Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 16, 2015 Issue

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

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UPON FURTHER REVIEW TODD D. BURLAGE era and audio crews are embedded deeply within the football program for an uncensored look at what the Irish players and coaches face every day, on and off the field. During practice, or on game day, or in a team meeting, or at the din- ing hall, or in the classroom, or on a rare night out, or with a player for a homecoming weekend, Showtime is there, helping to humanize a group of student-athletes that are too often viewed as super human. "Not everyone really gets to under- stand the full effects of being a college athlete," said Kizer, one of the stars of the show. "We get to put that out for the world to see." Are there perks to playing football at Notre Dame? Many. Are there challenges? Even more. And there are no shortcuts. Prosise said his typical day begins at about 8 a.m. with a bite to eat and mandatory weight training; followed by classes until about 12:30 p.m.; then back to the football complex for prep and practice; add the daily demands of meetings, media, film study and dinner; then cap it all off with finding the energy and focus to study until about midnight, "hit the sheets," and start the process all over the next day. "You have to handle every day one responsibility at a time," Prosise said. "It's hard to get away." When we tune in again Saturday for Senior Day against Wake Forest and another installment of Irish football, let's change course and try to forgive any fumbles, penalties or mistakes, and instead celebrate the contribu- tions of at least 14 Irish players who will take the field for the final time at Notre Dame Stadium. These 14 have not only been crucial to sustained football success during their time here but they also help to make up a 93 percent graduation rate for the Notre Dame football program, the fifth-best mark in the country based on the 2015 rankings released last week. Surviving as an elite student-athlete is difficult at any school, perhaps no- where more than at Notre Dame. And nobody knows that any better than Schmidt, who arrived here as a walk- on player in 2011 and will leave here as a team captain and a Mendoza Col- lege of Business graduate. The journey wasn't always easy, but the rewards are great. "Notre Dame has provided me with a lens to view the world and the perspective to hopefully change the world and just to do good," said Schmidt, one of the headliners mak- ing his last appearance at Notre Dame Stadium. "I love Notre Dame, I love the com- munity, I love the family, I love every- thing about it." And while the players change, the mantra forever remains the same: "Notre Dame is a 40-year decision, not a four-year decision." And that's the message for this weekend. ✦ Todd D. Burlage has been a writer for Blue & Gold Illustrated since July 2005. He can be reached at

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