Johnny Lattner, Notre Dame Heisman Winner, Dies at 83

by Travis Normand

HWA 2008 Barton Springs TX - Johnny Latner

Me and Johnny Lattner (1953 Heisman Trophy Winner for Notre Dame) at the Heisman Winners Association dinner in 2008.

College football lost a great man today when Johnny Lattner passed away at age 83.  I had the privilege of meeting Johnny Lattner in 2007 at the Heisman Winner’s Association dinner in Austin Texas.  I attended three of those dinners (2007, 2008, and 2009) and I was able to visit with Lattner each time.  He was a great guy and was always a pleasure to visit with.

He will be missed.

Here is a Chicago Tribune article about Johnny Lattner, giving a short overview of his life, family, and playing career.  I highly recommend it.

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Pre-Season 2015 Hype

by Travis Normand

Here are a couple of teams that received a lot of pre-season hype.  As of right now, I am not buying into the excitement . . . but that could change.

  1. Tennessee:  I hope the Vols do well this season, but I will believe it when I see it.
  2. Arizona State:  I think ASU could be a good team but I don’t understand why they started out with a top 15 ranking.
  3. Baylor:  I think Baylor will be a playoff contender, but with their current schedule, I just can’t take them seriously.  Maybe I will start believing once they defeat a quality opponent in a bowl game.
  4. Notre Dame:  They looked very good against the Longhorns in their first game of the season, but that isn’t saying much.  I hope they do well, but am not yet sold that they will make a run at the playoff.  I could be wrong.
  5. Auburn:  With the loss of so many key players from 2014, an 8-5 (4-4) record last year, and a mediocre opening 2015 game against Louisville, I just don’t understand all the hype.

Update: I believe I was arguably right on 1-4 above.  However, there is no question that I was right on Auburn.  Auburn finished in last place of the SEC West (7-6, 2-6).

Notre Dame Protects Stadium Atmosphere

Notre Dame - 16Kby Travis Normand

By now you have probably heard that Notre Dame has a new shoe and apparel contract with Under Armour.  While the contract is apparently the most valuable in college sports history, I am impressed with Notre Dame’s ability to maintain its identity.  I am aware that the negotiating position of each school is different in terms of how much leverage they have, and Notre Dame has more leverage than most.  However, with so many schools selling their traditions and histories in order to “better” their competitive standing, it is refreshing to see a school so committed to maintaining a non-commercialized atmosphere.

See the following quote from the article about Notre Dame’s new Under Armour Contract:

One point in the talks that was not negotiable was Under Armour getting any signage in Notre Dame Stadium.

“It’s just one of those things that is just so central to our identity,” Swarbrick said. “We want to be Augusta-like in that way, and that’s why after we discussed it one time it was never brought up in conversation again.

“Instead, I agreed to let them put their logo on the athletic director.”

**Update: February 7, 2014

I also stumbled upon the following quote from an article in the Chicago Tribune.

The stadium renovation will include larger scoreboards but no final decisions have been made about how video will be used — a divisive issue between younger and older football fans. University officials assured loyalists that there will be no commercial signs or advertising. The current seating bowl also will not change.

**Update: February 19, 2014

In contrast to Notre Dame’s approach towards preserving tradition, Texas A&M is also “upgrading” its own stadium — Kyle Field.  However, A&M is taking a decidedly different approach to the use of video boards.  On Tuesday, February 18, Texas A&M held a press conference in order to give updates on the Kyle Field renovation project, and the following is what was reported by the Dallas Morning News [emphasis added].

On Tuesday in at a press conference held by A&M to give updates to the redevelopment of Kyle Field, Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp announced that the new video board that will be atop the new south endzone will be the largest in collegiate athletics.

“The new scoreboard in the south endzone is projected to be the largest in collegiate athletics, almost twice the size of the scoreboard from last year,” Sharp said. “You can see it in the rendering that it will be another intimidating factor in the redeveloped Kyle Field.”

Don’t Text and Eat

2010 Pinstripe Bowl

by Travis Normand

Notre Dame RB George Atkinson III says he got suspended for texting during a team meal. Atkinson is Notre Dame’s second-leading rusher and will not play in today’s Pinstripe Bowl against Rutgers. The school apparently said that the suspension was due to a violation of team rules, while Atkinson gave more information in a tweet that has since been deleted.

Read more about this at NJ.com by clicking HERE.

Screen shot of tweet courtesy of CollegeSpun.com

2013 Notre Dame Spring Recap (and “Strong and True” [Full Show])

“Strong and True” (Full Show)

Published on Apr 22, 2013 (on YouTube.com by NotreDameAthletics)

A documentary from Fighting Irish Digital Media that follows Head Coach Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish Football team as they prepare for the 2013 Blue/Gold Game, and look to build upon the success of 2012. (April 2013 | Originally aired on NBC Sports Network)

2013 Blue Gold Game Highlights

Recaps of Blue Gold game:

 

Sara Ganim, big-game hunter, sets her sights on Notre Dame

University of Notre Dame

by Travis Normand

Why am I posting about this?  Because it is being reported by other media outlets, and I find it interesting.

Do you remember Sara Ganim?  Anyone and everyone associated with Penn State does.

Ganim was the reporter that was credited for breaking the story on Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State defensive coordinator who was convicted on child abuse charges  in June 2011.  [See her first report on Sandusky, from March 2011, HERE]

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