Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2022

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM MARCH 2022 15 UNDER THE DOME "ACC commissioner Jim Phillips is still waging a seemingly one-man fight to limit expansion to eight teams, which publicly he says is an athlete- welfare issue but privately is an attempt to force Notre Dame's hand to join his conference in full." — The Athletic's Stewart Mandel on some of the obstacles that have delayed the approval of the College Football Playoff's expansion to 12 teams "I don't want this to be some sort of trans- actional feel where I tell you to do this, you do this. That doesn't happen anymore, and maybe it shouldn't have happened ever. But I really want to have a good relationship with these guys." — Former Irish tight ends coach John McNulty on what he learned from Marcus Freeman and Tommy Rees, after taking the offensive coordinator job at Boston College "I kept on playing with it. It didn't slow me down. I didn't know what it was. I didn't really ask. I just kept on going. At the end of the season, it was part of my evaluation and decision if I wanted to go to the league." — Notre Dame senior defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola on playing through a shoulder injury he suffered early in the 2021 season and deciding to stay for a fifth year "I thought about it every single day. It was always on my mind. What do I do? Do I want to be a part of this? How do I want to go forward? Do I want to start the next chapter of my life? It boiled down to I didn't want it to end like that. Especially knowing I had another chance. I didn't want to look back in 10 or 15 years thinking, 'What if?'" — Gradu- ate student wide receiver Avery Davis on how his season-ending knee injury Nov. 6 factored into his decision to return to Notre Dame for a sixth season "Coming back wasn't because of the grade. I want to be ready at the next level Day 1 to be a starter. I know there are some things in my game to work on to get there. Coming back will help me get to that goal next season. I wasn't in a rush to go to the next level. I know I need to get better, and I'll get better next season." — Senior center Jarrett Patterson on returning for a fifth season 2022 "Hiestand's former offensive linemen laugh that it can sound like a cult when they talk about their for- mer coach. And they talk about their former coach a lot, including in a text chain that stretches from Zack Martin to Liam Eichenberg. The group is already talking about returning to campus to work with Hi- estand during spring practice or summer recruiting. As much as Hiestand has been there for them, the group is eager to be there for their former coach at the place that molded so many of them into NFL offensive linemen." — The Athletic's Pete Sampson on Notre Dame offensive line coach Harry Hiestand "Back at ACC Media Day in October, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey couldn't stop raving about Wesley, telling me he thought the freshman guard was a pro and likely wouldn't be in South Bend for all four years. Brey wasn't wrong. Wesley has been fantastic for the Fighting Irish, averaging 15.0 points on the season, scoring in double figures in his past 15 games entering the week — including 24 points against Illinois and three 20-point performances in ACC play. He has been, by far, the best non-ESPN 100 freshman in the country, and he is on multiple NBA teams' radars." —'s Jeff Borzello on including Notre Dame's Blake Wesley among "Best of the Best" freshmen in the country in January "Basically, Notre Dame takes a ton of threes, doesn't turn the ball over and makes its free throws across the board (76 percent as a team). Is that enough to win some big games? Clearly, yes. Enough to sneak into a top-four seed in the league and at-large NCAA Tournament berth? We'll see, but there are worse ways to start your season." — Brendan Marks of The Athletic on slotting Notre Dame No. 5 in his ACC power rankings Jan. 11, up from eighth in the preseason "I'm just so proud of this group. It was a huge challenge. And the fact that our team rose to that challenge and came out victorious, it's a dream. It's a dream for me to have my first top-five win." — Notre Dame women's basketball coach Niele Ivey after her team's 69-66 win over No. 3 North Carolina State Feb. 1 OF THE MONTH PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS THEY SAID IT THEY SAID IT "I promised my mother that I would get my degree. In my immediate family, I'll be the first person to graduate from college. But most importantly, I have two children. For them to see dad finish a commitment that he set out some 27 years ago, for me to complete that, I think it says a lot to them." — Former Irish running back and NFL Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis on returning to school at Notre Dame 30 years after leaving early to pursue his professional career (on NBC's TODAY show)

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