The new Notre Dame: Is Knute Rockne 'rolling over in his grave?'

846511.png

The new Notre Dame: Is Knute Rockne 'rolling over in his grave?'

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Whenever he's asked about Notre Dame's No. 9 ranking or other various national accolades, coach Brian Kelly repeats his mantra: Tune out the noise.

Heading into their matchup against Miami this weekend, though, the noise level has been turned up -- partly because of the opponent, but also thanks to the uniforms Notre Dame will be wearing.

"Knute Rockne is rolling over in his grave and all that type of stuff," Irish defensive tackle Louis Nix said of the talk he's caught regarding the uniforms. "I like them, personally, and I don't too much care about people's opinions because I have to play in them. I enjoy them, I think it's a good change-up. It's like once a year, so it's not really a big deal to me. I think they're real nice, so I can't wait to play in them."

The biggest gripe with the uniforms generally centers around the helmet, about three-fourths of which is gold and a fourth of which is navy blue, with the school's Leprechaun logo gracing the latter side. It's a helmet that would've pushed the limits at Oregon, so having the Irish wear them for a Saturday was bound to rile up the fan base.

In a larger sense, though, that Notre Dame will don such a drastic departure from their traditional look may not necessarily fit with athletic director Jack Swarbrick's goal of making Notre Dame the "Augusta" of college football. Even with unique uniforms -- the helmet design is truly unprecedented -- Notre Dame's acting just like everyone else. And that's a notion that was off-putting to former Irish wide receiver Jeff Samardzija.

That seems to be the thing these days for recruiting, huh? See how much confetti and hoopla you can put out there to get guys to come to your school," Samardzija said when he heard about the uniforms in August. "But youd think playing on TV every Saturday would be enough."

Notre Dame's Shamrock Series games aren't just about pushing the limits of tradition with different uniforms. Playing the contests at Yankee Stadium, FedEx Field, Soldier Field and next year at Cowboys Stadium could very well be test runs for modernization at Notre Dame Stadium, specifically regarding a video board.

"That's what we're trying to do -- can Notre Dame Stadium still be the Augusta of college football," Swarbrick explained in August, "and provide an environment that allows you to communicate about the school more effectively. That's my frustration. I sort of enjoy it from a football perspective when there's a close call and I watch the opposing coach get whiplash trying to find the video board trying to decide whether or not to call for a review.

"But it frustrated the heck out of me when we honor a professor in between the first and second period by bringing him out to the 30-yard-line, making an announcement about him or her and handing them a football and nobody in the stadium knows what's going on. We ought to be calling great attention and focus to that person. And that's hard to do in our current environment."

Adding a Jumbotron wouldn't just be to highlight faculty members, of course. That's a debate that won't go away, just as the debate over whether Notre Dame Stadium should switch to an artificial surface won't die, either.

Make no mistake, Notre Dame is becoming more modern. They've become hitched with a conference -- not in a true sense, of course, but five games against ACC opponents is a big step -- and have gone in a bold direction with its Shamrock Series uniforms, even if it's only for one game each year. While these changes may rile some outside the team, most everyone who will put on the uniform on Saturday is either excited or generally apathetic toward the digs.

"The uniforms, really, I don't really care what I put on," cornerback Bennett Jackson said. "It's just something I guess that attracts whoever. It doesn't really bother me too much.

"You get to try something different, whatever they want to call it, swag or whatever, but yeah. I like mixing up stuff, throwing in some new stuff here and there."

But whether that's a good or a bad thing may be for everyone else to decide.

NBA Trade Deadline: Bulls deal Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott to Thunder

NBA Trade Deadline: Bulls deal Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott to Thunder

The Bulls turned into sellers ahead of the NBA's trade deadline.

According to CSNChicago.com Bulls Insider Vincent Goodwill, the Bulls have traded Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and a second-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow and Joffrey Lauvergne. The Vertical first reported the trade.

Both Gibson and McDermott had been on the trading block, as Goodwill reported last week.

Payne, 22, was drafted by the Thunder in the first round (14th overall) in the 2015 NBA Draft. In 20 games this season, Payne is averaging 5.3 points, 2.0 assists and 1.6 rebounds per game.

Lauvergne, 25, was acquired by the Thunder from the Denver Nuggets prior to the 2016-17 season. In three seasons, Lauvergne is averaging 6.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

The 31-year-old Morrow is averaging 5.8 points in 40 games this season.

Bulls GM Gar Forman and VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson will meet the media following today's 2 p.m. deadline.

Blackhawks look to keep rolling vs. Coyotes

Blackhawks look to keep rolling vs. Coyotes

The last time the Blackhawks faced the Arizona Coyotes was the first game the current top line of Nick Schmaltz, Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik were thrown together.

Yeah, the combination's worked out well. So has the Blackhawks' game in general, as they've won seven of eight including that Feb. 2 game. Now the Blackhawks will try to keep the momentum rolling with their lines and their game when they host the Coyotes Thursday night at the United Center.

The Blackhawks' current run of success started in the desert and part of that has been finding more consistent lines. Everything else has gradually improved off of that, from goal scoring to puck possession.

"I think it's puck possession, puck control, pace to the game," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we were very inconsistent in that early and we were defending way more than we were accustomed to. You're vulnerable for penalties, you're vulnerable for quality scoring chances against and not generating enough. I think that's the progression in our game now, it seems like all four lines are having the puck and having some zone time and having some rush chances, zone chances and it seems like every line's contributing there, and that's the big difference."

[RELATED: By the bye - Blackhawks keep rolling following break]

The Blackhawks' top line didn't have immediate chemistry but Quenneville kept them together and let them work on it. But as Toews said, it was about the group keeping the all-around game going, points or no points.

"Sometimes you just gotta work until things start clicking," Toews said. "Everyone seems to start paying attention when you start scoring goals, regardless of [the fact you're] doing things right. It's nice that we're scoring but we have to stick with what's making us a successful line at both ends of the rink right now."

Corey Crawford will start vs. the Coyotes. Niklas Hjalmarsson did not skate this morning but is expected to play. Quenneville said Michal Rozsival could draw into the lineup.

Broadcast information

Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: CSN
Live stream: CSNChicago.com

Blackhawks lines

Nick Schmaltz -Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Vinnie Hinostroza

Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Rozsival-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries 

None

Coyotes lines (via Arizona Republic)

Tobias Rieder-Martin Hanzal-Radim Vrbata
Brendan Perlini-Christian Dvorak-Shane Doan
Max Domi -Alex Burmistrov-Ryan White
Jamie McGinn-Jordan Martinook-Josh Jooris

Defensive pairs

Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Luke Schenn
Alex Goligoski-Anthony DeAngelo
Jakob Chychrun-Connor Murphy

Goaltender

Mike Smith

Injuries

Lawson Crouse (lower body), Brad Richardson (tibia)