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Spotlighting the transition

It might be the understatement of the year to say that this coaching change has got people interested in the Fighting Irish. There’s been plenty of good stuff coming out of the ND writing community, and I figured I’d take a second and share a few you might have missed:

* Pete Sampson over at Irish Illustrated took a look back at the last transition to highlight the leadership provided by players.

Pete looked back at the leadership provided by linebacker Brandon Hoyte during the turmoil following Ty Willingham’s dismissal and how it was a catalyst for change.

“Going in there, the biggest thing was we have to be real and true to who we are,” Hoyte said in an interview this week. “Everyone was saying, ‘let’s be real.’ You have to remember we were losing games, losing by big margins. We had to forget everything, dedicate ourselves and put in the extra effort.”

The catchphrase that off-season became “Man Up” and players shouted it in the weight room that December, through spring practice and into summer workouts. That team turned the emotion of watching its head coach get fired into the foundation for a BCS season.

Now it’s on Notre Dame’s current team to do the same.


It’ll be interesting to see which juniors take leadership positions, especially with players like Golden Tate and Jimmy Clausen weighing the options of taking their game to the next level.

* Jim Lefebvre the excellent Notre Dame historian, checked in with five inane talking points that have been driving him crazy. Among them, the fact that Notre Dame’s independence is holding them back.

Notre Dame is a national university, with a national alumni base, and a national following of a team recruited nationally. Its history and tradition - literally from its founding - speak to being a national entity. In terms of football, I like to put it this way: Who gets to make the call to a player’s parent in California and say, “Uh, Mrs. Smith, forget that talk about a national schedule...the further west we can play this year is Iowa.”

While Notre Dame would probably benefit from the ability to win a conference with two losses like someone in the Big Ten, ACC, or Pac-10 could do and still go to a BCS bowl, going at it alone as the sole big-time independent only seems to rankle Notre Dame haters.

* Pat at Blue-Gray Sky took a look at the transition time between fires and hires and connected a few dots. Here’s a quick look at the coaching vacancies that got filled ASAP.

0 Days - Oklahoma State: L. Miles(1/3/05) to M. Gundy(1/3/05)
0 Days - Wisconsin: B. Alvarez(8/9/05) to B. Bielema(8/9/05)
0 Days - Boise State: D. Hawkins(12/16/05) to C. Petersen(12/16/05)
0 Days - Army: B. Ross(1/29/07) to S. Brock(1/29/07)
0 Days - Indiana: T. Hoeppner(6/18/07) to (B. Lynch 6/18/07)
0 Days - Purdue: J. Tiller(1/11/08) to (D. Hope 1/11/08)
1 Days - South Carolina: L. Holtz(11/22/04) to (S. Spurrier 11/23/04)
1 Days - Navy: P. Johnson(12/7/07) to K. Niumatalolo 12/8/07)
2 Days - Idaho: T. Cable(2/6/06) to D. Erickson(2/8/06)
2 Days - Louisville:
B. Petrino(1/7/2007) to S. Kragthorpe 1/9/07)

On the other hand, here are some that took quite a bit longer:

37 Days - Buffalo: J. Hofher(11/8/05) to T. Gill(12/15/05)
37 Days - Alabama: M. Shula(11/27/06) to N. Saban(1/3/07)
38 Days - San Jose State: F. Hill(11/22/04) to D. Tomey(12/30/04)
39 Days - Washington: T. Willingham 10/28/2008 S. Sarkisian(12/6/08)
40 Days - Florida: R. Zook(10/25/04) to U. Meyer(12/4/04)
41 Days - Washington: K. Gilbertson(11/1/04) to T. Willingham(12/12/04)
49 Days - Clemson: T. Bowden(10/13/08) to D. Swinney(12/1/08)
57 Days - Temple: B. Wallace(10/10/05) to A. Golden(12/6/05)
70 Days - UNLV: J. Robinson(9/26/04) to M. Sanford(12/5/04)
71 Days - SMU:
P. Bennett(10/28/07) to J. Jones(1/7/08)

The mighty brain power over at BGS even put together a complete listing of every coaching search from 2004 to 2009 to do an analytical breakdown of the numbers. A special thanks to them for the great work with spreadsheets, because there was a zero percent chance I’d have been able to come up with something that cool.

* Finally, The Biscuit over at Her Loyal Sons took the time to remind us all how irrelevant Notre Dame has become in the college football landscape.

Well played, good sir.