Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 15, 2014 Issue

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

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UPON FURTHER REVIEW TODD D. BURLAGE J im Morse isn't too worried about hurting any feelings when he shares his own thoughts about the new field surface at Notre Dame Sta- dium made possible through his gener- ous donation. Change comes slowly at Notre Dame, especially those that encroach on the timeless traditions of its football program. Just the mere mention a cou- ple of years ago of replacing real grass with FieldTurf was met with reluc- tance, resistance and skepticism from some of the Old Guard that believes any change chips at the foundation this proud program was built upon. Morse has a message for the tradi- tionalists, and he is certainly qualified to deliver it. "I don't know anybody who was talking about tradition who had ever played a down on that old football field," said Morse, a three-year starting halfback and an Irish captain in 1956. Morse didn't make his gift out of any self-gratification or need for attention. He made it because he saw a necessary improvement that was long overdue. Almost 80 percent of Football Bowl Subdivision schools in the inclement weather zones of the midwestern and northeastern United States feature some sort of artificial turf football field. "If you went to any of the games over the last few years and saw the field at Notre Dame, particularly at the end of the season, it was pretty embar- rassing," said Morse, citing improved durability, performance, safety and aesthetics as a few of the motivating factors for his benefaction. Irish head coach Brian Kelly made it no secret that he also felt a shoddy sod field was a handicap and one that didn't allow his players to move at a pace that matched their abilities. Finally A Home "Field" Advantage For The Irish In their first game on their new FieldTurf against Rice Aug. 30, the Irish racked up some impressive offen- sive numbers — 48 points and 576 total yards. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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