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Hope (should) spring eternal

Sam Werner | Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring is the season of rebirth, new beginnings and fresh starts. Flowers are in full bloom and students emerge from their winter hibernation in their residence hall to lie out on the quad.

This season of renewal holds true for sports, too. Baseball players head south for spring training where, as the saying goes, everyone is in first place.

But here at Notre Dame, where football is king, the biggest part of the spring regeneration is the Irish gridiron squad getting out of the weight room and on to the playing field.

Especially after last season, we, as Notre Dame fans, are looking for some reason, any reason, to hope that next year will be better. We want to have hope that our Irish will win more than three games in 2008.

Why, then, are people so skeptical about the team’s performance this spring?

Whenever someone comments about the improved play of our offensive line, the immediate response is, “Yeah, but it’s probably just that our defensive line isn’t that good.” Why not just at least believe that our O-line made major improvements? Since spring is the season of hope, why are we so pessimistic? 176 rushing yards in the spring game is 176 rushing yards no matter what defense you’re playing against.

It may be true that the offensive line is just as bad as last season and Jimmy Clausen will continue to eat more dirt than a five-year-old playing outside, but, for now, why not just believe that they’ll be better next year?

The same goes for the passing game. Many have commented on the dropped passes in the spring game, but dropped passes can be a good thing. Maybe they mean that Clausen’s arm is so healthy that his receivers just can’t handle the laser beams he’s throwing at them, and that with some throws over the summer, everything will be alright. So what if that might be a little bit of a stretch? I personally would like to think that next year is going to be nothing like 2007, and if I have to stretch a little bit to get there, so be it.

After last fall, I’m willing to do whatever I have to do to convince myself that we’ll be better next season. If we’re not, I’ll have a pretty terrible fall. But right now, I think we’re going to win a national championship, and it feels pretty awesome. People that start getting depressed about next season now are just causing themselves an extra season of disappointment.