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Versatile Goodman ready for increased role as career winds down


Versatile Goodman ready for increased role as career winds down

SOUTH BEND, Ind. During his football career at Notre Dame, John Goodman has played various roles. Hes returned punts, caught passes and even thrown a touchdown pass as a quarterback.

With receiver DaVaris Daniels out with a broken clavicle, Goodman is stepping into a larger role for the third-ranked Irish. He could see more playing time in Notre Dames final two regular-season games, including Saturdays home finale against Wake Forest.

After battling his own injuries, including a sore groin hurt in camp and a stress fracture in his back that flared up six weeks ago, Goodman said hes feeling healthy. The timing is ideal for the fifth-year senior from Fort Wayne, Ind.

A guy got hurt, so I just look at it as stepping in, Goodman said. Its senior night and I expected to come in and play a few minutes on senior night, but regardless of the opportunities I get, Im going to take advantage of them. Thats been my mindset since Ive been here.

Goodman has had limited playing time in his career. He caught six passes in 2009, 15 in 2010 and seven last season, when he was also a punt returner. In 2010, he threw a 32-yard touchdown pass on a trinket play. As a fifth-year senior, he has caught four passes for 77 yards and scored a career-best two touchdowns one last week against Boston College and a one-handed grab against Michigan State.  

Injuries have limited Goodmans opportunities. His sore back flared up in the game against Miami.

My body hasnt held up too well, he said. Thats unfortunate, but its not the end of the world. I like to be able to back my guys up and not complain about it. If Im injured, Im injured, but whatever I can do to help the team.

Though Goodmans career lacks gaudy statistics, he has been involved in big plays, provided intangibles and been a good teammate, coach Brian Kelly said.

(The) guy is great in the locker room, an upbeat, positive guy, Kelly said. I know that sometimes people are measured, and I know Im measured by wins and losses, but the relationships that he has on this team strengthens that group. I think hell look back and say, Yeah, I would like to have caught more and made more touchdowns and done all those things, but hes going to look back on the relationships and the strength that hes provided as a senior in this football program.

Like any player, Goodman said he had high expectations during his college career. While his playing time could have been greater and his numbers bigger, he has enjoyed being a generous teammate.

When things dont work out you cant get down on yourself, he said. I didnt really get down on myself, just stuck with it, led the younger guys and helped out the team as much as I could. Thats what I care about, the team. When there are guys coming in who have great potential and can make our team better, to make them better and be able to say I played a role in helping them out, thats just as rewarding.

Nerds in Sports Podcast: Being a 'professional nerd' and Star Wars theories about Rey's parents


Nerds in Sports Podcast: Being a 'professional nerd' and Star Wars theories about Rey's parents

On this edition of Nerds in Sports, we talk with io9.com senior editor Rob Bricken.

Rob explains how he juggles being a fan with being a ‘professional’ nerd, how he came to run io9.com, plus his theory on why Rey’s parents are in Star Wars may shock you.

Kevin Anderson and Michael Piff co-host. We are Nerds. In sports.

Listen to the Nerds in Sports Podcast here.

Blackhawks Camp Synopsis: Roster starting to take shape


Blackhawks Camp Synopsis: Roster starting to take shape

One week down, roughly one week to go.

Some things have fallen into place during the Blackhawks’ first seven days of training camp but this week is when it really gets interesting. The roster will continue to take shape and the competition for the few vacancies will intensify. Here’s a look at what we’ve already seen in Week 1 and questions for Week 2.

Stock Rising

Jordan Oesterle. We could put a few of the young forwards here, but we’ve talked about them quite a bit and will continue to do so. So right now let’s look at Oesterle, who coach Joel Quenneville liked “a lot” in Thursday’s game against the Red Wings. A puck moving defenseman, Oesterle said he played on the right side with the Edmonton Oilers but could also play on the left. If Oesterle has another good week of camp, that and his versatility might get him a chance on a Blackhawks defense still looking for the right pieces.  

Stock Falling

Tomas Jurco. Please realize where we’re coming from with this assessment: where does he fit in this lineup? He didn’t get a lot of opportunities last season but when he did play there wasn’t anything that made him stand out. Stan Bowman likes him and much like with David Rundblad, the Blackhawks want to give the Jurco a chance to justify the draft pick they gave up for him (a third-round selection from the 2017 draft). Several young guys are pushing hard for roster spots. Can Jurco be an every-day player or do the Blackhawks have a decision to make in favor of some of those up-and-coming players? Just very interested to see how this turns out.

Biggest surprise

Nick Schmaltz’s second-line center opportunity. Maybe we should’ve been more open minded to this happening but considering how little that line changed last year you figured Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane would stay together even after the Artemi Panarin trade. But given the strides Schmaltz has made in his own game and the skating work he and Kane did together this offseason, Quenneville wants to see what Schmaltz can do in the middle. There’s always tinkering with this team; we really should have seen the possibility coming but we didn’t.

Some Remaining Questions

- If there’s one forward spot vacant out of training camp, which young player wins it? John Hayden. Here’s why: even if Alex DeBrincat doesn’t make this team out of camp, the Blackhawks’ top six is looking pretty good. Meanwhile the bottom six, especially that fourth line, has some holes. Getting a young player with some size, speed, skill and sandpaper that Quenneville likes and trusts (and he likes and trusts Hayden) would be a great addition to the bottom six.

- Will there be any surprises on defense? Maybe. Part of it depends on what the Blackhawks do about the Michal Rozsival situation. Rozsival didn’t pass his physical (upper body injury) and is not participating in camp. You hate to see someone go out like this, but it may be the end for the veteran. If so, the seventh defensive spot opens up and so do the Blackhawks options. After Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Connor Murphy you have Cody Franson (if the Blackhawks sign him), Oesterle and Jan Rutta who have made good preseason impacts. Michal Kempny’s in the mix, too. Gustav Forsling is on the bubble. He had a great camp last fall but didn’t improve off it; that has to change this season.

- Will the top line combination work? There’s no doubt the Blackhawks missed Brandon Saad. He may not have been facing the sturdiest Red Wings team on Thursday but Saad’s powerful game was nevertheless impressive and a reminder of how much the Blackhawks missed that element the last two seasons. But the Saad-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik combo hasn’t gotten a great look yet — Toews missed Thursday’s game due to illness. Saturday should be the first chance to see if these three can really click.