DaVaris Daniels says he’s still unsure if he’ll return next season
Brian Hartnett | Sunday, November 16, 2014
DaVaris Daniels said Sunday he is still unsure of whether he will return to Notre Dame for his final year of eligibility next season.
“I’ve changed my mind at least six times so far, and it’s still going,” he said. “I’ve still got a while before I’ve got to decide anything, so I’m not trying to rush.”
Daniels added that he would make a decision regarding his plans for next season “probably by January.”
As Notre Dame’s season winds down, another season came to a close Sunday, this one for a team coached by Daniels and fellow suspended players linebacker Kendall Moore and defensive lineman Ishaq Williams.
The trio, along with Irish senior safety Eilar Hardy, senior cornerback Jalen Brown and senior Brad Carrico, a former Irish offensive lineman, spent the fall coaching the Pasquerilla East interhall flag football team, which fell to Pangborn, 34-20, in the interhall semifinals at Loftus Sports Center on Sunday.
Despite the loss, Moore said coaching the team made for an enjoyable escape during a semester in which he, Daniels and Williams have not played following an investigation into “suspected academic dishonesty.” Hardy was also held out, but he returned to the team in late October.
For Moore and Daniels, the game marked a close to their time on campus this semester, as they plan to move to Chicago in the next week-and-a-half to two weeks, Moore said.
“[We’re going to] hopefully start working out, get back on the fitness train and figure out the next step from there,” Moore said.
Moore’s college eligibility has run out.
Notre Dame’s 43-40 overtime loss to Northwestern on Saturday is one of several factors that make it difficult to watch from the sidelines, Daniels said.
“It’s tough just watching and not being able to help the guys out at all, knowing that there’s plays on the field that you know you could have made, that might have been the difference in the game,” he said. “… It’s tough, but we believe in them.”
In addition to watching Saturday’s loss, Daniels, Moore and the rest of Pasquerilla East’s coaching staff watched the Pyros drop their first game of the season Sunday. Pasquerilla East, the No. 2 seed in the women’s interhall bracket, lost to No. 3 Pangborn, coached by Irish graduate student defensive lineman Justin Utupo. The loss left the Pyros one game short of an appearance in Notre Dame Stadium for the women’s interhall championship game.
Coaching let them stay connected to competition and provided a welcome distraction from the off-field attention, Moore said.
“With everything going on, the whirlwind, [coaching] just kind of gave us the chance to get out and do something else other than just sitting around and moping,” he said.
Moore joined the Pasquerilla East coaching staff in time to coach one game alongside former Irish defensive lineman Louis Nix last season. Moore said his short stint with the Pyros last season inspired him to return as a coach this year.
“We were kind of midseason additions, me and Louis Nix,” he said. “So we got to know a lot of girls and told them that if we got the opportunity, next year we would come back and coach.”
Daniels said Moore approached him about coaching after the two found they would be indefinitely held out of football activities.
“Kendall recruited me,” Daniels said. “I had a lot of free time. I didn’t have anything going on, so I figured, you know, if I’m going to be around, I might as well have some obligation, and I made it this team.”
Daniels jokingly added that he was responsible for the team’s offensive success — the Pyros had averaged 27 points per game heading into Sunday’s matchup. But the receiver also said he and Moore worked together closely and tried to accomplish much preparation in the team’s bi-weekly practices.
“We put together a pretty good scheme,” Daniels said. “We got some talented girls; we just had to figure out a way to utilize them all.”
Moore said Pasquerilla East’s practices went beyond the usual fundamental drills and included an emphasis on the tempo of the game.
“We worked a lot on the tempo to try to speed up or go slower, just be able to control the game, so we did that for most of the season,” Moore said. “If we needed to go fast and put up 40, we did that. If we needed to just get out of the game, putting up 21, we were ok with that too.”
With his coaching season over, Daniels said he was grateful for the opportunity to get his shot at running a team.
“I put a lot of time into [coaching] these girls, and they were pretty tolerant of us, being real football players … and it was just a lot of fun,” he said. “Thank you to the girls for giving me something to be happy about, something to look forward to every week.”