Five things to consider before Notre Dame's opener
September 4, 2009, 5:31 PM
By: Eric Hansen
Countdown to kickoff:
5. Sea of Green?: That was former Notre Dame linebacker Tom Reynolds' hope for today's game against Nevada. The man who purchased a billboard for 12 weeks to needle Irish head coach Charlie Weis saw it come down Thursday after just three days, much to his chagrin. But he still plans to sell green T-shirts with the billboard's slogan emblazoned on them. He's just not sure where and for how much, but he does have an e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Eye to the future: The biggest recruiting weekend of the Charlie Weis Era will be Oct. 17, when 19 elite prospects are scheduled to make official recruiting visits. The Irish staff will entertain three this weekend, including one already committed in the 2010 class (defensive lineman Justin Utupo of Lakewood, Calif.). The other visitors are safety Sean Parker from Harbor City, Calif. (Narbonne H.S.) and running back Cameron Roberson of Newbury Park, Calif.
Irish men's basketball coach Mike Brey also is hosting a couple of prospects: Jerian Grant, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound wing from DeMatha (Md.) Catholic High School and Ralston Turner, a 6-6, 200-pound wing from Muscle Shoals (Ala.) High.
3. For Math majors: Notre Dame begins its quest Saturday to take back the lead in all-time winning-percentage from Michigan this season, and perhaps even do it within the confines of a mandated 20-hour work week. If the Wolverines do what most prognosticators project them to do -- go 6-6 -- ND would have to go 10-2 and win its bowl game to reclaim the lead it lost in 2004.
2. Personnel matters: Junior wide receiver Duval Kamara recovered from August knee surgery quicker than expected and will be on the field Saturday, Weis says, at least in multiple-wide receiver sets. The only two Irish players not at full speed for Nevada are senior wide receiver George West and nose tackle Tyler Stockton, both reserves who weren't likely to play anyway. Chicago product Robert Hughes, a junior running back, must sit out the first half due to an NCAA-imposed suspension for a fight he was involved in during last year's USC game.
1. Hawaiian punch: The player advertised as the most impacting defensive recruit at ND for at least the last decade debuts for the Irish Saturday. Six-foot-2, 245-pound Hawaii product Manti Te'o will play in ND's nickel defense packages and perhaps more as the game goes on.
Award-winning journalist Eric Hansen, 48, has been covering college athletics since 1983 and is currently assistant sports editor and the Notre Dame football beat writer for the South Bend Tribune.