Monday, March 24, 2008

Skywriting: Getting Ready for Football Edition | by Pat

Spring ball starts in just a few days. So before we can finally move on to honest to goodness real football information, let's flush the pipeline of some miscellaneous Irish info from the past few weeks.

HOF. Lou Holtz has a chance to join five other Notre Dame coaches as he has been officially nominated for the College Football Hall of Fame.

Former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz and former Northwestern player and present Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald are among the 75 players and eight coaches on the 2008 Football Bowl Subdivision ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame.
The ballots have already been mailed out to National Football Foundation members who will vote 2 coaches and 11 players. Those who garner the most votes and make up the newest class of Hall of Famers will be announced on May 1st. Here is the capsule for Holtz included on the ballot form.
Lou Holtz- William & Mary (1969-71), NC State (1972-75), Arkansas (1977-83), Minnesota (1984-85), Notre Dame (1986-96), South Carolina (1999-2004) -Ranked eighth among all-time coaches in career wins (249)... Only coach in NCAA history to lead six different programs to bowl games and four different programs to final Top 20 rankings... Led Notre Dame to 1988 national championship.
Other ND names on the ballot include Tim Brown, Dave Casper, and Jim Seymour.

What's the Frequency, Kevin. After moving on from a 40 year business relationship with Westwood One, Notre Dame has found a new radio broadcasting company for Fighting Irish football.
The University of Notre Dame and ISP Sports, have approved a new, 10-year business partnership in which ISP will become the new exclusive national rights-holder for Notre Dame football radio broadcasts.

The Notre Dame-ISP relationship will begin with the 2008 season and extend through the 2017 season -- with ISP managing, producing and syndicating Notre Dame's national football radio network.
Much more information such as broadcasters and which radio stations will be airing ND games isn't exactly clear.
Heisler said that while it isn't clear how many and which stations will carry Notre Dame games in various markets, he's hoping that most affiliates from last season will continue to broadcast the Irish.

"One of the questions will be, when you just look at the affiliation aspect of it, I think there would be a natural hope that a great number of the stations that have carried our games would continue to do that," he said.
Checking the ISP website, the list of stations that will be carrying the game so far isn't that lengthy. Hopefully more will be added before the season starts. It would also be nice if ISP could put together a website as user-friendly as the Westwood One page that featured audio highlights and full game rebroadcasts.

Mo' Money. Already named a National Scholar by the National Football Foundation, John Carlson was also recently awarded a postgraduate scholarship by the NCAA.
Former Notre Dame football standout John Carlson (Litchfield, Minn./Litchfield) has been awarded a postgraduate scholarship through the NCAA. Carlson was one of 29 male student-athletes who participated in a fall sport, which included cross country, football, soccer and water polo, to receive the $7,500 scholarship.

Carlson becomes the first Notre Dame football player to receive the honor since 1993 when Tim Ruddy earned a postgraduate scholarship. He is the 17th former Irish football player to be acknowledged and the 43rd former Notre Dame student-athlete to earn the prestigious grant since the award's inception in 1964.
Carlson is the 11th ND football player to earn postgraduate scholarships from both the National Football Foundation and NCAA.

On Second Thought. It's always great to read about football recruits that proclaim ND as a major childhood favorite. Incoming freshman Robert Blanton was not one of those kids.

Blanton eventually picked Notre Dame, but, at this time a year ago, Tech was at the top of his list.

“When my coach first started bringing me mail from Notre Dame, I told him, ‘I’m never going there,’ “ Blanton said. “That’s why I never say never anymore.”

Blanton lived in Portland, Ore., until the sixth grade and was late in gaining familiarity with teams from the Carolinas. He said he invariably rooted for underdogs like Oregon and Oregon State and originally was put off by Notre Dame.

ND kept on the defensive back though and a trip to campus changed his tune.

“I loved the home environment at Notre Dame and the only other place I saw it was at Virginia Tech,” Blanton said. “There weren’t comparisons with any other school.

“I prayed for a long time and I asked God, ‘If it was meant for me to go to Virginia Tech, don’t let Notre Dame offer me.’ And I said. ‘If it was meant for me to go to Notre Dame, then let them offer me.

“I went up there and they offered me and then I took two more visits to make sure that that’s where I wanted to go. I committed on my third trip.”

Classes by the Charles. In addition to prepping for his second NFL season and a likely starting role with the Bengals, Chinedum Ndukwe is taking some time to hang out in Beantown this spring.
Three Bengals players—tight end Nate Lawrie, safety Chinedum Ndukwe and wide receiver Tab Perry—will participate in the 2008 NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program. Ndukwe and Perry will attend sessions at the Harvard Business School from Feb. 24-27 and April 7-9, while Lawrie will participate at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania from Feb. 24-27 and March 25-27.

During the breaks between the two sessions of their programs, players will work on projects that are outlined in the opening session.

"This is a great opportunity that the NFL provides," said Ndukwe, a second-year player from Notre Dame. "It's basically free education from top professors, something that other people pay a lot of money to get. I have a strong interest in business and business strategy, and I know we'll be looking at a lot of things, like case studies, that should help me a great deal."
There are actually a few different Nedu articles floating around out there including this read on Nedu's Super Bowl bus trip with buddy Brady Quinn, news on a contract bonus he earned, and even a blog post written by Ndukwe himself on Yardbarker. We'll add his Yardbarker blog page to the new athlete blog section on the right hand sidebar. By our count that makes three members of the Class of 2007 who are blogging about their pro football careers in some form or fashion. If you see any more, make sure to let us know.