New uniforms just part of ND's modernization

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New uniforms just part of ND's modernization

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- When Notre Dame unveiled a new adidas-made uniform to be worn Oct. 6 against Miami, the threads were, as expected, met with plenty of derision, at least on Twitter. But that same criticism -- mainly of the helmet -- wasn't shared by Notre Dame players.

"I love them," linebacker Manti Te'o said. "You look good, you feel good, you feel good, you play good. It's true."

"The last couple years with what adidas has done for us, and the Shamrock Series, we've got so much swag now," added tight end Tyler Eifert. "They're pretty neat."

These specific uniforms are a one-time deal, to be worn only for that early October contest against Miami, which is part of the school's Shamrock Series that has taken the Irish to San Antonio, New York and Washington D.C. in the last two years.

The goal of the Shamrock Series was essentially to put Notre Dame on tour, taking not only the football program, but the school to other parts of the country. But instead of taking the classic uniforms with them, Notre Dame views the Shamrock Series as a chance to try something different.

"Because the concept, because the game is now part of something that is going to last and has its own identification as the Shamrock Series, we decided, in a very conscious way, to take this and use it as the one time each year that we modify our uniforms," athletic director Jack Swarbrick said.

"To make it a special, different event, to embrace the notion that we're going to bring an exciting and new opportunity with us when we come to a city, and part of that is the uniform."

That idea of trying something new extends beyond just the uniforms. Swarbrick mentioned he enjoyed the video board capability at Yankee Stadium in 2010, and isn't completely against an upgrade to a Jumbotron at Notre Dame Stadium sometime in the future.

"That's what we're trying to do -- can Notre Dame Stadium still be the Augusta of college football," pondered Swarbrick, "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."

Last year, Notre Dame Stadium played music over its sound system for the first time. That's another change that's come to the gameday atmosphere in South Bend, even if it meant Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" playing seemingly on repeat during the Irish's contest against USC.

And Swarbrick wouldn't rule out a change in playing surface, perhaps from natural grass to the flashpoint idea of artificial turf. Notre Dame will have to replace its turf after this season, so that's when the issue will be addressed.

A quote from Mark Daniels, director of football for adidas America -- which designed the Shamrock Series uniforms -- seemed to sum up the balance Notre Dame is attempting to strike, not only with the uniforms, but with music, video, turf, and so on.

"We expect strong reaction regardless of what we do," Daniels said. "We fully understand the heritage, the tradition, the rituals of what Notre Dame is. And we like to take those, celebrate those moments but modernize it, bring it into the future a little bit."

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win, Jimmy Butler starts All-Star Game

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks win, Jimmy Butler starts All-Star Game

Here are some of Sunday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

Patrick Kane leads Blackhawks to win in Buffalo homecoming

What Joe Maddon wants to see next from Javier Baez

Jose Abreu ready for 2017 after season full of 'different challenges'

Wojnarowski: Bulls-Celtics Jimmy Butler trade talks 'will loom over the entire week'

After surreal offseason, Ben Zobrist comes to Cubs camp in style as World Series MVP

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson out at least 10 days with foot injury

Fire score five goals for fourth preseason win

Simeon beats rival Morgan Park for city championship

Former Northwestern football player Torri Stuckey now focuses on helping others

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

Jimmy Butler: 'Hopefully I’m not going to get traded'

NEW ORLEANS — Every All-Star isn’t created equal, even by the slimmest of margins as the best 24 NBA players take their turn on the midseason stage.

So Jimmy Butler being announced among the first five as an All-Star starter had to represent some form of validation, now that he’s not a novice at the whole experience and he’s able to go through the motions of the hectic weekend without breaking much of a sweat.

But despite being a three-time All-Star and routinely mentioned as one of the game’s top 15 players or even top 10, he can’t shake the trade rumors that have seemed to follow him since this time last season.

As he finished up his All-Star experience at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, clarity was nowhere to be found—although heading to some tropical island for a couple days to actually unwind with clear water and warm air seemed to be the best therapy if he’s stressed by the uncertainty of the next few days.

“What’s Thursday? Oh, trade deadline,” Butler said. “I don’t know. I don’t know. Am I anxious? Come on, man. I don’t worry about it. It don’t bother or scare me none.”

“Hopefully I’m not going to get traded but I don’t know. I don’t control that. Control what I can control, like going on vacation.”

Surely it has to be frustrating for a guy who’s elevated his game yet again, averaging 24.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.8 steals for the Bulls in 51 games. But he refuses to let it damper his All-Star spirits, playing with some of the best players in the world and a few guys he calls friends, like DeAndre Jordan and Kevin Durant.

“Not for me,” said Butler of the potential stress. “Not saying I’m untradeable but I don’t think about that. If I’m not in a Bulls uniform, I’ll give you a hug and say goodbye to you.”

Moments after Butler made his statement in the media room, the floodgates opened for the trade market as fellow Olympian DeMarcus Cousins was traded from the Sacramento Kings to the New Orleans Pelicans for what seemed to be mere fodder, pennies on the dollar for the most talented center in the NBA.

[SHOP: Get your Bulls gear right here]

While Cousins is far more of a handful than Butler could be, the trade almost signals a consistent truth that always bears repeating—that short of a select few, anybody can be traded.

Even a franchise altering talent like Cousins, who was traded to the city he was physically in for All-Star weekend, and included in the package of players was a guy who hit him in the groin last week (Buddy Hield), resulting in a Cousins outburst and ejection.

Butler has made his name with the Bulls, although not necessarily on the All-Star stage, a player who values defense and doesn’t have as much flash as some of the game’s shinier players.

With a six-point outing in 20 minutes, Butler was an on-court afterthought despite being a starter for the first time.

“Six? Should’ve gone for eight,” he sarcastically deadpanned.

In a relatively jovial mood through the weekend, Butler joked about the talk surrounding him and tried to brush it off as mere chatter as opposed to the franchise not seeing enough in him to make a firm commitment for the long-term, as the Boston Celtics are always hovering.

League sources expect the Celtics to engage the Bulls in conversations for the next few days, but nobody has a great feel for what either side is truly looking for.

But as Butler insisted, he’s only controlling what he can control, which is making himself a fixture for All-Star games to come as opposed to some of the first-timers who don’t know if they’ll get back here again.

“I think I got two underneath my belt,” Butler said. “I know what they’re feeling the first time, It’s so surreal like maybe I do belong here. That’s how I was thinking. Now it’s how do I get here every year? I think that’s the fun part, that’s the challenge. A lot of those guys have done it 10-plus years, hopefully I’m one.”

The only question seems to be, which uniform will it be in because the crazy season has begun.