Better late than never…or something…right?
Anyways, this week has been rather brutal. Thankfully I got some time to unwind at last night’s Rangers game, but once I returned I too damn sleepy to think of anything to write. I made an executive decision to punt the Roundup to this evening, likely making Biscuit’s head explode that I put baseball as a higher priority than football writings.
Either way, the delay actually gave me something to write in this intro which is the delay itself. Writer’s block solved, I guess.
Oh well, you’re here for the links and beer anyways right? Let’s get to it.
This might be the most Southern Cal thing ever. Dr. Dre has made a donation to Southern Cal. For Academics. Seriously. Making this even more hilarious is the juxtaposition of this news release the very next day.
Johnny Baseball? So here’s one advantage to delaying the Roundup. I am able to include Johnny Manziel’s antics from the Padres game last night, including his recreation of his Alabama game-winning pass.
It’s nice when stats work out in your favor. Check out this preview from one of the minds at Football Outsiders. Spoiler Alert: Notre Dame is still damn good.
USF is apparently excited about Aaron Lynch. However, I’d be slightly concerned with
his weight loss not working out during his year off if I were them. But, hey, hopefully the attitude change his coach sees is true because the kid has loads of talent that shouldn’t be wasted.
A look into the college football future. I don’t know about y’all, but all I read in this piece was that ND makes a lot of title games.
And now, your moment of STOP USING PHOTOSHOP FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. This week’s entry, Preston Pehrson of Georgia Tech.
Before we start, I’d like to make a quick note about this section. Mostly because Slate wrote something mind-numbingly dumb on the topic.
You see, I’m not trying to “beer snob” it up in this section. Nor am I picking beers because OMG HOPS Y’ALL. I’m more in line with several of the opinions noted here.
Those that have read a fair share of Roundups know that I have suggested some “mainstream” beers either tongue-in-cheek or simply because I was in the mood to that week. My whole goal here is to either:
- Be funny (rare)
- Share a good beer I’ve discovered/liked/consumed liberally
- Ask readers for beer suggestions
Because quite frankly beer is good and expanding horizons on said beverage is equally awesome. It’s really hard to go wrong here.
With all that being said, this week I am making good on my promise to go back into the craft beers. Hilariously enough, I had planned on “easing” back into it with a rather simple local lager before I even read the Slate insanity.
That brew would be Rahr’s Blonde Lager from Ft. Worth, Texas.
Admittedly, the distribution is quite limited (but I’m sure you can find similar in the same style), but if you are ever in DFW or at a Rangers game you’ll be able to find this rather easily.
Yes, my baseball team actually serves legit local craft beer (looking at you, Yankees).
Ah, the jumbotron — that offseason topic that fires up the Notre Dame fanbase like no other. The outrage and hot takes ranks somewhere right above Shamrock Series uniforms and right below re-gilding the Dome with platinum*. Bayou gave his thoughts earlier this week and I’ve made my thoughts on tradition and change well known in the past.
This Roundup will not re-hash those thoughts. Instead, I wanted to pass along some sage advice my pastor gave to myself and my future bride last weekend:
The only thing that I need to do this wedding are the two of you, myself, and a marriage license. Everything else is just extra. You’ll have other people give you all kinds of opinions on what they think your wedding should look like, but never forget, all of that is just the gravy added on.
And really a potential addition of a jumbotron**, an installation of field turf, new helmets, piped-in music, or the Halloween costumes that are the Shamrock Series uniforms is just that — it’s all gravy. The meat and potatoes of a football game is simply two teams facing off against each other with a ball, some coaches to lead the men into battle, and some officials to make sure it doesn’t turn into the Roman Coliseum.
Notre Dame Football, however, is far more special than that. There is a dessert that follows this football meal that we like to call “The Forty Year Decision”, a specialty that the majority of the top college football powerhouses simply don’t offer. Many thought that entire meal couldn’t be served at Notre Dame anymore. We felt as if Notre Dame Football turned into the “let them eat cake” of the college football world. That’s why 2012 was such a big deal and Kelly went as far to call it “Faith Restored”.
#1 in the BCS and #1 in GSR should have been one of the biggest stories in college football and should be a huge focal point in this offseason, but it wasn’t and still isn’t.
Because the focus is on the damned gravy.
Every time these arguments surface, it becomes much like arguments in wedding planning. Everyone has their idea, their vision, for the Notre Dame Football Experience®. If you can’t see eye-to-eye, then there just must be something wrong with you and your understanding of tradition, Rockne, technology, or Notre Dame itself. The arguments and anger over the ancillary rise to a fever pitch and the true heart of the entire event is lost in the fire.
“But, Tex” you say, “how are you so blind? Don’t you see that when Notre Dame tries new things they fall on their face? Just look at the first attempts at piped-in music and Shamrock Series Helmets. These things matter!“
Want to know why both of those occasions were such disasters? It wasn’t just horrid execution (make no mistake, both were terrible). It was because the surrounding games left a lot to be desired.
Against Southern Cal, we were beaten over the head by more than just “Crazy Train”. Notre Dame stumbled out of the gate, trailing 17-10 at the half, and just when it looked like the Irish had a chance to tie it up, Crist fumbled a snap and it went 80 yards in the other direction. Everyone was already in a sour mood because the game itself was ruined and a “Seven Nation Army” couldn’t hold back the anger of the end result.
To put it another way: no amount of gravy in the world is going to fix a crappy steak.
For the first two quarters we were pissed that our steak first came out raw, then as jerky. In the third, it we saw that perfectly cooked steak coming our way only to have the waiter trip over himself and dropping it, completely ruining that one as well. Finally, we get one more serving of charred mess and we’ve had it by that point. We try to wash it down with the gravy just so we can eat something, but even that is sour.
End result: we hate everything and everything sucks.
While the Maryland game was a decisive victory, the game itself was a bore. Toss in a sub-par opponent that we really didn’t care about, mix in scoring lulls against said sub-par team and you are left with plenty of time to focus on bad helmets and mismatched greens on the uniform.
Compare that to the Miami game which had uniforms sporting helmets that were far worse than anything Adidas could’ve dreamed of the year prior. The Irish defense dominated and the rushing game obliterated the Hurricanes in the second half. Oh, and it helped that this happened against Miami, a team universally hated by Irish fans.
Sure, the gravy might have been mysteriously two-toned and ugly as sin, but the main course was so tasty that you could happily ignore it and move it to the side.
“Well, Tex,” the other side now says, “thanks for proving our point!” As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast!” (No, not that other famous Corso quote).
Just as no amount of gravy will save a piss-poor entree, far too much of it can smother and ruin it. Not only that, if too much focus is given to the sauce, you can likely expect the quality of your main dish to suffer as well. In short, there needs to be some form of balance.
To circle this back around to the original wedding analogy, I could easily ruin my own wedding by focusing on all the ancillary junk that really doesn’t matter. I could also go the opposite direction, completely bare-bones removing all the “gravy” as my pastor put it, but that would be a rather boring wedding. Adding a reception, family and friends, an open bar, and some music will certainly make the night more enjoyable for all and won’t completely overshadow the entire event of actually being wed.
And that’s pretty much where I’m at with anything added to ND Stadium or any future enhancements of the gameday experience. I’m fine with adding things as long as it doesn’t completely overrun the heart of Notre Dame Football.
By all accounts, ND gets that. The piped-in music has been reeled in and better thought out, complemented by mics amplifying the band (P.S. stop playing “Rumor Has It” for the love of all that is holy). Crazy uniforms have been relegated to one game a season, a game which isn’t even played in front of Touchdown Jesus. “Crazy Train” has turned into a punchline/actual thing that makes fans cheer despite its initial overuse.
But through it all, the heart of Notre Dame Football still remains: the quest for and expectation of excellence on and off the field. Until I actually see that change…well…it’s all gravy.
*I may or may not have totally made this up to properly equate said outrage
And when I talk about smothering with gravy, I give you Wyoming. While certainly not the worst of the field turf design offenders (hey, it’s at least green), going with mountains on this design is just a bit much.
I hope all of these go on Iowa’s jumbotron. I had no idea who Damon Bullock was before this week, but I now know he’s is absolutely hilarious.
Big Game Bob takes aim at the SEC. Oh man, I wish I had listened to Finebaum after these comments. Related, what in the hell happened to Stoop’s face?
The College Football Hall of Fame finally rights a major wrong. Tommie Frazier is finally in. Now let’s fix that whole Rocket not being in because seriously.
Want a look at the all-time wins race? Texas’ SBN presence, Barking Carnival, gives a mostly Texas-centric look; however, Notre Dame fans will be please to know just how close we are to surpassing Texas in this race.
So we’re making a little bit of our own gravy. Ok, that sounded completely wrong; however, we are dipping our toes into the merch pool with some #HLSRecap themed offerings. Yes, you can customize these with your Twitter handle if you so choose. Check them out, let us know what you think.
I have, admittedly been slacking on really finding some unique brews. I will remedy this soon; however, I think it’s fitting that this week I go in a different direction.
As I mentioned before, I have a wedding in my future and it will occur one year from now on this exact date. With that in mind, I remembered that the first drink I ever bought my future wife was, in fact, a beer:
Yeah, I pulled out all the stops on this one didn’t I? In my defense, this was what she wanted. DON’T JUDGE!
spent far too much money on a lunch had the privilege of attending the Notre Dame Club of Dallas’ UND Celebration. Here we honored our Person of the Year, Teachers of the Year, and also had a visit from Brian Kelly.
The later is clearly of interest to any regular reader of this blog, making this week’s Roundup a logical choice to share Kelly’s comments.
We will get to those in the Roundup proper, but first I wanted to share three things that I learned about Kelly during this event:
1. He knows how to work a room.
From the moment he walked into the private meet & greet reception, Kelly went to work. A quick joke about needing to stand next to the fireplace due to the unseasonably cold Dallas day immediately broke the ice, shifting the mood from an awkward moment of “well the head coach of ND football is here, now what?” into one of casual comfort almost immediately.
When I stepped up to have my photo taken with him, he took the initiative to introduce himself, even though none was needed on his end. Almost as soon as “pleasure to meet you, sir” escaped my lips, he made sure to be the first to ask a question of me (when I graduated) to kick off the small talk. Without missing a step, he paused his chit-chat to smile and pose for the camera, and resumed as if nothing had happened. Attentive enough to our conversation to give me the time of day, but still able to quickly end it to give his attention to the next person in line.
Son of a politician indeed.
Throughout his entire speech, he remained aware of his audience, Notre Dame Alumni who could very soon become “sources” and plaster his every last word on the internet (/whistles innocently). He knows that any one person could be ready to pounce on a hot-button issue at a moment’s notice; however, Kelly managed to diffuse any potential tension, managing to crack jokes and get the crowd to laugh — even if we were talking about horrendous Shamrock Series uniforms (more on that later).
Needless to say, this man knew what he was doing.
2. He is unbelievably candid.
Brian Kelly walked up to the podium with zero notes. After his speech, he was more than happy to do a Q&A session without screening any of them nor did he refuse to answer anything. He shot from the hip and said what was on his mind.
To put it another way: a son of a politician he is, an actual politician he is not.
This is how we get quotes like “get used to it” and proclamations that field turf is on the way when it isn’t. It’s a combination of entertaining and combustible instead of a political combo of cautious and calculating.
I know it can irk a lot of people, but personally, I love it.
3. He “gets” Notre Dame better than most give him credit for.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of Brian Kelly and have been for some time now. Before this event though, I simply figured that he was a good football coach that really understood how the game of college football worked on and off the field.
Throughout his speech, and even during his Q&A, he consistently referred back to the mission of the University, taking every chance to drive home the point that excellence in football and the classroom aren’t mutually exclusive.
Kelly is often viewed as an agent of change at ND and for good reason. However, the noise of his vocal support for field turf and jumbotrons tends to drown out that his “Right Kinda Guys” wasn’t just some recruiting catchphrase. He believes in what Notre Dame stands for and I believe many of his answers below prove that.
Faith Restored. Brian Kelly started off the football portion of his speech in recapping the 2012 season and, in doing so, sold me on the fact that truly “gets” ND.
2012 for Notre Dame Football was a great year. I like to call it “Faith Restored”. There’s faith restored back into the principles that you can graduate all of your players and you can play the game of football the right way and you can do it to being number one in football on the field and number one in football off the field.
That’s why I took the job at Notre Dame. I believe that you can do it. We saw that you can do it.
Because all the things that you know about Notre Dame, they’re still occurring on a day to day basis. We haven’t changed our academic standards. We haven’t changed who we are and what our distinctions are…We can recruit young men, not having to apologize for who we are and what we stand for.
As it relates to faith — everybody first thinks about religion, but I will tell you that there is more going on at Notre Dame than just going to church. There’s more going on because, when we talk about faith, and you can feel it when you are on campus, it’s about restoring faith in the human spirit. That faith that you can trust somebody and not be cynical or think that there’s an agenda. And that is an environment that’s energizing.
So, just so you know, winning twelve games on the football field is still in lock-step with who we are in our identity at the University of Notre Dame and that’ll never change. I don’t want to be the football coach at Notre Dame that begins selling out on academics, taking kids that don’t want and understand the value of a Notre Dame degree. So when we’re in a home and we’re recruiting a young man, they’ve got to recognize those things.
At Notre Dame, those principles will not change.
2013 Outlook. So where does Kelly see the 2013 squad?
We’ve put 2012 in the rear-view mirror. Now, I don’t mind being reminded about it.
Yep, Kelly had jokes and the crowd definitely cracked up at this one. However, Kelly got back on track with his assessment:
I don’t live in the past and I don’t want our players living in the past and I certainly don’t mortgage our future. I live in the present. And the present right now is that our 2013 football team is in the process of constructing their own identity this year.
If I could give you a glimpse: it’s probably the sum is going to be greater than any one of the parts on this football team.
Got Youth? This quote was simply mind-blowing:
We had eighteen, eighteen freshman or first year players that were a part of [the Championship Game].
Your Shamrock Series Uniform freakout begins…NOW. This easily was my favorite part of the speech, mostly because I knew simply typing this quote would make heads explode:
And just to put some clarity to the Shamrock Series…it’s my chance to listen to everybody talk about our crazy uniforms. I love it.
And we got some uniforms this year. If you didn’t like the shamrock, and the blue shamrock, if you didn’t like that one, you’re going to hate this year’s. It’s gonna be awesome. So I’m just getting you ready for it.
And now, an actual explanation of Kelly’s views on the Shamrock Series. Come on, he can’t #TrollHard 24/7.
And we do it one time. One time only because tradition is important.
As Dolly [Duffy (who introduced Kelly)] said, you’re gonna look like a champion, you’re gonna act like a champion. And that tradition that Notre Dame has is unmatched and unlike any other.
But one time, and we try to do it in October…it’s Halloween for us.
Our guys like to dress up, and you have to understand my constituency group is also 18 to 21 year-olds. And they like the flashy jerseys and they like the look that that gives them and it helps us a little bit in recruiting and we’ll continue that Shamrock Series as a one shot deal.
Louis Nix continues to be the best ever. Even through BK quotes, Irish Chocolate shines:
By the way [Nix is] down to 352 [pounds], he wanted me to note that. That’s why he thought he could run an offensive play.
In the Spring Game, we put him in at the quarterback position and effectively everybody got out of the way and he ran in the endzone…He says he ran over everybody — I told the defense to get out of the way…he’ll be tweeting about that…
RIP Wild Chocolate. And after giving me some laughs, Kelly breaks my heart:
You better have that on DVR because that’s the last time you’ll see him on [offense] — and I was hesitant to do that because the worst thing that can happen is that he hurts his knee or something foolish like that.
In talking about Texas players, depth chart news! According to Kelly, Cam McDaniel is “going to play a lot of running back for us this year.” Jalen Brown “is going to get some playing time for us this year.”
RUN THE DAMN BALL! Someone asked Kelly how he would get GA3 to “run with his pads lower” and did I ever love the response:
You have to have those instincts. George is going learn those instincts or he’s going to have to stand next to me and I know he doesn’t like to stand next to me during the game.
Kelly went on to praise GA3′s spring and made sure to mention that he bypassed track season this year to focus on football full-time.
Being “right there” with Alabama. I know this quote from the early spring pressers raised some eyebrows and Kelly went a bit more in-depth on his assessment:
As we got a chance to step back and look at [the game against Alabama] more closely, we’re right there.
Now, there a lot of factors that go into that game. A 42 day layoff does not help a team that is at 80 scholarships at the time. We had really some unique circumstances that didn’t allow us to practice the way we would’ve liked to. We needed to play that game right after the USC game. I like our chances in that situation.
So my point being, is that, after getting a chance to look at it more critically, we didn’t play our best and that’s on me because our players were good enough to be in there and compete with Alabama. And so, we have to look at the preparation. We have to look at the moment, the enormity of the game, all those things being great experiences for this football team that, when we get an opportunity that happens to be Alabama again, you’ll see a team that is ready for that moment.
The forty year decision includes better NFL chances. Place this in the recruiting file:
We had six players that were drafted…and then we had seven players that signed as free agents. Now, just to put that in perspective that’s obviously 13 players, that’s our entire senior class.
I will tell you that the 48 hours leading up to the second day [of the NFL draft] was the busiest my phone has been since I’ve been at Notre Dame. Because they want to sign a Notre Dame kid because they know what he’s going to bring to the locker room.
They know, because they have their degrees, that this is just an experience. And if it sticks, fine, they’ll play it out. If not, they’ve got a Notre Dame degree that they can get on with. So they’re playing a game and they know that because they have their degree. Whereas XYZ school signs 12 or 13 [to NFL contracts], they need to make it in the NFL. Because if they don’t make it in the NFL, they don’t have their degree.
And so that’s a big difference when a GM calls and says you know “I want Goody because he’s got his degree” and he can come to these minicamps that are starting right now — if you don’t have your degree, you can’t be in minicamp.
And now, Jack Swarbrick Trick Shot Monday Dot GIF. Because why not (via):
In honor of Notre Dame potentially looking at a redesign of Notre Dame Stadium and considering Cinco de Mayo is around the corner, I am going to recommend a bit of drink construction this week.
Because why try to shove a lime into a Corona when you shove an entire Corona into a margarita? Plus your drink refills itself through the wonders of physics. Everybody wins.
Except your liver.
Last night marked the start of the 2013 NFL Draft. From the Notre Dame perspective, all eyes were on Manti Te’o and Tyler Eifert.
The Cincinnati Bengals took Eifert with their pick, 21st overall. Te’o, however, slide out of the first round completely. This shocked quite a few Irish fans, especially after Minnesota traded up to the 29th pick, their third pick in the first round. The seemingly ever growing home for NFL Domers decided to take Tennessee WR, Cordarrelle Patterson, instead.
Yes, it was definitely disappointing to watch one of Notre Dame’s favorite sons fall out of the first round; however, it shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise, nor is it the end of the world.
Personally, my draft predictions had Eifert as the only no-doubt first round pick, with Te’o possibly sliding into the second round. While the combine results certainly weighed heavily in my decision there were several other factors in play as well.
Firstly, just look at how the first round played out. Offensive and defensive linemen ruled the round, as the majority of the elite talent was found there. Usually, you would also see a few QBs and RBs taken as well, but no RBs were taken and the only QB taken was Florida State’s E.J Manuel (another huge storyline slightly buried by the Te’o slide was Geno Smith falling to the second round). What you do not see in this first round, nor in any first round, are LBs of any kind being taken in large numbers, especially inside LBs like Te’o.
The first LB taken in the draft was Georgia’s Jarvis Jones, an OLB that excels in pass rushing, at #17 by Pittsburgh. As a pass rushing LB, he fits perfectly into the 3-4 defense of Pittsburgh whom were looking for a new sack threat. Pass rushers are always at a premium in the first round, so it is no shock Jones found his way off the board in short order.
The only other LB taken was ILB Alec Ogletree (Gerogia) who was selected by the Rams at #30. Even before the combine, many draft experts had Ogletree above Te’o, and after, there was no doubt he was above Te’o on just about everyone’s draft board. Either way, realize that it took until pick #30, the third-to-last pick of the first round for anyone at Te’o's position to be selected.
It isn’t a huge knock on Te’o and Notre Dame fans don’t need to wonder what is wrong with teams that passed on him. The fact is that there are loads of ILBs still available and teams realize that. I expect that, when the dust settles, Te’o will still very likely be the second ILB taken in this draft and that’s nothing to be upset about in the least.
Yeah, it sucks that the payday won’t be as big, but I have a feeling someone of Te’o's character will be perfectly fine with having to play his way into a larger contract. Feel free to be disappointed, but don’t go into “what does this mean?”, “what did Te’o do wrong?”, “did the whole Leenay thing mess this up for him?”, or “what’s wrong with NFL teams?” mode — ESPN and the NFL Network more than enough of that for everyone.
RIP BCS — we now have a new, exciting playoff which is called…The College Football Playoff. Yes, this is a thing that a group of people sat down and decided, along with the title game’s location and all the other new playoff bowls.
Coaches can use Photoshop and Twitter to recruit, this will end well. Check that, this will end hilariously.
CAST DA FIRST STONE. Twitter is the perfect medium in which to admit an NCAA violation, especially when you can claim you were hacked after your PR team turns your brain back on for you.
Notre Dame continues to collect more of the last Big East titles. This time it was Women’s Golf, who took not only the team title, but also had two golfers tie for top individual honors. And yes, they are in the Roundup because I used to manage them back in the day. Good work, ladies!
Speaking of awesome Notre Dame female athletes…Skylar Diggins has inked a contract with Jay-Z’s new agency.
Make your travel plans now. Basketball has announced their new ACC schedule, with highlights being home games against Duke and North Carolina. All kickoff times for the 2013 football season have been announced as well.
Normally, I would try to make a joke for this story. However, Holly Anderson stole all the Bon Jovi puns and I simply need to tip my cap to her.
The Beer My Liver HATES Me Right Now
To recap, two weeks ago I was in Vegas. Last weekend I was at Notre Dame pretending like I was still in college. This weekend, I will be attending a bachelor party that will start at a ranch and then move into College Station.
The weekend will include far too much beer, a trip to the Dixie Chicken and visiting far too many shot bars for my own good.
Oh, and Cinco de Mayo is next weekend.
Forget suggesting a beer, someone donate a liver for a transplant. I need it.
Spring is finally in the air in South Bend…even if it’s at sub-50 degrees …but either way, Blue/Gold weekend is now upon us. Yes, this means we will have
a glorified scrimmage with a strange scoring system actual football!
In all seriousness, this is one of my favorite times of the year. Optimism reaches its peek for the football-starved. We are excited to see the fruits of the offseason labor, get a sneak peak at some new faces, see progression unfold before our eyes, but most of all we are simply thrilled to have a taste of a Notre Dame football weekend once again.
With that in mind, this week’s Roundup is completely devoted to headlines related to Blue/Gold weekend.
If you are on campus tonight, be sure to check out a sneak peak of “The Moment”. You don’t have to wait until May to check out Kurt Warner giving Vince Moiso a second chance to chase his dream. Tickets are still available for the advanced screening tonight at 6:30pm.
The Shirt will also debut today. This is usually a favorite topic of ours; however, I think we should give some serious consideration to these designs.
If you won’t be on campus, partake in something that those tailgating can’t. Another edition of Strong and True will debut at 12:00pm EDT (one hour before kickoff) on the NBC Sports Network.
Happy trails Good riddance, Tom Hammond. Starting with the Blue/Gold game, the Irish TV play-by-play will be done by Dan Hicks who has been involved in some of…uh…more “interesting” games in recent memory.
After the game, join the other voice of the Fighting Irish. New honorary monogram winner, Jack Nolan, will host a post-game show on UND.com complete with highlights, Coach Kelly’s post-game presser, and thoughts from Keith Arnold of Inside the Irish.
Need a preview for the game? Subway Domer’s got you covered as only he can.
I am going to be fortunate enough to attend this weekend’s festivities. While I will be sure to partake in a few different kinds of beer this weekend, there is one in particular that I’m looking forward to the most…
…one that fits into a 32 oz cup at the ‘Backer.*
*And/Or multiple ‘Backer Long Islands