Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 16, 2015 Issue

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

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THE FIFTH QUARTER LOU SOMOGYI he arrived as, but emotionally and via leadership he still provides to the staff what the overall defense needs. On the flip side, junior Will line- backer Jaylon Smith, already projected as a top-five to top-10 pick for next spring's NFL Draft, is blessed with freakish athletic gifts, but needs to provide a Schmidt-like presence in the huddle and on the field. A recent Showtime clip had VanGorder exten- sively speaking with Smith on that topic. "He has led by example — and we don't think that that's enough to be a great leader," Kelly summarized of Smith. "You have to be somebody that is interactive. … It has to be more than just actions. We know about his ac- tions. They're phenomenal. Just watch him play. "He took it to heart after a conversa- tion about what he needed to physi- cally do relative to the communica- tion piece. It was really mentoring and communicating his experiences and his learning curve, and he understood that." Nevertheless, what was a little un- settling about posting the 14-2 stat with Schmidt as a starter is football is a team sport. I've had a pet peeve about QB win-loss records, too, because it can marginalize overall team effort, or place too much blame on the QB. Was 1956 Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung a "loser" because the Irish were 2-8 that season? Timing is everything for quarter- backs (or anyone). The Dick Butkus Award is named after a middle line- backer (like Schmidt) who played on only two winning teams in his nine- year NFL career — and none in his last six when he was 27-56-1. Was Butkus not a good enough player or leader based on that? No, because football is the ultimate team game. Future Pro Bowl quarterback Daryle Lamonica (1960-62) could have been a Heisman Trophy winner under Ara Parseghian at Notre Dame, but instead was 12-18 with Joe Kuharich. Con- versely, 1964 Heisman winner John Huarte might have remained in third- team obscurity had Parseghian not ar- rived his senior year. In Joe Theismann's last two home games at Notre Dame, he led the of- fense to 10 points and three points in victories — yet "Theismann for Heis- man" buttons were distributed in the press box. Any credit to the defense, please? In Jimmy Clausen's final two games, the Irish tallied 30 and 38 points in defeats — but he was a "loser" when Notre Dame was defeated both times. During Notre Dame's march to the 1988 national title, quarterback Tony Rice led the offense to one TD in the first two games. But because he was a supreme leader in a team game, he is now a Fighting Irish legend. It takes all kinds of personalities, fig- ures and talents to make a great team. Not just one can be responsible for an overall record. ✦ Senior Editor Lou Somogyi has been at Blue & Gold Illustrated since July 1985. He can be reached at

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