Joe Brockington remembers when he injured his shoulder in his senior year. "I sprained my shoulder and went back into the huddle. It started to hurt so I came out of the game. The doctor and coach decided to take me out of the rest of the game. Then later the coach, by himself, decided to sit me out the rest of the year. I could have come back the last three games or so, but since I was committed to Notre Dame, the coach said it was not worth the risk. So I sat out the rest of my senior year. I was completely healthy coming into fall camp. I haven't had any problems with it."
Most freshmen are challenged by the speed of the players and the game at the college level. Brockington says the speed has been an adjustment. "The speed is different. Also the linemen are a lot bigger than they were in high school. Those are the two major things, speed and the linemen."
"I run pretty well and I read plays well," said Brockington when asked what his strengths as a player are. "Dealing with linemen, getting off blocks. That's the thing I am working on now. In high school, I really didn't have to work on getting off linemen. I could usually outrun them or overpower them, but you can't do that here."
Brockington also believes he has some work to do in the weight room before being ready to play. "I think I need to get a lot bigger, lifting and things like that. It will help me get off blocks of linemen when I get more developed and physical. I think that's the biggest thing, just getting bigger. I weigh 225. I don't want to get too big as it will slow me down, but I would like to get bigger."Even though he didn't play a full senior season, several schools offered scholarships and we asked why he chose the Fighting Irish. "I attended summer camp with my coach and met with Coach Willingham. And that's why I made my decision - Coach Willingham. I buy into what he's doing here and that's about it. Coach Willingham is definitely what brought me here."
Is he still happy with this decision? "Yes, but it's a little bit different with all the rules, like parietals and stuff like that. It's really not that bad, it's just different. There's really not much to do besides off-campus. It's different from back home because you can actually go places and stuff like that. The social life is a little different but you can deal with it."
We wrapped up our talk with Joe by asking if the coaches talk with him about next year and the future. "Not really. That will probably happen after the season is over. But we had a scrimmage over the bye week and Coach Baer and Coach Simmons said I played well. They don't really talk much about the future because you don't really know what's going to happen in the future. You just have to come in and work because you can say you're going to play, but if you don't work at it, you're not going to play at all. It's definitely not a 'gimme' here."
Irish Eyes believes Joe will have a future with the Irish as he gave the impression of a player who is willing to work hard to get on the field.