Other Side of the Coin

Our summer update of off-season stories involving Notre Dame's 2010 opponents.

For our late-spring rundown of Notre Dame's 2010 opponents, click here.

Purdue (Season Opener – September 4)

The Boilermakers announced what IrishEyes and most observers believed true at the conclusion of spring ball, that Robert Marve, a junior transfer from the University of Miami, will enter August camp as the team's No. 1 quarterback.

Marve started 11 games as a redshirt freshman for the Hurricanes in 2008. He beat out sophomore Caleb TerBush for the controls to coach Danny Hope's offense. A dual-threat, Marve was sidelined last season with a torn ACL.

Click here for Allen Trieu's comments on Marve.

Michigan (September 11 – South Bend)

Details of Michigan's self-imposed sanctions committed during the first two seasons of Rich Rodriguez's tenure have been released. The actions are a result of anonymous players telling the Detroit Free Press that Rodriguez was exceeding limits on excessive practice time.

The school's recommendations included two years of probation but no post-season ban, as well as the following:

  • Cut practice and training time by 130 hours over the next two years.
  • Ban certain staff members from attending practices, games or coaches meetings in 2010
  • Disagreed that Rich Rodriguez failed to support an atmosphere of compliance

The NCAA could add additional penalties and final NCAA-levied sanctions may not be announced until sometime during the 2010 season. Michigan athletics director Dave Brandon stated that, in his opinion, Michigan should not have to sacrifice scholarships for these violations because the school received "no significant competitive advantage from some of the violations."

Rodriguez's predecessor, Lloyd Carr, announced he will retire from his post as associate athletic director after two years. Rodriguez coached the Wolverines for 13 seasons, winning 122 games, losing 40 and earning a split national championship in 1997 along with five Big Ten championships.

Carr compiled a 5-4 record vs. the Irish. He first joined the Wolverines staff in 1980 as defensive backs coach. In total, Carr competed against the Notre Dame program on 22 occasions, finishing with a 10-11-1 record as a member of the Wolverines staff, with 14 of the contests decided by a total of eight points or fewer.

Michigan State (September 18 – East Lansing)

Scout.com's Dave Berk shared a few tidbits regarding promising newcomers for the Spartans:
  • Highly touted 6'7' 245-pound William Gholston could contribute right away as either a pass-rushing end or 3-4 OLB thanks to the team's move to a 3-4 base defense.
  • Legacy linebacker and early enrollee Max Bullough is expected to make an on-field impact as a true freshman after starring in the spring session. Max's grandfather Hank was an MSU middle ‘backer that played for the Green Bay Packers in the mid-late 50s and his father Shane also played linebacker for the Spartans in the early 80s.

    Max's uncle Chuck Bullough (currently as assistant coach at UCLA) starred vs. Notre Dame (albeit in Notre Dame victories) in a pair of early 90s matchups as a prototypical stunt 4-3 middle linebacker under the guidance of ex-Spartans coach George Perles.

  • Running back Leveon Bell could also see time as a big ‘back in the Spartans crowded backfield. MSU finished an uncharacteristic 73rd in rushing offense last season, managing just 16 touchdowns via the ground attack.
  • Finally, cornerback Johnny Adams, who played as a true freshman in 2008, but was redshirted in 2009, is expected to return to help solidify what was a shaky (ranked 112 nationally last season) secondary this fall.

Stanford (September 25 – South Bend)

Cardinal fans received a bit of temporary good news when star quarterback Andrew Luck announced to Bay Area radio station KNBR that he plans earn his college degree before taking his talents to the NFL (or to South Beach, as a former Akron native would say…)

"I still consider myself a pretty young guy," Luck told KNBR. "I need to get a degree in college before I start thinking about that stuff. I will probably stay in school for sure."

The redshirt-sophomore will turn 21 at the start of the 2010 season. He started 12 games last season though missed the team's bowl loss to Oklahoma due to a broken finger suffered in the season finale vs. the Irish.

According to The Bootleg, Scout.com's Stanford-dedicated site, the Cardinal summer workouts, battering-ram fullback Owen Marecic has adjusted well to his new (dual) role at linebacker.

Boston College (October 2 – Chestnut Hill)

Notre Dame's least beneficial matchup of the last two decades will continue through at least the 2019 season. Boston College and Notre Dame announced the programs will meet six times between 2012 and 2019, with the Eagles hosting contests in '12, '15, and '19. The '11, '16, and '18 contests will be played in South Bend.

Notre Dame leads the series, 10-9, but has won just 7 of 16 matchups since the series resumed on a semi-regular basis in 1992. The Eagles won six straight from 2001 through 2008 while the Irish handled BC in four consecutive from 1995-98.

Pittsburgh (October 9 – South Bend)

Panthers bookend defense end Jabaal Sheard has been suspended indefinitely after accusations that he threw a man through the glass door of an art gallery early Sunday morning. He was reportedly pepper-sprayed by police after the altercation at La Fond Galleries in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh spokesman E.J. Borghetti announced Sheard has been suspended from team activities while the athletic department investigates the charge (aggravated assault and resisting arrest).

Sheard had a huge game vs. Notre Dame last season at Heinz Field, registering four QB hurries, tipping a pass, and recording the game-changing 14-yard sack of Jimmy Clausen on Notre Dame's final drive. He finished with 42 tackles, 10.5 tackles-for-loss, 5 sacks, and a team-best 12 QB hurries last season opposite fellow DE and 2010 All-America candidate Greg Romeus.

Western Michigan (October 16 – South Bend)

Mid-October has represented a top game day destination for Irish fans for decades. For at least six consecutive seasons it's served as the nicest weather weekend of the football season in South Bend, and coincidentally played host to classic matchups vs. USC (2005), UCLA (2006), my wedding at the Basilica (2008), and last year's near miss vs. the Trojans.

According to renowned college football analyst Phil Steele, this season's mid-October matchup vs. supposed doormat Western Michigan could add more to the game day experience than just a sunny, breezy afternoon inside the Stadium: the Broncos are apparently a bit underrated.

In early May, I ranked Western Michigan as Notre Dame's 12th most difficult matchup, due largely to the loss of program great QB Tim Hiller and the NCAA record-holder for all-purpose yards, running back Brandon West.

Conversely, Steele notes the team's 13 returning starters, stability in the coaching staff led by head man Bill Cubit, and an experienced offensive line and back seven of the defense that will allow the Broncos to compete at a high enough level to win the MAC-West. The Broncos are Steele's No. 4 most improved team (Notre Dame is No. 3) heading into 2010.

The easiest ticket of the season could turn out to be a bargain.

Navy (October 23 – New Meadowlands)

Looking for the next Gordie Lockbaum or Joe Dudek? An off-the-radar Heisman candidate most fans can rally around?

According to the website, www.blantanhomerism.com, Middies signal-caller Ricky Dobbs fits the bill.

GoMids.com has more on the nation's best running quarterback.

Tulsa (October 30 – South Bend)

The Tulsa World (click the link) recently published a nice rundown of Golden Hurricane developments since the conclusion of spring ball.

Additionally, Tulsa QB G.J. Kinne was one of 30 quarterbacks named to the Davie O'Brien Watch List. Kinne is one of four members of the list the Irish will face next fall (Stanford's Andrew Luck; Navy's Ricky Dobbs; and USC's Matt Barkley are the others).

Utah (November 13 – South Bend)

On June 17, Utah joined former Big 12 program Colorado as new members of the now 12-team Pac-10 Conference. The Utes are 12-11 vs. Pac-10 foes on the gridiron since the 1994 season and have defeated a Pac-10 opponent in eight of the last nine seasons.

Utah holds the nation's longest bowl winning streak (9), most recently a 37-27 Poinsettia Bowl win over Pac-10 member California.

The Utes kickoff the 2010 season with a common opponent of the Irish when the Pittsburgh Panthers travel to Salt Lake City for a Thursday night game to kick-off the FBS season.

In personnel news, Utah senior center Zane Taylor and senior offensive guard Caleb Schlauderaff were named to the 2010 Outland Trophy Watch List (presented to college football's top interior lineman). Notre Dame junior guard Trevor Robinson joins the two Utes on the pre-season Outland Watch List .

Army (November 20 – Yankee Stadium)

Standout senior defensive end Josh McNary has appeared on two pre-season watch lists: The Bronko Nagurski Trophy – presented to the nation's top defensive player, and the LOTT Trophy, which also recognizes defensive excellence but also serves as the only national award which equally weighs the personal character of the winning player with athletic excellence.

McNary recorded 22.5 tackles-for-loss and 12.5 sacks last season, garnering three All-America honors: third-team selection from CollegeFootballNews.com; fourth-team status from Phil Steele's College Football Preview and an honorable mention selection from Sports Illustrated.

USC (November 27 - Los Angeles Coliseum)


Our next Other Side of the Coin update will appear in mid-to-late August.

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