Friday, August 11, 2006

A Leg Up | by Jay

"Charlie can get you ready for the NFL". We've heard that bromide a lot as part of ND's new recruiting pitch, and a couple of quick anecdotes from training camp seem to bear it out.

Fasano expected to contribute:

The move was made because coach Bill Parcells plans to use more two tight-end sets in 2006. Having played for Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, who won three Super Bowl rings as the offensive coordinator for the Patriots and also coached with Parcells with the Giants, [Anthony] Fasano could make an immediate impact.

"My expectations are that it should be a quick transition," Parcells said. "He made a couple of mental errors yesterday (Monday). You know, we're getting into that information overload time of camp, particularly for the young players, but I expect him to make a quick transition to pro football.

"You couldn't ask for a situation that's better for him. He's playing the same exact position for the Cowboys that he played for Notre Dame. I'd say it's 90 percent the exact same terminology. I couldn't see how it could get to be any easier transition. ... I do think, of all the rookies, he should make the quickest transition."

Fasano had a strong senior season with the Irish, catching 47 passes for 576 yards and two touchdowns.

While it was his pass-catching abilities that earned him recognition at Notre Dame, Parcells said Fasano is a complete player who can also block and run as well as catch.

"The more of those they can do, the better I like them," Parcells said of his tight ends. "He (Fasano) does all three of them pretty well."
Stovall fighting for a spot:
Stovall blossomed as a senior for the Fighting Irish. It's no coincidence his senior season coincided with the arrival of longtime NFL coach Charlie Weis, the former offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. Stovall started all 12 games, with six 100-yard receiving games, catching 69 passes for 1,149 yards (16.7 avg.) and 11 touchdowns.

"This is like the transition from high school to college," Stovall said. "It's a totally different game.

"But I played under coach Weis. He has a lot of NFL credentials. He opened our eyes a lot. Our record reflected that last year. I'm used to being coached by intense coaches the way Gruden is.

"The way our practices were, our schedule, the way our meetings were. We studied more film and studied our opponent and their personnel. Again, that's why we had a good record last year."
Of course, whether Fasano, Stovall, and the rest of the Irish draft picks become stars in the NFL is almost beside the point. It's that pro-style system that Charlie brought in -- the preparation, playbook, terminology and the way things are run day-to-day -- that really benefit those guys and helped ease their transition to a higher level of competition. Mo and Anthony graduated ND with a pretty good base understanding of how things work on the next level, and that's a terrific selling point for top recruits. Imagine four years of working with Charlie instead of only one, and how big a leg up that will for the players moving on to the NFL over the next few years.