Notre Dame had an open practice this past Saturday, and Ken took the kids. (I had to work, drat it all.) I'm hearing some pretty good things about some of the younguns. My Dad thinks Demetrius Jones (a sophomore) will get the starting quarterback nod over Jimmy Clausen, the alleged Wünderkind from California. I think the kid has the potential to be great, but there's a vast difference in going from high school football to college football (as is the transition from college to pro). I think he's a little too green to start, but I wouldn't be surprised if Jones and Clausen end up sharing QB duties at some point. I'm not sure how I feel about that, because it seems that someone needs to be alpha dog. Evan Sharpley is the old man of the bunch, a junior. He took so few snaps last year, I don't know what to think of him.
Poor Clausen...I think he started off badly in town. He came in here like a rock star, complete with limo and entourage. That kind of stuff doesn't play well here. What Irish fans want to know is have you got the stuff to get us to a national championship? We don't care about your high school championship rings from California--they don't mean squat. Let's see what you've got. But someone, somewhere gave him some good advice after that disastrous press conference, and he has completely toned it down, so much so that I don't think he's given any interviews since then (I could be wrong, but I haven't seen any). Being a Notre Dame quarterback is a high pressure job, and there are some big shoes to fill (think Theisman...oh, and that Montana guy), so I think we all just want to see him work hard and be able to handle the pressure come game-time.
I'm hearing that some of the running backs and wide receivers have a lot of speed. Oh, I hope so. It's so much fun to watch someone break away and leave all the defenders behind. One guy I'm hoping will do well is wide receiver Golden Tate. How great a name is that?! With a name like that, he's gotta be good! (Just like Smuckers.) It's going to be a young team, with very few standout seniors. Zbikowski and Carlson should do well, but these really are a bunch of youngsters. We'll see how well they listen to Coach Weis.
If I had to make a prediction, I think this will be a building year. They have a good chance to get to a bowl game, but probably not a BCS bowl. Weis's recruiting is phenomenal, so this could be the beginning of a good, long dominating run for the Irish. It's about time. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get tickets to any games this year (although Ken might still have a chance through someone he knows at work), but we agree that that's not the end of the world. The atmosphere at the games is great and a lot of fun, but we're also quite content to watch it on the big TV in high def. We have so much fun watching games together, because we both really get into it, and it's fun to yell and scream and be Mr. and Mrs. Crazy Fan. Ha!
Later that day
Spent a little time in our poor neglected garden today. My heart just hasn't been in it this year: it was so dry there for a while, and I think that set it back a bit, and then we spent two weeks on vacation, and it all combined to make it not as much fun as it usually is. I did get a nice little mess of green beans today, and I should have some tomatoes soon. A few other things are almost ready (peppers, etc.), but all in all, I'd have to say it was a bust this year. Just like us Cubs fans like to say, "Maybe next year." (They're a surprise this year, though...they've usually tanked by now!)
I loaded up with bug repellent, but still managed to get a bite on my elbow and one on my forehead. For some reason, they really seem to love me. Is anyone else besieged by mosquitoes? They're absolutely swarming here at Nutwood, although we're susceptible to them because we have a small pond in the yard, a larger pond out back, and then at least an acre or two of actual wetlands. It's quite marshy in the back, before you get to the woods, and I'm sure the mosquitoes are very happy there, the little bastards.
I was folding laundry in our bedroom, and felt something on my shoulder. I looked down, and dang if it wasn't a mosquito! He got me on the shoulder, and he got me on my back. Gahhhh, they're in the house!