Vol. 5 – May 2003
Polish Sports Report
The Sports Illustrated of the Eastern Bloc
My friends, I know what you are saying, “The Polish Sports Report? ? ? ?” . . . . It’s not the End of July.
How can this be? Well unlike last year, I decided to get off my lazy ass, and publish this beloved annual tome
while I still had the game fresh in my head. Or maybe, like the New York Times reporter, Jayson Blair, I just
made this shit up, duped you, the unwashed masses, and turned in fabricated expense report never having left
the comfort of cozy Akron, Oh.
But, fear not sports fans. The integrity and insight that you have come to expect . . .no, make that Demand
from the PSR staff remains intact. Besides I decided this year to cut way back on the text, and instead pump
in a lot more pictures making it only seem like I am providing information. Hell, I realized that you jackasses
never listen to me when we in the same room. Why would you pay any attention to me when we are not in the
You will notice that in lieu of facts and details, I have placed in more “new features” in this year’s PSR.
Now don’t despair all you depraved perverts I have not removed the Miss Polish Sports Report feature spread
which started last year and reawakened the loins of a few of you married guys.
- J.B.Y. Editor
(Special thanks to Rich Maynhart for most of the photos.)
Willingham Year 2
I can say that Ty Willingham surpassed the expectations of the PSR staff in his first season, even with a late
year tailspin so violent that Kockler would have yank his ejection seat handle sending $30 million worth of
F-15 into an innocent Kurdish village. Yes, the USC and NCST games were Oedipus-gouge-your-own-
eyeballs-out-because-you-had-sex-with-your-own-mother unbearable to watch. But, Willingham has taken the
floundering behemoth that is ND football and blown life into it. The bar has been raised. Recruiting went
well. Now, let’s hope Ty laces up some steel-toed boots and kicks his offense in the ass.
A lot of the pain associated with Notre Dame football has left my body now that Ty is at the helm. I no
longer wince anymore when someone says the words “Bob” or “Davie”, or even when they say them together
in the same sentence. The weeks of therapy have paid off.
New Feature - Letters to the Editor
Dear sexist pig,
It never fails to amaze me how twisted, perverted, and chauvinistic men can be in the realm of sporting
activities. I unwillingly was a recipient of your 2002 Polish Sports Report, and I was completely shocked
by the section you labeled “Miss Polish Sports Report”. This was a disgrace to womankind as the exploited
female displayed had no connection to Sports, Poland, or Notre Dame Football. Apparently her only
qualification was that she had “Big Jugs” (to your juvenile vernacular). I personally am not a fan of any
sport other than the WNBA, which I sure you could have guessed by my hairstyle. However, if your
publication wishes to celebrate women athletes, I insist you chose a woman who can do at least one sit-up,
instead of the brainless tarts you have selected previously.
National Council of
The last wish of this publication is to offend the sensibilities of any members of our growing readership.
I am reminded of the words of Keenan’s own Tim “the Doctor” Pepper, “Women are more than just Boobs
and Vaginas.” We, at the PSR, will correct these misgivings and award the crown of Miss Polish Sports in
the context of athletic achievement.
One suggestion for your "publication", get someone who knows something about football to contribute an
article on recruiting or some meaningful topic.
The Polish Sports Report refuses to be blindly lead by inane “suggestions” from the general public.
New Feature- Recruiting Summary by guest columnist Jeff Bender.
Irish Sign 22 into Class of 2007
Yes, the incoming freshman this season will graduate in 2007, a full 15 years after most of this readership.
You are old, get over it, and no the freshmen do not look younger then when we were at ND. Now on to the
class of 2007.
ND had as many as 25 scholarships to grant for this class and filled 22 spots. Coach Willingham and the
staff proved that they can continue to recruit nationally as players came from 15 different states. For the
first time in many years, ND inked all remaining potential signees on national signing day, a terrific end to
an up and down recruiting year. Recruiting experts typically ranked ND's class in the top five nationally
and regarded this class as ND's finest in several years.
As listed by position, the Irish add to their roster four wide receivers, four linebackers, three defensive
backs, two offensive linemen, two tight ends, two defensive linemen, one running back, one fullback, one
punter, one quarterback, plus another running back who could play defensive back -- though many of the
players played multiple positions in high school and could move to other spots once they arrive on campus.
The preceding sentences in this paragraph were stolen from an ND press release. The staff at PSR never
steals material from other content providers without the proper reference, even though we laugh in the face
of express written consent.
All one needs to heighten enthusiasm about this class is to hear coach Willingham's reaction. When asked if
he thought if any of these athletes will come in and contribute as a freshman Willingham answered, "I don't
know. I mean, that's a question that the young men will answer." Wow!
A quick trivia question, how many freshman saw the field last year whether at a position or on special
teams? The answer is two, wide receivers Rhema McKnight and Maurice Stovall (who also is the answer to
the question of how many ND freshman made the cover of Sports Illustrated). So, don't expect a lot of
freshman impact this season. What, you want to know who this journalist thinks may play this year? Well,
my guess would be Ambrose Wooden, who may enter ND as our fastest player. He has to adjust to wide
receiver after playing quarterback in high school but his speed may get him on the field.
If nothing else, this class gets awards for having the most interesting names. Here is just a sampling of the
fantastic names in this class. Take a shot at pronouncing these names; phonetic spellings (the answer key)
are at the end of the article:
Tom Zbikowski (PSR is very high on this Chicago Suburban Polack safety)
One player who may take a couple years to make an impact is quarterback Brady Quinn. Now in the
immortal words of Dennis Miller describing Richard Grieco of 21 Jumpstreet, "I'm about as far away from
being gay as you can get, but this guy is hot!” Brady has the body of Adonis, looks of Yocum and an arm
like Favre. Let's hope he does not party like May or have feet like Powlus. He appears to be the heir-
apparent to Holiday. Brady comes from Dublin, Ohio previously most well known as the home of the
One of the most significant hauls of the class was Victor Abiamiri. He is undoubtedly the best DL prospect
in the post-Holtz era. That is the term we will use post Lou and Pre Ty. Coach "he who must not be
named" will never again be listed in this publication. To give you an idea of his skills, Abiamiri was
Miami's number one defensive line prospect. Victor has excellent speed for a defensive end and size as
well. It will be a major disappointment if Victor does not start by his sophomore year (one drools at the
defensive end tandem of Abiamiri and Justin Tuck) and is not a first round NFL draft pick at the end of his
All recruiting seasons have as many plot twists as soap operas and this season was no different. One of the
more interesting stories came during the recruiting of Wooden and Abiamiri who were teammates at Gilman
High School in Baltimore. ND and Maryland were the final two choices, but ND was the defacto winner
once a Maryland assistant coach gave some bling-bling to Abiamiri who subsequently came clean and
returned the money. Maryland had no choice but to stop recruiting both.
On the negative side, one troubling failure of this recruiting season was the staff's inability to snag a top
shelf running back. You may recall from the class of 2006 recruiting season that Lorenzo Booker, the top
RB in the nation who was from California, dissed ND and selected Florida State live on ESPN. This year,
the primary RB target was Reggie Bush, also from California. Bush chose USC over ND soon after the
drubbing over Thanksgiving. RB becomes a critical position in next year's recruiting cycle; let's hope that
Ty searches somewhere other than the left coast.
Overall, ND fans will be very happy with this year's class but will need to wait a few years to appreciate the
level of talent coming in. PSR readers should remember that the most impact coming from a newcomer to
the 2003 team might be Julius Jones.
Now the answer to the PSR class of 2007 pronunciation skills challenge:
Victor Abiarmiri - VIK-tor Ab-ee-uh-MEER-ee
Chinedum Ndukwe - SHIN-uh-doom en-DUKE-way
Jeff Samardzija - Geff suh-MARR-zhuh
Tom Zbikowski - Tahm ZIB-uh-cow-ski
Ryan Harris - Ry-UN HAIR-is
Special Contributor to PSR
Jeff is 75% Polish. When not writing for PSR, Jeff spends his spare time reading ND recruiting web sites.
Teeing Off Early
In what yearly has come as a remarkable, recurring coincidence with my business schedule, I just
happened to have appointments with rubber goods manufacturers in western Ohio, southern Michigan, and
eastern Indiana on the 2 days prior to the Blue Gold Game. It is uncanny how this dumps me right in South
Bend early on Friday evening conveniently before Saturday’s festivities. None of these costumers have
given Superior a lick of work in the past three years, but my Ol’ man is actually under the mistaken notion
that I am trying to widen the customer base.
Having made my last “cold call” at a place called (honest-to-God) South Bend Modern Molding, I had a
little free time on my hands, and Lo’ . . . what is this . . . my golf clubs . . . how did they get in my car trunk
on a business trip? That is just plain eerie.
So I head over to the driving range of the new Warren Golf Course northeast of Campus to unleash the
fury of Titanium that is my golf swing. And, who happens to be lined up next to me, but my old table
buddy from last year’s pre-game brunch, linebacker coach, Bob Simmons, who I had grilled with rapid fire
questioning for the PSR subscribers exactly a year ago. In between shearing off monstrous divots with my
errant 4-iron, I walk over to Bob and say hello, shook his hand, and introduced myself as the guy from the
previous Blue Gold Brunch. I saw him quiver very slightly at the mention of that information. The man
knows a stalker when he sees one. But, our actual interaction did go like this:
I said “Coach, congratulations on last season.” Simmons replied, “We are more focused on this next
season than concerned about last.”
This I know is Coachspeak, but it does illustrate that Willingham and his staff are still marching a very
determined path to success.
Coach Simmons upon finishing his stint on the driving range asked me, “Are you going tonight?” Curious,
I replied, “What’s tonight? Simmons says, “The Monogram awarding ceremony.” Your editor queried, “Is
that opened to the Public?” Simmons, “No.” Conversation over, Simmons exits.
Damn, apparently Ty Willingham may wish to reconsider this blunder of not offering the Polish Sports
Report some press credentials to shit like this. I know his linebacker coach has a little more respect for the
press. And, I think we all know a certain Pollack who could make Ty’s ND legacy a little less grand with
the influence he wields once a year to a select readership.
Doting parents, Joe and Jen Whalen, accompanied the PSR editor and the PSR staff photographer, Rich
Maynhart, to the annual pre-game brunch in the ACC. Those of you familiar with the brunch from your fond
recollections of previous PSR’s remember that at each table of 9 fans there is a player or coach who sits with
you during a Notre Dame catered (read: Dining Hall food) affair. Then the head coach address the adoring
throngs of fanatical losers who just shelled out $40 to eat food that would outrage Amnesty International if it
were served to Afghani detainees at Guantanamo Bay’s Camp X-ray.
Now this is the part of past Polish Sports Reports, where your editor would typically describe how lousy the
“food” was at the brunch. However, I am not one to beat a dead horse, even though that very image came to
mind as I looked down at the sliver of my Yankee Pot Roast as it glistened with a oily rainbow hue so often
associated with finer cuts of meat. Needless to say I passed on the links of sausage figuring my lips had
kissed enough anuses on the previous two business days of calling on customers. I will again skip the details
of the urgent distress that was imparted to my lower digestive tract as a result of this culinary excellence.
The University has hooked-up every classroom to be internet-ready, regilded the Dome every third year,
erected a monstrous Performing Arts hall on the south end of campus, and climbed the U.S. News annual
college rankings, yet the dining halls have made no advances in their technologies. I give you our misguided
education system. No wonder the Chinese are taking over the world. You don’t kick out a billion and a half
people neglecting their nutritional needs.
Willingham’s Address to the Brunch
In last year’s PSR, I rambled on and on about how poor a public speaker Willingham was, and how he has
less than zero interest in speaking to the media. A year ago Ty gave a sorry-ass Power Point presentation of a
Stanford pre-game speech and was much berated by the PSR because of this.
So this year, I was looking forward to seeing some progress as Ty feels more comfortable addressing Notre
Dame Fans and warm-up to the mantle he know wears as the face man of this storied program.
Without further adieu, here is the synopsis of Willingham’s speech made at this year’s 2003 brunch:
Step 1) Welcome everybody
Step 2) Introduce the Coaching Staff
Step 3) Introduce Bill Diedrick, offensive coordinator, as the person to give this year’s address
Step 4) Leave
This, my friends, actually happened. I never thought I could ever meet a person with less personality than
Joe “the amazing spider” Van, but I stand corrected. It is a good thing that Willingham is obsessively driven
to win football games, because the man will not win the hearts of the ND fans with witty repertoire.
Deidrick’s Address to the Brunch
Bill Diedrick gave a pretty basic presentation of the schedule of a ND football player since Jan 1. It showed
a typical day of school, lifting, running/speed drills, and practices. Although this was a very generic list of the
typical activities that a player goes through in a given day, at least he was talking about a typical Notre Dame
football player, not a typical Stanford player. So that was an immediate improvement from Ty’s speech last
Then Diedrick went over the Scholarship roster position by position. He pretty much read right off the
screen the names of the players. I was disappointed at the lack of editorializing that Diedrick offered to
indicate which players are standing out or showing significant improvement. (I remember sophomore or
junior year when Holtz came to speak at the Keenan basement about the upcoming season. He fielded
questions directly about players.)
There was at least a few interesting comments and screw-ups made by the offensive coordinator that I
quickly jotted down to share with the PSR readers. Of course since I was unprepared and did not bring a
writing instrument I had to borrow a green crayon from Jessica Whalen.
Interesting comment #1) Diedrick raved about Holiday, how much more command he has of the offense,
and how surprised we all were going to be with his improvement. This was huge statement from the
coordinator, and I could not wait to see the scrimmage now and judge for myself.
Interesting comment B) Diedrick said they had no decision on whom the back QB would be and said they
probably would not have that decision until late fall.
Interesting comment #4) When it came time to talk about the offensive tackles, Diedrick said, “We are very
settled at Tackle”. This was a significant remark in my mind, since I thought this could be one of the weakest
links on the team with the limited experience of both Molinaro (LT) and Stevenson (RT) not to mention who
would the 3rd tackle be.
Screw-up #1) The first name of our starting offensive guard is Mark not Matt as Diedrick read off the roster
for his speech. I am pretty sure Mark Levoir would be thrilled his offensive coordinator is unaware of his first
Screw-up #2) Even less thrilled is Jared Clark, who according to Diedrick’s presentation goes by the name
Jared Jones. Well, there is a Jared Jones. He is a Florida State quarterback out of the state of Washington who
Diedrick probably recruited while at Stanford. Nice work.
Needless to say Diedrick did not field any questions from the brunch-goers. Since there was an 800 lb
gorilla in the room ready to jump on Diedrick, this was a very good move on his part. When you are the
offensive coordinator for a team that ranks 108th nationally in total offense, you just don’t want the general
public asking the obvious. “Excuse me, sir, I am a reporter for the Polish Sports Report, and I have a 2-part
question: 1) Why did your offensive execution absolutely suck last year? 2) Why should ND not fire your ass
if this shit happens again next season? Thank you.”
New Feature: The Sports Press Litmus Test == How much clout does the PSR have???
A comparative analysis of seating proximity
Brunch with Willingham seats -2002 Brunch with Willingham seats - 2003
Our Brunch Buddy
After having sat with Justin Smith and Bob Simmons at the last 2 brunches, we were seated this year with
a transfer Matt Hasbrook. Matt, who will be a junior, was an exceedingly polite and well-spoken player
from Indiana. Matt had a full ride scholarship to Michigan State for wrestling, and walked on to the football
team last year. Matt was listed on the MSU roster as a 6’2” 266 lbs Nose Guard. He will sit out a year due
to transfer and will have 2 years of eligibility.
We got a chance to ask Matt a few questions, but since he transferred in just this spring many of the
questions we asked were more about MSU .
Regarding ND, Matt called Willingham the most impressive coach he has ever been around in any sport.
He said Ty commands respect from all the players. When I asked about Williams at MSU, Matt said that
the former coach was technically a knowledgeable man, but Williams lost control of the program.
I asked Matt how the training/practice regimens of Notre Dame compared to MSU. Matt said MSU was
way more demanding and that Notre Dame allowed a lot more time for class work and the like. At first I
was really glad to here that ND is truly trying to create well-rounded student/athletes, but then I got to
thinking about it. This is not what I want to hear. 80,000 rapid fans don’t flock to South Bend to watch the
ND Debate team open a can of whoop ass on the Vanderbilt’s’ Chess club in an intellectual cage match.
Hell no. You don’t see NBC offering the ND debate team a $50 Million contract so they can produce an
hour-long cerebral round-table discussion for prime time viewers. What is NBC going to do squeeze this
show in between an episode of Friends and the McNeil-Lehrer Hour as “Must See TV”? I think not.
I asked Matt about the Jeff Smoker suspension. Matt said that he a Jeff are good friends still, and that Jeff
started to hang around the wrong crowd. He said that Smoker has straightened himself up, and that he
thinks Smoker will start this fall for MSU. He also said that it didn’t surprise him that Rogers had a
problem with the NFL drug test. He said Rogers is amazingly talented and a very hard worker which will
bode well for Kevin McConnell’s Detroit Lions. Matt said there are a significant number of Spartan
football players wrapped up with drugs.
Matt’s reply to the loudest/craziest stadium he has played in: Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley.
New Feature- The Polish Sports Report Archives
Here is a little taste of a gem from a previous PSR so you can relive the glory of past episodes.
PSR Vol. 3 April 2001
I'd say Goolsby looked the best of all the Linebackers. . . . Watson worries me as I just don't remember seeing him
around the ball. We will miss Denman. I hope Goolsby beats out Watson.
Editors note: So I don’t know a future Butkus nominee when I see one.
New Feature- Fourth-Hand Information
We had the great pleasure of running into Mr. Jason Coyle, Esq. on Saturday morning. If you are not
aware, the production company that Coyle works for is close to arranging a deal with ND to produce a
season-long series for possibly ESPN. So Jason is now a big shot on campus rubbing elbows with the
uppity-ups and attending practices.
The insider information that Coyle shared during his interview by the PSR is that the members of the
coaching staff are very high on incoming frosh Brady Quinn. Jason’s source said do not be surprised if
Quinn ends up as the #2 QB this year since Olsen has not been able to separate himself from the competition
Game Time Weather
Unlike last year’s miserable rain, this year’s game was an absolutely gorgeous day and a delight for the
Thank God, Whalen brought his 10-gallon Jessica Whalen: Her mother’s good looks, and
Cubs hat to keep the sun out of his eyes. Her father’s attention span.
The Main Event- The Blue Gold Game
17-14 Blue team over the Gold
Well the never-ending saga of not wanting to reveal anything during the spring game continues. The
culmination of this philosophy at this year’s game was that clear cut number one QB Holiday was in for a
grand total of 5 plays with 1 complete pass and 2 sacks. The quick rundown of the plays that were execute
by Holiday were:
First Series: 1st Down - Sacked by Tuck
2nd Down - Jeff Jenkins Run gains 7 yards
3rd Down – Sacked by Campbell
Second Series: 1st Down - (Dillingham hands off to Jenkins) No gain
2nd Down- Holiday in – completes to McKnight for 8 yards
3rd Down – Jeff Jenkins Run for a loss.
Holiday’s day was over. Let’s summarize Holiday’s 5 down, one completion performance in the only
graphical means available to the technically challenged PSR staff.
The PSR’s Carlyle Holiday Passing Analysis (Copyrighted 2003)
So much for all the excitement from Diedrick’s brunch pep talk about how delighted we were going to be
with Holiday’s improvement. I guess the even with the quarterbacks playing under no contact, one-hand tap
with the red jerseys, the coaching staff was too fearful of Holiday getting hurt. Now I know the excuse for
Holiday’s limited action could be that it was good opportunity for Olson and Dillingham to get a lot of reps
and a chance for one of those two to secure the back-up role. But, I guarantee that is not the case. If this
coaching staff had any desire to give the quarterbacks or any players a lot of reps, then Willingham would
not play with a running time clock purposefully shortening the scrimmage. Let’s face it. Ty (as Davie did
for that matter) looks at the spring game as an unpleasant formality. Over 20,000 fans paid roughly $10 a
ticket for this preview of the 2003 Irish football team, so Ty rolls out the Dog and Pony Show.
As you can see, the coaching staff was so worried about Holiday getting
hurt that they did not even let him stand up during pre-game warm-up drills.
Regarding the game that was played, there were a few outstanding plays and most of those came on
defense. Again, the makeshift offensive lines for the Blue and Gold teams were quite yielding to their
defensive counterparts. My expectations are that the vast majority of the games are going to be won by the
defense again this year. And, frankly, I have major concerns about our offensive line giving either the surge
required for the running game or the protection required for the passing game. Neither offense under Olson
or Dillingham really mounted repeated methodical drives down the field. More than half of the scoring
came as a result of field position from turnovers (Carney had an interception on a tipped pass, and
Dillingham fumbled a couple of snaps from Bob Morton.)
On the upside the 2 biggest plays of the game were nice catch and run plays by the tight ends. Olson hit
Clark for 30 yards, and Dillingham hit Fasano for 39 yards. All in all, I would say that Olson should get the
nod as the back up for a number of reasons. He did played better during the scrimmage though a few of his
passes and a couple of his decisions were very poor. Physically Olson is much larger than Dillingham
though Olson’s arm did not appear to be nearly as strong as Holidays. Olson did complete a couple of
rollout passes showing decent mobility for his size.
As far as the running backs go, Schiccatano was a lot quicker than I expected and had a few nice carries as
he lined up at tailback. Schiccatano is projected as a Fullback even though he is a tweener right now just
like Powers-Neal. Both Rashon and Nate are not quite up to Fullback size at 227 lbs. and 224 lbs.
respectively but both run hard. I was disappointed in Jeff Jenkins (211 lbs), because on a couple of carries
he let up prior to contact. Marcus Wilson also fails to run hard even though he has much better speed than
the others. Wilson did have a nice 5-yard touchdown run as he out-sprinted the defense on a handoff
outside the left tackle.
If Claude Monet painted pictures of Notre Dame Football instead of Naked Women Eating Picnic Lunches or those damn Water
Lilies, this is exactly how it would look.
Only 1 completion separated the performances of these 2 men on the day of the Blue Gold Game.
The question still does remain after Diedrick blew sunshine up our asses at the brunch: “How much has
Carlyle Holiday improved?” Well, we won’t know until fall, but we should expect that another year of
Carlyle learning the Willingham/Diedrick offense can only mean we will see a more polished starting
quarterback. But, to be honest, this is not the biggest concern of this football team anyway. To me, a more
important issue is how good will our number 2 quarterback be if Holiday gets as banged up as he did last
I believe that Pat Dillingham clearly does not represent the future of ND quarterbacking. Pat will go
down in the annals of ND football for the Michigan State comeback, and to a much lesser degree filling a
role in the Stanford win. Pat has well earned the 2 years of scholarship money that will get him his degree.
But, it would mean good things if Pat never has to see the field again in a crucial game-time situation.
With that being said, I don’t think Chris Olsen is quite ready for primetime either. He is not polished or
seasoned enough and if Holiday goes down there will be a significant drop off in our offensive productivity.
Just watching Holiday and Olsen warm-up next to each other shows a huge difference in arm strength and
quickness of release. Olsen got a lot of praise for his performance in the Blue Gold game, but those who
said he is a threat to battle Holiday for the starting job are sorely lying to themselves. I was not as high on
Olsen performance as some of the post game reporting by the likes of the South Bend Tribune and Blue
Gold Illustrated. I thought Olsen made some bad judgments and a few ugly passes. But, in his favor, Olsen
has scores more size and potential than Dillingham. Also, Olsen showed decent mobility for a pocket
passer, as he connected on a couple of rollout passes.
Like I said before, there are more important things than Carlyle Holiday’s personal improvement in his
role as quarterback. Holiday will be a much better quarterback if the coaches will figure out how they can
give him more time in the pocket. At the end of the season (starting with BC), defenses were teeing off on
us, blitzing and pressuring our quarterbacks. With all this hoopla of Willingham’s West Coast Offense,
where the heck is the quick routes and hot receivers to foil defenses attempt to overload the box. Maybe all
the rollout passes that where used in the Blue Gold game are an indication that we will be using Holiday’s
legs a lot more this year. Something has to be revised in the offensive scheme or else Holiday will take
another beating this year. Our young offensive line will not be able to handle it all by themselves.
The best news for us at running back came this past month when it was finally confirmed that Julius Jones
has been accepted back into the university. Not that I have any knowledge of what kind of football
condition Jones is in right now, but at the very least he adds depth. At a minimum, I would expect Jones to
be the Number 2 back behind Grant. At best, Jones fights for the starting role and shows us those sparks of
brilliance that had demonstrated in the past. Either way I tip my hat to Jones for not taking the easy way out
and transferring to another school. I will be pleased to see Jones make amends academically and get an ND
The reason I am so happy about Jones’ return is this should cut into the carries that Marcus Wilson will be
required to make. Although Wilson is probably faster than the other backs, he has failed to show me that he
can get the difficult yardage when running between the tackles. I feel that Wilson is currently a sub-par
back, and either needs to change positions or be supplanted by a freshman running back in future seasons.
Ryan Grant had to sit out the spring and should be completely healthy for next season. I like Grant and
feel that he can be a productive back for us even though he may never be All-American candidate.
Rashon Powers-Neal and Nate Shiccatano are very similar tailbacks in my opinion. Certainly not blazing
fast, but will run hard. The bad news is that these two are our future fullbacks.
I got my first look at Jeff Jenkins, who red-shirted last year. Let me put it to you this way. I hope Marcus
Wilson gets the ball before Jenkins. I expect Jeff Jenkins will not crack the three deep roster at running
back in his career. I hope our future recruits make sure this happens. Jeff may be candidate for a position
As you are aware, Powers-Neal is tabbed as the starting fullback. I am a fan of Powers-Neal, but I am
concerned with him being ready for this position change. Both he and Schiccatano still need to bulk up
weight wise to be the big lead-blocking fullback that they are going to be asked to be. Not to mention that
they are going to have to be an integral part of picking up blitzes, and let’s face it, our backs as a whole did
not do a good job of that last year.
I would not be surprised to see a lot of one back formations this year. I think we are thin at what we can
expect from our fullbacks, and I think we have fair amount of depth at tight end.
Probably the position that will have the most depth and talent in future years is tight end. This will lend
itself to the very good opportunity to run double tight end sets.
The only drawback is that we do not have a truly complete tight end. Gary Godsey, who sat out the spring
due to injury, will most likely be the starter again. Godsey is probably the most well-rounded of the tight
end being a serviceable blocker and serviceable receiver, yet not excelling at either. Palmer is a much better
blocker, but lacks the hands of a good tight end. Clark (240 lbs.) will become in my opinion a real weapon
as a pass catcher, but needs to bulk up more this summer to be a capable blocker. We have a personnel
problem because we may be tipping our hand to the play calling by having a given tight end in the game.
Once our young tight ends mature, we will be set for years since the red-shirt and incoming freshman
(Fasano, Freeman, Olsen, and Carlson) all have the combination of size and athleticism that will allow them
to be complete players. In a year or two, we will have a tight end roster of talent and depth at ND that we
have not seen since Derek Brown, Irv Smith, and Oscar McBride.
O-line has got to be the weakest link on the offense due to the inexperience and the lack of depth. Our
starting five appears to be Molinaro (LT), Levoir (LG), Giles (C), Milligan (RG), Stevenson (RG). Say a
prayer for their health and well-being of these men throughout the season, because a few injuries and we
could be staring at another 108th in the nation offense. Our depth behind these five is very green,
undersized, and has no playing experience.
Bob Morton, a stud recruit at center, muffed at least 3 exchanges with Dillingham in the Blue Gold Game.
Brian Mattes, a converted tight end, is listed as the back up left tackle but is at least 30 lbs undersized right
now. Matt Root, another converted tight end, has left ND. Guards Jeff Thompson, a converted DT, and
Darrin Mitchell, are both undersized. James Bonnelli, Scott Rairdon, and Jamie Ryan are close to size but
definitely are question marks. (I did watch Jamie Ryan shutdown Brian Beidastch on 3 straight pass plays
in the Blue Gold game for what that’s worth.)
Not much long-term relief will be seen either as we only signed 2 incoming freshman.
I cannot lie and tell you I expect great things from our offense when we will be overmatched on the
offensive line by our major competition. If there is an area of development that the coaching staff needs to
concentrate on and even game plan to take the burden off, it is the O-line.
I long for the days when we can average 300 yards rushing a game.
We should be solid at wide receiver as long as the young talent of Stovall and McKnight continues to
develop toward their potential. Jenkins is an underrated senior and will fill the role as the possession
receiver very well. Rodamer and Shelton represent a pretty big drop off in ability from the main three
receivers, and we will need some of the athletic incoming freshman to provide depth as sophomores if they
can’t contribute this year.
As I had said before, most of our wins will be due to the play of our defense, and that is going to start
with the athletic play of Hilliard and Campbell. These two will probably be the most disruptive starting DT
duo for the Irish since Boo Williams and Chris Zorich. Finally, ND also is developing depth with Pauly,
Beidastch, Santucci, Landri, and even Budinscak if needed. All these guys are on the verge of being able to
contribute meaningful minutes if required. Derek Landri was supposedly the marquis name from last years
recruiting class and recorded 4 tackles during the Blue Gold game, but due to his injuries still looks a little
smallish out on the field (265 lbs).
Campbell and Tuck are part of a very athletic D-line corp.
Just like DT, we have come a long way in talent and depth at DE. Budinscak is steady if not flashy.
Tuck needs to improve his play against the run to equal his threat as a pass rusher. The 2 red-shirt freshman
Fromme and Leitko were both a pleasant surprise at the Blue Gold game. Both put on size, but still moved
very well, so this will bode well for ND for years to come. Freshman phenom Victor Abiamiri has a good
chance to see the field this year in passing situations if he can beat out Jason Sapp behind Tuck.
The shoulder injury to Mike Goolsby, which may keep him out of action this fall, will definitely hurt the
depth of the ND linebackers. Courtney Watson will undoubtedly be the team's leading tackler again this
year and get All-American recognition. Derek Curry and his back up Jerome Collins should be solid
enough at the Outside Linebacker slot. Brandon Hoyte has logged enough minutes to fill in for Goolsby if
Mike takes a medical red-shirt. If Mike red-shirts this year, it would be a blessing for next year as we are
very light in numbers at the LB position. The only other linebacker besides the 3 incoming freshman is
Corey Mays, who has played well on special teams but does not have any significant time as a linebacker.
Depth is a major issue, and I hope at least one of the freshmen is ready to go very soon as a back-up.
With Duff, Beckstrom, and Jackson having playing experience, and Richardson and Ellick to use in a
pinch, our cornerback play should not see a significant drop off even with the loss of Walton. The
cornerbacks will hopefully have their play improved with ND’s D-line putting pressure on the quarterback.
Earl, Bible, and Burrell will be an adequate rotation as the safeties.
Setta’s leg is very inconsistent but strong. He certainly will be the field goal kicker, but I am hoping
incoming freshman Price is a more consistent punter. In the Blue Gold and practice, Setta really shanked a
According to Deidrick’s address, Duff and McKnight are the return men, but I am sure that will change
now that Julius Jones is back on campus.
2nd Annual Mike Rooney Photo Spread
The PSR wishes to not only to add new features to the publication, but to keep old features as well.
Since Mike was not able to come to South Bend for another picture in Corby’s Bar, the PSR sent a field
reporter to Mike.
If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, then Rooney’s untimely jock-itch caused a blunder in the
Mohammed will go to the mountain. 3rd inning as No. 32 laid down an ill-advised bunt.
Extra Special Feature – The 2003 Miss Polish Sports Report
Under the Martha Burk’s restrictions of athletic women who “can do at least one sit-up,” I proudly present
the new “Miss Polish Sports Report.”
And, now welcome the 2002 Miss Polish Sports Report, who will now pass her crown (which is that
hayseed, cracker hat) to coronate the heiress to this wonderful title.
Intelligence has always been an under emphasized quality in Polish Women.