. We had to go out there and just make it happen."

In the end, the Irish did not have the mental makeup needed to handle expectations, many of which were self-induced. Thomas had talked since last summer of how excited he was to play with such a talented group, the deepest collection of contributors in his four seasons. He believed greatness -- 30 wins, an NCAA Final Four -- was possible for a bunch of guys that truly cared for one another. All that talk about talent and togetherness never did translate into team.

"A lot of people questioned our toughness and I think it got to a point where we questioned our own," Thomas said. "When you don't have tough players or tough leaders, you can have all the confidence in the world, but if guys are out-hustling you and out-toughing you, you can't do nothing about it."

Next year?

...tough questions likely need to be answered by Brey and his staff. Like can Torin Francis have any sort of a low-post presence? How about Rick Cornett? Does Russell Carter have a prominent place in the program? Omari Isreal? Will Dennis Latimore even be asked back for a fifth-year of eligibility after a season where he never did fit in? How much can Rob Kurz offer after his 11-point, seven-rebound showing against Holy Cross?

Did the collective commitment of this team slide late in the year, and if so, why? Soft senior leadership? Focus? Outside distractions?

Though the core returns from a team that lacked a toughness where all the expected talent never did come together, the future may arrive sooner than anyone expected for incoming freshmen Ryan Ayers, Zach Hillesland, Kyle McAlarney and Luke Zeller.

"They will all get a chance to play," said Brey, who plans to hit the road and to recruit this week. "We could be a little of a youth movement next year. That's something we'll analyze."

Irish win a National Championship
Notre Dame's six entrants in the women's portion of the NCAA Fencing Championships lived up to their top-ranked billing in Sunday's final rounds of bouts, blitzing their competition for a 44-10 record that lifted Notre Dame past Ohio State, 173-171, and delivered the program's seventh national title.

Three-time NCAA foil champion Alicja Kryczalo -- who would lose later in the title bout -- fittingly fenced Notre Dame's final bout of the tournament and won to clinch at least a share of the team title.

Rockne Statue dedicated at the College Football Hall of Fame.

Yet another monument to the Coach, joining the ones in Voss, Norway; the Flint Hills of Kansas; and south quad. And here's a bit more on the statue's sculptor, Jerry McKenna.

Jamie Ryan hangs up the cleats; Zach Giles transfers to Northeastern. The strain on the OL depth chart becomes a concern. Ryan wants to stay and help out:
"I want to be around the team in some aspect, then maybe get a graduate assistant job somewhere," Ryan said. "I have to meet with coach (Charlie Weis) and see what I can do, and what he wants me to do, and take it from there."

Michigan football goes PSL.

Not only will fans pay $50 a ticket for each of the Wolverines' seven home games this fall, but under a preferred seating program, season ticket holders whose seats are not in the end zone must make a per-seat donation of $250, $190, $125 or $60 depending upon location.

This is the first phase of the seat license program.

Next year at Michigan Stadium, season ticket holders near the 50-yard line must annually donate $500 per ticket, while others must donate $375, $250 and $125 depending on seat location.

"I don't like it, but they've got to raise money," said Bob Blamer, 49, who has been a season ticket holder since the 1970s.

"I'm going to pay it regardless, and there are 100,000 other people who will pay it, too."

Cutcliffe on the mend.

Observer on Football Recruiting, part one, two, and three.
"I have a passion for recruiting, as much as I like to coach," Weis said. "Now, that confuses some people [who ask] 'How can somebody who's been in the NFL for the last 15 years and hasn't had to recruit be a guy that has a passion for recruiting?' "It's because I look at recruiting like a game with wins and losses and setbacks and small steps."

College Park busted on St. Pat's (again).

This is worth a laugh. Spot the chuckle.

College Football's Top 100 Finishes, according to CFN.
31 to 30 checks in at #5. Texas over Irish in 1970 ranks 17th.
With just under seven minutes to play, ND QB Theismann hit Jim Yoder for a 24-yard TD pass to put the Irish up 17-14 and in position to upset the Longhorns. Then it was up to the play of QB James Street and the daring play calling of UT head coach Darrell Royal. Street converted two fourth down plays on a 17-play drive including 44-yard completion on fourth and three. Billy Dale took a Street pitch with 1:08 to play to take the lead. A Texas interception squashed the final Irish drive and won the national title.

And finally, a twist of lemon...

May I Have Your Attention Please?