Time to Separate The Men From The Boys

<P>Freshman report to camp today and another exciting year of Notre Dame football begins. While these young men will be getting acclimated to Notre Dame, some very key positions will be decided during fall camp. It's time to separate the men from the boys.</P>

Many of us have speculated throughout the last 6 months and probably years about the status of certain football players. Many have wondered why Mike McNair hasn't been given more than one carry in his career considering all the expectation that were placed on him. Carlos Pierre-Antoine would also fit in this category. Can we expect to see much from them this year?

The nice thing about this fall camp will be there won't be any preconceived opinions about any player really. Spring was a season to actually learn the system. Fall is the season to play football. There will still be a lot of learning done this fall but those that start playing football the earliest will likely be the guys starting for Notre Dame this year.

Without these preconceived opinions, each player has a legitimate shot to impress the coaching staff. Coach Diedrick and Coach Baer are looking for football players. They don't know or care how many All-American teams Gerome Sapp made in high school. They want to know if he can play football and can be counted on to do his job.

The coaches also don't care how many All-American teams Kyle Budinscak didn't make. They want to know if Kyle can hold his ground against an offensive guard or tackle and still split the gap to get into the backfield. These players won't be faced with the sometimes impossible task or removing a negative moniker from their name such as soft or lazy. They just have to play football. Everyone is heading in equal, as it should be.

With every new camp comes the opportunity. The opportunity to establish himself as a football player and to prove he deserves playing time. Which players will reach for that opportunity and run with it? Which players will separate themselves from the boys? Check back in late August.

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