A Night To Remember

The freshmen who report on Sunday will have their eyes opened and the beginning of memories that will last a lifetime. In this piece, Bob Chmiel, former recruiting coordinator at Notre Dame and at Michigan, takes you through what the new players feel, think and will go through as they get ready to spend their first night in a college dorm--beginning the big-time football experience.

Copyright by Global Electronic Telecommunications, publisher of IrishEyes.Com

August 12, 2001
Second in a Series

FRESHMEN EYES OPENED

By Bob Chmiel
For The IrishEyes.Com NewsService

NOTRE DAME, Ind. (IE) – The freshmen began arriving Sunday, and you can believe it was an eye-opening experience and sensation.

.In their first football meeting, they will be assigned seats. These seats are temporary. After the varsity arrives on Tuesday, the freshmen will be moved from the first row to the last row. Only seniors sit in the first row.

 At the first freshman meeting they will cover training room policies, equipment and locker room policies, ticket policies, and they will be required to sign the N.C.A.A. Drug Enforcement Document (release) and the N.C.A.A. Summer Jobs Questionnaire. After these items are covered, it is time for football.

The young men will be issued playbooks, and the playbooks will usually be studied and gone through on a play-by-play basis until they get a feel for the contents. The group will then be broken down to offense and defense, and then eventually by position.

The group dynamics of the young men, even after only one day is interesting. Some will begin friendships on that night that will last the remainder of their lives. They now share a bond that we refer to as teammate. This night will never be forgotten. It is now off to the dorm, for some their first night actually away from home.

 The coaches will get together for a "what-do-we-think meeting." First impressions will be revised. Who looks like they are in shape? Who doesn't? Who picked up football quickly? Who doesn't? Does anyone have a far-away look? Any red flags? Who do we need to stay especially close to?

 Two of the coaches will stay in the dorm each night. These first three nights I always felt were most important. I always assigned myself to this early duty. I wanted to be present, I wanted to get to know the players. I did not want to give them the feeling that I was not there for them.

 I can honestly recall one young man leaving the first night. It was several years ago at Michigan, but I still remember the feelling of loss. It was only one, but I bet the thought may have passed through the minds of many others.

 Next: Day One

(Bob Chmiel is a former assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at both Notre Dame and Michigan, where he brought in No. 1 classes at both schools. He is a regular contributor to IrishEyes.Com on TheInsiders Sports Network.)

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