Monday, August 10, 2009

the State of "Show Me" | by Pat

The 2009 season is finally upon us with practice getting kicked off this past Saturday. On Friday, Charlie held his annual pre-season presser where he offered a brief intro and then opened up the floor for questions. As one might guess, most of the questions centered around expectations for Charlie's all-too-important 5th season. The whole of Charlie's, and by extension the team's, mood is summed up in this quote.

I think we're just going to have -- when you talk about expectations and goals, I think it's best left to prove it. You know, I could sit there and give you a bunch of hot air about everything we're going to do schematically to fix the running game. I think we're going to have to prove it.

There's a lot of things going into this year that I'd rather not say because I'd rather get it done on the field. That's really one of the main deals or goals going into training camp, is, Fellas, don't tell me about expectations, show me.
Here is the link to the presser full transcript, including a download link for the podcast. has also set up a central page for all assorted media day links. It also includes the transcripts of the assistant coach interviews. Here are a few selected quotes of interest.
Coach Tenuta on the addition of freshman linebacker Manti Te'o...
"He's a great kid and he's excited to be here. He's done well in summer school and the workouts. Being around the older guys in film sessions and so forth, I'm sure he's excited to begin practice, as are the rest of the players."

Coach Verducci on moving Eric Olsen from guard to center ...
"We would think it's not dramatic based on what we've seen in the spring. He was eye-opening in the shots we got of him in the spring, which gave us the impetus to move forward with the plan going into two-a-days. Now as Charlie (Weis) said, it's still fluid. He's going to have to come and make the steps we anticipate him making over the next three weeks and to solidify it. We can always go back. That would be the easiest thing, but where we're starting today, we'd like to think we've got guys in positions that are accentuating their strengths and minimizing their deficiencies."

Coach Verducci on Trevor Robinson starting at right guard ...
"That position (right guard) is pretty unforgiving, because, based on the defenses that you see currently in football, that guy has as many one-on-one battles as any of the five positions. You need a guy who's pretty much got everything you're looking for - the size, the strength, the quickness, the toughness - and Trevor, we're banking on him being that guy to start with, but I anticipate a pretty good battle with some of the other guys in the mix, based on my experience with them."
The last two quotes from Verducci confirm the summer rumors about Eric Olsen moving to center, allowing Trevor to move into the starting lineup at right guard with Chris Stewart shifting over to left guard. This move will be one of the more interesting story lines of fall camp.

With the official release of the updated roster and team depth chart (pdf), here are a few other bullet points of things that caught our eye.
  • Manti Te'o checking at 245 pounds.
  • James Aldridge listed only at fullback
  • An entire three-deep at OL of scholarship players. 9 of the 15 over 3oo pounds.
  • KLM listed at 6'4" 270 pounds as the starting strongside defensive end.
  • Duval Kamara ahead of Goodman and Walker as the #3 wide receiver
  • Freshman Zeke Motta moved to strong safety after playing LB in the spring.
  • 192 pound recruit Cierre Wood now 218 pound freshman Cierre Wood.
  • Robert Blanton and Darrin Walls getting the early nod as starting corners
  • The first freshman listed as a starter.....long snapper Jordan Cowart
  • If ND can't run the ball with this RB and OL depth chart, it never will.
One last roster note that actually hit the wire a few weeks ago. The QB depth chart is short one Montana as preferred walk-on Nate left ND for the fall semester and will instead play for Pasadena City College.
"I'm going there with the intention of getting playing time and then returning to Notre Dame in the spring to join back up with the team and compete again for the job ... I don't have any academic problems or personal deals, it's purely for the experience of getting some time under center."
It's not really an ideal situation, but it probably is the best chance for Montana to get enough snaps to keep developing as a QB. Having Sharpley back will keep ND's QB depth chart fine for 2009. What it means for the future we'll have to wait and see.

Finally, here are your freshman numbers. Start memorizing now, the season starts in 26 days.
5 - Manti Te'o
11 - Shaquelle Evans
17 - Zeke Motta
20 - Cierre Wood
27 - E.J. Banks
32 - Theo Riddick
35 - Ben Turk
40 - Nick Tausch
44 - Carlo Calabrese
48 - Dan Fox
60 - Jordan Cowart
66 - Chris Watt
68 - Alex Bullard
70 - Zach Martin
80 - Tyler Eifert
84 - Roby Toma
88 - Jake Golic