Some Truly Random Thoughts

There's a lot to think about when you think about NU Football in 2002 - The play of the upper classmen, recruiting, and other things too...

We have to congratulate all the Fall the Athletes who earned Academic All Big 10 honors this year:

Football Players, Cross Country, Soccer, Field Hockey all had a long list of winners - here's the link to the NU Story
Congratulations to All of our Academic Big 10 Athletes!

1. Please don't nominate Jason Wright for the Heisman this year...

Yes, he's got the yardage numbers, 1234 yards, 102 yards a game, and 12 TDs, but every time one of our Junior running backs gets Heisman votes, it screws up his Senior season.

Just ask Darnell Autry [who went to daBares] and Damien Anderson [who wound up hurt].

You're supposed to win the thing in your senior year anyway.

2. Recruiting is probably going better than we know...
Head Coach Randy Walker and Recruiting Coordinator Jeff Genyk aren't packing in the large crowds for official visits, but we got commits from 3 of the 15 who come in last weekend, and there are rumors of more to come from this group.

While the Insider commit list shows 6 future Wildcats, my "back of the envelope" count is at 8 - Chris is still verifying who did and didn't actually commit.

There's about a week and a half left in the contact period until Christmas - the "quiet/dead" period starts December 23rd - and I'm hearing reports of our coaches out in the hustings digging up prospects. I'm hearing nothing but positive things about their efforts, especially Coach Pete and Coach Fitz!

3. You never know where your next prospect will come from...
At least one of the commits sent NU a tape out of the blue. The story is that Coach Jay Peterson was looking through a stack of tapes and this one kid stood out. A personal visit from Coach Pete eventually led to an offer and a commit.

This kid is also a basketball player - he's 6-5 and can dunk. Another one of Coach Walker's "football players who play basketball" athletes.

I'm still convinced that the best way to get noticed by the recruiters is to just send out an uncut tape of a couple of games. Probably the best tape I've seen started with a 75+ yard touchdown pass [the tape was for a linemen]. All the coaches that saw the tape wanted to know who the QB and WR were, but they saw the pass blocking and wanted the guy up front too.

4. NU Football finally gets Chicago to itself...
daBears head down to Champaign-Urbana while Soldier Field looks like a war zone. It looks like the Wildcats are set, with the potential to garner all that free media for a year...

Then Notre Dame hires a new coach, goes on a 11 game winning streak, the coach wins all kinds of awards. On top of that, NU winds up playing a bunch of freshmen and winds up in the Big 10 cellar with a "Swiss Cheese" defense.

You just can't buy a break. The only media coverage we get is cursory while the Chicago papers are full of profile pieces on the Irish players. Even Illinois' coverage suffered until the "Sweet Sioux" game. To top it all off, the ND Basketball team is now on a winning streak, beating the top teams around the country. Guess which program has disappeared off the sports pages?

By the way - this is not to detract from the job Tyrone Willingham has done with the Irish. He deserves every accolade that's coming his way - and I don't think he needs the guy whispering "you are only a mortal" in his ear.

5. This comes from a fan comment about Penn State...
But it bears repeating: Last year, everyone was down on Penn State's Defensive Coordinator because their defense wasn't very good.

But what a difference a year makes. Suddenly, Penn State has a defense again, and some NU fans want to try to lure one of their defensive assistant coaches back to replace Coach Walker. I'm not sure what changes may be in the works in Evanston. My gut feeling is that there will be few changes up at Nicolet.

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