Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2024

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

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6 FEBRUARY 2024 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FAN FORUM OPT ALL THE WAY OUT Players have been exercising their right to opt out of bowl games to either enter the transfer portal or head to the NFL. If they choose this option they should no longer enjoy the privileges that come with being a member of the team since they quit that team. No train- ing table, no use of elaborate facilities, tutors, etc. They should return to "regu- lar" student status. This is not an argument about whether it's a good idea or not to leave the team. Maybe for some it is and for others not so much. But these individuals have chosen to no longer represent the university on the playing field while the team is still involved in competition and should ex- pect to forfeit the many perks to which team members have access. Witnessing opt-outs preening on the sidelines the last couple years at bowl games was, to me, appalling. Tom Derengoski, ND '70 Lansing, Mich. THE GRASS IS NOT ALWAYS GREENER It is human nature to rationalize that it is OK to put your best interest ahead of others, and your duties and obliga- tions toward your fellow man behind you. Adam and Eve were the first to do so. Most of us (myself included maybe) would probably sell out especially when it comes to fame and fortune. It's OK to pursue your dreams and as- pirations, but at what cost to your soul or your fellow man? This mercenary car- petbagging that has permeated college football will be the downfall of it. Greener grass is sometimes an opti- cal illusion. Forgoing your senior year or opting out can destroy the dreams and aspirations of teammates, the university, alumni and fans who have supported your college career. Compensate players to finish what they started but don't let them contami- nate intercollegiate athletics. John McGrath St. Charles, Ill. BE HEARD! Send your letters to: Letters, Blue & Gold Illustrated, P. O. Box 2331, Durham, NC 27702 or e-mail to: Head coach Marcus Freeman swiftly landing Mike Denbrock to take over as Notre Dame's offensive coordinator has drawn universal praise as a home-run hire for the Fighting Irish. Here is a sampling of what some Irish fans had to say on our message board at after the hire was announced Dec. 22. tky21: Think back at the sky was falling/doom and gloom around the time the portal/[Chansi] Stuckey exits were happening early in December. Then fast forward through all the portal entrances ([Riley] Leonard, WRs, [RJ] Oben, etc.) and coaching additions. This last one was huge. Denbrock is the final piece to the puzzle. I'm not sure I've experienced a postseason with as low a feeling as then followed up by as high a feeling as we have now separated by only a few weeks. We're going to be really good. Johnnyh: "Money will no longer be an issue" — Was told this yesterday. Denbrock hired shortly after. ND's NIL program is "fantastic, and only getting much better." The new AD is very aggressive and is going to reshape the athletic department. He is not messing around. He is not going to let basketball lay by the side of the road. It sounds like Notre Dame is giving the basketball and football programs all the tools they need to succeed. So, we can put to bed a lot of the narratives that have been out there. FWCOACH: Denbrock did an amazing job with Jayden Daniels [the 2023 Heisman Trophy winner at LSU], who was a talented but very inconsistent QB at ASU. Big-time programs should be making big- time hires, and ND is doing big things in this realm. Bsmitty8: Will be interesting to see if Denbrock can do with Leonard what he did with Daniels. Fitz23: This, but NOT JUST this. It will be how he can grow the offense and all the young talent Free- man and company are bringing in so we can build toward having elite units in all 3 phases of the game. He will also bring some stability and continuity year to year (hopefully). Freeman, assuming [defensive coordinator Al] Golden stays, has two very experienced people now. One running D and one running O. He can really dial in on team building, program needs, working the administration, NIL development and recruit, recruit, recruit. Hiring Denbrock has a positive impact on more than just the offensive play-calling. Barbaro2232: So, Denbrock was the player to be named later in the Kelly to LSU deal? Kudos to the ND administration and Freeman. Marcus Freeman took on one of the most difficult jobs in all of college sports with no direct experi- ence. He is not nearly the same coach today that he was when he took the job. He will continue to grow as a game day coach and game strategist, but his energy level and personal magnetism right now is second to none. FROM THE WEBSITE .com .com Junior left tackle Joe Alt and graduate student quarterback Sam Hartman were among the Irish players that opted out of the Sun Bowl but still traveled to El Paso, Texas, to support their teammates. PHOTO BY MARCELL GORDON JOIN THE CONVERSATION! NEW SUBSCRIBERS GET 25% OFF YOUR FIRST YEAR WITH PROMO CODE GOIRISH2024

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