With the news coming over the weekend that several Notre Dame football players were arrested, and most if not all will miss this football season, Notre Dame fans may be a little bummed. I mean, I was upset to hear the news and at one point thought “well there goes the season”. There is no excuse for what those football players did, but think about some of the things you did at 20 years old and I’m sure this isn’t much worse. The only difference is these young men have the entire country watching them, just looking for a reason to hate the Irish. When you really sit back and think about it, there are much worse things going on at some other major universities, so at least no one in these incidents will be emotionally scarred for life. It could have been a lot worse. A few young black men in a car with a loaded gun and some marijuana, you all know from seeing news headlines this year that it could have been much much worse. So, let’s all be grateful.
I like that Brian Kelly moved fast and came out with stiff punishments for the players involved and I am sure the court system will be sure to send a message to them as well. That message is though that behavior like that will not be tolerated at Notre Dame. So kids everywhere now know if they want to run around like the law doesn’t apply to them then they need to go to a different school where they can do whatever they want and then still come play on Saturday. There are plenty high-level football programs out there with those type of standards but Notre Dame is not one of them.
There is no real need for the Fightin’ Irish faithful to worry about the loss of these players over the last couple of weeks. Since Brian Kelly has been the head coach of the football team the Irish have built a very solid depth chart and with those players being out before the season even starts this gives the coaching staff some time to build the young players and get them ready for gameday. Last year alone the Irish had 7 key players out with injuries and the team still went 10-3 with the only losses coming on the road to #1 Clemson, #8 Stanford and then #5 Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.
My point here is the Irish will be fine this year. “Next man up” has been the motto over the last three or four years so they may not make the playoffs, but all hope is not lost. They will have some young players get some actual real game experience, which in the long run will pay off. The leadership on the team and in the coaching staff is great with plenty of players that knows what it is like to have to jump in and play when the team needed them. This team may not go undefeated but they will still win 9 games and make a mid-market bowl game and come out of that with a win. It’s time for Notre Dame fans to again stand up and support this team as they go through some rough times but they will come out on the other end just fine and better as football players and young men.
The first test for this team is no small task. They will be running into a Texas team that they absolutely embarrassed last year, and that had one of the top recruiting class in the country. This game will not be a cakewalk like it was last year, so we will really see the true grit of this football team.