Friday, November 20, 2009

One Final Appearance | by Pat

Believe it or not, Notre Dame plays a football game tomorrow, and its Senior Day nonetheless. With all the news, rumors, and gossip about the possible coaching search, the game itself seems to have become a bit of an afterthought. Granted, a late November game against UConn with nothing really on the line is hardly a stirring matchup, but it's still the final chance for ND fans to see a number of players in their last ND home game.

In addition to the very real possibility that Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate could be playing in their final game in Notre Dame Stadium, it will definitely be the final game for players like Kyle McCarthy, Sam Young (setting an ND record for career starts in the process), Eric Olsen, Paul Duncan, Evan Sharpley, Mike Anello, Robby Parris, Ray Herring, Scott Smith, Toryan Smith, John Ryan, James Aldridge, George West, Sergio Brown, Raeshon McNeil, Mo Richardson, and a handful of walk-ons. Fellow seniors Darrin Walls, Chris Stewart, Dan Wenger, Barry Gallup, Paddy Mullen, Ryan Burkhart, Kallen Wade, Eric Maust, and Leonard Gordon have a remaining year of eligibility, but it is still their last chance to run through the tunnel with their classmates (and play against a former one in Zach Frazer).

So even if you aren't happy with the folks that brought them to ND, raise a glass on Saturday to the class that started to hop on board a Notre Dame program over four years ago that was still reeling and was in desperate need of a talent infusion. They saw more than their fair share of attrition the past few years and overall the class didn't pan out like many had expected, but they all helped to pull the program away from the abyss and get it pointed in the general right direction. They won't go down as the class that put things right at ND, but they did help build the foundation that others will hopefully stand on. So to them, Sláinte.

As for the thought that this could be Charlie's final spin through Notre Dame Stadium too, he insisted he isn't going to waste time thinking about that possibility.

"Not one bit. That would be very selfish for me to do it, to start off with," he said. "I'd have to be very, very, very selfish for me to be thinking about anyone other than those fourth- and fifth-year players. I promise as far as I could ever tell I don't think those thoughts would ever enter my mind."