Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 23, 2015 Issue

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

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Page 111 of 113

THE FIFTH QUARTER LOU SOMOGYI T he sight of senior running back C.J. Prosise walking off the field dazed and favoring his left shoulder in the first half of the Pitt game Nov. 7 had to leave a fa- miliar queasiness and angst along the Notre Dame s i d e l i n e s , a n d among its faithful. It appeared he m i g h t b e c o m e the eighth major player this year to have a season- ending injury. Two days be- f o r e t h e Wa k e F o r e s t g a m e Nov. 14, Prosise was cleared for action by the Irish medical team, al- t h o u g h h e w i l l likely have to deal with the shoulder problem the bal- ance of the 2015 campaign. Yet at Pitt, the Irish didn't miss a beat with freshman Josh Adams, who rushed for 147 yards on 20 carries while displaying exceptional between- the-tackles, downhill running skill to complement his vision. At the end of this past spring, the relatively unheralded incoming Ad- ams was a prime redshirt candidate because of the presence of part-time running back Prosise, and the return of the junior tandem of Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant. It's a huge vali- dation of Brian K e l l y ' s s y s t e m a n d t h e s t a ff ' s overall recruiting that the Irish are a bona fide College Football Playoff contender while b a s i c a l l y u s i n g their fourth option at running back (given the spring perspective and their third at quar- terback, yet still regularly tallying 35 to 42 points per game. T h a t i s w h a t constitutes a "pro- gram" and not just a team, a topic this column has harped about for years (decades?). Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Flor- ida State, Baylor, Stanford, Oklahoma … they have become programs in the last five to eight years, if not more. That means 10- or 11-win seasons have become the norm, regardless of attri- tion. The Making Of A Program The ability to move someone like C.J. Prosise from safety to slot receiver to running back and still thrive speaks well to player development. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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